Syria-Ukrainian trump the Kremlin?

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Whether the Kremlin take Syrian campaign as a tool for lifting sanctions? The Russian military operation in Syria: miscalculation of Moscow or calibrated demarche? Why the West is unable to reason with Vladimir Putin?

These and other questions we are discussing with former United States Deputy Secretary of State David Kremer, a military expert, an employee of the American foreign policy Council, Steven Blank, American publicist David Sutter and political scientist, Professor at the George Mason University in Virginia, Eric Širâevym.

The representatives of 18 countries gathered Friday for talks in Vienna, the realism of which it was impossible to believe just two weeks ago. For a discussion of the fate of Syria for one large table met United States and their allies and Russia with Iran and representatives of the Syrian Government. Only a few days ago, representatives of the White House and State Department were rejecting any speculation about the possibility of discussing with Russia the future of Syria. With regard to Iran, his participation in such negotiations was still simply excluded because of the animosity felt by the closest American allies Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. They are from the very beginning of the Syrian conflict accused Tehran in support of Assad's regime, destroying the population of their own country. Washington saw Tehran force conducive to fan religious tension, tried to push him out of Iraq and not to allow Syria to resolve the crisis.

But these taboos have fallen into in days, and on the eve of the Conference United States Secretary of State John Kerry stated that negotiations in Vienna to give the best chance to chart the course of the ADA, which turned the war in Syria ". And his Assistant Tony Blinken in an interview with French television, explaining the sudden change in sentiment concerning cooperation with Russia in Syria, explained that Russia cannot prevail in Syria because the Affairs of her EXEs are not going very well. "They have made very limited progress despite Russia's strong support from the air," said Blinken. That apparently means that Moscow has already received the sad lesson of Syria and ready to abandon the unqualified support of Assad.

However, according to us experts, the situation created by the Russian intervention in Syrian conflict is much more complex. Kremlin dictates a new reality in Syria, means new danger that Washington has no clear answer. That's what said former Deputy Secretary of State David Kramer: United States

-Putin, at least at the moment, perhaps, comes out on top, but this is largely a result of the unwillingness of Washington and its allies to make any serious effort to support moderate opposition forces. Putin and his allies in Syria, simply fill the vacuum. This is the first stage of the Russian air campaign has allowed the Kremlin to create a strong image of a player coming to the aid of their allies, killing terrorists from the air-and it really looks contrast to the lack of response from the White House on the bombing of Russian Aviation Group positions, supported by the United States. But it is very likely that in the near future, Putin strongly regret his decision when Russian losses start to grow.

-It is obvious that Vladimir Putin, through their actions, have already forced Washington, say so publicly reckon with them. As you consider whether using their Syrian demarche demand and obtain from the White House and its Western allies more tangible benefits? Say, promising to behave well in Syria, to achieve the easing of sanctions, now in Washington go such rumors.

In fact, Putin managed to secure Russia a seat at the negotiating table. Moscow's isolation ending

-In fact, Putin managed to secure Russia a seat at the negotiating table. Moscow's isolation end. Secretary Kerry regularly meets with Foreign Minister Lavrov. President Obama met with Vladimir Putin in September during the UN General Assembly session in November, Putin held talks in Paris with Hollande, was on the agenda of the Ukrainian crisis. Whether this is the beginning of further warming relations with the West, Moscow-say now is very difficult. It is clear that the fate of sanctions will largely depend on what happens in the East of Ukraine. It is known that many in Europe would like to restore trade relations with Moscow, but Putin's attempts to play on these attitudes of Europeans to undermine Atlantic unity until the end. Let's see whether it early next year, figuratively speaking, to "sell" the ceasefire in the Ukraine, to convince the most influential European capitals that the Minsk agreement executed and there were grounds for lifting the sanctions. Help him in achieving this military campaign in Syria-say impossible because, objectively speaking, Russian intervention exacerbates conflict, an increasing number of victims among the civilian population, refugees, strengthens the Assad regime. Putin has to offer? Support for Assad? Cooperation in combating IGIL? Looks unlikely. In the meantime, as a result of the Russian intervention and without that awful situation becomes more severe, although it is possible that Putin when this comes out a short-term political victory.

-Why do you think the White House has refrained from taking any countermeasures?

