My commentary follows the video below.
The Russian air campaign against ISIS has paved the way for another major push towards a political solution in Syria. And though the Obama administration has been raising its stake in the conflict while engaging in the Vienna talks, his critics back home argue it's too little too late. Could a deal be reached to satisfy the major stakeholders, and is it likely to be sustainable, considering the complex geopolitical factors at play? Oksana is joined by David Rothkopf, the CEO of FP Group and Editor of Foreign Policy magazine, to analyse these issues.
Assad's a bad guy because he knew that al Qaeda was right there waiting (and waiting to be funded by the Saudis and others). He knew that what happened in Libya would happen to Syria if he were to rollover and allow the US and NATO to do to Syria what it did to Libya.
The war there is not Assad's fault. It is the fault of those who started protesting against him without knowing how to handle obtaining reforms without ignoring Assad's correct concerns regarding the waiting Takfiris.
David Rothkopf either hasn't a clue about Vladimir Putin's intentions or he's deliberately spreading false propaganda about Putin. Vladimir Putin has no intention whatsoever of leaving IS at all in not only Syria but also Iraq. He also knows very well that if Russia and Russia's allies in Syria and Iraq prevail and force the US to join in against IS that, that will stop the refugee problem from getting worse in Europe and will allow millions to return to both Syria and Iraq, whereby Russia will get the credit in Europe for having done that and whereby the US will be completely unable to get Europeans to go along any longer with sanctions against Russia. The "Russia as boogieman" mantra will be dead and buried, and rightly so. Europeans will take, and are taking, a completely new look at what's really going on in Ukraine too because of all of it.
Rothkopf is seriously underestimating the innate intelligence of Assad. Assad knows full well that the deal will include a power-sharing arrangement where "moderates" (of which he is most assuredly now one and was becoming before the Arab Spring) will be a large part. He also knows that the Constitution, even though it has already been reworked during the war and been made vastly more internationally acceptable, will have to be reworked again. He is prepared to step down, as he placed himself under term limits anyway. What he won't accept, and neither will Russia, is an Islamic state (small-s or large). It will be a secular Syria, whether the Saudis or Turkey like it or not. The Iranians are on board with a secular Syria and have been all along. There will be no sharia government of Syria if Vladimir Putin has anything to say about it, and he does.
Rothkopf threw a bone with his anti-American exceptionalism statement, but he turned right around and undid the goodwill by accusing Russia of being the aggressor in Ukraine when, in very fact, the Ukrainian crisis was caused directly by US neocons working under Barack Obama, who has more than simply tolerated them. Nazi-types were both encouraged and supported in the unconstitutional overthrow of the Ukrainian government. Vladimir Putin has simply supported the Russian speakers in their desire not to come under fascist and/or neoliberal domination. The people of Crimea chose for themselves. The people in the Donbas region did likewise. It is Kiev that has been erring on the side of decidedly fascistic tendencies while Vladimir Putin has been far from a Bolshevik, the largest group in Russia opposing him.
Wow, David sure struggled there at the end to come up with anything he could say against Russia after he admitted that the US has been largely a rogue actor for many, many decades. The thing is, however, the US only makes allegations against Russia concerning cyber activities. It doesn't supply forensic evidence that would withstand independent analysis, nor can it.