U.S. Ends Its Opposition to Democracy in Syria

by Eric Zuesse

For the first time today (December 15th), the United States has publicly and officially accepted the position that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon have consistently held on the Syrian situation: that only a free and fair internationally monitored and accepted election of Syria’s President by the people of Syria can legitimately determine whom the President of Syria ought to be, and that no Syrian citizen, not even the current Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if he decides to be a candidate, can be blocked by any foreign power from being a candidate in that election.

The way America’s AP (Associated Press) put this in their news-report on Tuesday December 15th, was: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday accepted Russia’s long-standing demand that President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people.”

The way that Ban ki-Moon, or Mr. Ban, had expressed this “demand” is:

“I believe that the future of Syria, or the future of the peace talks, … should not be held up by an issue of the future of one man. I believe that it is up to the Syrian people who have to decide the future of President Assad.

“The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people.”

As I had noted on November 15th in  “U.S. Yields to Russia’s Insistence Upon Democracy in Syria”: “the agreement is said to specify that, by 14 December 2015, diplomats will reconvene to discuss any residual issues,” and this meant that, until this reconvening was over, nothing would be final.  Now that the second meeting is completed and the agreement is publicly affirmed without changes, the agreement has become official.

Here (as stated in my previous article) are the next steps specified in this agreement:

  • On 1 January 2016, the UN will then convene formal negotiations between the Syrian government and its political opponents who are not involved in terrorist activities. Obviously, defining who those parties are will be highly contentious between the U.S. and its allies, and Russia and its allies.
  • On 14 May 2016, free elections will be held in Syria, administered by the UN.
  • The agreement specifies that the war against jihadist groups, all of which have been trying to bring down the Syrian government, will continue. This provision of the agreement recognizes the unacceptable role that these groups, such as Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and ISIS, play in bombings not only in France but throughout Europe and the Middle East. The agreement won’t say whether those groups may participate in the elections, but it will specify that the war against those groups can continue, even while the peace process in Syria is being implemented. The “ceasefire” won’t apply to efforts to wipe out those jihadist groups, which are illegal in Syria.

Above and beyond those details, the atmospherics of the way that the current meeting ended, add further confirmation to the significance of what has transpired here:

Nuland and Putin shake hands

In the AP’s accompanying video of the closing announcement, Putin enters the room with a smile on his face and greets the U.S. team including Secretary of State John Kerry and his Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, by warmly shaking Kerry’s hand and being warmly greeted by him, and then by (at 0:27 in the video) approaching and shaking hands with what is evidently a stand-offish if not hostile Nuland, as he bends slightly toward her and she bends slightly backward, with a facial expression that’s not entirely clear but doesn’t look at all friendly. Kerry is looking at Nuland’s face with what appears to be concerned worry, and the two other members of his team are looking down at the two shaking hands; one of those two members, the woman, looks down at the handshake sporting a quizzical expression such as if to say, “Victoria can’t be enjoying this eating-of-crow.”

Nuland is a close friend of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and was brought by Hillary into the Obama State Department after having previously been Vice President Dick Cheney’s Foreign Affairs Advisor. Her Husband, Robert Kagan, like others of his family, Fred Kagan, Donald Kagan, and Kimberly Kagan (the wife of Fred Kagan), all share a visceral hatred of Russia, and all of them also share instant entrée into the offices of almost any Republican member of Congress, and of almost all of the top or Presidential level of the Democratic Party, such as the Clintons and Obama, and their respective advisory friends. So, the Kagan clan pass easily as “neoconservatives” and “neoliberals” but, in any case, as ‘respectable’ haters of Vladimir Putin, and as passionate supporters of anyone in Russia who might be able to aid the U.S. aristocracy to bring him down and to restore post-Soviet Russia to control by the U.S. aristocracy as it had been under Boris Yeltsin.

Kerry had been advised by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to rely upon Nuland to become his chief Assistant Secretary, and even before Kerry became the new Secretary of State, Nuland was already actively working in the State Department to plan and organize a coup to bring down Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in order to enable Ukraine to become admitted ultimately into NATO and serve as a missile base against Moscow, right on Russia’s border. She installed anti-Russian rac. When Kerry finally had had enough of this, he contradicted her in public, and Obama backed Nuland and Kerry was sidelined from the Ukrainian issue for a while. This time, it’s Nuland who must eat crow.

The uprising against Assad had been in the planning stages from the very moment that Obama had entered the White House in 2009, but finally he seems to have decided that he himself will have to eat crow on this one. Kerry in that video seems pleased: he’s not being embarrassed this time, by his President, his boss.

The Russian Television (RT) video from the press conference in the morning presents Kerry sitting next to Nuland and praising both Putin and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, while Nuland starts to look down at around 0:50 on the video after Kerry says, “Russia made a significant contribution to the dialogue,” and yet again at 1:00 looks down when he says “Russia has been a significant contributor to the progress that we have been able to make.” Then, he says directly to Lavrov, “You personally have been a co-convenor,” and she yet again looks down, but this time even looks away, at her notes.

These results are a victory for Putin and his team, and for Kerry personally, and for the people of Syria, but not for the U.S. President and his closest advisors. Kerry has been isolated within this Gladio Obama Administrati, but nonetheless has achieved positive results, whereas Kerry’s predecessor in his office had been a failure, as her entire record in public life has been, for everyone except her corporate sponsors.

