There is a civil war in Syria. There is deep suffering in Syrian cities such as Aleppo. There is no agreed-upon plan for an end to the war.
The U.S. and Russia talked about Syria at the G-20 meetings recently held in China. They are replaying the Cold War. That is the long era when the two countries battled but did not fight a war.
In Syria, Russia has the upper hand. Russia supports Syria. The U.S. supports some rebel groups. The Russians say they are bombing Islamic State terrorists. They are also bombing the U.S.-backed rebels.
Presidents Obama and Putin of Russia do not agree on two key points. The first is how to create a cease-fire long enough for aid to reach Aleppo. The second is how to bring an end to the Syrian war.
President Obama’s term ends in a little more than four months. The world is waiting to see who will lead America next. Hillary Clinton has a long role and history in foreign policy. She has proposed steps for addressing the Syrian civil war. She has called for a buffer zone along the Turkish border. She would create a no-fly zone over the area. She has proposed that a U.S.-led coalition would protect Syrian refugees there.
Donald Trump has said he would support Russia’s efforts to defeat Islamic State fighters. In general, Trump is against placing U.S. troops on the ground. But he has said he might make an exception in Syria. Defeating the Islamic State would create a vacuum. Trump has made it clear that the U.S. would not be a part of nation building in the Middle East.
How to solve the Syria problem is not a part of the campaign for U.S. president. Clinton and Trump are not talking about foreign policy. Donald Trump has made the campaign about himself. There is little room for real discussion and debate on many issues.
President Obama thinks his policy in Syria is right for the moment. His moment is coming to an end. No one knows what is next.
Source: The New York Times September 5, 2016