Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More from Colonel Khuiyovich

Our mole at Yasenovo has uncovered another email from the policy-planning unit in the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service HQ. To disguise the source it has been translated into rather elegant English. I should stress that--leaving aside questions of its authenticity--I am not the author--it was sent to me by a reader of the blog.


I agree that great success of Georgia experiment means a complete re-appraisal of ultimate aims. Yes, we can afford to be ambitous. But we must also be realistic.

The only achievable goals within the next ten years are in Europe.

Where will the frontier of the Near Abroad be? The Atlantic? The English Channel? The Rhine? The Elbe? The Oder-Neisse? The Vistula? If we rely on military force, it cannot be the Atlantic.

If we act now, we shall be in Riga in hours; Merkel (Angela Mbeki) will say fierce things for public consumption, but will continue to build the pipeline, Sarkozy will negotiate a cease-fire between us and the Latvians, Mr Obama will say that Russia must be taught a lesson, and the British public will ask where Latvia is. So far, so good. But then what? Logic suggests that we should take Estonia and Lithuania too. But Estonia has strong ties with Finland and Sweden. Estonia is not for them a “far away country of which they know little'”, and they might reckon our move to be a fundamental threat to their security. Victory could be delayed, and delay is dangerous. Even without the Americans, a British fleet in the Baltic, with overt support from Sweden, Finland and Poland, could deny us control of the sea and air, and enable some Estonian strongholds to hold out against us indefinitely.

Lithuania does not have natural allies, but it also does not have a sizable Russian minority to provide us with a justification for intervening; it also has a land frontier with Poland, which could prove inconvenient. Also it might frighten Germany into a less cooperative frame of mind. So, although I recognise that the military window of opportunity will be open for only a short time, I submit that it is not an opportunity of which we should avail ourselves, not only for the reasons given, but because Option II is likely to yield a much better result.

5. Option II Provided we are discreet, the desire for a quiet life in the West will prevent them from doing anything effective to thwart our plans. It will be largely a propaganda war, and we shall need to run several lines to prevent the issues becoming clear. There is a lot of ignorance and anti-Americanism, and we need to fuel both, the former by a steady stream of misinformatiion, the latter by trading on the Americans' ability to lose friends and antagonize people, and also by emphasizing their many defects. We should talk a lot about democracy, because that is a word which has little meaning: we can plausibly maintain that we are a democracy while claiming that our opponents are not, and any argument to the contrary will be too long for many people to listen to. We can play the ``What about Kossovo?'' and ``What about Guantanamo?'' cards again and again, and there will always be some takers. And while we should take a high moral line about the human rights of Russian minorities, we can at the same time find many hearers for a realpolitik argument ``How would you like it if there was a Russian naval base in Ireland, or missiles stationed in Mexico''. A bit of American history---the Monroe Doctrine, and the construction of the Panama Canal---should be available for every potential peacenik, while diplomats and businessmen should be encouraged to demand jaw-jaw rather than war-war.

In France the motives we have to play on are vanity and greed. We must treat Sarkozy as being always the real President of Europe, and contrive some agreements he can broker and we can keep. Our diplomats should insist on talking French, especially when there are Americans present who do not understand it, and we should foster the establishment of Lycees in Russia---and in South Ossetia---and keep on contrasting French civilisation with Anglo-American materialism. I have already mentioned the importance of existing French investments in Russia: we should encourage further ventures, and allow them to be very profitable.

Germany is different. It is both our greatest problem and potentially our greatest prize. It is a problem on account of memories of when the Elbe was the frontier of our Near Abroad. Germany now must never have the slightest reason to suspect that the Elbe is once again to be our frontier. But if we play our cards well, we may be back on the Vistula in one sense and the Rhine in another. What we can immediately offer Germany, pervasively and persuasively, is the opportunity to fulfill its historic Drang nach Osten. We need technical help and efficient business administration. They can provide it. As a favour to them we can shut the Anglo-Saxons out of the market, and offer Germans a business environment much more orderly and disciplined than the deeply un-Teutonic chaos of Britain and the United States. Whereas in time past Russia's need for German expertise was met by the emigration of whole communities of ethnic Germans, now there would be expatriate Germans working in Russia, but retaining their roots in Germany. This would be acceptable to Germany, which is concerned about its declining population, and would lead in time to strong persoanl links between citizens of both countries.

