Managing defeat well is one of the greatest skills a diplomat can have. Historians have a special admiration for statesmen who have extracted their countries from failed wars. These diplomatic heroes include Talleyrand, who brilliantly defended French interests after the fall of Napoleon, and Henry Kissinger, who devised America’s exit from Vietnam. As Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, reflects on the challenges ahead in 2013, he may wonder if he will be able to manage the consequences of a lost war.
For Lavrov, that lost war is the Syrian conflict. Although it has now claimed more than 40,000 lives, the Syrian conflict is hardly comparable in scale or importance to the wars that Talleyrand and Kissinger helped end. But over the past year, it has become a defining test of Russia’s claim to be a major power. Lavrov and Russian officials at the United Nations have steadfastly defended the Syrian regime against Western pressure, using adroit diplomatic tactics to delay, disrupt and dismiss repeated U.S. and European efforts to resolve the crisis. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Diplomatic Fallout: Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain
- Strategic Horizons: Understanding the Enemy: Inside the Mind of the Islamic State
- The Realist Prism: Even After Midterms, Obama Faces Hard Choices on Energy, Climate
- Global Insights: Hagel Launches New U.S. Defense Initiatives to Address Old Problems
- Diplomatic Fallout: U.N.’s Syria Cease-Fire Plan a Risky Gamble, but Worth It