As we hear more about Russian hacking into Democratic Party servers (and Hillary’s home server), slowly, but surely, a new narrative is emerging about Trump’s great plans to reshape America! His cabinet picks basically say it all. His new Secretary of State negotiated a 300-Billion-dollar oil deal with Russia only to have the Obama administration nix it; and knows Putin very well. His top Military man and National Security advisors – all want to take on Iran. And the background to all this, is a grand ‘bargain’ with Russia that is ‘in the works’; and might well have been in the works all along in the background (which is why the Russians helped him get elected), and now it’s coming forward to light.
Call it the ‘deal of the century’. Call it whatever you will but more than likely the two men (Trump and Putin) will meet and negotiate a deal along the following lines:
- First Trump will agree to remove sanctions on Russia. This is a big deal, after years of sanctions and near economic collapse, Russia will be able to trade again and there will be new prosperity.
- Then, ExxonMobil will execute on their massive oil and gas deal in Russia’s artic and there will be new prosperity in the form of literally billions of dollars of new revenue coming through Russia’s treasury. This will also add up to revenue for Exxon. And we all know this will be just the beginning. When it comes to oil and gas reserves Russia has the lion share of untapped wells in the world. This will reposition Exxon as the supreme oil company globally. By the way, now that North Sea oil is depleted for Britain and Norway, expect BP, Shell and Statoil to come in right behind Exxon. This was a whole ‘gang’ of oil companies that got Trump elected – not just Exxon.
- Then, wait for it … there will be a massive bargain. The US will hand over Ukraine to Russia, and possibly Georgia (and Armenia) too in exchange for North Korea, Iran and (yes) Syria! Iran has long been a huge resource grab. After thirty years of sanctions, Iran’s massive oil and gas reserves have just been quietly sitting there with low productivity and general inability to export. Grabbing Iran will be Trump second ‘oil coup’! But this bargain has many benefits for both the U.S. and Russia.
- First, this will blunt European and NATO expansion.
- The European Union was always positioned as a prospective long-term competitor to the U.S.; and the Euro was supposed to become a new fiat currency of trade supplanting the Dollar. Europe has grown and adding Ukraine and eventually Turkey – would have created a larger and more compelling global trading block – that could have given the U.S. dollar a run for its money.
- At the same time, Russia always saw the expansion of the EU and Nato as a threat. Grabbing the Ukraine will blunt European ambitions and give Russia a huge sigh of relief.
- Secondly, this will reposition Russia as a major threat to Europe, but with one big difference, the U.S. will force Europeans to pay for their own defense. This will not only change the defense dynamics in the region, but also impose a major new cost on Europe (who have been benefiting by essentially U.S. defense subsidies). Germany will see its defense budget increase substantially to literally Billions of dollars from today tiny Million dollar scale.
- Grabbing Ukraine, will allow Russia to export gas to Europe with security. This is a big deal because Europe’s natural gas demand will be rising exponentially in future decades with the retirement of their Nuclear power plants. And, it will also be a huge benefit to the Oil and Gas companies that are planning major production centers in Russia. Quite simply, unfettered pipelines to Europe is in American Oil company’s interests.
- After literally decades of war, with Russia essentially neutralized, both regimes in Syria and Iran will be toppled. (More on this later)
- With Iran and Syria out of the picture, this will allow Israel to invade Lebanon (Greater Israel Strategy) and grab about 50 Km of land and Lebanon’s Mediterranean oil and gas fields) and eventually run pipelines to Europe through to Turkey, and thus become another vendor to Europe for Gas supply.
- First, this will blunt European and NATO expansion.
- With a new regime in Tehran, there will be a push (like America’s push in the ‘60s and ‘70s for Europe) to create a new Central Asian Union of ‘stans: Tajikistan, glopped with Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and possibly Turkey. Why is this part of the U.S. -Russia grand bargain?
- From an American point of view, this will blunt Chinese expansionism, and push a newly re-aligned with U.S., Iranto become major force for regional development versus China.
- This will also create a major regional buffer and competitor to the growing economies of India and China.
- This will also create a new source of growth to generate global economic expansion (the role China played for the last few decades). I can imagine Chinese style growth rates of 15% plus per year going forward for the region.
- This will also enable US companies to enter Iranian oil and gas fields and other local markets! Imagine, real Coke, real Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tehran??
- This grand bargain will also enable the creation of an enhanced Russian driven, Eurasian Union with Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, etc. It’ll be the old Soviet Union … again… by different name!
- This too, will provide another major buffer to Chinese expansionism – and “surround China with ‘friendly’ competitors.
- And finally, South Korea will be emboldened, and another new competitor will be place for Chinese companies to deal with. Korea will be formidable… and give Japan a run for their money.
