Give at Least Some Credit to Obama

Author: us-russia
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Give at Least Some Credit to Obama
Published 2-10-2015, 09:07

When the class clown does something right, one should praise, not criticize

After meeting with Putin in New York, Obama

  • Agreed to joint effort against ISIS
  • Agreed to further withdrawl of armaments by the Kiev regime in Donbass

When the class clown does something right, one should praise, not criticize

After meeting with Putin in New York, Obama

  • Agreed to joint effort against ISIS
  • Agreed to further withdrawl of armaments by the Kiev regime in Donbass

There is no doubt that the recent dramatic shift in the US's position on Syria was influenced by President Putin's persuasive arguments both during his speech at the United Nations and during his meeting with President Obama. 

Putin convinced the US President that this would be a bad time to get rid of Bashar al-Assad. To calm his Congressional and Administration hawks Obama could trade the promise of an eventual managed transition away from Assad in exchange for an immediate joint effort against ISIS.

Prior to current events many observers were less optimistic about an agreement, stating that the gap between US and Russian goals was so wide that even if Obama and Putin ended up working together it could only happen if one of them capitulated in a major way. 

Now we see that this is not the case, although Obama definitely had to dig deeper than Putin. Still, I would highly recommend that the Russian leadership and media not gloat too much and give Obama at least some credit.

It is not trivial for a superpower who on occasion still emphasizes its superiority and indispensability to make a sudden U-turn in its foreign policy and therefore Obama during his very long speech had to repeat some of these routine clichés to appease the politicos for whom Pat Buchanan found a very suitable term - McCainiacs.

I would ignore this and rather concentrate on the positive outcome.

When the class troublemaker performs a few unusual good deeds the smart teacher would encourage this behaviour and be inclined to present him with higher than deserved marks in order to encourage continuing positive future developments.

The recent news of the Nobel Committee's misgivings about their Peace Prize award to Obama should not be gloated over too much. The US President should be given partial credit for working towards a resolution to the Syrian conflict which would at least present one small justification for the receipt of this award.

In mathematical terms I estimate Obama’s latest decisions on Syria at 20 – 25% credit towards his Nobel Peace Prize but at least he is making a beginning even though he still has a long way to go. Moreover, yesterday's ceremony in Minsk where an important agreement regarding the placement of armaments by the conflicting Ukrainian and Donbass armies will be signed can add another 5% to his account, since the Ukrainian side would never agree to this without instructions from Washington.

To conclude, this is not the time to experience overwhelming euphoria since we are only taking initial steps towards the de-escalation in US – Russia tensions but let us agree, it has not been a bad week at all.

Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow Sate and National Research Nuclear Universities.

 

russia-insider.com

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