Washington’s New Approach to Russia

Washington has learned that threats and coercion do not work against Russia. All the threats have done is to build Putin’s public support to astronomical levels and to unify Russia against the West’s assault. This is a failed policy that Washington is abandoning as Washington sees a new opportunity in Russia’s desire for Western cooperation, not only against ISIS but also on a wide range of other issues.

Realizing that guile can be more effective than the stick, the West is moving toward drawing Russia into the Western system by offering a coalition against ISIS. Once Russia is in a coalition against ISIS, Russia will lose control. This is Washington’s strategy for counteracting the initiative that Russia seized in Syria.

Once Russia is in a coalition against ISIS, Russia will have to make compromises. Putin will be told that Russia can have ISIS, but Russia has to turn Assad’s fate over to the West. If Putin balks, the Western media will blame Putin for torpedoing the war against ISIS.

Getting rid of ISIS is more important to the Russian government than saving Assad. If a jihadist Islamic State is established, there will be a base for exporting turmoil into the Muslim regions of the Russian Federation.

Once Russia accepts “cooperation” with the West against ISIS, more “cooperation” will be used to gradually erode bit by bit Russia’s independence and to bring Russian policy in alignment with Washington’s.

Many in Russia believe that the Paris attack proves that Putin was right and that the West now realizes this and will accept Russian leadership in the fight against ISIS. This belief is delusional. Washington will take advantage of Russian desire for Western cooperation and will use this desire in order to bring Russia under Western influence, thus reestablishing Washington’s hegemony.

Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist, author, columnist, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, and former editor and columnist for corporate media publications. He is the author of The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.