US General Doubts Cooperation With Russia on Syria Is Possible

US General Doubts Cooperation With Russia on Syria Is Possible | Insists US can win Syria militarily without Russia

In an interview today with the Associated Press, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend downplayed the chances of a joint US-Russia military operation in Syria, saying he is “fairly skeptical of the Russians” and doesn’t believe that it’s even possible to cooperate with them.

Townsend went on to say that while the decision to cooperate would be up to the Obama Administration and not the Pentagon, he was confident that the military could finish their mission of wiping out ISIS inside Syria without Russian help.

The general’s comments mirror those of a lot of other Pentagon officials, who appear to overwhelmingly oppose any deal to cooperate with Russia. The negotiations, which Secretary of State John Kerry was spear-heading, planned joint operations against al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

But Nusra’s rebranding, as an ideologically identical faction that isn’t technically an al-Qaeda affiliate, seems to have been sufficient that a lot of the concern about them is fading in the US, and as Nusra gains territory around Aleppo, most administration officials are focusing on condemning Russia for resisting Nusra’s advances.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • dieter heymann

    Did he check that statement out with the White House? If not he must be cashiered. Generals do not make foreign policies even military policies.

    • TellTheTruth-2

      My thoughts exactly. Why are we in Syria?

      • Bill Rood

        Many good and sound reasons:

        1) to sell and expend US manufactured weaponry, 2) to enhance the careers of military brass, civilian employees of the CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and militarist thinktanks, 3) to guarantee full emplloyment for “US persons” required by ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and keep those employees loyal to the system, 4) to provide pork for politicians and 5) to sell blockbuster movies and advertisements under sensational headlines 5) to contribute to the necessary fear and jingoism that keeps the system going.

    • Hawkeye

      Actually, in the US anti-democracy, the regional military commanders serve as a sort of pro-consul and they do indeed make foreign policy. At times you will see conflicting policies between the ‘civilians’ and the ‘military’.

      Its mostly been hidden for the last couple of decades, because we’ve had Presidents who wouldn’t challenge the military over anything. But, we saw a couple of times in the Clinton admin that the Commander-in-Chief thought he could give orders to the military and they told him to go stuff it.

      The most obvious and public case was the ‘gays in the military’ under Clinton. There was another well-reported case where Clinton tried to send an Admiral to deliver a message to Indonesian (at the time of E. Timor) and the Admiral did just the opposite.

      And of course, there was the famous case where Bush tried to start a war with Iran but another Admiral in charge of the Pentagon said ‘no’.

      So, yes, under an actual democracy, the military would be constrained from making policy and that would stay in the hands of civilians. But, people ranging from former Presidents to political scientists who’ve studied America have concluded and stated that America is no longer a functioning democracy.

      • eric

        You are right Generals do make foreign policy . A example might be when U.S. general Wesley Clark commanding all NATO force issued order to shoot the Russian soldiers . The English officers under him did make foreign policy too by refusing to obey his orders . In this respect even privates also can make foreign policy too

  • curmudgeonvt

    “…doesn’t believe that it’s even possible to cooperate with them.”

    When you are predisposed to NOT cooperate, well, then you’re not going to cooperate, are you? There seems to be an underlying attitude within the Pentagon hierarchy to demonize the Russians for some unstated reason – even when the target is in both our interests – presuming, of course, that the US’s interests include destroying radical Islamic terrorists…you know, those people who reportedly brought down the WTC. I’d really like to know what it is that Putin actually did to foster such animus from the military/politicians.

    • Bill Rood

      Well, somebody placed Russia’s borders too close to our military bases, and Putin is their leader. Next question, please.

  • Yosarian

    This is real money to these guys. Currently ‘Fear the Russians’ is the gravy train that they are riding in order to steal hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Any suggestion that the Russians might be rational (more rational than the the Dubya/Cheney/Clinton neocons) and might be someone that can be worked with is a slippery slope that might lead to American taxpayers asking why they need to pay high taxes and see all of it wasted on weapons that otherwise do no good. Certainly less good than a new dam, a new school, a new hospital or a repaired bridge or highway.

    So, to keep the gravy train running and the hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into their pockets, they absolutely must play up the ‘Russia-threat’ and you’ll never hear any of them say otherwise. The higher command would probably find a way to remove and replace any officer who started saying things that might interrupt the gravy train.

  • eric

    Townsend sounds like a rather stupid general . He says he is rather skeptical of the Russians . Boy I’am a lot more skeptical of him . We have been working on Syria now for 5 yrs . The only headway I have seen was when Russia was invited in .

    • GeorgyOrwell

      To bad Putin isn’t running for POTUS. I’d vote for him over these two vile despicable pieces of shit any day!