Original content provided by Lina Abisoghomyan
Vladimir Putin- Putin has made a name for himself amongst the Russian people in proclaiming anti-Western sentiment as a necessary acceptance for a staunch reality. He has drafted and run with an agenda that puts, rightfully, his country's interests first. However, he has considered the West an adversary instead of even a hopeful ally which renders his plans risky and unsustainable in the long run.
Bashaar al-Assad- Having been accused of a multitude of human rights violations including using chemical weapons against his own people, Assad has put himself in an uncompromising situation and works with the Russians as a fallback in protecting himself from the West.
the West, as represented by the United States- Since the sanctions relating to the Ukraine crisis, the West has not put up much of an on-stage fight. However, in the workings of the mechanism are deep set on skepticism.
Putin crafts his anti-Western argument from multiple points.
Firstly, he quotes former US Secretary of State James Baker's promise that the West would not come closer to Russia's sphere of influence to say that the West has gone back on its promises. Secondly, he expresses confidence in Russia's ability to withstand sanctions because of close economic ties to NATO who Putin argues would not be able to hang on in the long run without Russian oil. Thirdly, Putin quotes his geopolitical strengths in influencing important actors like Iran on top issues like nuclear nonproliferation. Fourth, Putin finds particular individuals throughout the EU, top-officials such as Former Premier Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and isolates them as pro-Russian supporters. Fifth, Putin points out his push-pull with his ability to set oil prices that are extremely important to the Western world. Sixth, Putin claims the US forces are weak with their overextension and deployments.
The new round of the Cold War has brought about questions, as usual, of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national identity. However, it also brings about a wake-up call in the eyes of the realist. Ukraine is old news now, and has translated into a status quo. As far as Syria goes, Putin has stepped in as a strategic stronghold and defense for Assad, knowing full well that when he ordered his men to exit Assad would be left vulnerable to his regime's collapse. This way, Putin has allied himself with Assad, who owes Moscow for his protection late September 2015 and their continued involvement recently. Facing an increasingly difficult situation, he can opt to retreat to a protected exile in Russia in exchange for allowing the entry of a pro-Russian interim government.