At least one first-rate pundit thinks this is a carefully considered decision where positives far outweigh the negatives for Russia
Editor's Note: We can't say we agree with the viewpoint expressed here. In fact, as we wrote, we don't think this is even a realistic deal. However we respect MK Bhadrakumar as a pundit and find his opinion interesting and well worth a read. Plus RI is nothing if not a place for debate and differing viewpoints.
The Russian state news agency TASS reported quoting the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Ankara and Moscow have agreed in principle on the delivery of Russia’s advanced S-400 air defence system to Turkey. The proposed deal includes co-production and meets Turkey’s aspiration to develop its own defence industry.
The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that Russia has developed and it can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.
In practice, if the deal comes through, Russia will be equipping Turkey with an air defence system that gives the latter the wherewithal to dominate the air space in its surrounding regions. Yet, it also includes regions where Russia and Turkey have historically competed for dominance. Are Russians out of their mind?
On the contrary, it highlights the extent to which Moscow travels to engage with Turkey, despite that country being Russia’s historical adversary.
Russia considers it to be in self-interest to strengthen Turkey’s strategic autonomy via-a-vis the West and is making a careful distinction between short-term risks and potential medium and long term gains.
Indeed, if Turkey opts for S-400 to be the foundation for building its own missile defense system, it gives Russia a strategic toe-hold as the technology provider for a major NATO power. The NATO has opted for the US missile defence system, whereas Turkey will be opting for the Russian system, disregarding the reality that the system will not be “inter-operable” with that of its allies. Of course, the strategic implications need no elaboration.
If other NATO countries follow Turkey’s lead, the hairline fracture in the alliance system may widen into a crack. Even if that doesn’t happen, Turkey’s “defection” disrupts the US’ game plan to encircle Russia with its ABM system. The bottom line is that profound defence cooperation can qualitatively uplift Russian-Turkish relations, which is bound to affect the geopolitics of Eurasia, Black Sea and the Middle East.
Source: Indian Punchline