Washington will have ‘observer’ status only at the latest round of negotiations.
America’s diminished role in world affairs will be underlined today when a new round of Syria talks begins without a single diplomat flying in from Washington to attend.
After years of frantic shuttle diplomacy by John Kerry, secretary of state under President Obama, the talks will instead be sponsored by Russia and Turkey, with Iran acting as a third member of an informal triumvirate of regional powers. They are being held firmly outside the American sphere of influence; in Astana, the snow-bound capital of the central Asian state of Kazakhstan, formerly part of the USSR.
Diplomats and a large delegation of Syrian rebels arrived in the early hours of yesterday, appearing bemused that a city where average temperatures in January are minus 14C had been…