Shame­ful Syria deal

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

“When will all the haters and fools out there re­al­ize that hav­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia is a good thing, not a bad thing. There [sic] al­ways play­ing pol­i­tics — bad for our coun­try. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ter­ror­ism, and Rus­sia can greatly

help!” — Don­ald Trump on Twit­ter Well, just lump us in with all those “haters and fools” out there. Be­cause when this ad­min­is­tra­tion signs on to a deal with Vladimir Putin that vir­tu­ally en­sures Syr­ian dic­ta­tor Bashar As­sad will re­main in power and that Iran and its proxy Hezbol­lah will con­tinue to have safe haven in Syria, then Putin has in­deed found the use­ful fool he has been look­ing for to oc­cupy the Oval Of­fice.

Pres­i­dent Trump — or more ac­cu­rately his team — may well have clar­i­fied yet again what he meant when he talked about Putin’s in­sis­tence that he didn’t med­dle in the 2016 elec­tion. But the whole no­tion that Trump ac­tu­ally thinks the Rus­sian pres­i­dent — and for­mer KGB agent — in­tends to “help” in the international arena in a way that fur­thers Amer­i­can val­ues is dan­ger­ously naïve.

Be­sides, ac­tions speak far louder than words. And the so­called U.S.-Rus­sian “de­con­flic­tion” state­ment is­sued Satur­day set­ting con­di­tions for the “ul­ti­mate po­lit­i­cal solution” to the years of con­flict in Syria has the po­ten­tial for giv­ing away the store to the Rus­sians and As­sad.

Sure, any agree­ment that al­lows civil­ian pop­u­la­tions to return to their homes in peace would be a good idea. But is it a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion that a man who has used poi­son gas on his own peo­ple will cede power? And is it rea­son­able to as­sume Rus­sia won’t de­mand to keep Syria as its de facto pro­tec­torate in any fi­nal ac­cord?

Is­raeli of­fi­cials have al­ready ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about the im­pli­ca­tions of such an agree­ment for their north­ern bor­der with Syria — a bor­der al­ready plagued by oc­ca­sional in­cur­sions from Hezbol­lah. Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, en route to his own meet­ing with Putin yes­ter­day, ex­pressed sim­i­lar fears about in­cur­sions on his bor­der from Kur­dish mil­i­tants.

But hey, the agree­ment gave Trump some­thing to point to as a “win” from his Asia trip.

Surely in view of that state­ment and Trump’s tweet, Ukraine will be jus­ti­fi­ably wor­ried about its new “friend” in the White House.


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