US and Russia beginning talks over Syrian conflict again

People inspect the damage at a market hit by airstrikes in Aleppo's rebel held al-Fardous district
A market, destroyed in recent airstrikes in Aleppo. Image courtesy of Reuters.

Previous stories on this topic:

Update: US finally gives up on talks for a Syrian cease-fire deal

Update: Syrian cease-fire expires as US and Russia trade insults

After Secretary of State John Kerry threatened to end talks with Russia unless they stopped the constant, damaging airstrikes, and Russia ignored his warning, I assumed that the talks would not resume after only nine days! But then again, I’ve been making a lot of assumptions about US foreign policy, and it seems like every time my expectations are thwarted and we step on a rake.

After air strikes killed 25 on Wednesday, both countries announced that Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be meeting to attempt and organize – another cease fire, probably. The last one was a complete failure on pretty much every level, and no aide was able to reach trapped civilians in Aleppo until the deal had expired.

The immediate rejoining of relations is silly. If you deliver an ultimatum, Kerry, you have to fulfill the stupid ultimatum, or nobody trusts your words. This isn’t even really a foreign policy question as much as a ‘give yourself some credibility’ question. Breaking relations for nine days to immediately come back is not useful when you have promised to break relations, because now the Russians know that if we make an ultimatum like that, all it takes is a little pressure and we’ll break our promises. This is not an uncommon thing in the Obama administration, however.

This cease-fire will only be useful if Syria and Russia keep terms of the deal, which they failed horribly at last time.


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