from The News Doctors:
This has been an amazing week. While last week I concluded that “The only way to avoid a war is to finally give up, even if that is initially denied publicly, on the “Assad must go” policy”. Now it is true that various US officials, including Kerry, did make statements about the fact that Assad need not go right now, that a “transition” was important or that “the institutions of the state” had to be preserved, but of course what I, and many others really meant, was that the US needed to fundamentally change its policy towards the Syrian conflict. Furthermore, since Turkey committed an act of war against Russia under the “umbrella” of the US and NATO, this also created a fantastically dangerous situation in which a rogue state like Turkey could have the impression of impunity because of its membership in NATO. Here again, what was needed was not just a positive statement, but a fundamental change in US policy.
There is a possibility that this fundamental change might have happened this week. Others have a very different interpretation of what took place and I am not categorically affirming that it did – only time will show – but at least it is possible that it has. Let’s look at what happened.
First, there were some very unambiguous statements from John Kerry in Moscow. The most noticed ones were:
“As I emphasized today, the United States and our partners are not seeking so-called “regime change,” as it is known in Syria” source.
“Now, we don’t seek to isolate Russia as a matter of policy, no” source.
Now, I am acutely aware that Kerry has “lost” every single negotiation he has had with the Russians and I have written about that many times. I am also aware that Kerry has a record of saying A while with the Russians and non-A as soon as he gets back home. Finally, I also understand that Kerry is not the one really making the decisions but that this is what the US “deep state” does. But with all those caveats in mind, it is undeniable that these two statements constitute an official, if not necessarily factual, 180 degree turn, an abandonment of official US goals towards both Russia and Syria. Furthermore, we have seen not only words, but actual actions from the Americans. First, the US and Russia have agreed to draft a common list of “recognized terrorists” (as opposed to “moderate” freedom fighters). While it is debatable as to who will end up on the “good guys list”, it is certain that all those who matter in Syria – al-Qaeda and Daesh – will make it to the “bad guys” list. That, in turn, will make it much harder, but not impossible (remember the Contras!) for the US to continue to assist and finance them. But the US did something even more interesting:
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