14:05 GMT05 March 2021
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    The United States failed to integrate Russia into the West but should avoid driving Moscow into a close strategic relationship with China, former White House Senior Director on Russian Affairs Thomas Graham said in a speech at the McCain Institute in Washington, DC.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Thursday, Russia and China stood united in their disapproval of Washington and Seoul's decision to deploy the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea at a meeting on security in northeastern Asia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

    “Our bipartisan effort to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community has failed,” Graham stated on Thursday. “[But] in East Asia it makes no sense to drive Russia into the embrace of China.”

    US policymakers could deal with the issues of Russia and Ukraine in isolation but had to view them in the context of US and Russia global interests and relationships, Graham, now managing director of Kissinger Associates, explained.

    “The global balance of power is shifting from Europe to Asia.”

    The spread of technology around the world had made it impossible to view any part of the world in isolation or to try and isolate any major nation, Graham said.

    US Cannot Avoid Dealing With Russia to Settle Syrian Conflict

    The US government must recognize that the only way to settle the Syrian conflict and bring humanitarian relief to its victims is through cooperation with Moscow, Thomas Graham said in a speech at the McCain Institute.

    "Russia is there [Syria]… on the ground and you can't go around them. There is no way to avoid [it]," Graham stated. "I don't see we have more options than to deal with the Russians."

    Graham claimed that US policy had failed to separate the moderate opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government from the al-Nusra Front.

    "We have promised to separate the moderate opposition from al-Nusra. Have we done that? No," Graham said. “Can we do that? No, that’s the reality.”

    Graham also recommended that the US government abandon its insistence that Assad must be immediately removed from office.

    A US-Russian brokered ceasefire broke down in early September because of a series of violations in tandem with Washington’s inability to delink legitimate opposition factions from terrorist groups as promised — and as stipulated in the accord.

    Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had suspicions that some forces would like to keep the al-Nusra Front as an effective power in Syria to possibly use it to overthrow the government in Damascus.

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