Leave it to John Kerry to introduce "the silent treatment" to the world of international politics
Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening to cut off all contacts with Moscow over the 5-year-old Syrian civil war, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end.
Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday warned that the United States would stop talking to Moscow about ending Syria's civil war unless it ends the onslaught in the city of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian government forces.
That's right. If the Russians don't call off the ongoing Aleppo offensive the US State Department will..."stop talking to them". Terrifying. I'm sure the prospect of a John Kerry pouting in his seat and refusing to eat his broccoli is filling the Russians with dread.
Of course the rest of us are wondering where does Moscow find the truly amazing patience to continue talking with the Americans. With half of the Obama administration dead set against the Lavrov-Kerry treaty from the start, the very real possibility Deir ez-Zor bombing was Ash Carter's move to sabotage the deal, and the rush to blame Russia for a very strange attack on a UN convoy that buried the ceasefire there really doesn't seem to be a lot of point to it.
Tough luck for the State Department but Lavrov spelled out Russia's new position the other day: no more unilateral concessions. Russians are supposed to break off their offensive against al-Qaeda and friends why again? Just so John Kerry will continue to talk to them. Is his mouth made of gold?
The main obstacle to a US-Russian negotiated peace was and remains the reluctance of Washington to disown its jihadist proxies that make up the bulk of the anti-Assad camp. (It's as if just months ago the State Department was explaining a child beheading here and there doesn't necessarily make you bad guys.)
In fact the State Department is now daydreaming about Syria-based "extremist groups" (would these be the very same groups the US is directly or indirectly aiding?) attacking Russian cities and sending Russian troops home in body bags. Spokesperson Kirby:
"Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft."Meanwhile the first time US troops were embedded with some the most "moderate" of the Islamist rebels they had to get the hell out of Dodge lest they get themselves lynched. You couldn't make this stuff up.