I am no fan or apologist of Russia, but I am pleased that the USA is now trying to work with Russia for a solution in Syria. Russia has projected her power into this troubled country, just as the USA has sought to do, so it is better if they talk to each other about what they are each trying to do there. The people of Syria need to be spared bombing by competing large powers from outside the country.
The West has to get over Crimea. Crimea cannot be prised back by military means, and there is no obvious diplomatic solution to that issue in sight. The West needs to make clear further territorial expansion by occupation will invite a military response wherever there is a NATO guarantee as it has been saying, but we now need to reach understandings with Russia about issues where we have common or conflicting concerns.
Russia is flexing her diplomatic muscles and is creating a series of alliances across the Middle East and with other oil producing countries worldwide. The politics of oil are an important part of the question, given Russia’s reliance on black gold for her hard currency earnings.
As for Syria, the West needs to understand that its attempt to find moderate rebels against the Assad regime who can both stay moderate and fight their way to a victory against both Assad and ISIL was never a credible policy. Pouring more arms into the country for the good forces just added to the explosive mix and often led to the weapons falling into wrong hands. Selective bombing just killed more people and extended the range of violence and left open the possibility of hitting the wrong people or fuelling anti western propaganda from the opportunity western bombs create for the bad forces to spin the tragedy as they see fit.
There is no easy answer to the long and murderous Syrian civil wars. Those who think the west must do something should perhaps first say the west must avoid doing more harm.Talking to Russia is a first step in trying to explore when the warring factions on the ground will all conclude there is no victory or military solution in sight for any of them.