Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – Just as Vladimir Putin prepares to regain the Russian presidency on May 7, a blueprint of his foreign policy is emerging that will have the effect of consolidating political, economic and military influence in what was the former Soviet Union, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
But it also will expand that influence throughout the Middle East.
Putin has ambitions of creating a customs-free area, called the Eurasia Union, which initially will include Kazakhstan and Belarus and maybe Ukraine.
For now, Armenia has turned down the offer, but that could change given that small South Caucasus country’s increasing importance to Russia’s interest in preventing any attack on Armenia’s southern neighbor, Iran.
However, Putin now wants to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The SCO, an intergovernmental mutual security group, now wants to include two other allies of Russia, India and Pakistan, with Turkey having so-called dialogue partner status.
While there had been initial trepidation about admitting India and Pakistan because SCO rules forbid membership of countries either subject to United Nations sanctions or are involved in armed conflict – as India and Pakistan periodically are – Moscow has decided to include them in the SCO.
Another country which seeks SCO membership – Iran – remains outside because it is subject to U.N. sanctions but, like the case of India and Pakistan, there has been movement to include the Islamic republic.
With Putin back in the driver’s seat, look for a more robust initiative by the SCO to create a more unified Central Eurasian bloc whose purpose is to oppose perceived U.S. global influence.
The United States for years has sought to extend its influence in the Central Asian region and will continue to maintain a presence especially in Afghanistan even after major U.S. troop departures at the end of 2014.
The SCO also will be a forum for enhanced trade between Moscow and Beijing with trade between the two countries expected to reach some $80 billion this year.
The SCO also is looking at creating a multilateral reserve bank that can serve as a hedge against any sanctions. Beijing already has pledged massive loans to finance infrastructure development programs for the SCO members.
To help consolidate the interaction of these countries, Putin wants new incentives for road networks, with transportation corridors to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
In time, Putin sees the Eurasia Union becoming a potential market for the European Union countries and for potential investment from Europe into the SCO countries. There even has been discussion of creating a currency based on the gold standard to be used among the SCO members, much like the Euro is used now among the 27-member E.U. countries.
While there may be many obstacles to achieving these political and economic goals, the effort suggests an ambitious initiative by Putin as he prepares to regain the Russian presidency and the potential influence that Russia once again will be able to reassert in addition to attempting to edge out U.S. influence.
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