WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, Assad said in an interview that several Western governments allied to the United States had been holding secret talks with Damascus behind Washington’s back.
"It would not… be surprising if allies wary of being sucked deeper into Washington's cycle of repetitive failure — especially with the prospect of still more… under a President Hillary Clinton — were exploring options to get out from under," retired Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong said.
Armstrong said that if confirmed, Assad’s statement was "a most interesting report."
He explained that such talks would have been motivated by the growing realization that Assad’s government had survived the onslaught upon it by the Daesh, the al-Nusra Front and other Islamist groups, and was now in effective control of much of the country.
"Assad, like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, has proved to be a much stronger than they were told he would be," Armstrong said.
"The United States is indeed a mighty power, but its record of foreign policy and war, while immensely destructive, is one of failure and incompetence. Its efforts in East Africa, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia: all failures," Armstrong pointed out.
Far from learning from its repeated mistakes, the US government was consistently making them worse, Armstrong noted.
"Each failure sets the opportunity for the next failure. Still worse is the incoherency of Washington's purposes."
Armstrong linked the report to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attempt to repair relations with Russia by apologizing for shooting down a Russian aircraft last year, and to the failed attack of US-backed rebels against a Daesh position at Abu Kamal on the Syria-Iraq border last week.
"With respect to Syria, just in the last couple of days we have had Erdogan's attempt to repair relations with Moscow and another failure of a US-created ‘moderate rebel’ force."
Russia, on the other hand, had used the full range of power carefully and skillfully, Armstrong explained.
Steinberg further noted that Obama appeared increasingly desperate to try and bring an end to the Syria conflict, which has cost 500,000 lives, in order to justify the Nobel Peace Prize he was prematurely awarded in 2009.
"Obama is all about legacy. Settle Syria and Ukraine and that Nobel Peace Prize is legitimate. No Peace Prize for killing [al-Qaeda leader Osama] Bin Laden and [Libyan leader Muammar] Qaddafi."
The award of the 2009 Nobel Prize to Obama has since been increasingly criticized as he continues to preside over confrontational policies towards Russia in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, toward Beijing in the South China Sea, and in supporting Saudi air attacks on civilians in Yemen.