While Rex Tillerson remained clam in Moscow, yesterday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave a hysterical speech in which he attempted to convince Russia to drop all of its ‘allies’ in order to join with America, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel in their aim to destroy the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
This won’t happen for a number of reasons, but the most frequently ignored reason is that Syria is not actually a Russian ally.
Russia is a fraternal partner of Syria. The language of partnership is what Russia uses even when describing distant or antagonistic states like the US and EU nations.
America’s idea of allies and indeed the American practice of alliance making involves countries whose existence is geo-politically and often economically intertwined. In such instances, the poorer, smaller power always ends up being subservient to the larger ‘ally’, the United States.
Russia by contrast does not engage its partners, no matter how close, with a master/slave mentality. Russia respects the sovereignty of its partners in spite of their size, military or economic strength.
This is why the notion which Sean Spicer relayed about Russia someone handing Assad to the US as a gift, is a logistical fallacy. Assad is not Russia’s to give away nor prop up. Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and he happens to be a President of a country that has asked a partner, Russia, for assistance in fighting terrorism. Russia has agreed to do that as well as to contribute to a peace process which respects the sovereignty of Syria.
It is a simple concept that the US, at least in public, seems unable to grasp, because the US exercises such a different kind of relationship with its ‘allies’ than Russia does with its ‘partners’.
The sooner America understands this, the sooner America will understand that they cannot woo Russia for its own gain, even if Russia-US relations were good and at the moment they certainly are not good.
Russia does not interfere in the internal political process of countries no matter what, not when asked and not even when it would be materially or geo-politically advantageous for Russian interests. It is not how Russia operates and it almost certainly never will be.
Sean Spicer essentially wants to use geo-political bribes to convince Russia to drop Syria as a partner in order to have good relations with the US. This will not happen. Russia respects countries as they are and does not use ultimatums, blackmail nor secret deals in order to shape its views of who it should and should not partner with.