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The much anticipated first face-to-face meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and

Vladimir Putin has taken place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg,
Germany. The two presidents met for over two hours, with only translators and their
respective chief diplomatsSecretary of State Rex Tillerson and Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrovjoining them. Despite its length, the meetings narrow agenda, which
Tillerson himself called transactional, also underscores the continuing dysfunction
in U.S.-Russia relations.

Both the State Department and the Kremlin confirmed that the two presidents
discussed cyber security, Ukraine and Syria. Specific deliverables were limited,
and focused primarily on improving the conditions for continuing dialogue,
especially around the shared priority of counterterrorism. This should at least
reassure Trumps critics that no grand bargain has been offered or agreed linking
Syria, Ukraine, or any other issue.

According to TilleWhy people online dont read to the end.

By Farhad Manjoo
A person browses through media websites on a computer on May 30, 2013.
She's already stopped reading
Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Im going to keep this brief, because youre not going to stick around for long.
Ive already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page,
about 61 of you38 percentare already gone. You bounced in Web traffic jargon,
meaning you spent no time engaging with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! Were at the
point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who
didnt bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So were 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the
people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry
about your attention span, even your intellig wait a second, where are you guys
going? Youre tweeting a link to this article already? You havent even read it
yet! What if I go on to advocate something truly awful, like a constitutional
amendment requiring that we all type two spaces after a period?

Wait, hold on, now you guys are leaving too? Youre going off to comment? Come on!
Theres nothing to say yet. I havent even gotten to the nut graph.

Get Slate in your inbox.

I better get on with it. So heres the story: Only a small number of you are
reading all the way through articles on the Web. Ive long suspected this, because
so many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned
later in the piece. But now Ive got proof. I asked Josh Schwartz, a data scientist
at the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, to look at how people scroll through Slate
articles. Schwartz also did a similar analysis for other sites that use Chartbeat
and have allowed the firm to include their traffic in its aggregate analyses.

Schwartzs data shows that readers cant stay focused. The more I type, the more of
you tune out. And its not just me. Its not just Slate. Its everywhere online.
When people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. A
lot of people dont even make it halfway. Even more dispiriting is the relationship
between scrolling and sharing. Schwartzs data suggest that lots of people are
tweeting out links to articles they havent fully read. If you see someone
recommending a story online, you shouldnt assume that he has read the thing hes
sharing.
OK, were a few hundred words into the story now. According to the data, for every
100 readers who didnt bounce up at the top, there are about 50 whove stuck
around. Only one-half!

Take a look at the following graph created by Schwartz, a histogram showing where
people stopped scrolling in Slate articles. Chartbeat can track this information
because it analyzes reader behavior in real timeevery time a Web browser is on a
Slate page, Chartbeats software records what that browser is doing on a second-by-
second basis, including which portion of the page the browser is currently viewing.

A typical Web article is about 2000 pixels long. In the graph below, each bar
represents the share of readers who got to a particular depth in the story. Theres
a spike at 0 percenti.e., the very top pixel on the pagebecause 5 percent of
readers never scrolled deeper than that spot. (A few notes: This graph only
includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at allusers who
"bounced" from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented. The X
axis goes beyond 100 percent to include stuff, like the comments section, that
falls below the 2,000-pixel mark. Finally, the spike near the end is an anomaly
caused by pages containing photos and videoson those pages, people scroll through
the whole page.)

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Chartbeats data shows that most readers scroll to about the 50 percent mark, or
the 1,000th pixel, in Slate stories. Thats not very far at all. I looked at a
number of recent pieces to see how much youd get out of a story if you only made
it to the 1,000th pixel. Take Mario Vittones piece, published this week, on the
warning signs that someone might be drowning. If the top of your browser reached
only the 1,000th pixel in that article, the bottom of your browser would be at
around pixel number 1,700 (the typical browser window is 700 pixels tall). At that
point, youd only have gotten to warning signs No. 1 and 2youd have missed the
fact that people who are drowning dont wave for help, that they cannot voluntarily
control their arm movements, and one other warning sign I didnt get to because I
havent finished reading that story yet.

