The US in a “weak” position in Syria, notes Putin
Noting the obvious, Vladimir Putin pointed out that the US is in a very weak position concerning Syria:
Russian President Vladimir Putin continued a war of words with the U.S. over Syria, calling its policy weak and lacking in objectives as his air force carried out fresh bombing raids in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“I don’t really understand how the U.S. can criticize Russia’s actions in Syria if they refuse to have direct dialogue,” Putin told reporters Thursday during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan. “The basic weakness of the American position is that they don’t have an agenda, though we’re keeping the door open” for high-level discussions with Washington, he said.
Of course, the administration had an answer:
“We’ve said that we’re not interested in doing that as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIL effort,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday, using an acronym for Islamic State. “Russia has their own agenda and it’s an agenda right now that they’re pursuing on their own.”
I suppose that’s so … but so does the US and it is apparent there really isn’t any desire for “dialogue” unless the US can have its way. And it is a basic understanding in negotiations that the weaker party doesn’t have as many choices (if any) than the stronger party. The US is certainly in the weaker position having ceded control of the Syrian conflict to Russia. Also, don’t forget that the US withheld military aid to Iraq until Iraq made political changes it wanted to see happen. What did Iraq do? Well, it bought its fighter aircraft from Russia instead (likely with US money).
As for the possibility of talks. Well, it seems that NATO partner Turkey has figured out a way to have them:
Russia and NATO member Turkey are establishing “lines of communication between our militaries in connection with events taking place in Syria” amid tensions over violations of Turkish airspace, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov told a conference in Moscow on Thursday, Interfax reported. Turkey and Russia can find consensus on Syria, Umit Yardim, the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, said at the same meeting.
Interesting and telling.
Foreign affairs, for this administration, is a disaster. And they seem determined to make it worse instead of better.