Russo-American Deal on Syria is a 'Mutually Beneficial Compromise'

© AFP 2023 / TIMOTHY A. CLARY Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands - Sputnik International
The Russo-American deal on Syria has sparked a heated debate in the US, prompting some pundits and experts to suggest that by inking the agreement Washington has de facto "capitulated" to Moscow.

The success of the 48-hour ceasefire agreement in Syria brokered by the US and Russia "is far from assured," according to Christine Guluzian of the Cato Institute.

The US academic suggests that even if Washington and Moscow combine their efforts on the ground, "relations between the two countries in Syria could still be contentious."

"In Washington, meanwhile, the discussion regarding the future of US-Russia relations is contentious, as the circumstances surrounding the possibility of US-Russian accords remain fluid and unclear… Also, dialogue or increased engagement is painted as somewhat futile, while areas of cooperation are considered limited," she wrote in her op-ed for The National Interest.

Syrian children ride an attraction in the Syrian rebel-held town of Arbin, in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, as they celebrate the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday on September 13, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Guluzian posed the question whether a unified Russo-American front against terrorists in Syria could usher in "a new, more collaborative approach to US-Russia relations."

On the other hand, she stressed that the possibility of a renewed Cold war between Washington and Moscow triggers certain concerns among Americans.

Citing Cato Institute's latest study Guluzian highlighted that "millennials… have grown weary of prolonged, seemingly endless involvement in global conflicts in the absence of a clear and present danger to US national security or a major international humanitarian crisis."

At the same time, there are those in the US who distrust Moscow and "view any attempt at establishing a positive trajectory in relations with Russia disdainfully," she underscored.

In his interviews on the John Batchelor Show US academic Stephen F. Cohen has repeatedly referred to the ongoing struggle between the "party of peace" and the "party of war" in Washington, predicting that the Syrian compromise may pave the way for the US-Russian détente and halt "the new Cold War."

Commenting on the recent US-Russian deal, Russian journalist Petr Akopov of Vzglyad online newspaper called attention to the fact that the agreement struck by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry has been presented by some US experts and media pundits as Washington's "capitulation" to Moscow.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk at a military complex, after they recaptured areas in southwestern Aleppo that rebels had seized last month, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on September 5, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Akopov quoted The Washington Post's editorial article entitled "Whether or not the Syrian cease-fire sticks, Putin wins."

"In exchange for these sweeping concessions, which essentially abandon Mr. Obama's onetime goal of freeing Syria from Mr. Assad and make the United States a junior partner of Russia in the Middle East's most important ongoing conflict, Mr. Kerry promises that humanitarian lifelines will be opened into the besieged city of Aleppo," the media outlet insisted.

Much in the same way American academic and author Walter Russell Mead claims that Moscow intends to "humiliate" Washington.

"Secretary Kerry, after much hard work, has gotten Putin to accept a temporary alliance with the United States on Russia's terms. Assad is already stronger as a result of this agreement; America's alliance network in the Middle East is already weaker. It's likely that Putin will push the envelope of the agreement to inflict further humiliations on the Obama administration and inflict further damage on America's international position," Mead writes in his article for The American Interest.

"Because the United States is the global superpower, emerging as the power that has the capacity to make President Obama look like a loser is a huge gain for Russia," the US academic asserts.

However, Akopov argues that Moscow has never harbored a plan to downplay Washington's geopolitical importance in the eyes of the international community.

"It was the US' interventionism that has led the situation in the [Middle Eastern] region to catastrophe, undermined [Washington's] positions [in the region] as well as the trust to the US and multiplied hatred," the Russian journalist noted.

Syrian army troops are in Ramouseh district in southern Aleppo - Sputnik International
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In this context it is hardly surprising that Russia's transparent and consistent politics in the region have borne positive fruit. White House occupants have themselves paved the way for Moscow's success.

"Whatever experienced geopolitical player [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is, [in this case] he has jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of the US' losses," Akopov believes.

The problem of the most part of the American establishment is that, while reasonably blaming Russia's strengthening on Washington, it still fails to recognize fundamental flaws in the US foreign policy strategy.

According to the Russian journalist, the US has become incapable of maintaining its global dominance through the use of military force. Washington's dollar hegemony still holds, barely, waning before our eyes.

"Alarm bells started to ring in 2008," Akopov underscored, "The US has overstretched itself while playing the role of the 'global boss' and now it needs to focus on how to abandon this role as painlessly as possible."

The journalist emphasized that the Russo-American deal on Syria is a mutually beneficial compromise which allows the US to demonstrate that it has not ceded the initiative to Moscow and still remains an influential player on the Middle Eastern geopolitical arena.

The unipolar world does not work anymore and it's time for Washington to reconcile itself with a new multi-polar reality, embracing emerging role of Russia, China and other geopolitical players, he feels. 

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