An Interesting Week – by Nate

This week was full of developments in the Syrian conflict, and as such, I spent much of the week keeping up on the developments.  Russian President Vladimir P. Putin, a leader with a somewhat disingenuous reputation, wrote an op-ed to the New York Times, which was very interesting and received a wide variety of reactions (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0).  Also this week, the Obama administration toned down its rhetoric on possible Syrian resolutions, promising to search for a diplomatic solution, rather than a military one.  This change in tone came as public opinion in the United States continued to rise in favor of staying out, mostly due to fears that we would be in another inevitable war, although the Obama administration has continued to promise that any intervention would be brief– in the words of President Obama, “a shot across the bow.”

The Putin editorial was one of the more spectacular incidents to happen in a while in international politics.  I really appreciated Miss Maddow’s comments in the skype interview we had with her on Friday– while Mr. Putin made several good and fair points, he really doesn’t have the moral ground to make those points.

However, the most interesting thing to occur this week (and possibly hopeful) was the Russian proposal that picked up on some stray comments made by US Secretary of State John Kerry that alluded to the idea that under the  crazy scenario that the Syrian administration would give up all their chemical weapons for international control in exchange for the US staying out of the conflict.  This has been extremely promising, and while I don’t want to break down the whole situation here, I will say that I believe it will be too difficult to actually achieve and is pretty much just a PR move by the Russians.

In terms of my own research, I spent most of this week keeping up on these developments.  However, next week, I want to get deep into the history of the Assad administration, with it’s roots in the Cold War, going back to the Baath Party and all that.

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