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Russia Hosting Syrian Negotiations: Implications for the West

Russia Kremlin Wikimedia Commons

While the US and its security policy-makers coordinate the logistics of targeted air strikes in Syria, Moscow is hosting talks between the warring parties, managing the conflict in a way the West probably can't.

Not all parties are present at the talks, the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition refuses to engage unless Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is ousted as a result of any negotiation. Nevertheless, it's a clear step towards slowing armed conflict and helping prevent escalation.

The fact that Russia is hosting shows its relationship with the Middle East and the role it plays that Western powers aren't able to keep up with. In particular, US efforts have fallen flat in the region across its regime changes: Bush's misdirected post 9/11 wars and recent efforts in diplomacy under Obama.

The shared lackluster performance by leadership from the US left and right could be a sign of basic cultural differences in approaches to conflict. Moscow's appreciation for the turmoil there in turn could show its closer connection to the people and practices that are beyond the reaches of the West.

 

No resolution is even close to being on the table, and any agreements are likely to be met with spikes in violence and sharply antagonistic parties. No negotiation effort is immune from those tendencies. But attempted intervention from Washington resembles its ineffectual and misguided efforts at maintaining global stability in the past. East Asia and Latin America come to mind.

Simply put, it could be that non-Western intervention could be what the war torn country could use. To be sure, it isn't that Moscow is a glowing example of diplomacy, but relationships with the nations near Russia's southern border means they are making greater strides practically. With increasing pressure on the global community to quell violence in the region, encouraging good offices from more stable countries closer to the conflicts may be the best option for mediating.

 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

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