Those sponsors never give up, however. They might have lost a battle on this, but certainly not the war, which will continue.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


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Feb 9, 2016 8:51 AM


Another anti Assad and Russia hit job.
But when you scroll to the comments, it is clear that NONE of the readers are buying the bullshit.
Perhaps that why the comments already shut when others stay open for days?

Jennifer Hor
Jennifer Hor
Dec 18, 2015 12:07 PM

The two people looking down at Vladimir Putin’s attempt to shake Vickie Cookie Monster’s cold slimy amphibian hand happen to be Celeste Wallander, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia on the National Security Council, and John Tefft the US Ambassador to Russia and previously ambassador to Ukraine, Lithuania and Georgia. We may assume that with a CV like his, one of Tefft’s tasks as ambassador is to encourage and help the Russian “liberal opposition” along.

Dec 18, 2015 11:51 AM

America’s ruling elite is a clique of mendacious cynical thugs, any honour that once was died on the beaches of Normandy a lifetime ago.

Already the Americans are planning a massive financial tsunami against Russia for this act of public humiliation.

There is more honour in a lake full of crocodiles than in the American heart.

Dec 18, 2015 1:43 AM

Reblogged this on Siem Reap Mirror.

Dec 18, 2015 1:42 AM

Just another Anglo-Saxon trick. Cowards are happy to “negotiate” when there is serious resistance to their goals but ALWAYS stab you in the back at first viable opportunity. DO NOT TRUST THEM!

Marc Krizack
Marc Krizack
Dec 18, 2015 1:06 AM

Very revealing article. The one thing I question, and I don’t know the answer, I’m just questioning, is the way that Kerry is depicted almost as outside the administration while Nuland is inside. I think that Obama may have originally supported Nuland not because he supports the Neocons, but because of Neocon pressure. Now that the situation has changed, he can support Kerry. Although I have many criticisms of Obama, I do not think he is a Neocon. Rather, he has had to fight the Neocons at every step of the way, and seems to have done his best not to go along with them. Hilary Clinton, on the other hand, seems to be the Neocon successor to Joe Lieberman within the Democratic Party.

Dec 18, 2015 7:40 PM
Reply to  Marc Krizack

Clinton, Nuland and Liberman are all absolute dyed-in-the-wool zionists. There is THE connection.
There is nothing – Nothing! – they collectively will not do to promote the interests of the zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
As Obama finally made clear, he is sick and tired of the duplicity and hypocrisy of two-faced zionists like Netanyahu.
Obama is on the way out, not needing re-election, so he can finally push back against the zionists.
Clinton, meanwhile, needs AIPAC zionist money to get herself elected as POTUS.

Dec 18, 2015 12:44 AM

Very interesting article and an open eye. The US government has ceded to the “reason”? , apparently because they do not have another alternative against powerful Russia. Sooner or later some one would come and stop these insane genocides the Israel/US have been doing for so long time. Russia and china as emerging new superpowers will not allow these impertinent warmongers, and genocidal maniacs to continue devouring the whole world.

Dec 18, 2015 12:41 AM

All this rabble – Clinton, Nuland and the Kagans – are virulent zionist supporters who place the interests of a foreign elite in Tel Aviv above the interests of the people of the United States of America.
Such people are traitors to the interests of the people who elect and pay them to represent them.
Trump may be strange but he may just be an improvement on the scum that has been running Washington DC.
He could not be any worse!
May 2016 promises to be an interesting month if this report is correct in its details.

Dec 18, 2015 12:46 AM
Reply to  John

Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders is also bound to support Zionist interests and policies in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Dec 18, 2015 6:24 PM
Reply to  Vaska

Vaska. Bernie Sanders does not apparently have dual citizenship and objected strongly to that bitch of a presenter trying to paint him as a zionist protector. He may be Jewish, but many Jews in the US do not condone Israel’s activities and actively condemn their representation of the Judaic faith. Granted I don’t know much about Bernie except that he is a socialist, but he can hardly employ Israel’s example of socialism and hasn’t done to my knowledge. If you have reason to doubt his integrity leave a clue – a link to something I might have missed?
Many thanks for the above story, excellent as have been those previous.
I hope you are wrong about Sanders because the alternatives make my flesh crawl.

Dec 18, 2015 6:55 PM
Reply to  mohandeer

As far as I know, Sanders has never ever voted against weapons sales to Israel or objected to the U.S. relentless obstructionism in the UN Security Council, where it has vetoed every single attempt by the international community to sanction Israel for its appalling treatment of the native Palestinian population or its appropriation of Palestinian land and property.

Such a record itself is grounds for more than concern. It would be foolishly naive/optimistic imo to imagine that, once in office, Sanders would suddenly change stripes when it comes to Israel.

Feb 10, 2016 1:42 AM
Reply to  Vaska

Yes. Bernard sanders is an Eastern European (Polish) Jew who love Israel and her crimes against humanity against the Palestinians. We all need to watch: “Bernie Sanders Town hall Explodes over Israel” on You Tube.
Some say he holds dual citizenship with Israel, he denied but all the Jews deny any thing.

Feb 10, 2016 1:37 AM
Reply to  John

John, I agree with you on Trump. He might not be the best but it couldn’t be worse than all the others who kiss Satanyahu’s rear in order to have money for their political campaigns.