-President Obama never wanted to meddle in Syrian conflict. This position he took with the 2011 year. And since nothing has changed. A late attempt by the White House to provide training opposition forces to fight with the IGIL has resulted in complete failure. We can assume that Barack Obama believes that if in such a situation, Putin wants to somehow intervene in Syrian conflict-good riddance. I personally think it's poraženčeskaâ position. We cannot allow unchecked conflict, which has already claimed more than a quarter of a million people, half the population found itself in the role of internally displaced persons, conflict, which promises great difficulties our ally Turkey.

-And what can Washington do in this situation, no one would support, say, sending American soldiers to Syria?

-Good options here, actually, no. We can choose only from the bad. The least worst of them, it seems to me, would be the establishment of safety zones for the civilian population on the territory of Syria, in order to allow the Syrians to remain in one's country and not be afraid of the shelling or bombing of the Syrian army. United States could take the lead and, at least, these zones provide cover from the air. While Turkey could provide ground forces to conduct such an operation. They offered to do this a few years ago, but Washington refused.

-Many u.s. politicians believe that Putin must be stopped? There is a view that nothing worse in Syria can no longer be, as Russia is hopelessly entangled in Syria and will get another lesson. On whose side you?

-Possible different developments. Russia in fact may be hopelessly embroiled in conflict. On the other hand, if the coalition of Vladimir Putin will be for some time be successful, then it may instill in him a taste for new actions. The fall of the United States status in the region, doubt our Middle Eastern allies regarding the willingness of the United States to play the role of guarantor of their security can lead to serious negative consequences, which don't even want to think about.

-Professor Shiryaev, it can be assumed that the Russian State media would seize the Vienna Conference to demonstrate how a major success turned Russia's intervention in Syrian conflict? United States Deputy Secretary of State at the same time assures that operation Moscow petered out, and she needs these negotiations. As you see the situation in Syria?

-If judged from the point of view of the Russian media and politicians, so perhaps it looks, "said Eric Shiryaev. -I wonder what American critics, especially Republicans, really give primacy to Putin and claim that he not only WINS, but has already won several acts of battles. From the point of view of the White House and those who support it, it is not. The politics of America, starting with the year 2008, when Obama came to power, has always been on the moderate approach to world politics, on exit from boilers, where people died. Obama comes from the ambiguity of modern politics, where there are no clear winners and losers.

-From your point of view, the Kremlin top or gaining it retracts into the Syrian trap as expectant supporters predict the position?

The Russian administration first-half WINS, and maybe even won, but the game comes in two halves

-Russian administration first-half WINS, and maybe even won, but the game comes in two halves. We only enter into the beginning of the second period and the beginning of the second half.

-David Sutter, from your point of view, we can say that Putin is in fact wins first victory as he won the first victory was in the Crimea, Ukraine not long ago. Here is a very similar situation is unfolding now, isn't it?

-Until a little early to assess the situation, "said David Sutter. -Putin has an advantage because he has a pretty clear strategy. There is a party, which he supported, the party organized and ready to fight. America certainly knows who to put and to whom to help. We have no confidence in our potential allies. But the further development of that situation is quite unpredictable. Now, according to various reports, Russia in fact reinforce and amplify the grouping "Islamic State". If the amplified IGIL as a result of Russian military action, they have many opportunities to take revenge on Russians not necessarily Syria, because as of now, the situation is worsening already reported on the borders of Tajikistan, which protects the Russian military contingent.

-But what to do at the moment Washington? Indeed, the Kremlin has become actor in Syria, which the White House is forced to be reckoned with. Until a few days ago, the Obama administration has refused to deal with the Kremlin. The circumstances forced her to go to the talks in Vienna, involving not only Moscow, but also in Tehran.

"I think the White House cannot ignore Russia. But the negotiations with the Russian side would not lead to a good result, because Russia has its own interests, which have nothing to do with the pursuit of security and stability, which are interested in American and Western side. In turn, the West side is trying to mobilize those forces among Sunnis, who are not subject to the Islamic State, and it can work in the future. While it is difficult to achieve fast tactical results.

In fact, the first results of Russia's actions in Russia may not be as impressive as Kremlin officials say. Here is what says American military expert Stephen blank:

The Russians will always exaggerate their battle successes. From what is known about what is happening in Syria, we can say that they have not been able to carry out their operational tasks

Russians will always exaggerate their battle successes. From what is known about what is happening in Syria, we can say that they have not been able to carry out their operational tasks. Their attacks on opposition groups has not led to significant territorial acquisitions for Syrian Government forces. IGIL fighters organized a series of successful offensives in the area of the city of Aleppo, while Russian planes attacking the opposition and the terrorist group Al-Nusra ".

