First and foremost, no one really knows how American foreign policy is going to change over the next 12 months as the Trump administration enters the White House. Staff members are still being selected, still have to be approved by Congress, and the Trump transition team is still figuring things out, sometimes as they learn on the fly. At the center of America’s future foreign policy is retired General Mike Flynn, whose accomplishments and controversies have been recounted many times over in the media over the last several weeks.
Early indications coming out of the transition team lead us to believe that in the near future America will shift their priorities in regards to Syria, moving away from a policy of regime change and towards working alongside the Russians (currently in Syria at President Assad’s request) to fight and ultimately defeat ISIS and other Jihadi groups.
A year ago, SOFREP proposed just such a solution, one that now appears poised to come into existence. Take a look:
As the situation currently stands, Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks conflict with the United States. While the Western media is aghast over perceived Russian strength, the truth is the Russian Federation, and Putin’s regime in particular, is weak. Russia’s military actions from Georgia, to Ukraine, to Syria in recent years are not projections of strength, but indications of weakness. Russia’s military performance has been sub-par for the most part.
In Ukraine, Putin tried to cover up the deaths of Russian troops, knowing it would be unpopular in Moscow. For this reason, the Putin regime prefers to send people to fight that mainstream Russians don’t much care for, such as Kadyrov’s men from Chechnya. In Georgia in 2008, Russia had a hard time projecting force just across their own border. These military actions are not a sign of renewed Russian strength, but rather they are Hail Marys—last-ditch efforts to stir up nationalist sentiments at home in order prop up the regime.
But does it always have to be like this? Perhaps not. In Syria, Putin has the opportunity to write himself into the history books as a world leader who led the charge against ISIS and forged a historic partnership between two great powers: Russia and the United States.