I’ve said it before. If there was one good thing that came out of Russia’s military intervention in Syria it has been that it has forced the US and its military to treat with Russia.
The contacts between the two militaries which have been developed since may very well save us a conflagration between the two in some future crisis and spare us nuclear extinction, albeit if does we will probably never know about it.
They certainly were instrumental in avoiding a blow up this April when Trump got it into his head he needed to lob cruise missiles into Syria.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov, had a “constructive” meeting in Finland, where they discussed the situation in Syria and European security.
Marine General Dunford and Army General Gerasimov met at the Konigstedt Manor in Helsinki on Friday after meeting senior Finnish officials.
“It is really good that the United States and Russia have a dialogue in a tense international environment,” Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini told Finnish broadcaster YLE.
The two generals discussed various ways of resolving the crisis in Syria, including the avoidance of incidents between the US and Russian forces operating in that country, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. They also touched upon the topic of lowering tensions and ensuring security in Europe.
“The US and Russian militaries have undertaken efforts to improve operational safety and strategic stability,” said Colonel Patrick S. Ryder, spokesman for the Joint Chiefs. “Both leaders recognize the importance of maintaining regular communication to avoid miscalculation and to promote transparency and deconfliction in areas where our militaries are operating in close proximity.”
Ryder added that both generals have agreed to keep the details of their talks private, “in accordance with past practice.”
Deconfliction is the Pentagon euphemism for arrangements made in Syria to avoid a clash between the US-led coalition on one side and the Russian military and its Syrian government allies on the other.
The two generals also sometimes speak over the phone, and there have been prior meetings over Syria between slightly lower-ranking Russian and US generals.