Monday, October 17, 2016

In the ongoing escalation of tension between the United States and Russia, here is a counterintuitive proposal that may lead to reduction of violence in Syria and possible real negotiations on a number of fronts between the US and Russia.

At times, it takes forceful actions to make peace possible, rather than the seemingly endless negotiations, pleas and empty threats that have continued in the midst of the slaughter in Syria and the multiple "minor wars" in Eastern Europe.

The following is from an international relations specialist with a "realist" perspective, Robert D. Kaplan:

"There is also a larger foreign-policy question that must be the first order of business for the new president: How does the U.S. build leverage on the ground, from the Baltic Sea to the Syrian desert, that puts America in a position where negotiations with Russia can make a strategic difference?

For without the proper geopolitical context, the secretary of state is a missionary, not a diplomat. Secretary of State John Kerry is a man who has a checklist of negotiations he wants to conduct rather than a checklist of American interests he wants to defend. He doesn’t seem to realize that interests come before values in foreign policy; only if the former are understood do the latter have weight.

For example, just as Western military intervention in Syria risks a Russian response in Europe, a robust movement of American forces permanently back to Europe may cause Mr. Putin to be more reasonable in Syria. This may offer a way out of the sterile Syria debate, in which all the options—from establishing safe zones to toppling Bashar Assad’s regime—are problematic and offer no end to the war.

By seriously pressuring Russia in Eastern and Central Europe, the U.S. can create conditions for a meaningful negotiation whereby Moscow might have an incentive to shape the behavior of its Syrian client in a better direction."

The rest of this article is at: