Tillerson and Lavrov News Conferences
Tillerson’s answers to question about how much Trump pressed Putin on ‘Russian interference’ vaguely implied that the Russians accepted responsibility as he suggested that the Russians were willing to discuss guarantees against such interference happening in the future. Lavrov later explained that such talk was in the context of a larger discussion regarding cyber security.
The Trump Administration continues to take a craven middle-ground approach that abets the ‘fake news’ fueling a “red scare”. Some will say this is smart politics or smart negotiating or both. I think it shows a lack of will – an ambiguity that is harmful to a peaceful resolution and likely annoys the Russians.
The Agreement on SW Syria was done before the meeting. Meeting participants reviewed details of the prepared agreement but mostly probed each other to determine how strongly held each sides views were about Syrian outcomes. The length of time that this took shows how close to the razor’s edge US-Russia relations are. Care must be taken to avoid a miscalculation.
The other “agreement” was the naming of a special US representative for the Ukraine conflict. While welcome, this is very preliminary and thus largely symbolic at this point.
To any one paying attention, Tillerson’s blabbering about common objectives only highlighted the lack of any real progress. The Russians have long said that they believe that the Syrian people should decide the fate of Assad at some point in the future. The longstanding US position has been that Assad’s removal should be sooner rather than later because free and fair elections can’t be held with Assad as leader.
US News Coverage
As expected, US media focuses on the ‘Russian meddling’ allegations. They are keenly interested in just how aggressive Trump was in pursuing these allegations. They are direct reader’s attention to the hyped ‘threat’ of North Korea. The result is that there is virtually no discussion or debate about US goals in Syria.
It seems to me that the failure to agree “next steps” coupled with a failure to agree on a future meeting is significant. There also wasn’t a joint statement or joint news conference.
Tentative steps and diplomatic happy talk mean little. Putin-Trump Chemistry and baby steps toward peace leave much to be desired. What are US objectives? Why the secretiveness? Why hasn’t Trump walk back his inducement to Jihadi’s to conduct a false flag cw attack?
The ‘spinning’ of a lack of progress (note: US-Russia have been talking for years about Syria) and secretiveness support my belief that the US is angling for the creation of Sunnistan. A sort of consolation prize to US allies.
Responding to anti-Russian pressure, Trump has walked-back one of the three “baby steps” from his meeting with Putin, texting:
The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017
Is Trump worse than Hillary?
– Hillary: public position and private position.
– Trump: public, private (“beautiful babies”), and ‘Russian negotiation’ positions.