Or look at John Dickersons fantastic article about the IRS scandal or something.
If you only scrolled halfway through that amazing piece, you would have read just
the first four paragraphs. Now, trust me when I say that beyond those four
paragraphs, John made some really good points about whatever it is his article is
about, some strong points thatwithout spoiling it for youyou really have to read
to believe. But of course you didnt read it because you got that IM and then you
had to look at a video and then the phone rang

The worst thing about Schwartzs graph is the big spike at zero. About 5 percent of
people who land on Slate pages and are engaged with the page in some waythat is,
the page is in a foreground tab on their browser and theyre doing something on it,
like perhaps moving the mouse pointernever scroll at all. Now, do you know what
you get on a typical Slate page if you never scroll? Bupkis. Depending on the size
of the picture at the top of the page and the height of your browser window, youll
get, at most, the first sentence or two. Theres a good chance youll see none of
the article at all. And yet people are leaving without even starting. Whats wrong
with them? Whyd they even click on the page?

Schwarzs histogram for articles across lots of sites is in some ways more
encouraging than the Slate data, but in other ways even sadder:
This is a similar histogram for a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

On these sites, the median scroll depth is slightly greatermost people get to 60
percent of the article rather than the 50 percent they reach on Slate pages. On the
other hand, on these pages a higher share of people10 percentnever scroll. In
general, though, the story across the Web is similar to the story at Slate: Few
people are making it to the end, and a surprisingly large number arent giving
articles any chance at all.

Were getting deep on the page here, so basically only my mom is still reading
this. (Thanks, Mom!) But lets talk about how scroll depth relates to sharing. I
asked Schwartz if he could tell me whether people who are sharing links to articles
on social networks are likely to have read the pieces theyre sharing.

He told me that Chartbeat cant directly track when individual readers tweet out
links, so it cant definitively say that people are sharing stories before theyve
read the whole thing. But Chartbeat can look at the overall tweets to an article,
and then compare that number to how many people scrolled through the article.
Heres Schwartzs analysis of the relationship between scrolling and sharing on
Slate pages:

130507_TECH_Twitter1
Courtesy of Chartbeat

These graphs show the relationship between scrolling and Tweets on Slate pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And heres a similar look at the relationship between scrolling and sharing across
sites monitored by Chartbeat:

This graph shows the relationship between scroll depth and Tweets across a large
number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

They each show the same thing: Theres a very weak relationship between scroll
depth and sharing. Both at Slate and across the Web, articles that get a lot of
tweets dont necessarily get read very deeply. Articles that get read deeply arent
necessarily generating a lot of tweets.

As a writer, all this data annoys me. It may not be obviousespecially to you guys
whove already left to watch Arrested Developmentbut I spend a lot of time and
energy writing these stories. Im even careful about the stuff at the very end;
like right now, Im wondering about what I should say next, and whether I should
include these two other interesting graphs I got from Schwartz, or perhaps I should
skip them because they would cause folks to tune out, and maybe its time to wrap
things up anyway

But whats the point of all that? Schwartz tells me that on a typical Slate page,
only 25 percent of readers make it past the 1,600th pixel of the page, and were
way beyond that now. Sure, like every other writer on the Web, I want my articles
to be widely read, which means I want you to Like and Tweet and email this piece to
everyone you know. But if you had any inkling of doing that, youd have done it
already. Youd probably have done it just after reading the headline and seeing the
picture at the top. Nothing I say at this point matters at all.
So, what the hey, here are a couple more graphs, after which I promise Ill wrap
things up for the handful of folks who are still left around here. (What losers you
are! Dont you have anything else to do?)

