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Stirring more problems?

Oct 10,2016 - Last updated at Oct 10,2016

With Moscow deciding to increase its military involvement in Syria and establish a permanent military base in the country, tension between it and Washington can be expected to increase, hopefully not to crisis level.

The world has plenty of those and could ill afford one at this plane.

Russia is even threatening to set up military bases in Cuba and Vietnam, which could put the two superpowers on a collision course.

It was the military base of the former Soviet Union in Cuba that brought the two countries to the brink of a nuclear war in the early 1960s. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking advantage of two facts when it comes to Russian-US relations.

One is that Barack Obama is a lame-duck president who is not expected to counter any aggressive move by Moscow by force during the remaining few months of his term in office. 

Obama had already signalled that he seeks to avoid any military confrontation with Russia in the Middle East.

Putin is in a determined, one could say aggressive, mood, with some attributing his behaviour to Russia’s perception that the West, generally, and NATO in particular, is encroaching on territories hitherto under Russian sphere of influence, including, of course, Ukraine.

In the case of US alone, the Russian leader might want to prove that he can restore his country’s grand status, much diminished after the dismantling of the old world order and the Soviet Union.

France submitted a draft resolution on Syria a few days ago, calling for an end to all hostilities, including aerial bombing, especially over Aleppo and the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the besieged people of Aleppo and those elsewhere in the country. 

Moscow threatened to veto this benign resolution and submitted a counter draft resolution aimed to dislodge Al Nusra forces, deemed terrorist organisation, from east Aleppo.

The world powers should dampen down the muscle flexing and try, instead, to find a common denominator that could serve as a basis for improved relations between them. 

 

Moscow and Washington should show statesmanship and not allow their differences to escalate to unpredictable levels.

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