It’s still too early to assess whether the Syrian ceasefire has any staying power or not, but regardless, it earned hearty applause from all players, and interestingly, even Iran and Israel, which rarely – if ever – agree on anything. This goes to show that all stakeholders have their hopes up that this latest initiative will lead to concrete and long-term results in halting the violence and jumpstarting a so-called “political solution” to the War on Syria.
The cybersecurity proposal was much more controversial, however, and it almost immediately resulted in sharp criticism from many leading American figures who claimed that it’s ridiculous to work with Russia in this field after the fake news narrative convinced them that Moscow had interfered in the US election. Curiously, even Trump seemed to walk back his pledge shortly after leaving Germany, writing on Twitter that – quote – “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!” – end quote. From this, it can be extrapolated that Trump was either put under unbearable pressure by his “deep state” opponents to renege on his promise to President Putin or that he never intended to honor his word in the first place and just said so at the time in order to make progress on the Syrian ceasefire.
No matter which reason it is, the outcome thus far is that the agreed-upon Russian-American cooperation in coordinating the ceasefire in southwestern Syria has a lot more potential to succeed than the cybersecurity initiative which was apparently dead-on-arrival the moment that Trump returned to the US, leading one to the observation that the only realistic deals that can be made between the two Great Powers at this intense time of distrust are tangible plans dealing with hard security. There’s still a lot that can go wrong, however, and the ever-growing domestic pressure that Trump is coming under on the home front might eventually force him to renege on this deal, too, but until that happens – if at all – the world is watching with bated breath to see just how long the G20 afterglow between these two countries will last.
Robert Bridge, investigative journalist and the author of the book 'Midnight in the American Empire', and Chris Shipler, American political commentator, stopped by to discuss the issue.
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