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Fareed Zakaria’s “post-American world” may not be as benign as the author envisaged back in 2008. Other centers of power may follow Russia’s lead and start exploiting the cracks in the international order rather than engage in helping to patch them up.
As soon as the U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire agreement collapsed about two weeks ago, Assad’s army, supported by the Russian air force, intensified its bombing campaign and artillery shelling of the besieged areas. The Syrian government prevents humanitarian aid from getting to Aleppo, saying that this is how the rebels get arms and ammunition. The result is a bloody stalemate in which neither side is prepared to compromise and no force on the ground is overwhelming enough to claim victory and thus end the carnage. Eastern Aleppo is facing defeat by slow attrition if no political agreement is reached.
I don’t know whether the Kremlin even has a favorite in the U.S. elections, but I do know what Russia’s ruling politicians love to watch. They love seeing others get caught in what one might call a “Russian trap”: when others are caught doing the very thing they accuse Moscow of doing. They enjoy watching those who accuse Moscow of calling its opponents “foreign agents” do the same to their own political opponents.
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