- - Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I’m going to Las Vegas and I’m going to put money on John Kerry announcing a “deal” to remove economic sanctions from the Kremlin after his visit to Moscow. Of course, there will be conditions for this “deal,” similar to the recently concluded “deal” with Iran. Those conditions will likely be that Russia keeps Crimea, control of East Ukraine and, of course, control of the Middle East with its new ally in the region, Iran. Secretary of State John Kerry will announce victory. Kerry could leave with the prospect of Assad stepping down but that will be a hollow win; the regime will remain.

The Russian state news agency TASS reported today, Moscow and Washington are currently “at a strong beginning opening up possibilities” on the resolution of the Syrian crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia really needs sanctions to be lifted. Their economy simply cannot withstand the one, two punch of the crash of the price of crude oil and a lack of Western funding for their banks and industry. Their foreign currency reserves are dwindling and there is a finite time in which they can muddle through before really serious economic consequences hit the Russian people. Investment is shrinking. Reduced funding is hitting health care, schools, and other social services. Inflation is skyrocketing as the ruble weakens further, approaching record lows. It is not a pretty economic picture. In fact, the situation is dire.

Mr. Putin has also been working hard to reduce European Union support for the sanctions. Russia will hold back the wolves in East Ukraine long enough for the frozen conflict to be seen as solved by the Minsk accords. Some kind of election will be held that satisfies the peace process in name only. In the long-run, the Kremlin will keep Kiev on its toes, worried about a Russian invasion. The propaganda war will continue. The attempts to destabilize Ukraine and keep it from sliding further toward the West will continue.

Europe and the United States are tired of conflict with Russia. Western governments today do not have the stamina that the West showed during the Cold War. This generation is used to quick fixes and hitting the links, not dealing with a long, protracted adversarial relationship.

In addition, now Europe is scared, of the Islamic State that is. France in particular feels it needs Russia to help destroy the caliphate, or at least keep it occupied so it won’t spread further into European capitals.

On Monday, TASS reported, The “critical mass” of those who are discontent with sanctions against Russia is being formed in the EU, Russia’s envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV channel on Monday.

“The critical mass is about to emerge. At a certain moment it will emerge and the relevant decisions will be taken — we won’t speculate,” he said speaking about the change in the attitude toward the anti-Russian sanctions.

Finally, the Obama administration wants another fake, foreign policy triumph where they can kick the can to the next administration but declare the world safe due to ‘negotiation.’ Most would call it appeasement but that’s beside the point.

Yes, Kerry will ease sanctions on Moscow for all the wrong reasons, and the world will be a more dangerous place for it.

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