Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Monday, June 25, 2018 06:04:46 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Putin’s Syria plan and America’s reactions

By
16th-May-2017       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Stephen Sestanovich :
There is no more hopeful way of describing President Trump's foreign policy than to say it is slowly becoming 'normal.' We are told that sensible and experienced advisers have growing influence and that disruption for its own sake is no longer prized. I'm hopeful too, but a lot of evidence still points the other way.
For that reason, Trump's willingness to endorse Russian proposals to "de-escalate" the civil war in Syria will be a crucial test of policy normalcy.
The president, optimists could argue, has distinguished his approach from Barack Obama's in three ways that should strengthen his hand in the Middle East: He reached out to traditional allies of the United States, cultivating the presidents of Turkey and Egypt and announcing visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia. He expanded the American military effort against major strongholds of the Daesh in Iraq and Syria. And - the best-known move - he ordered a cruise-missile strike on Syrian forces that had used chemical weapons. What better way to show other players, especially Russia's president, Vladimir V Putin, that the United States was back in the game?
If Trump were to succeed, skeptics like me would have to admit that he knows how to get things done - and to get others to help him. But his effort to restore American influence is floundering.
Washington isn't leading in these efforts. It's following in Moscow's wake. Putin's plan of de-escalation, if accepted, would enhance Iran's regional role and consolidate the regime of Bashar Al Assad of Syria, the very outcomes administration spokesmen have said they were trying to avoid. American officials say they want to learn more about the agreement Russia has reached with Turkey and Iran, but one telling detail - that American warplanes would not be able to fly over the so-called de-escalation zones - shows who's calling the shots.
Before he associates himself with this scheme, President Trump should ask his advisers to explain to him why a seemingly traditional effort to strengthen American policy has produced such a disappointing result. He would find the answers instructive far beyond the Middle East.
First, although Trump's headline-grabbing cruise-missile strike won him praise for decisiveness, it changed little on the ground. If the Pentagon is right that the United States managed to knock out 20 per cent of the Syrian Air Force, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis must surely regret that he didn't push for two or even three strikes. Knocking out 60 per cent of Syria's planes, especially while Russia stood by helplessly - that would have been a game changer. Someone might tell the president what Richard Nixon used to say: It takes only a little more effort to really solve a problem than to almost solve it.
Second, if Trump felt he had to endorse the Russian initiative on Syria to prove that his strikes had had an impact, his impatience gave President Putin priceless leverage. This is an odd, even embarrassing, about-face for an administration that ridiculed Barack Obama's "long game" in the Middle East and the "strategic patience" strategy that many administrations have followed toward North Korea. Being too patient may well invite others to take advantage of you, but so does not being patient enough. The president's advisers need to persuade him that a mania for quick results is a first step toward failure.
Third, although Trump aims to mend relations with estranged Middle Eastern friends of the United States, he seems focused more on personal atmospherics than on our allies' substantive concerns.
Finally, the president should understand the price he pays for not enunciating clear policies. In the space of a month he let Secretary of State Rex Tillerson say that the United States did not seek Assad's ouster, then that it did, only to move toward an agreement that strengthens the Syrian leader.
Trump calls this confusion a strategy of "unpredictability," but by now he ought to see how self-defeating it is. If other countries think unpredictability means that the president of the United States will agree to unwise concessions, they have every reason to challenge him. Suppose Trump asked Secretary Tillerson: What would most help you in your job as America's chief diplomat? The secretary's honest reply would have to be: Make United States policy as predictable as possible. Only after the president and his advisers figure out what they want, and how to get it, can American officials tell their foreign colleagues where the United States actually stands.
All these lessons will be doubly relevant if Trump aims to revive the idea of a rapprochement with Russia. To get Putin to pull out of eastern Ukraine, the president first needs to convince him that there's no other way to win relief from Western sanctions. If Trump wants Moscow to rethink its approach to arms control (including compliance with existing treaties), he must show Putin that Russia's own policies lead to an arms race that it cannot win. Before Putin decides to work with Nato, he will have to be convinced that he can't do better by trying to divide it.
Sooner or later, Trump will see that better Russian-American relations depend more on effective diplomacy than on imagined personal rapport. They require not just a balance of power but also predictability, patience, scrutiny of the fine print and negotiators who can speak for their boss.
Experts enjoy lecturing the president about the differences between the real estate business and foreign policy. (I've done it myself.) But surely the two realms overlap in ways that Trump can learn from. Over many years, for example, his company was never able to build a big hotel in Moscow. My guess is that too many Russians wanted too large a cut and that no one ever made a credible and attractive offer. Whatever the reason, no deal came together.
That Trump never did get his hotel in Moscow may turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to him - one questionable connection to Russia that doesn't have to be investigated.That example offers a lesson for today. The deal Putin seeks in Syria would empower America's adversaries far more than America's friends. The president would be better off without it.

