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Rostislav Ishchenko: Global anti-global civil war

Rostislav Ishchenko is a well-known Russian political analyst and President of the Center for System Analysis and Forecasting, in an interview with "Geopolitika"


Interview conducted by Slobodan Erić

Mr. Ishchenko, you are, among other things, a very good connoisseur of the situation in Ukraine. How do you assess the current situation in Ukraine? Do you think that the Kiev regime will try to resort to a military solution this year?


- Ukraine is on the verge of a civil war in the territories controlled by the Kiev regime and a step away from the dissolution of the existing statehood. I do not rule out the possibility of trying to organize provocations in Donbass, in order to draw attention from the internal problems of Kiev and to stabilize the regime for a short period. But such a provocation can neither be successful nor too serious, as Kiev can not solve anything in Donbass by military means. Kiev simply does not have the strength to do that. Generally speaking, with the onset of internal combat operations between the different military and paramilitary formations of the current Kiev regime, pressure on Donbas should weaken. Those units now holding the front line on the Kiev side will have more important jobs in the depths of the Ukrainian territory.


How do you see things in the nearest neighborhood, where the West is pressuring Lukashenko, and on the other hand, relations between the allies of Minsk and Moscow are often complex?


- I would not call it Western pressure on Lukashenko. It's just that the Belarusian authorities, feeling uneasy about the strengthening of Russia and also wanting to gain unjustified economic preferences from Moscow, are trying to play a traditional game called "multilateralism" in a post-Soviet space. Minsk shows Moscow that if its financial and economic appetites are not met, it can turn to the West. These practices of the Belarusian leadership can not be effective. They are simply late. Today, Russia is strong enough and a partner attractive to all the countries of the Eurasian space, so that it can allow Lukashenko to repeat the fate of Yanukovych. If it wants to play with the West that much. After all, if the Belarusian leadership did not learn anything from the Ukrainian example, then Moscow can not help it. Anyway, so far all of this has not gone too far in Minsk, so Lukashenko still has time to regain consciousness.


Regardless of the attitude towards Russia, did Donald Tramp, as an American patriot who put US economic and other national interests at the forefront, seriously shake up the global political and economic nomenclature? Is the global influence of the world today declining? You talked about that too.


- Undoubtedly, the influence of the globalists has been reduced, at least because they lost the position of the President of the United States. However, the globalists have lost the battle, not the war. American elite and American society are divided by about half. The United States was in a similar situation only once - before the civil war between the North and the South. No compromise was found at the time. Now Tramp is trying to agree on a transnational compromise with his opponents. Fully suppressing globalists from a policy without a civil war is as impossible as the removal of the bargain from the government without major internal earthquakes in the United States. For now, negotiations within the American elites are going very hard. The parties tend to put pressure on each other. We'll see what's next. If Tramp succeeds in stabilizing the situation in the United States, then the globalists will definitely lose their influence in world politics over time. And if that's not the case, then everything will be decided by the war and it will spill far beyond the borders of the United States. Such a war can not be called entirely civil, nor completely interstate. First of all, it will be a global anti-globalist international civil war. That's the worst thing that can happen to mankind. Worse than nuclear Third World War. We should wish peace, stability and the achievement of a national compromise to the United States.


There is a lot of pressure in the global media, in the political and military establishment on Trump to quit the bargaining and agreements with Russia. How do you foresee US-Russian relations?


- Relations between the two global states can not be complicated. They will always be separated by the objective contradictions. But we need to understand that Trump's attempt to negotiate with Russia does not arise from any special relationship with Moscow. Simply, the United States overcame itself, playing the role of a world policeman. They need time and resources for internal stabilization. Both can only be obtained on the account of a sudden reduction in foreign policy activity. It is therefor necessary to agree with Russia. If nothing else, because Moscow currently controls the point which is strategically important for the United States - the Middle East. Trump's opponents are trying to solve the same problem. But they want to break Russia, to force it to capitulation, blackmail with possible nuclear conflict. It's a dangerous game. The game that leads the world towards the war. That is why I hope that Moscow and Washington will nevertheless succeed in agreeing on a temporary compromise. But if the United States is able to preserve the status of the world power, then, after some time, when they consider that they have gathered enough strength again, the confrontation will begin again.


