Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with top military officials at the Defense Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 22, 2016. (photo by Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Nikolskyi)
Maxim A. Suchkov, Al-Monitor: Are Russia, US ready to cooperate on Syria and beyond?
As the Syrian war rages on and intense preparations are underway for Feb. 23 peace talks in Geneva, a key question being raised is whether Moscow and Washington might be coming together to reach a deal on Syria, or at least pooling their efforts to tackle the Islamic State (IS). The idea of such cooperation is anticipated by some and rejected by others.
A potential call for military cooperation with the US is brewing among Russian experts. Given the nontransparent nature of the Russian decision-making process, it’s hard to tell how accepting midlevel military personnel and diplomats are of this prospect. Most seem rather cautious about getting their hopes up for cooperation with the US. Some, like their American counterparts, feel a deep-seated distrust. But all are watching the thorny staffing process in Washington, trying to read the cards of nominations and what they might mean for the character of American foreign policies.
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WNU Editor: Maxim Suchkov is saying what I have been saying in this blog for the past few months .... there is a hunger in the Kremlin to reconcile with the U.S. on a number of issues. Unfortunately .... considering what has been happening in the U.S. in the past 3 weeks .... I doubt that such an alliance will get off the ground right now. While President Trump has signalled a willingness to work with Russia .... the response from literally every Democrat, many Republicans, the intel and military community, and the media have been overwhelmingly negative on anything that involves Russia. The removal of National Security adviser Michael Flynn who pushed for such an alliance is .... in the eyes of the Kremlin .... also a clear sign that for those who push for such a policy in Washington, they will be facing political suicide. The only person who can make the difference is President Trump. But considering how much political capital he will have to spend to accomplish such an arrangement .... I doubt that he will push it .... instead .... he will focus on his domestic agenda where at least the Republicans in the Congress and Senate are on board. As for Russia .... President Putin is in a bind .... anything that he does will be used by President Trump's critics as ammunition against the both of them. My prediction is that President Putin is going to stand back and give President Trump the time to assemble his government. Their first meeting will be at the G20 .... and it will be after that summit that they will start talking on what needs to be done .... and what can be done.