This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Everything Is Wonderful In Its Own Way

"In general, we like it [hand-delivered U.S. blueprint for peace in Syria]. I believe that the Syrian authorities should be OK with it too, although they may not like something in it."
"Concessions must be made by both sides."
"Strangely (sic) as it may seem, [the Russian approach] coincides with the U.S. vision: joint work on a constitution, creation of instruments of control over future early elections, holding the vote and recognizing its results on the basis of that political process."
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Well, not so strange, after all, given that the Washington model is patterned fairly precisely after the original, Moscow model. But these are details, mere details. The bigger issue is that the two global rivals are equally matched in skulduggery, in Realpolitik, in the dance of diplomatic courtesies on the international scene and sniping discriminately when their courses of action jar against one another. For now, for the time being, there is sweetness and light between them.

Even the exception between Washington and Moscow has now been shuffled about so that Washington concedes that Moscow may be right; the time is not yet ripe for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to shuffle out of Syria. That, after all, is what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said soothingly to his Russian counterpart and to Mr. Putin, ingratiating himself and his boss with his Russian host.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) welcomes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia December 15, 2015.    Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

While the U.S. privately accuses the Kremlin of exacerbating the crisis in Syria by bombing hospitals and rebel positions, with the fallout being increased civilian deaths and a resurgence of Syrians fleeing fresh aerial onslaughts, Mr. Putin gives assurances that the Russian air campaign will continue until such time as a 'political process' begins. In the meanwhile, Moscow is pleased to support 'U.S. proposals for a peace process. There may be some problems enlisting the rebels' support....

The UN Security Council resolution drafted by the United States which was presented to Putin personally by John Kerry has met approval by Moscow; what more could be wished for? Oh well, the good tidings lasted an eyelash-flicker, and then the rude bombast surfaced once again, placing matters in their true perspective. Turkey, which has become Russia's latest focus of antagonistic backlash, will yet suffer the consequences of its president's ill-judged slight against its former trading partner.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. (AP)

Ankara, Mr. Putin suggested darkly was deferentially acting out Washington's agenda; perhaps a quid pro quo, to enable Turkey to "go onto Iraqi territory and occupy part of it", in exchange for targeting a Russian warplane. "I don’t know if there was such a trade-off, maybe there was. If somebody in the Turkish leadership decided to lick the Americans in one place... I don’t know, if they did the right thing. Did they think we would run away now? Russia is not that kind of country. If Turkey flew there all the time before, breaching Syrian airspace, well, let’s see how they fly now."

On the other hand, it is positively about time that "the American side is ready to move toward joint settlement of issues that can only be settled together". Of course, the near future holds out the potential of a change in administration in the United States. As for the race for the presidential nominee whom Mr. Putin finds most intriguing and admirable, no surprise that it's someone whose personality bears a certain resemblance to his own. Mr. Putin has his grand presidential palace, and Donald Trump has his palaces everywhere, as a property magnate.

They are both fond of grandstanding, both feel they are eloquent and admirable in character. "He [Trump] is a very outstanding man, unquestionably talented. He is the absolute leader of the presidential race." It is a compliment that he is simply returning. The Donald took the initiative to voice his admiration of President Putin back in October when he stated "I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now."

Problems? What problems?

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