Has the European Union now become the center of ideological globalism? How do you assess the relations between Brussels and Moscow? Will Brussels abolish the sanctions to Moscow and those who harm them more? Russia or the European countries? Is the strengthening of patriotic, Christian parties (National Front, the Liberian Party of Austria, North League, Alternative for Germany) a renewed hope for the future in the reconstruction of good relations between Europe and Russia?


- I'm afraid that no one in Moscow is excited about whether the EU will abolish sanctions. The EU has slept the wonderful opportunity to establish direct economic relations with Moscow, for which Russia was very interested in the period of 2010 - 2015. Today, it is no longer certain that the EU will exist in five years. It moves rapidly on the path of disintegration. In addition, the EU is breaking up not so much interstate conflicts as the conflict between globalists and nationalists. It is possible that Moscow still inertly continues reaching greater agreements with the EU, but it seems that the EU has no one to make agreements with.


Will the world in the next few years go towards normalization and harmonization in relations between states, or is it going to global destabilization?


- I think two opposing forces will work. A part of the world's elite will try to solve its problems at the expense of further intensifying the international situation. And the part will be prone to an agreement and a temporary stabilization of global political relations. Unfortunately, as it seems to me, objective reality does not give us the reason to be particularly optimistic. It is too much, in the strategic points of the planet, of unfinished internal and international conflicts. The ambitions of many leading international players are too big. The level of elite's responsibility is too low. In addition, we are surviving the global systemic crisis. This means that the existing system of global political and economic relations has ceased to correspond to reality and that its radical replacement by another system is necessary. But nobody knows what kind of system. All this hope for stabilization seems foggy. Most likely, in the coming years, the world will be very unstable. And those states that manage to preserve internal stability in this unstable world will have a serious advantage at the start of creating a new world order.


Here in the Balkans, the situation in Macedonia is becoming increasingly complicated, where NATO and the EU are pushing for the takeover by the Social Democrats of Zaev and Albanians. How do you comment on this? Is the Albanian factor, not only in Kosovo, but also in the Balkans, the instrument of the West?


- Yes, it is, but it does not matter now. The West lost its internal unity. Some Western structures (such as NATO and Brussels euroburreacracy) still inertly continue the integration expansion. And at the same time, at national level, politicians are increasingly forced to think about meeting the demands of the masses to lead a more pragmatic and more economical policy. That's what we can see in the Balkans, Ukraine, Syria - all these conflicts that have stopped to play a positive role for the West. These conflicts swallow deficient resources. And even if it wants, the West can not interrupt them, because then its leading politicians would have to admit the crimes against humanity and war crimes, due to the planned launch of aggressive wars and civil unrest in third countries. For this reason, today, the weakened West has been neglected, forced to look at what was created by itself, and that the control was eroded.


How do you assess the relations between Russia and Serbia? Does Serbia need to continue its fight for Kosovo and will it have the support of Russia? It was announced that Russia will give Serbia airplanes. Is there a need, according to you, to strengthen the cooperation between Serbia and Russia in all plans, even in the military one?


- Serbia should continue the fight for Kosovo. No country ever stops fighting for lost territories, even if the ethnic composition of the population has changed there. Simply, fighting - this is not necessarily a military activity. Sometimes diplomatic, economic and political efforts can be a more effective ways to succeed. After all, the situation in the Balkans today is so intricate and explosive that it can not be ruled out of the possibility of multiple changes of existing borders by military means. And cooperation with Russia, as with any other country, should be strengthened in those areas where this cooperation can be mutually beneficial. As far as I can see, cooperation in the sphere of defense is one of such promising areas of cooperation. But cooperation in defense matters entails military-technical cooperation. And that already means developing economic cooperation. If economic integration reaches a certain level, a discussion on the currency and customs union begins, that is, on open markets and on financial interaction, which are already issues of political cooperation. So, if approaching this pragmatically and without undue haste, then I think that the potential of bilateral relations, as well as interaction in other multipart formats, is very high. It only needs to be used reasonably.


Geopolitika No. 103, March-April 2017