Russia, Iran, and Turkey meet and discuss Syria without the United States in Beirut, Lebanon. Leaving the U.S. in an awkward diplomatic position. The U.S. was not invited and the UN wasn’t notified. No official reaction has come from either the White House or the President-elect’s transition team. Although it’s certain, there will be a response of some sort. Russia and Iran’s alliance has been anything but secret and this latest move is a tricky one. But, despite the predicament this makes for the U.S. – it’s a strategic play on Russia’s part capitalizing on the recent assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey.

Turkey was no doubt apologetic and concerned about the possible Russian response. Russia has a sophisticated information operations campaign that is constantly working and heard around the world. It’s potent enough to make Turkey probably fear Russian aggression. However, in an altercation Turkey would invoke Article 5 and all of NATO, including the U.S., would come to Turkey’s aid. The very point of Article 5 is to keep Russia at bay.

Russia and Iran are both known to study their competition’s psychology and act accordingly. In this instance, Russia might be hedging on President-elect Trump’s words expressing some doubt in the sanctity of NATO. The president-elect has questioned NATO’s true worth and whether or not the partnering nations are pulling their weight. Legitimate questions aside, those remarks can be used to Russia and Iran’s advantage on the world.

When America is the world’s leadership, our stance on a given topic matters more than any other nations. Just like when an elementary schooler plays dumb and tells the teacher “you didn’t tell me not to,” when a rule is broken, Russia has the ability to retort to criticism. Russia can ask why they should notify NATO when the U.S. president has openly expressed doubt in the integrity of the institution?


Featured image courtesy of the New York Times.