When Putin drops hints, the West should listen
When Putin drops hints, the West should listen

On February 17, 2018, in my article, “Putin: Grand Deal Now, or Syrian Bust,” I outlined a simple formula for a Grand Bargain between the United States and Russia. 

The terms were simple,

1) partition of Syria based on the Euphrates River, Russian/Assad to the West, American/Kurdish/Sunni to the East, and

2) Russia's formal acquisition of Crimea/Eastern Ukraine with a extraterritorial link to Transnistria with Russia’s formal agreement that this is the “dessert and not an appetizer.”  

On April 20, 2018, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov hinted at a major tectonic policy shift when he told Germany's Deutsche Welle that, "We [Russia] don't know how the situation is going to develop on the question of whether it is possible to keep Syria as a single country." 

But the earthquake happened just recently, when the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, stated “In light of President Trump’s promise to pull out from Syria “very soon,” there are high risks of the “caliphate” re-appearing in the Trans-Euphrates region as was the case in Iraq when ISIS was actually created there in 2011 after US troops withdrew from that country.” 

That statement seems to say that Putin now appears to see American military Syrian presence east of the Euphrates River as a vital component of Russia’s ability to successfully resolve the Syrian file.  With this Russian opening for a Grand Bargain, President Trump should quickly close the Crimean/Eastern Ukraine leg of the deal, and add Russian agreement to the denuclearization of North Korea and stabilization of Afghanistan into the bargain.

There are many factors pointing to the feasibility of this a pproach:

While Russia has lately exhibited some rather nasty ravanchistic tendencies and delusions of empire’s past, compared to the former Soviet Union, it is still fairly modest.  One would have to expect some type of counter-reaction to the cataclysmic implosion of the former Soviet Empire.  If Putin's reacquisition of territory is delimited to Crimea, some of Eastern Russian-speaking Ukraine and a link to Transnistria, the world will have gotten off cheaply.

On March 27, 2018, US SecDef James Mattis stated to reporters, “Russia has the potential to be a partner with Europe.  Its fortunes are married to Europe, if it sees its way forward. And I think that, right now, we have to recognize that they’ve chosen to seek a different relationship with the NATO nations.”  SecDef Mattis is no Russia-lover.  But, he is 100% accurate: Russia’s fortunes are married to Europe, and the United States.  Russia’s true ally is to Western Civilization, not to a neo-Safavidic Iranian-Persian empire spanning from East Iran through to the Syria and Lebanon.  Iran is its mortal enemy in the middle-to-long term.

As the Russian FM Spokesperson stated, Russia now recognizes it needs America east of the Euphrates River to both tactically annihilate ISIS, and to strategically block Iran from spanning Mesopotamia with all the follow-on catastrophe that a Neo-Safavidic Empire would bring both Russia and the West.  Russia’s de facto green-light for Israel to lay waste to Iranian forces is just one facet of Russia’s new-found realization that Iran is its true enemy in Syria.

A Russian/American peaceful partition of Syria may energize dramatic events in Iraq which foretell an Arab uprising against the neo-colonializing Iranian Safavidic Islamo-Fascists.  Such a positive trend for Iraq is in the strategic interests of both Russia and the United States.

And, while Trump and Putin are at it, they can join forces to resolve the North Korean and Afghanistan lingering 20th century problems.  Russia’s absence from the North Korean peace talks isn’t a good omen for the talks. It was actually Russia that started the whole crazy division of Korea in the first place. The least Russia can do now is help ensure the removal of North Korea’s nukes that if not, would likely find their way into Iran’s hands. North Korean nukes in Iran’s hands would be in Russia’s worst strategic interests.

Russia is our mortal enemy only on TV, in the movies and the FBI. Russians are not the ones driving trucks and killing dozens of people while yelling Islamic supremacy. In real life, they are a bare-knuckled geo-strategic competitor that with whom we must find common cause and work to eliminate unnecessary fissures. Partitioning Syria, and resolving the Crimean/Ukraine issue are small steps for a greater and more peaceful world future.