Valdai Paper #73: Russia–US Relations and the Future of Syria

10.08.2017

The greatest analytical challenge in trying to understand the Syrian civil wars overcoming the propensity to see the world as it was and not as it is. It is tempting to look at Syria on a map and imagine that one day soon it could be put back together – if only a resolution could be found during diplomatic meetings in Astana or Istanbul. It is also tempting to view the U.S. and Russian interventions in Syria as an extension of the Cold War, and to interpret every move by each side as part of a zero-sum contest for influence. But these frameworks are outdated, and they are inadequate for either the current situation in Syria or its future.

This is not to say that Russian and U.S. interests will line up perfectly or that this will lead to a U.S.-Russia detente. Overall, however, Russia and the U.S. will have more shared strategic interests than differences in the Middle East for the next 10 years.

About the Author:

Jacob L. Shapiro is  Director of Analysis for Geopolitical Futures, GPF

Related articles

Golan Heights: Where Are the Red Lines?
18.07.2018
The Golan Heights represent an equal problem for Syria and Israel. During the reign of both Hafez and Bashar Asad, this border was quite quiet (approximately from 1973-1974 till 2015).

Expert: 
Dmitry Maryasis

Category:
Expert Opinions
What Is France Trying to Accomplish in Syria?
31.05.2018
France, as is typical of ex-imperial powers, always sought to retain its investments, economic ties, and geopolitical influence with its former colonies. The French enjoyed much less success in those

Expert: 
Richard Lachmann

Category:
Expert Opinions
Russia and Syria Compare Notes in Sochi
28.05.2018
It was probably very important for Assad to hear Vladimir Putin’s words that “foreign armed forces will withdraw from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.” This is essential for restoring the

Expert: 
Alexei Sarabyev

Category:
Expert Opinions