On Janurary 28th President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Pentagon to come up with a plan for the defeat of ISIS within 30 days. The order is entitled: “Presidential Memorandum Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”
I’d like to draw attention to section 2, subsection (iii), paragraph (D):
(D) [The Plan shall include] identification of new coalition partners in the fight against ISIS and policies to empower coalition partners to fight ISIS and its affiliates;
So what’s so special about this?
Though Russia is not named explicitly, this paragraph is a very strong indication that Trump’s administration intends to cooperate militarily with Moscow in the battle to destory ISIS. After all, what other “new coalition partners” could be envisaged? (Trump’s certainly not teaming up with Iran.)
The new president, given his markedly anti-interventionist foreign policy, is probably quite hesitant to get trapped in another middle eastern quagmire. Nevertheless, he has promised the American people to destroy ISIS “quickly.” By effectively utilizing allies, he may be able to move towards that goal without involving American ground forces (which would not be welcomed in Syria anyway – perhaps only in Iraq).
After all, Russia is already “on the ground” in Syria with its air force and special forces. It would be much easier to “hire” Vladimir Putin to finish the terrorists off on the ground – with added material and maybe air support from the United States.
Expect strenous opposition from the US congress, neocon think tanks, and mainstream media – and possibly intelligence agencies – to any attempt to ally with Russia against ISIS. Nevertheless, the fight against a common enemy, one which is readily understable to everyone in the civilized world, represents a tremendous opening for ending the “new cold war” foisted on us by the Russia-hating neocons and beginning a new era of cooperation.
Let’s hope it works.