The underlying point is, that this grand bargain is NOT about Russia but about China and Israel. It’s about surrounding China with new allies. It’s about checking Chinese economic growth. And it’s about helping Israel transition to a major oil and gas exporting economy. U.S. fears China.
But also, this will mean cataclysmic change in Iran. The Mullahs will not be innocent bystanders who will watch while the proverbial rug is pulled from under them. It is an unfortunate truth that every time the U.S. has tried to undermine the Mullahs, they have turned the situation around to their advantage. It might surprise both Trump and Putin to know that in fact the Mullahs are much smarter than both. They have survived so much.
Both Trump and Putin can agree on anything they want in a plush hotel conference room, but at the end of the day, an agreement must be executed. It must change facts on the ground.
How will Trump topple the Mullahs, or does he really think he can accommodate them in another deal? What does this really mean for Iran?
So far, the Mullahs have resisted everything. And they will do so again. I believe Trump will avoid an all-out conflict and simply use the threat of military action to get the Mullahs to agree to his position. Mullahs fully appreciate that direct Military action is highly unlikely. The U.S. is in no mood for another war, and Europe is not ready for another wave of refugees.
America’s plan for several decades now, has always been to splinter Iran via tribal nationalism by in effect using the Kurds, Balochis, Azeris etc. to do their bidding. American soldiers will be spared combat duty and play an advisory role. Perhaps the Saudis will join them? Maybe, just maybe Israel would chip in. But it surely, won’t be American soldiers on the ground like Iraq.
Trumps idea is that he can wave large chunks of cash to the Mullahs and have them melt into his arms.
The problem is, he doesn’t quite understand Iranian psyche. While the Mullahs are whores for sure, they value their ‘power’ more than raw cash. They won’t want to be humiliated, and surely would not step aside to have morons like Ms. Rajavi from the MKO/MEK/NCRI/PMOI/MONKEY Clan take their place. And, more importantly, I don’t see ordinary Iranians sitting back and letting that happen. Not this time! This is not 1979!
Plus, the Iranians have been preparing for this day for 30 years. They are fully informed about U.S. support for Saddam Hussein, and they have arrangements with North Korea to get access to nuclear war heads if they need them.
And contrary to beltway analysts wet-dreams in Virginia, Iran is not quite as tribal as people wish it was. First, Iran has been supportive of Kurdish struggles in both Norther Iraq and Syria and not have a wholesale group of Kurds on its Western front. Secondly, Azeris are fully integrated into Iran’s government and see themselves as primarily Iranian (and even see Azerbaijan as stolen from Iran). Thirdly, the Rajavist cult, who presumably Trump wants to put in power in Iran, would be vehemently resisted. Iran, and the Mullahs won’t be a cakewalk.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Iran lose its theocracy, and become truly democratic – BUT – not like this. Not because of Trump’s ‘grand bargain’ – but because it is truly in Iranian people’s interests. And for sure, turning Tehran or Mashhad into another Aleppo would be strongly resisted. The Mullahs won’t be bluffed into submission, nor battled into submission. If Saddam Hussein couldn’t do it, with his million-man army, and all the money and arms thrown at him, why should Kurds, Balochis etc. or even Saudi’s be successful? And, I don’t see American boots on the ground. Just don’t see it.
The grand-bargain between Trump and Russia will not work without Iranian cooperation. And how exactly will Trump make that happen? What will he offer the Mullahs?
And let’s not forget China in all this. Will they sit back and let such a deal be made, with the prime purpose of containing their expansionism, and creating rivals for China? Already both Iran and Russia’s prime trading partner, why should both Iran or Russia abandon their current relationship with China for the promise of future cash from America. How can Trump really guarantee that this deal will survive his Presidency in 4 years? Just like he is rolling back the Iran deal and Obamacare, no one with any political sense would make a deal beyond 4 years. And such a time limit, make the ‘grand bargain’ inherently flawed.
Russia for sure will be empowered with removal of sanctions, a Ukraine grab, and massive new revenues from oil and gas. Trump will make Russia great again. But Trump by no means, is guaranteed an Iran grab. Bottom-line, Putin will be rewarded for this support for Trump. But any deal involving Iran will be complicated and unlikely to take effect with ease.
The grand-bargain won’t be good for America – nor Iran.
One final thought. All this emphasis on oil and gas deals is not inherently good for America. The eDollar has trumped the Petrodollar (read this blog: http://baharmedia.net/?p=236 ). Massive oil and gas investments provide huge environmental risks, and generally provide low grade returns compared to expanding ecommerce and the global opportunity with the likes of google.com, amazon.com, etc. We should never forget that in much of the world – such as China – facebook, google etc. are banned. Trump should be opening the pathways for U.S. based tech stocks to operate in Russia etc. rather than seeding the globe for more war and blood shedding.