Everyone wishes that the joint US-UK-France operation in Syria will not presage broader military activity, but rather will be an isolated event. One hopes that arms will give way to diplomacy, negotiation, and dialogue for an area that has paid a heavy toll in blood to exit the crisis.

As self-evident as this wish may be, so too one can easily understand that the solutions in geopolitics do not come with pious wishes. All too often, cynicism prevails over any humanistic views or pretenses.

Even the most well-meaning person cannot but think that behind the operation carried out on account of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, there is a harsh geopolitical calculus. Syria is no longer a normal country, and it has ceased to be a country in civil war. It is now a pie to be divided among the strong of the planet – each with its own aims and demands.

Our country is not in the Middle East. But it is not far from the Middle East. Consequently, constant vigilance and diplomatic ability is needed to maintain the balance between the two basic poles vying for the pie in Syria: Russian and the West.

It is not the rule of neutrality that mandates this stance, but the obligation to exercise prudence.