This heatmap shows where readers spend most of their time on Slate pages:

This "heatmap" shows where readers spend time on Slate pages. The
"hot" red spots represent more time on that part of the page; the
"cooler" blue spots represent less time.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And this one shows where people spend time across Chartbeat sites:

similar heatmap across a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Schwartz told me I should be very pleased with Slates map, which shows that a lot
of people are moved to spend a significant amount of their time below the initial
scroll window of an article page. On Chartbeats aggregate data, about two-thirds
of the time people spend on a page is below the fold; on Slate, that number is
86.2 percent. Thats notably good, Schwartz told me. We generally see that
higher-quality content causes people to scroll further, and thats one of the
highest below-the-fold engagement numbers Ive ever seen.

A SLATE PLUS SPECIAL FEATURE:


You Will Not Comment on This Article

A primer on commenting on Slate.


Yay! Well, theres one big caveat: Its probably Slates page design thats
boosting our number there. Since you usually have to scroll below the fold to see
just about any part of an article, Slates below-the-fold engagement looks really
great. But if articles started higher up on the page, it might not look as good.

In other words: Ugh.

Finally, while I hate to see these numbers when I consider them as a writer, as a
reader Im not surprised. I read tons of articles every day. I share dozens of
links on Twitter and Facebook. But how many do I read in full? How many do I share
after reading the full thing? Honestlyand I feel comfortable saying this because
even moms stopped reading at this pointnot too many. I wonder, too, if this
applies to more than just the Web. With ebooks and streaming movies and TV shows,
its easier than ever, now, to switch to something else. In the past year my wife
and I have watched at least a half-dozen movies to about the 60 percent mark. There
are several books on my Kindle Ive never experienced past Chapter 2. Though I
loved it and recommend it to everyone, I never did finish the British version of
the teen drama Skins. Battlestar Galactica, toobailed on it in the middle, hoping
to one day jump back in. Will I? Probably not.

Maybe this is just our cultural lot: We live in the age of skimming. I want to
finish the whole thing, I really do. I wish you would, too. Reallystop quitting!
But who am I kidding. Im busy. Youre busy. Theres always something else to read,
watch, play, or eat.

OK, this is where Id come up with some clWhy people online dont read to the end.

By Farhad Manjoo
A person browses through media websites on a computer on May 30, 2013.
She's already stopped reading
Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Im going to keep this brief, because youre not going to stick around for long.
Ive already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page,
about 61 of you38 percentare already gone. You bounced in Web traffic jargon,
meaning you spent no time engaging with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! Were at the
point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who
didnt bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So were 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the
people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry
about your attention span, even your intellig wait a second, where are you guys
going? Youre tweeting a link to this article already? You havent even read it
yet! What if I go on to advocate something truly awful, like a constitutional
amendment requiring that we all type two spaces after a period?

Wait, hold on, now you guys are leaving too? Youre going off to comment? Come on!
Theres nothing to say yet. I havent even gotten to the nut graph.

Get Slate in your inbox.

I better get on with it. So heres the story: Only a small number of you are
reading all the way through articles on the Web. Ive long suspected this, because
so many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned
later in the piece. But now Ive got proof. I asked Josh Schwartz, a data scientist
at the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, to look at how people scroll through Slate
articles. Schwartz also did a similar analysis for other sites that use Chartbeat
and have allowed the firm to include their traffic in its aggregate analyses.

Schwartzs data shows that readers cant stay focused. The more I type, the more of
you tune out. And its not just me. Its not just Slate. Its everywhere online.
When people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. A
lot of people dont even make it halfway. Even more dispiriting is the relationship
between scrolling and sharing. Schwartzs data suggest that lots of people are
tweeting out links to articles they havent fully read. If you see someone
recommending a story online, you shouldnt assume that he has read the thing hes
sharing.

OK, were a few hundred words into the story now. According to the data, for every
100 readers who didnt bounce up at the top, there are about 50 whove stuck
around. Only one-half!

