The German journalist Michael Thumann may still think so. He wrote nearly four months ago, on October 2, 2015, in Die Zeit Online that henceforth the west may have to talk to Putin.
The New York Times believed Putin’s air attacks made things worse, he writes, and confused things. That may be so. But another interpretation is possible. It can be argued that Putin’s intervention has changed the balance of power. In the late summer, it was possible to imagine the imminent departure of the dictator, Bashar al-Assad. He was under siege in Damascus and Aleppo. His forces were weakened and demoralized.
Russia saved him. For four years we did not know whether Assad owed his strength to Russian military support or to Iran’s. Now we know. Russia is his protector.
No solution of the war, Thumann wrote, is possible without Putin.