-In the American press was a lot of skeptical publications and on the achievements of Russian weapons. Based on the analysis of photographic experts made a conclusion that Russia in fact does not use precision-guided munitions, Russian bombs do not always fall on the objectives. Big buzz caused info about fall of the Russian cruise missiles on the territory of Iran. It can be concluded that Assad's allies are not so successful?

I, frankly, didn't pay would focus on these facts. I agree with my colleagues who feel much more important fact of relatively successful attack cruise missiles with smaller ships, located in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria, located at a considerable distance. With regard to the accuracy of the Russian weapons, it is not a secret that it gives American designs, but you don't want to make the mistake of estimating Russia's actions in Syria by American standards. By and large, Russian and don't need the exact weapon. The main thing is that the bomb lay near the goals. The main different is using this operation Moscow carries out its foreign policy objectives.

-But many observers believe that Russia is involved in a war in which there is no victory, that it would delay the Syrian swamp, and some of them even believe that Obama, giving rights to the Kremlin a chance to occur on Syrian rake.

-Indeed, nothing is more unpredictable than the war. But I suspect that Putin is not as stupid as we would like it. I don't think he would commit the same mistakes committed by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Already started a conversation that Russian troops leave Syria for several months. Objective Moscow-give rise to a political process in the country on her terms. She will try to dictate the terms, having behind powerful military fist: Russian planes, Iranian forces, Hezbollah, the Syrian army that will do everything possible to save during the transition phase in any form of the Syrian State, headed by Assad. He subsequently gather belongings and leave, but Russia and its allies will retain their positions there. I think, if we consider the Kremlin's actions in that light, he is approaching the realization of those objectives.

-Eric Shiryaev, says Stephen blank, the Kremlin has set itself specific relatively clear tasks. Harden in Syria and with the help of Syrian maps to achieve political gains in its confrontation with the United States and its allies. Rumor has it that Putin wants to take Syria to ensure, for example, the easing of the sanctions regime. If he in fact carries such plans, if he has any chance of success?

-Most likely it's not. Because Obama's position was that Assad must go. Why Obama is likely to be considered its historic legacy in terms of whether to remove him from power, Assad of Syria's control system. From the point of view of inter-American policy, Democrats understand the significant difficulties and with the image of the party, which is accused of weakness in foreign policy. So, I think any serious concessions from the United States today are unreal. They say that Republicans have no interest today in any real initiatives to resolve the crisis around Syria. They consider, say, the worse in Syria, so it's more than a good reason to use it in the race this year and next year and use the weakness of American foreign policy in order to win elections.

Whether among Syrian objectives of the Kremlin to be lifting of sanctions against Russia? Some u.s. observers assume that Moscow will try to act as a partner ready to help resolve the Syrian crisis, in the hope that the European countries who are victims of the influx of refugees and migrants, will appreciate assistance to Russia. This, for example, says the forecast analytic agency Stratfor. If they do not want to make one, you can, for example, get a new wave of refugees. Military expert Stephen blank in principle does not exclude a tacit agreement between Moscow and Western capitals, but if only the Kremlin can make almost impossible:

In Europe there are a lot of those who are ready, according to Lenin, to "rotten compromise" with Russia if she its allies will be able to stabilize the situation in Syria

In Europe there are a lot of those who are ready, according to Lenin, to "rotten compromise" with Russia if she is with her allies will be able to stabilize the situation in Syria, "says Stephen blank. -They say you us calm in Syria, the withdrawal from Eastern Ukraine, and in Exchange we will close our eyes to the exclusion of the Crimea, let maintain influence on the part of Ukrainian territory, that will give you the opportunity to put pressure on Kiev and cancel the sanctions. This is possible in theory, but the biggest hurdle is to allow the Syrian problem, and create a valid political mechanism for transfer of power.

-David Sutter, from your point of view, this Exchange is possible, that is to say services?

-I think not. It will be the assignment of fundamental principle. Still, it should be borne in mind that the inviolability of international borders is the Foundation of the world order after the second world war. To recognize or accept the capture of the Crimea is just actually leave this principle, I mean the inadmissibility of forced change of international borders. I think that America will never adopt, because it is extremely dangerous to America and the world order. Another thing is that they will try in different ways to improve relations with Russia, but I also don't expect. Because the only thing that he can give to other countries, is to help in the removal from power of Bashar Al-Assad, as Putin is not yet ready.