(Stephen Sestanovich is a professor at Columbia and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relation. - NYT Syndicate)

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Sports »

Members of England's rugby league team celebrate a win over New Zealand by raising the Rugby League Football International Challenge Cup on Saturday in Denver. England won 36-18.


International »

First Russia air strikes hit southern Syria as govt assault looms


AFP, Beirut : Russia bombed rebel-held parts of southern Syria late Saturday for the first time since brokering a ceasefire there nearly a year ago, a monitor group said, as allied regime troops prepare a ground assault.Southern Syria is a strategic prize for local and global players involved in the country's ...

International »

Zimbabwe's President narrowly escapes assassination bid


The Washington Post :Zimbabwe's election campaign season took a worrying turn Saturday afternoon when a crude bombing at a speech delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to be an attempt on his life.Mnangagwa had just finished giving a speech in a stadium in Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, when the blast ...

City »

Newly -appointed Nepalese Ambassador Dr Chop Lal Bhusal called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office yesterday.


Editorial »

Fatal accidents are increasing, make roads and highways safe for passengers


TERMING it as the deadliest day, the news media reported that at least 55 people were killed in separate road accidents in different districts across the country on Saturday. Bangladesh Jatri Kallyan Samity said it was the highest number of casualties in a single day in recent times. An 11-member ...

Entertainment »

Richi returns to country tomorrow


Entertainment Report :In last January, popular TV actress Richi Solaiman came to Bangladesh to pass times with her mother and brother by own way. After five months, she is returning to her motherland tomorrow. This time she is coming for several reasons including to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha with her mother, to ...

Editorial »

American people rose against inhumanity of Trump`s immigration policy : Trump remains un-American


US President Donald Trump took an U-turn and changed his own policy amid strong protest by American people.  There are huge criticism and outcry in America over the way undocumented parents and children have been kept forcibly apart. He said he changed his mind by seeing images of children who ...

International »

UN Chief appeals for end to fighting in south Syria


AFP, United Nations :UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an immediate end to a military escalation in southwest Syria and a return to ceasefire arrangements agreed by Russia, the United States and Jordan.US Ambassador Nikki Haley separately urged Russia to pressure its Syrian ally to uphold the truce. ...

Football »

Nigeria`s John Obi Mikel (left) and Iceland`s Gylfi Sigurdsson compete for the ball during the group D match between Nigeria and Iceland at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd, Russia on Friday.


Football »

Portugal's Ruben Dias talks to journalists during a news conference prior the training session of Portugal at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Kratovo, outskirts Moscow, Russia on Saturday.


City »

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina inaugurating the newly constructed building of the party's central office by releasing balloons in the city's Bangabandhu Avenue on Saturday.


Entertainment »

Sunny Leone hospitalised


Bollywood star and reality show host Sunny Leone was hospitalised on Thursday. Leone was taken to Brijesh Hospital Kashipur in the Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand on Thursday after she complained of stomach ache. However, her state was declared satisfactory on Friday morning.The doctor attending her has given the ...

Editorial »

Trump disregards the American core human right values : He is against America`s greatness


The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, condemning the "hypocrisy" of its members and its alleged "unrelenting bias" against Israel vividly face-off US stance in favour of rights violation. National and international news outlets reported that the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, ...

Entertainment »

Kriti Sanon shares glimpses from her IIFA performance


Actress Kriti Sanon took to social media to share glimpses from her upcoming electrifying performance at the IIFA awards. Kriti Sanon who landed in Bangkok on Thursday morning for IIFA wasted no time as she took to rehearsals for her much-awaited performance. Sharing insights into her performances, Kriti Sanon posted ...

Entertainment »

A fan paints a wall with Nidhhi Agerwal’s graffiti art


An ardent fan of Nidhhi Agerwal took to Twitter to share a Graffiti art of the actress painted on a wall. The fan artist painted a wall with the actress’ image giving showcasing his love for Nidhhi. The artist spent a huge amount of time getting every detail right to ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news