Can Ukraine, Syria Impasses Drive U.S.-Russia ‘Grand Climb-Down’?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Rome, Italy, Dec. 14, 2014 (State Department photo).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Rome, Italy, Dec. 14, 2014 (State Department photo).
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When diplomats want to explore a way out of a crisis, they like to talk about striking a “grand bargain” and try to avoid the word “climb-down,” which tends to imply an acknowledgement of failure or defeat. Nevertheless, Russia and the United States, trapped in costly confrontations over Syria and Ukraine, may need to agree to a sort of “grand climb-down” that allows the two powers to get out of unsustainable positions as painlessly as possible. Moscow and Washington both begin 2015 stuck with the consequences of poor strategic bets. Russia’s intervention in Ukraine now looks like a truly disastrous […]

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