Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Strategy Behind Russia's Moves in Syria

Nikolay Pakhomov, The National Interest Online

image (not from article) from
When the Russian bombing campaign started in Syria last fall, one could assume that Moscow's actions would begin to reveal more about the country’s foreign policy. This assumption is proving to be correct now, after President Putin announced the withdrawal of Russia's main forces. Moscow’s actions in Syria over the last half year have clarified both the guidelines of Russian foreign policy and how they help in dealing with very complicated problems of the Middle East. ...
Moscow proved that military power is far from obsolete in foreign affairs. The proponents of soft power and public diplomacy can argue their cases, but an effective military is essential for a power willing and able to have its say in world politics.  ...
There is no doubt that the Middle East remains a turbulent and dangerous place. It is too early to declare the losers and the winners of the war in Syria. (The chances are high that, eventually, there will be no winners at all.) But Russia’s actions during the crises in Syria show both that the vigor and timing of these actions are effective and that the recipes of classical, realist diplomacy work in the twenty-first century. Announcing the withdrawal of Russian forces, President Putin has shown, again, that he still calls the shots.

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