Few know that in 2012, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations proposed a peace deal with Syria; the main stipulation being that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. President Obama didn’t give a second thought to the idea.
Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin posed his idea to the U.N. just as civil unrest in Syria was beginning to explode into full-blown war. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, thinks the British, American, and French ambassadors ignored Russia’s proposal because they “were convinced that Assad would be thrown out of office in a few weeks.”
This belief was far from the truth and as we now know, the Assad regime still exists. Since Russia’s offer in 2012, an estimated 200,000 Syrians have been killed and ISIS has reared its ugly head in the war-torn country.
If you look at the facts, the assumption that Assad was on his way out doesn’t make much sense. First of all, why would Russia propose a plan to remove Assad if it believed he was already on his way out? Not to mention the fact the Russia was in a position in which it could accurately gage the future of a leader it had worked to keep in power.
Few would jump at the opportunity to work with Russia, but Obama should have at least agreed to listen to the idea. It comes as no surprise that while the Russian offer occurred during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, she hasn’t yet explained America’s unwillingness to discuss a proposition that could have saved millions and prevented a migrant crisis that threatens to destroy Germany.
Wednesday night during the GOP debate, while discussing Obama’s controversial deal with Iran, Ted Cruz referred to our president as the “leading financier of radical Islam.” Obama’s decision to ignore Russia in 2012 is just another on a long list of misjudgments that lead us to question his motives.
Russia made another offer just this week, this time to have military-to-military discussions and meetings regarding the situation in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday that the Obama Administration is considering the offer.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is only interested in fighting ISIS groups within Syria, but Kerry seems to think that position may change.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump, confident that he would be able to get along peacefully with Putin, said during the debate Wednesday night that we should let Syria fight ISIS and stay out of the conflict.
Marco Rubio, on the other hand, considers Vladimir Putin a “gangster” and fears that he is not only attempting to turn other countries against America, but also “trying to destroy NATO.”
Carly Fiorina, who has met Putin, believes that he will back off only if he senses strength and resolve. She proposed sending a clear message to Russia by rebuilding missile defense programs and sending troops to Germany. “Vladimir Putin is someone we shouldn’t talk to,” said Fiorina.