The opening up of Rusia to German enterprise, combined with Germany's appetite for oil and gas, will wean Germany away from Anglo-American interests, and will ensure that the European Union, what ever it says, will not actually do anythng contrary nto our interests. But if we look at a German-Russian alliance geopolitically, we can see further possibilities. The defeat of Hitler moved Germany's eastern frontier many miles westward. The loss of Silesia was traumatic. It could be rectifed. And should. The immediate objection will be ``What about Kaliningrad?''. If Riga came our way, we could do without Kaliningrad. Eastern Europe is a mess, and the realistic solution is to divide it between the powers that really matter and can keep it in order: that is, between Russia and Germany. Molotov saw that there must be some give if we were to have a lot of take; and the same principles apply now. Once we have Germany on board, we can digest the intervening countries gradually and quietly without the West noticing, or at any rate doing anything about it. Of course, we shall have to keep quiet about the pact, and shall allow, and indeed encourage, Germany to make loud sounds of disapproval if our absorption of formely hostile states in the Near Abroad is noticed. But it need not be: with suitable care circumstances can arise in which each statelet clamours for admission into the Russian Federation on account of the political stability and energy security we offer.

At present I am putting this plan forward only in obedience to your last injunction that we should think big. It will, of course, be criticized. Detailed criticisms will be very valuable. To those who would dismiss it out of hand as utterly unrealistic, I simply say ``Wait and See''. The wooing of Germany is obviously advantageous, and risk-free. It will be a matter of judgement when to move to a deeper understanding, and when the time comes it will be obviously the right course.


Pavel.S said...

Hope it's joke

Unknown said...

loved the comments about appealing to the vanity of the French and the reliable spinelessness of the Germans.
Hard to know what to make of this - may be a hoax/joke, but it certainly could be an example of a 'blue sky thinking' position paper. Certainly the more one interacts with Russians the more one realizes that they inhabit a very different world view full of bizarre conspiracies.
George Bush junior famously said that he looked into Putin's eyes and saw his soul, thank God for John McCain who looked into Putin's eyes and said he saw a K, and a G, and a B.

Anonymous said...

Edward, someone is pulling your leg.

We may disagree about Georgia/Russia but you will have to agree that the governments and Main stream media's attempts to turn people against Russia (see the light, you would put) has been an utter failure.
Even Telegraph readers, quite simply, don't believe what the likes of Con Coughlin have to tell them.
I believe in the wisdom of the masses, and I am astonished sometimes by the insights that emerge from Comment is Free, if you take the best of the best.
If I were you, I would print out the 260 comments and counting to your recent piece and scribble objections in the margins of each one. The only way to win an argument is to answer people's objections, not vanish into your own world of forged letters and post-Soviet paranoia in the company of fellow travellers from eastern Europe.

All the best,


Dixi said...


“Fellow travellers from Eastern Europe” happen to know Russians by experience and far better than people in the West. For experience is a cruel teacher, but by God, one learns. Hadn't there been Americans at the Elbe in 1945, I am sure Telegraph readers should be writing differently now. Maybe next time around there won't and they will?

Edward Lucas said...

Dixi had posted twice by accident so I have removed one of the duplicates

Pelle, I am not responsible for my allies (and a few years ago they were saying quite different things). So leave Con Coughlin et al out of it.

It should be abundantly clear that I am not presenting this "memo" as fact, but as informative satire. If you can't see that, your sense of humour has blunted since you were the star reporter on the Baltic Independent!


Sergei Stepanov said...

acording to the last name of "colonel", it's a joke. But, russians says - each joke has a part of truth. That makes sence. Actualy not good feelings being next door to Russia.
Have used to talk to truck drivers, who spent few days in the line on russian border in Ivangorod. Customs and border guard officers asked them - what do they think about Georgia - Russia conflict. If somebody doesn't support Russia, he wouldn't be allowed to leave his truck for visiting cafe-shop or store on the border. Rumors? Maybe, but sometimes it's looks alike truth, knowing our neighbour.

hlolsen said...

What does it say that every time this Colonel has something to say, at least some people think it's for real? I hope at least this time you haven't gotten calls from defense ministries.