On the other hand it can contribute to a dramatic worsening of the situation in Syria. It can contribute to, say, the direct involvement of Turkey in this conflict, which no one wants. That is, it seems, there is a map.

-It can certainly make the situation worse. But rewarding him for what he did not do so, it would be easy to accept the blackmail to which no serious power agrees. It was the open blackmail. Most likely this situation in Burma would be a situation where people would start thinking seriously how much stronger weaken Russia than has already been done by these sanctions.

-Eric Shiryaev, do you believe that the West is in fact ready to stand up for principle? Because the reaction of Western capitals to various previous interventions of the Kremlin calls this great doubt?

-David says very interesting and correct thing about European politics, compromise and the like. Rally Russia in the Crimea and Ukraine produced very unpredictable effects in the political system in the West. These actions have resulted in and left and right forces coalesced, not all, not around, not in all aspects, but find understanding, and left and right, and centrists, to condemn Russia is a unique phenomenon. Therefore, a compromise in terms of party politics will be very difficult to reach, although there are circles in the business, and nationalists who secretly and directly support Putin, his position is clear it all, isn't it all clearly. But most fully understands that it is not in the interest of neither left nor right wing, centrist forces either Europe or America. When the case principles when ideology comes into play, tactical interests may suffer.

-David Sutter, you say that the Kremlin could blackmail and political scientist looks at New York University Mark Galeotti calls Putin's blackmail policy strategy, saying that it creates crises, then offers his services for their neutralization. Really, take the Transdniestria, Georgia, Ukraine, now Syria, many believe that if would not beat Malaysian downed Boeing, there would be no harsh sanctions against the Kremlin. After all, Vladimir Putin in fact might be feeling that it allowed all. He allowed?

-I would not say that allowed all. I would not say that there was no response to his campaign. Still, the sanctions even in their symbolic aspect is quite significant, because it creates an atmosphere for future investments in Russia are very unfavourable, and Russia requires investment. I wouldn't say that Russia came out of this situation, absolutely without prejudice, and that she can do whatever she wants. Naturally, it would be better if the West acted more decisively. But the most important thing in this situation, Putin understands and the Russian leadership realizes that they are at risk. Each aggressive step that they could take, they are weighed against the Western reaction. Until he found a narrow field, where he can use force, he could not expand on this. Because the only one to whom he can now appeal to Syria is Assad. He must also rely on the fact that, if it is completely sabotage any attempt to adopt the stability in the area, he would oppose Western interests that, sooner or later, the reaction would be.

-Professor Shiryaev, of mouth opponents sharp pressure on Moscow sometimes heard a curious argument: Putin is relatively small regional troublemaker, Russia is not the Soviet Union, let Shalit, preventing his antics are not worth the risk of a military conflict with Moscow. And the White House, it seems, follows this principle.

-There is some kind of threshold, threshold has not been reached. What is being done in Syria, people care about may not be to such an extent as would excite. What happens in Ukraine, Americans basically don't care if the media we have not discussed. 60 percent of Americans couldn't find on a map this spring, public opinion showed. But if the action will thus develop accumulation effect to something might lead. But again, not with the Administration in the White House.

-But, how could Putin really were not Western leaders may in Vienna Russian President clearly report to Russians on the complete breakthrough insulation, which not so long ago, loudly saying Barack Obama?

-It is clear to everyone in the West, who are interested in policies that Putin's position is very bad. But no matter how often events occur, more importantly, how they are interpreted. And interpretation in Moscow is that Russia is not something that has not been isolated, it has strengthened its position, reminds me of the days of Soviet propaganda, when all progressive mankind looked with hope toward Moscow and waited for the moment when the hawks of capitalism, including Washington lay down their wings and fall to the bottom of the deepest Gorge.

-David Sutter, may believe that Russians, Putin returned the respect from Western leaders?

But it was always Russian trend: better be a negative player than any

"I don't think it's a sign of respect, is simply a recognition that it cannot be ignored. If Russian aircraft bomb groups in Syria that support Western countries, Russia is becoming a factor in this situation, a negative factor. But it was always Russian trend: better be a negative player than none. Now they stick to this principle, they forced Western countries forced America to deal with them.

-I.e. If Putin and is a guest of Obama and other Western leaders, it is an unwanted guest?

-Yes, he is a guest, that nobody would like to nowhere in particular.

-I suggest you look at the photos that will go from Vienna, from any Summit, as Western leaders react physically to the presence of the Russian President, handshakes, how close they stand up to him, "said Eric Shiryaev. -Clearly, you will see what there is to this.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

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