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Are Russia, US ready to cooperate on Syria and beyond?

Moscow is taking a wait-and-see position as the new US administration takes shape, but Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to see the potential for military and political cooperation with the US not witnessed since World War II.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov attend a meeting with top military officials at the Defence Ministry in Moscow, Russia December 22, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Nikolskyi via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTX2W5YN

As the Syrian war rages on and intense preparations are underway for Feb. 23 peace talks in Geneva, a key question being raised is whether Moscow and Washington might be coming together to reach a deal on Syria, or at least pooling their efforts to tackle the Islamic State (IS). The idea of such cooperation is anticipated by some and rejected by others.

A potential call for military cooperation with the US is brewing among Russian experts. Given the nontransparent nature of the Russian decision-making process, it’s hard to tell how accepting midlevel military personnel and diplomats are of this prospect. Most seem rather cautious about getting their hopes up for cooperation with the US. Some, like their American counterparts, feel a deep-seated distrust. But all are watching the thorny staffing process in Washington, trying to read the cards of nominations and what they might mean for the character of American foreign policies.

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