Winner and loser talk will now come forth over the U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria's chemical weapons. Not to put too much stock in any of it, I nonetheless found Juan Cole's analysis astute, and nothing you'll see in most U.S. media.

"The big losers were the anti-Baath Syria hawks, who were hoping that a US attack on Syria with cruise missiles would draw the Obama administration inexorably into the conflict on the side of the rebels."

"The winners were the Shanghai Cooperation Council and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which overlap somewhat. It is worth noting that Lavrov explicitly thanked this bloc...."

Cole also noted Russian concern and support for Syria's Christian many of whom are Orthodox. Hadn't thought about that. Whole thing here.

And this from a scholar of Russian-U.S. relations sent to me privately.

"I predicted the other night that [the] Syrian crisis will be looked back upon as decisive moment in US foreign policy in [the] 21st century. Because either political dynamic for endless war finally reverses; or because it continues in the face of a manifest opportunity for political solution. If there is a war anyway, no one can pretend that US political system is not addicted to it."

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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