Don’t poke the bear. The Russians predictably will go the course in Syria. The U.S. is getting close to shutting the current diplomatic process as battles in Aleppo rage onward.

“U.S. officials say they are considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault, including military options, although they have described the range of possible responses as limited and say risky measures like air strikes on Syrian targets or sending U.S. jets to escort aid are unlikely. Two U.S. officials said the speed with which the diplomatic track collapsed in Syria and pro-government forces advanced in Aleppo had caught some in the administration off guard,” Reuters reports.

Yesterday, the New York Times said that “the United States threatened on Wednesday to halt talks with Russia on the war in Syria and scrap plans for joint military targeting of jihadists unless the Russian and Syrian militaries stopped bombing Aleppo.”

Aleppo has become the epicenter of tragedy in the world. Russian use of air attacks has not ceased and has seemingly continued at full force. Many cease-fires have been brokered but are always broken with clashes. The diplomatic process has apparently failed or is unable to progress in Syria. Sometimes war is what happens with the cessation of political and diplomatic conversation. We’re set to enter a new phase of the conflict in Syria. A step where the U.S.-Russian proxy war is more overt with fewer holds barred.

But, Russia has a bit of an advantage. Their proxy forces in the region have clear allegiance to a set group or side. Ours are difficult to peg down to a particular group, ideology or motive. Maybe this proves a good thing: we’ll get more serious about who we’re supporting and helping. It’s not that we aren’t serious about helping others and the plight in Syria now. But we could be more precise as reports are always coming out questioning the identity of the rebels and what they believe in.

Syria, the quagmire, continues unabated. The people suffering are the Syrians. As a giant dustbowl circulates in the region, the agriculture of the Middle East is suffering too. This is the destruction of civilization in Syria, and it’s painful to watch (cannibalistic or not).

The New York Times article provided a possible Russian perspective. “For the Kremlin, Russian-American military collaboration in Syria could be presented as having validated its decision to intervene militarily in the conflict and, more generally, its aspirations to expand Russian influence in the Middle East.”

Escaping scrutiny in all this is Iran, Hezbollah, and other Shia militant groups. Many of which hold beliefs as extreme as the likes of Al-Qaeda and ISIL. By the way, China is floating around in there, too.

The self-fulfilling prophecies and an eventuality of a more pronounced U.S. presence are being played out. If this continues, we’ll have bought a large chunk of responsibility for Syria. To do the right thing by the Syrian people could distract us, yet again, into ‘nation building.’ It already sounds tempting to help them stand up, build a government, institute a democracy and prosper. But it doesn’t seem likely based on our own short history trying nation building.

However, I’m hopeful that the international community will play a role in rebuilding Syria. In turn, the international community can come together to combat terrorism, and it’s open global warfare – the real threat.

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