The U.S. and Russian Interventions in Syria: Room for Cooperation or Prelude to Greater Conflict?

The level of acrimony in the U.S.-Russia relationship makes the current dual interventions in Syria particularly dangerous. But this situation may also present new opportunities for cooperation. Both the United States and Russia appear to have strong interests at stake, and while the two countries differ sharply in their approaches to the conflict, “the parties’ fundamental interests do overlap to an extent.”

The Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations, a bilateral collective of rising experts from American and Russian institutions, announces the publication of its fifth joint report: “The U.S. and Russian Interventions in Syria: Room for Cooperation or Prelude to Greater Conflict?” Coauthored by Yoshiko Herrera (University of Wisconsin–Madison), Andrew Kydd (University of Wisconsin–Madison), and Fyodor Lukyanov (Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Russia), the paper analyzes U.S. and Russian goals in Syria, and describes ways in which the United States and Russia could coordinate their Syrian strategies to increase the chance of a decent outcome in the region.

The authors explain that while the United States and Russia differ in their goals with respect to Assad and to Islamist rebel groups, the two countries have successfully implemented joint actions, such as the disposal of chemical weapons. The authors identify other moments that could galvanize cooperation and potentially lead to an acceptable resolution in the Middle East.

The complete text of the report is accessible on the Working Group’s website: http://us-russiafuture.org.

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