The vicious Syrian civil war has put the world’s two biggest nuclear powers on a collision course over a small Levantine nation of no strategic interest to Washington. This cannot be allowed to go on.
News that the US and Russia will hold a Syrian peace conference this month is most welcome and long overdue.
As Benjamin Franklin so wisely noted: “there is no good war, and no bad peace.”
Moscow has been calling for such a conference for two years. But Washington rejected the idea in hope the Syrian rebels it was backing would prevail. However, now that the Syrian war is in stalemate, the US has opted, albeit reluctantly, for a diplomatic effort to end its war before the whole region goes up in flames.
Syria is the latest example of Henry Kissinger’s famous quip, “being a US ally is often more dangerous than being its enemy.”
The Assad government in Damascus was for decades a tacit Western ally that suppressed militant Islamists, kept its border with Israel quiet, and interrogated prisoners for US intelligence services. Damascus even muted claims to its Golan Heights, illegally annexed by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
But good behavior and cooperation did not help Syria when the US, Britain, France and Israel decided to go after Iran, Syria’s leading ally. When Syria’s President Bashar Assad refused to join the US-led alliance of western powers and conservative Arab states against Iran, his nation’s fate was sealed…