Ironically their rivalry in eastern Syria is forcing them to talk to each other more intensely than ever before
The US military has disclosed it has held the first ever meeting with Russian generals directing Russia’s military intervention in Syria last week.
The meeting was held to try and ease the US-Russian rivalry in eastern Syria which threatens to turn into a military confrontation.
“They had a face-to-face discussion, laid down maps and graphics,” in the first meeting of its kind, U.S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman in Baghdad for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the IS extremist group, told a Pentagon briefing.
Thank the heavens. The one positive sign in the crescendo of threats, warnings, accusations and counter-accusations coming out of the race for Euphrates has been that the Americans and Russians have kept talking. In fact we now know they have increased their contacts as is only appropriate.
To ease US-Russian tensions in Syria there exists one permanent telephone line dealing with air operations, another continously operating line for ground operations, and finally an ad-hoc line for top brass to talk directly, as overall American and Russian military commanders, Dunford and Gerasimov, did last week for an hour.
Truly, for all the Russian-American tension their respective military interventions in Syria have caused, one good thing to come out of them is that it has forced the two militaries to talk more to each other than they have done ever before, and at even comparatively low levels.
Aside from perhaps preventing a Russian-US clash in eastern Syria that could easily develop into something far more destructive, it gives the opportunity to officers of both to get to understand the other side directly on a more human level.
Perhaps the measure of their opponent they take during these exchanges, or the contacts they develop end up averting a US-Russian military miscalculation or catastrophe years or decades from now.