Alwaght- Following eruption of the crisis in Syria and Russian direct entry in the conflict, a new cold war has begun to appear between Washington and Moscow based on a threatening approach. In the time of Soviet Union, the key adopted policy was unilateral and militaristic. However, after collapse of the Soviet Union, the approach of Moscow has been a mix of militarism and energy diplomacy. Russia to some extent has managed to impact the West and specifically the United States using its energy diplomacy.
On the other side, the US since the 9/11 terrorist attacks has based its foreign policy on a blend of unilateralism and multilateralism, namely seeking military supremacy and taking advantage of the diplomatic potentials including forming coalitions and waging proxy wars.
Using these pathways, the two sides seek making the most profits and paying the least costs. The only factor that can allure Washington and Moscow into taking peaceful and zero-tension approaches is cooperation in different grounds.
After Cold War era, the US-Russian cooperation have shown face in three forms: first, full cooperation in which the two superpowers shared the profits and consequently their partnership ended in clear conclusions. An example of this cooperation is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that obliged them to work on reducing their nuclear warheads and prevent spread of nuclear weapons. The second cooperation is asymmetrical in which one side intervenes in a conflict and the second side supports it or at least goes silent in dealing with the conflict. An example for this type of partnership is the Iraq war between 2003 and 2001 that is also branded Second Persian Gulf War.
The third type of their cooperation is tactical or partial. Today joint work of Russia and the US is based on tactics. In this cooperation the two sides develop negative views on each other. These negative views, in turn, trigger symmetrical behaviors and responses from both sides. If today the ceasefire deal for two or more times fails in Syria, it is because of negative senses and a feeling of distrust by the Washington and Moscow to each other. A question presents itself here: given the mistrust of them to each other, can the US and Russia reach a political approach that guarantees for them a win-win situation?
1. According to realistic and rational approaches, the players strive after the most profits and least prices. Washington seeks a win-lose or at least win-win situation in its game with Russia, with the balance tending to be in favor of Washington. The American leaders frequently maintained that the only settlement to the Syrian crisis is to get Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad removed from power. If we see Washington is leaning towards political talks about Syria, its only push is the bargaining with Moscow on stay or removal of President Assad. Washington has proven that it is chasing a multitude of objectives. On the one hand it wants overthrowing the Syrian president and thus undermining the Axis of Resistance that includes Iran and Hezbollah and tipping the scales in favor of it and its allies, and on the other hand wants to involve new players like ISIS terrorist group and also the Kurds in the regional play. Washington uses ISIS card to put pressure on the Syrian government through damaging the security of the country and uses the Kurds to encourage them push for independence and play a role in the future developments of Syria.
2. Russia has come up with the notion that it cannot reach a lasting political deal with Washington on Syria until the US president election that is set for November. One of the reasons that Russia became motivated to make deal with the US on a truce in Syria was a Moscow hope to get a result in the time of presidency of President Barack Obama. Either way, Moscow is well aware that as new president is elected for the US, it is likely that Washington will shift approach on the Syrian crisis. Therefore, Russia must plan a new policy for Syria’s future based on consideration of dealing with the new president of the US.
In general, the White House has shown that at the present time it is not interested in seeing the Syrian war de-conflicted. A proof for this claim is violation of the ceasefire and having the back of the terrorists fighting Damascus government. Washington’s main policy in Syria revolves around three elements: saber-rattling, continuation of the crisis, and supporting the terrorists in the current conditions. On the other side, Russia is after a political solution for the crisis to keep its sway in the region going.
All in all, we can note that Washington eyes a settlement for the Syrian conflict with political approach but without President Assad while Moscow wants solution for the crisis through holding general elections.