Cross-posted from RT
The New Great Game in Eurasia never ceases to thrill with extreme plot twists. The Big Three players remain the same: the US, Russia and China. The devil is in the concentric subplots.
In Washington, the deep state Russia "policy" has revealed itself to be sanctions, sanctions, sanctions; because of Crimea, because of support for federalists in Eastern Ukraine, because of the MH17 tragedy.
Sanctions are targeting Russia's energy, defense and finance -- and are fast on their way towards all-out economic war, which in itself is a declaration of war. As with Cuba; as with Iraq (until there was regime change); as with Iran (until there is a nuclear deal, and even that is a major "if").
Beware the wrath of the Empire of Chaos. The prescription is always the same; sanctions; no holds barred geo-economic/political warfare; internal subversion (NED, assorted NGOs); and non-stop vitriol marinated in hubris.
In Moscow, there are no illusions; no matter what the Kremlin does on Ukraine, there won't be any "reset." Washington's sanction hysteria -- which has far surpassed the level of containment -- is even regarded as a means towards (what else?) regime change, Putin's huge popularity notwithstanding. No wonder US Think Tankland is drooling about it.
Roughly, in Russian spheres of power, an Atlanticist -- neoliberal -- school, appeasing the Empire of Chaos, is pitted against the Eurasianists, who strive to be respected in the US as equals. The Empire of Chaos, by default, does not accept equals; one just needs to consult the Pentagon's Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine.
The best and the brightest in Russia well know you can't win when the staggering financial muscle of the Empire of Chaos -- even mired in decadence -- and its vassals is deployed against you. But that does not mean Moscow will cringe and resign itself to being "isolated," as a much weaker Iran fought against its "isolation" for years.
Moscow holds nearly $500 billion in currency reserves. That and domestic capital can be used to strengthen the ruble and back investments in Russian industry. The door is open to diversifying the Russian economy away from a commodity exporter towards post-modern manufacturing, and on the way release myriad business opportunities for Russian SMEs (small and medium enterprises).
And now for the EU chapter
Enter a fragile Europe. Russia is the EU's third-largest trading partner. Top economies such as Germany, France and Italy are vastly integrated with the Russian economy.
A key plank of Washington's strategy is to de-link Europe from Russia, part of a much larger agenda of preventing by all means Eurasia's trade/commercial/economic development integration. It all hinges on Germany.
That's the key debate in Berlin nowadays. German business -- and even conservative politicians -- are reaching a stark conclusion; they do not want a heavily dysfunctional relationship with Russia. Public opinion, at 57 percent, wants a foreign policy more independent from the US. The US Orwellian/Panopticon complex intrusions in Germany have been instrumental as a game-changer.
American pressure on the EU regarding the MH17 tragedy has been relentless. Moscow presented hard evidence to the EU. Washington did not -- and they won't, because they don't have it, apart from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
While Moscow has been insisting from the start on an unbiased, independent and international investigation, Washington has been ordering the EU to "ignore" and "not comment" on Moscow's hard evidence. Even as German intel confirmed the wobbly American intel was "manipulated."
Yet it's hard to underestimate a hugely divided EU's capacity to shoot itself in the back. Take the EU's proposed sanctions on Gazprom's South Stream gas pipeline under the Black Sea, which will eventually supply 15 percent of Europe's demand -- as well as a package of sanctions targeting access to capital markets, defense, dual use goods and sensitive technology (see the leaked non paper here).