His latest Antiwar.com column. Relevant chunks: “…the Russians have announced they are withdrawing the bulk of their forces on the eve of the renewed Geneva negotiations. Unlike in the US, where any hint that we might declare victory and get out is perceived as a sign of “weakness” that would bring a collapsing “world order” down on our heads, in Putin’s Russia foreign policy is directed by realists who refuse to be manipulated by their allies and realize that their power has limits.
Unburdened by the conceit that the fate of the world depends on asserting his nation’s role as an international policeman, Putin is free to cannily pursue Russia’s real interests. Those interests were served by shoring up Assad’s regime, which was crumbling under a sustained assault from the US and its Islamist allies in Riyadh and Ankara (with the Israelis cheerleading from the sidelines). In the meantime, the head-chopping jihadists of al-Nusra and its spin-offs – covertly supported by the Saudis and Turkey – have been declared terrorist outfits by the United Nations, and negotiations are underway in Geneva while the ceasefire continues to hold (albeit somewhat shakily).”