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Russia, Syria Must Resist Urge to Retaliate Against US Attacks — At Least for Now

Escalation would be counter-productive, but the US could interpret too much appeasement the wrong way

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Robert Parry made an incredibly astute and important point in his latest over at Consortium News. Commenting on the apparent US thirst for a broader war in Syria against its Russian-backed government, Parry observed:

Ironically, the best hope for averting a dangerous escalation into a global conflict is to rely on Assad, Putin, Iran and Hezbollah to show restraint in the face of illegal military attacks by the United States and its Mideast allies inside Syria.

In other words, after the U.S. military has bombed Syrian government forces on their own territory and shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday – and after Israel has launched its own strikes inside Syria and after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have financed and armed jihadists to overthrow Assad – it is now up to the Syrian government and its allies to turn the other cheek.

Of course, there is also a danger that comes from such self-control, in that it may encourage the aggressors to test the limits even further, seeing restraint as an acceptance of their impunity and a reason to ignore whatever warnings are issued and red lines drawn.

Parry could not be more right. This is no time for petty pride. There is absolutely nothing Syria or Russia stand to gain from a war with the US. If a war can be avoided it should be -- at almost any cost whatsoever.

However, there is also the other danger: that enduring American attacks without pushing back actually helps war break out, as it could potentially hand the US carte blanche in Syria.

At a certain point, appeasement becomes counter-productive.

Damascus and Moscow will not passively endure everything and anything the US throws at them, so they should avoid giving the Americans the impression that they will.

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