Vladimir Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has supported the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, in the southern Russian town of Sochi on September 17.

After the meeting, it was announced that Putin and Erdogan had reached an agreement on the future of Idlib, a province in northern Syria.

The Washington insider crowd was absolutely outraged and appalled by Donald Trump’s performance at Helsinki, Juan Cole notes, as he violated all the principles of American hawkishness.

Trump sat next to Vladimir Putin, leader of a rival power, signaling that Russia is a peer. He sided with Putin over the assessments of the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US intelligence organizations.

US President Donald Trump made a fool of himself when he stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that’s not the only thing he did in Europe. An editorial in US Socialist Worker, abridged below, says the left needs to keep its eye on the deeper threat.

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Hardly a day goes by without much of the mainstream media concentrating on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. This includes any news about the various investigations into the question, much blowhard opinionating by talking heads, charges that Russia sought to collude with Donald Trump’s campaign, and more.

It is probably true that Russia would seek to influence US politics to the extent it thought it could. But to keep a sense of proportion, we should recall that the world’s foremost “meddler” in other people’s politics and elections is Washington itself.

New international talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict may be unlikely to succeed, but they do mark shifts in the alignment of competing forces.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on December 31 to support a ceasefire in Syria that started the previous day. The latest round of international peace talks are scheduled for January 23 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

When Donald Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, he will take over the running of the US intelligence agencies — the CIA, FBI, NSA etc — that have brought charges to discredit the outcome of his election.

The Electoral College has rubberstamped Trump’s election and Congress has ratified it. The storm over allegations of Russian interference in last year’s elections will pass as The Leader takes charge and cleans house in these agencies.

But there are some things that should be noted about this brouhaha.

Russia's initiation of air strikes in Syria on September 30, a year after a US-led coalition began air strikes in Syria — both officially targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — began the latest round of speculation of a “new Cold War” with Russia and its allies pitted against the US and other Western imperialist powers.

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