This is why there is no "silver bullet" argument that will convince Moscow to change its perspective on the Syria issue. It also means that the likely concessions that the West might offer in order to gain Russian support for regime change would be insufficient. Given that the United States is not going to make Russian acquiescence with U.S. preferences on Syria a litmus test for the bilateral relationship, Russia has too much to lose, in terms of sustaining its relationships with other potentially embattled leaders around the world, by seemingly abandoning a trusted and reliable client.
So expect no major breakthroughs in the U.S.-Russian impasse over Syria.
Nikolas K. Gvosdev, a senior editor at The National Interest, is a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College. The views expressed are entirely his own.