Syria means that the Russian-American “reset” is for all purposes over.

Not that you didn’t know that already, but let’s bury that part of the recent past and see what can be salvaged in relations between the USA and Russia. On the one hand you have a strong-willed and stubborn Russian leader who can’t stand the sight or thought of the weak American leader. Across the pond we have an American leader who aside from slogans about hope and change wouldn’t understand reality if it was delivered with roses on a breakfast platter. Yet he somehow still holds onto hope that a US Secretary of State equally loathed by the Russians will somehow change something to make relations work somehow.

Lest we forget, there is also the matter of a new(er) American Ambassador who has done everything in his power, and then some, to alienate the Russians from the day he stepped off the plane. That is what political appointments get you, inept representation. Good Gawd, we might as well pack up and leave at this rate.

So last Wednesday when Presidents Putin and Obama held a conversation, the Russian press office made it abundantly clear that the call was on the initiative of Washington. Mr. Obama made the call and the two men spoke for a few minutes, mainly about Syria but during the conversation President Obama also extended condolences to the Russian people on the recent loss of life from flooding in Russia’s southern regions.

Likely Mr. Putin will reciprocate with a call regarding the tragedy in Colorado. We remember that after “9/11” President Putin was the first world leader to pick up the telephone and express his solidarity with the American people.

So what about Syria? After Wednesday’s little chat are we any closer to an agreement? Washington later labeled the call as substantial, you know, the standard hope and change bullcrap. Moscow was much more honest, honesty being something that is trending in Russia’s favour recently; but no, the call was nothing more than a discussion and no agreements were reached.

You could almost read the smirk as the Russian’s described the situation as “a trend toward exacerbation.” President Putin went on to say that “differences in opinion remain regarding concrete measures for achieving a settlement.” Mr. Putin, the community organizer in Washington only understands two words, hope and change, so you may wish to grant them some time to digest the meaning of “differences in opinion.” It may not seem that difficult to you but those three words represent a 150% increase in the official Washington vocabulary.

Russian Security council, Novo-Ogaryovo, Friday 20 July 2012.

As this is the first time in the new Putin administration that we’ve covered the Russian Security Council, we’ll introduce each member. Participants in the meeting included Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seated at Mr. Putin’s immediate right. Council of Federation Chairperson Valentina Matviyenko is seated at Mr. Putin’s immediate left, and next to her is Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Ivanov, and then alternating sides down the table is State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov is last on Mr. Putin’s right and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov is seen last at Mr. Putin’s left.

Domestic terrorism, possibly by Islamic extremists, took up a great deal of the meeting following the events this week in Kazan. In addition to evaluation of official reports, Mr. Putin sent his condolences to the heads of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslim of the Republic of Tatarstan, a federal subject (Republic status) within the Russian Federation.

Not that the Russian’s aren’t worried about Syria because they are concerned. Friday at the regular meeting of the President’s Security Council the Syrian situation took up a great deal of the discussion ending a strongly worded statement by President Putin that any attempts to bypass the UN Security Council will be ineffective and lead to undermining the authority of the United Nations. Frankly, that is a bit self-serving given the fear of the Kremlin of a similar revolution on Russian soil.

The Mendeleyev Journal agrees with the Russian position on Syria. From Europe to Iraq and Afghanistan, etc, every time the Americans rush in to topple some despot, we somehow end up on the wrong side of the issue. Middle East and European Christians, natural US allies, have suffered greatly with thousands being killed while the Muslim populations we’ve “liberated” invariably turn on us in short order.

Message to Obama: Stay out of Syria.

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