However Annoying, Failure to Engage Russia Is Not an Option

Negotiations to end civil war in Syria, which has left 250,000 dead, and forced more than 10 million to flee their homes, are set to resume February 25. Syrian troops, aided by Russian airstrikes, are gradually retaking territory held by the rebels. “Russia needs to be convinced that an immediate ceasefire rather than the continuation of war serves its long-term interests,” argues Jochen Prantl, director, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, and associate professor in international relations at the Australian National University, adding that Russia as a major military power and one of five members with veto power on the UN Security Council has great capacity to help or hinder any global or regional peace initiative. Many Russians yearn for their country to be regarded as both powerful and responsible global player. The collapse in oil prices could encourage engagement – and remind the world that Russia is geographically and culturally poised to bridge East and West. Universities, foundations, diplomats and even corporations must find ways to convince Russia that balanced foreign policy with minimal aggression could be highly profitable. – YaleGlobal