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Friday, February 3, 2023

G-20 Summit: Pursuing the snow leopard in Central Asia

By Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine

On the green lawn of the Constantine Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, last week, the world’s richest countries morphed their power and influence into a “cohesive” force to project the surreal image of a mutually exclusive union. Leading this opération de charme was none other than the Russian president Vladimir Putin whose Russian military might, glory and pride have already ushered him to the height of his golden mean. The Bear, frantic symbol of Mother Russia embodied in him and in him only, Vladimir wanted to tell the world that he is committed to upholding the pledge made by retired Russian statesman Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov to create a bipolar world where the Bear rules unopposed from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of China and beyond. Its sphere of influence would be a counter-weight against Western expansionisms and North-American protectionisms.   

At the time when his caravan was ready to roll east and then south, creating a new Silk Road, in the pursuit of the snow leopard, he found himself pinned down along the banks of the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland, dealing with yet another contingency: A new threat of war in Arabia. Oddly enough, the gathering last week looked more like estranged partners on a romantic ballad in a last-ditch effort to patch things up, rather than responsible world leaders convened in a strategic rendezvous to help solve our world’s most pressing issues.

Many among them wanted a divorce. Can they afford it? Too much to lose if life, not death, do us part. That was the consensus—the unspoken consensus, that is. So reality sets in. Sere dan-w, lache kò-w. Swallow your pride and stay put.  Together, they control 90% of the world’s greatest outputs, half of that is dominated by Russia and his partners from the BRICS nations. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is the acronym created to name countries that belonged to the old Shanghai Corporation.

Behind the glamorizing posture, their uneasiness could not have been put under wrap. It was too obvious, for there was a one-thousand-pound gorilla in the room that needed to be chased away. Of course it wasn’t the bad boy from Belorussia, Alexander Lukashenka. It wasn’t even the snow leopard from Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who sits on top of one of the world’s largest oil reserves.  It was the talk of “Bombing Syria” that dominated, and US president Barak Obama stood, sadly so, on the opposite side of the riverbank saying, “Yes We Can” bomb Syria. But, he was alone.

He still sings “Lonely the Lonely”

He was alone while his traditional ally German Chancellor Angela Merkel went on a tête- à-tête with Vladimir; and so was Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who, her hair pulled back in a bun, moved to the “dance floor” with her partner in arms, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro; and so was Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff who was reportedly to be furious with Obama after fugitive NSA leader Edward Snowden has released new leaks, revealing political eavesdropping over Dilma’s private home, including her own private phone.  

In a preemptive strike, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, walked to the podium with his usual aloof demeanor. “There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict,” he declared, looking east towards Chinese president Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, who later walked out of an impromptu 30-minute talk with Obama and grandiosely uttered, “Russia will pursue and maintain its strategic interests wherever it has to, including ‘our continued support for the government of Syria, in arms and in other forms of logistics.’”

He was right, and he seems to be winning in the diplomatic front. A new Russian proposal, released this morning, offers the transfer of all biological weapon sites in Syria to the UN’s authority, a move that may seem to be working in favor of peace. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former chief diplomacy, echoed such sentiment this morning, outlining Obama’s new line on Assad, at an event sponsored by the Department of Interior. Here is an excerpt of the Madame Secretary’s speech.

Obama is no clumsy dancer. He knew he could have been in a much more embarrassing position in Russia last week, had he ordered the blistering attack on Syria. The offer to bring the issue before Congress was nothing but a necessary detour on the road to Damascus. Now, Assad has reportedly jumped behind the Russian initiative, which, if it holds, would effectively disarm Obama and his proxies in Arabia, and avert yet another mass slaughter against innocent civilians in a country that has already seen more than 100, 000 of its children taken away by the savagery of war. So, catching the snow leopard is for tomorrow while there is a glimmer of hope for peace north of the Golan Heights, in Syria.

Dr. Ardain Isma is editor-in-chief of CSMS Magazine. He teaches Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of North Florida (UNF). He is a scholar as well as a novelist. He may be reached at:publisher@csmsmagazine.org

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