Les grandes manœuvres autour de la Mer Noire et dans le Caucase

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L’excellent commentateur M K Bhadrakumar, ancien diplomate indien (notamment en Turquie) devenu commentateur de politique extérieure, publie sur Atimes.com, le 12 septembre 2008 une superbe analyse sur la situation dans le Mer Noire et le Caucase.

M K Bhadrakumar décrit notamment l’évolution de la Turquie et de son projet d’alliance dans le Caucase, basée sur un axe Ankara-Moscou. L’évolution de la Turquie, l’activisme de la Russie dans la région, rendent compte d’une situation qui change en profondeur. Comme le souligne M K Bhadrakumar, il s’agit de l’exact contraire de ce que décrit la propagande anglo-saxonne (isolement de la Russie). On trouve également dans cette analyse une description des conditions de la visite de Cheney à Bakou, en Azerbaïdjan, manifestement le point le plus important de sa tournée dans le Caucase. Son échec fut complet, dans des conditions extrêmement humiliantes.

Nous empruntons ci-dessous le passage décrivant cette visite et la conclusion de M K Bhadrakumar.

«To quote Kommersant, “Moscow and Ankara are consolidating their position in the Caucasus, thus weakening Washington's influence there.” The signs are already there. When Cheney visited Baku last week on Wednesday on a mission single-mindedly aimed at isolating Russia in the region, he came across a few rude surprises.

»The Azeris made a departure from their traditional hospitality to visiting US leaders by accorded a low-level airport reception for Cheney. Further, Cheney was kept cooling his heels for an entire day until Aliyev finally received him. This was despite what Cheney always thought was his special personal chemistry with the Azeri leader dating to his Halliburton days. (Aliyev used to head the Azeri state-run oil company SOCRAM.)

»Cheney ended up spending an entire day visiting the US Embassy in Baku and conversing with sundry American oil executives working in Azerbaijan. Finally, when Aliyev received him late in the evening, Cheney discovered to his discomfiture that Azerbaijan was in no mood to gang up against Russia.

»Cheney conveyed the George W Bush administration's solemn pledge to support the US's allies in the region against Russia's "revanchism". He stated Washington's determination in the current situation to punish Russia at any cost by pushing the Nabucco gas pipeline project. But Aliyev made it clear he did not want to be drawn into a row with Moscow. Cheney was greatly upset and made his displeasure known by refusing to attend the Azeri state banquet in his honor. Soon after the conversation with Cheney, Aliyev spoke to Medvedev on phone.

»The Azeri stance demonstrates that contrary to US media propaganda, Russia's firm stance in the Caucasus has enhanced its prestige and standing in the post-Soviet space. The CSTO at its meeting in Moscow on September 5 strongly endorsed the Russian position on the conflict with Georgia. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin undertook a highly significant visit to Tashkent on September 1-2 aimed at boosting Russian-Uzbek understanding on regional security. Russia and Uzbekistan have tied up further cooperation in the field of energy, including expansion of the Soviet-era gas pipeline system.

»Kazakhstan, which openly supported Russia in the Caucasus situation, is mulling its oil companies acquiring assets in Europe jointly with Russia's Gazprom. The indications are that Tajikistan has agreed to an expansion of the Russian military presence in Tajikistan, including the basing of its strategic bombers. Indeed, the CSTO's endorsement of the recent Russian package of proposals on developing a (post-NATO) European treaty on security is a valuable diplomatic gain for Moscow at this juncture.

»But in tangible terms, what gives utmost satisfaction to Moscow is that Azerbaijan has reacted to the Caucasus tensions and the temporary closure of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline by pumping its oil exports to Europe instead via the Soviet-era Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline. The dramatic irony of Baku overnight switching from a US-sponsored oil pipeline bypassing Russia to a Soviet-era pipeline that runs through the Russian heartland couldn't have been lost on Cheney.

»More worrisome for Washington is the Russian proposal that lies on Aliyev's table offering that Moscow will be prepared to buy all of Azerbaijan's gas at world market prices – an offer Western oil companies cannot possibly match. It is an offer Baku will seriously consider against the backdrop of the new regional setting.

»The complete failure of Cheney's mission to Baku would appear to have come as a rude awakening to Washington that Moscow has effectively blunted the Bush administration's gunboat diplomacy in the Black Sea. As the New York Times newspaper grimly assessed on Tuesday, “The Bush administration, after considerable internal debate, has decided not to take direct punitive action [against Russia] ... concluding it has little leverage if it acts unilaterally and that it would be better off pressing for a chorus of international criticism to be led by Europe.”

»US Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained to the daily that Washington prefers a long-term strategic approach, “[and] not one where we act reactively in a way that has negative conséquences”. He added thoughtfully, “If we act too precipitously, we could be the ones who are isolated.” Cheney himself has scaled down his earlier rhetoric to severely punish Russia. He now thinks the door for improving relations with Russia must remain open, and casting future relations with the US is a choice for the leaders in Moscow to make.

»But Turkey appears to have made its choice. From the speed with which Erdogan conjured up the idea of the Caucasus Stability Pact, it seems Turkey was ready for it for a while already. It is not as easy as it appears to invariably turn factors of geography and history to geopolitical advantage. Besides, as its misleading name suggests, the Black Sea is actually an iridescent blue sea full of playful dolphins, but pirates and sailors were captivated by its dark appearance when the sky hung low laden with storm clouds.»

La description que nous donne M K Bhadrakumar dans son analyse confirme que cette évolution dans la zone Caucase/Mer Noire se fait vers une situation correspondant à une structure de multipolarité telle que les Russes la recherchent, telle que les Turcs l’évoquent et ainsi de suite. Il s’agit d’une structure dont les composants s’établissent autour d’un pôle régional (la Russie en l’occurrence), selon des conditions assez exemptes de pressions, d’ingérences et d’influence excessives. Le rôle de la Turquie n’est certainement pas celui d’un faire-valoir (d’autant que, dans cette circonstance, c’est elle qui a pris l’initiative). Dans cette situation, la Turquie a une politique autonome, décidée d’une façon très indépendante, qui rencontre les vœux de la Russie sans être soumise aux pressions de la Russie. La position des autres pays concernés est assez similaire, avec les nuances évidentes dues aux positions et aux puissances respectives. L’évolution régionale dans un cadre multipolaire restitue des relations internationales beaucoup plus apaisées, beaucoup plus “démocratiques” en un sens, que la situation imposée par l’unipolarité, marqué par l’influence excessive, l’ingérence, le terrorisme idéologique, la concurrence irresponsable des pays concernés pour s’attirer soutien et protection de la puissance dominante. La concordance des intérêts, les proximités culturelles et linguistiques, des visions historiques communes expliquent évidemment cet apaisement.


Mis en ligne le 15 septembre 2008 à 08H28