Russian-American cooperation on Syria faces a huge obstacle right now. It would legitimize a Russian regime that invaded Ukraine and meddled in U.S. and European elections, in addition to its intervention in Syria. Putin’s very name is toxic in Congress and the U.S. media these days, and Trump is blasted for even considering compromise.
Against these negatives, there’s only one positive argument: Working with Russia may be the only way to reduce the level of violence in Syria and to create a foundation for a calmer, more decentralized nation that can eventually recover from its tragic war.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are said to favor exploring options with Russia. “We see the potential for it,” a senior State Department official said Tuesday. “So far Russia is working in earnest with us on the effort.”