Sunday, December 21, 2014

Revolution versus Real Politik of Big Powers: Moscow feels betrayed by Raul

Andrew Korybko's two articles on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba in Sputnik and Global Research appear to channel some serious concerns or rather outright sharp displeasure and sense of betrayal felt in Moscow over this US-Cuban agreement. The title of the Global Research article make it clear from the start: "Did Raul Castro Just Reverse The Entire Cuban Revolution?" Korybko then goes to paint Raul Castro as a Cuban Yanukovich, but one with a possible Qaddafi-esque ending: "If this was the case, the Raul’s fate will be as good as Gaddafi’s. But what is certain in this situation is that Raul is following in Yanukovich’s footsteps by trying to save his own skin through convoluted Machiavellian games. ... But just like Yanukovich committed a flagrant folly through his ‘reach out’ attempts to the ‘opposition’, so too is Raul doing the exact same thing by working with the US. The difference is, Yanukovich dealt with the proxies, but Raul is politicking with the puppet masters themselves ..."

So it appears that Korybko thinks that what is endangered first and foremost is socialism and revolution in Cuba. This would rather ironic for it was Russia or the Russian leadership that, from the late 1980s, "reversed the entire [Soviet] revolution" (to use Korybko's expression) and, with it, sold or rather gave away most of its allies in exchange of a license to capitalism and a promise to be counted as a "partner" in the exclusive, special club of the West (G-7 becoming G-8 for a while) and its institutions. Cuba was left hanging there on her own for most of the post-Cold War period.

Yet, under deeper scrutiny, the main reason for charging Raul Castro with betraying revolution and socialism is rather not merely a sense of a deja vue on the part of another, but a notion evidently keenly feared in Moscow that Cuba has thus somehow betrayed first and foremost Russia. As Korybko says, "[Raul] is also betraying his multipolar Russian ally at the same time." Why?

First of all, Cuba was negotiating this deal for some 18 months and apparently so well and so secretly that Moscow was kept in the dark about it: "Havana and Washington entered into a surprise deal ... Nobody was expecting such a major development to occur ..." What Moscow expected and wanted Cuba to do, if such a negotiation was to be had, was something similar to the WMD deal, which Russia and the US made last year for Syria on Syria's behalf: "Before diving in to the nitty-gritty of Raul’s decision, it is necessary to quickly take an overview of two monumental lessons of the past few years that should not have been lost on any global leader: The Libyan leader thought that he could safeguard his state by getting rid of his weapons of mass destruction without a Great Power negotiating on his side (as Russia did for Syria), but in reality, he unwittingly sold his country out." Korybko thus clearly argues that what Cuba should have done was what Syria did--had a Great Power, that is, Russia, negotiate the deal with the US on her behalf. If you don't have Russia do for it, then you are selling yourself out or at least charged with such a crime.

For Korbyko, it is thus not really or mainly about socialism or revolution of which today's Russia and the Russian government cannot be in any way accused. And it is even about Cuba mainly. The main standard by which Cuba's move is to be judged is in relation to Russia; that's decisive: "The US likely sweetened the deal with some behind-the-scenes economic incentives in order to facilitate its conclusion as soon as possible due to the Russia factor. Putin made a surprise visit to the island in July en route to the BRICS Summit in Brazil, and during his stay there, he announced that Russia was forgiving $32 billion of Cuba’s debt, which was 90% of the total. In exchange, it was rumored that Moscow would be reopening the Soviet-era signals intelligence base in Lourdes, which considering the tense climate of the New Cold War, would have been a massive strategic detriment for the US. With this in mind, the US immediately set off to seduce Cuba. This means that the US-Cuba deal must absolutely be viewed in the prism of current geopolitical rivalry with Russia. With that in mind, Washington scored an even larger victory than it initially seems. Russia obviously had its own secret plans for Cuba when Putin made his unannounced visit to the country over the summer, but it seems like the US has nullified them before they could get off the ground, since there is no way the US would allow Cuba to retain such a facility as part of the deal. If this was the case, then Russia is out $32 billion for an investment that will never see the light of day (made even worse by the economic war being waged against it at the moment), while Raul’s government can cozy up comfortably with dollars in their pocket from newfound American investors. How’s that for betrayal after Moscow risked a nuclear war to protect that very same government from regime change over half a century ago?"

Evidently, Korybko believes that the price of the deal is most specifically the promised "reopening the Soviet-era signals intelligence base in Lourdes," which has been sacrificed--after Russia forgave $32 billion to Cuba. Somehow, this is reminiscent of the many billions of dollars which went to enrich or subsidize Ukrainian oligarchs who came to espouse love for NATO and Bandera instead. However, I would be one of the last to assume that Cuban socialist leaders are as good or bad as Ukrainian communists-turned-oligarchs.

Korybko thus sees in the restoration of the ties between the US and Cuba a US very strategic chess move that directly threatens Russia and the current great game for Euroasia itself: "Thus, if the US succeeds in retaking the Caribbean via the Cuban card and can penetrate ALBA enough to the point of dividing its leadership and dissolving the alliance, then it will be more than able to ‘safely’ destroy Eurasia with the least amount of repercussions to its own supercontinental interests (North and South America)."

What Raul and Cuba is now accused of, however, reminds me of Russia's support for sanctions against Iran or its deal with Turkey, which does not seem to have been greatly consulted with Syria. Some may well argue that what big players are free to do is not for the smaller countries to claim or to do. But in that case one's argument loses a good deal of its virtue, and what remains becomes a matter of power politics.

Moreover, the Russian government itself has repeatedly recognized the legitimacy of the Kiev regime, which, however many times one hears from Moscow these days that "Poroshenko is a man of peace," is consistent in declaring the meaning of its existence as an endless war against Russia and hostility to Russia.

Still, the argument to socialism and revolution should not be that easily or cynically discarded or denied. For I do believe that the problems of our time and the ongoing "hybrid world war" requires some unorthodox and rather revolutionary strategies and methods even though Putin has reaffirmed conservatism as his government's ideology of choice.

It is obvious that the US has just changed its tactics, not its final goal when it comes either to Russia or to Cuba. And it is also very certain that the Cuban leadership knows this very well. It is also equally obvious that some sort of a color revolution, Maidan, and regime change is being planned for Cuba in the near future. But it is too early to predict its outcome. That too would also depend on how well Russia herself is going to defend herself and her interests--and her allies and friends.

In this regard, one is, however, compelled to ask this basic question: "What is the Russian leadership itself exactly doing now for revolution instead of protecting or trying to freeze ("conserving") the status quo? Let's not forget that the phenomenon of Novorossiya representing the much needed Russian renaissance or rebirth, the uprising in Donbass against Western colonialism and Banderite Nazism owes its very power and existence to new rekindled socialist aspirations and revolution.

Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you. All realism, and politics of big powers, especially, has been built on the opposite, negation, and inversion of this basic ethical principle.

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