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Four years of failed U.S. policy toward Syria have produced alarming results that transcend the Levant.The Russian air assaults, however, signal Moscow's deep contempt for Washington and a careful calculation that the Obama administration will do nothing substantial to counter them. To the extent that the administration still believes that what happens in Syria stays in Syria, it is seriously mistaken. The Russian strategy may well be one of hitting areas where Nusra is either present or nearby, counting on the inability of Washington to object to a strike on Al-Qaeda. Yet reports indicate that nationalist units containing personnel trained and equipped by the United States over the past few years were hit – and hit hard. Representing as they do majority sentiment in Syria for an inclusive, non-Assad Syria, they top the elimination list for Russia, Iran, and the regime.Given the transcendent nature of the crisis, politics-as-usual should be suspended in Washington, at least with respect to Syria.Clearly, there is a disparity between how Moscow and Washington weigh the importance of Syria in the greater scheme of things – a disparity working entirely to Moscow's advantage.
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