Take a look at the following graph created by Schwartz, a histogram showing where
people stopped scrolling in Slate articles. Chartbeat can track this information
because it analyzes reader behavior in real timeevery time a Web browser is on a
Slate page, Chartbeats software records what that browser is doing on a second-by-
second basis, including which portion of the page the browser is currently viewing.

A typical Web article is about 2000 pixels long. In the graph below, each bar
represents the share of readers who got to a particular depth in the story. Theres
a spike at 0 percenti.e., the very top pixel on the pagebecause 5 percent of
readers never scrolled deeper than that spot. (A few notes: This graph only
includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at allusers who
"bounced" from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented. The X
axis goes beyond 100 percent to include stuff, like the comments section, that
falls below the 2,000-pixel mark. Finally, the spike near the end is an anomaly
caused by pages containing photos and videoson those pages, people scroll through
the whole page.)

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Chartbeats data shows that most readers scroll to about the 50 percent mark, or
the 1,000th pixel, in Slate stories. Thats not very far at all. I looked at a
number of recent pieces to see how much youd get out of a story if you only made
it to the 1,000th pixel. Take Mario Vittones piece, published this week, on the
warning signs that someone might be drowning. If the top of your browser reached
only the 1,000th pixel in that article, the bottom of your browser would be at
around pixel number 1,700 (the typical browser window is 700 pixels tall). At that
point, youd only have gotten to warning signs No. 1 and 2youd have missed the
fact that people who are drowning dont wave for help, that they cannot voluntarily
control their arm movements, and one other warning sign I didnt get to because I
havent finished reading that story yet.

Or look at John Dickersons fantastic article about the IRS scandal or something.
If you only scrolled halfway through that amazing piece, you would have read just
the first four paragraphs. Now, trust me when I say that beyond those four
paragraphs, John made some really good points about whatever it is his article is
about, some strong points thatwithout spoiling it for youyou really have to read
to believe. But of course you didnt read it because you got that IM and then you
had to look at a video and then the phone rang

The worst thing about Schwartzs graph is the big spike at zero. About 5 percent of
people who land on Slate pages and are engaged with the page in some waythat is,
the page is in a foreground tab on their browser and theyre doing something on it,
like perhaps moving the mouse pointernever scroll at all. Now, do you know what
you get on a typical Slate page if you never scroll? Bupkis. Depending on the size
of the picture at the top of the page and the height of your browser window, youll
get, at most, the first sentence or two. Theres a good chance youll see none of
the article at all. And yet people are leaving without even starting. Whats wrong
with them? Whyd they even click on the page?

Schwarzs histogram for articles across lots of sites is in some ways more
encouraging than the Slate data, but in other ways even sadder:

This is a similar histogram for a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

On these sites, the median scroll depth is slightly greatermost people get to 60
percent of the article rather than the 50 percent they reach on Slate pages. On the
other hand, on these pages a higher share of people10 percentnever scroll. In
general, though, the story across the Web is similar to the story at Slate: Few
people are making it to the end, and a surprisingly large number arent giving
articles any chance at all.

Were getting deep on the page here, so basically only my mom is still reading
this. (Thanks, Mom!) But lets talk about how scroll depth relates to sharing. I
asked Schwartz if he could tell me whether people who are sharing links to articles
on social networks are likely to have read the pieces theyre sharing.

He told me that Chartbeat cant directly track when individual readers tweet out
links, so it cant definitively say that people are sharing stories before theyve
read the whole thing. But Chartbeat can look at the overall tweets to an article,
and then compare that number to how many people scrolled through the article.
Heres Schwartzs analysis of the relationship between scrolling and sharing on
Slate pages:

130507_TECH_Twitter1
Courtesy of Chartbeat

These graphs show the relationship between scrolling and Tweets on Slate pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And heres a similar look at the relationship between scrolling and sharing across
sites monitored by Chartbeat:

This graph shows the relationship between scroll depth and Tweets across a large
number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

They each show the same thing: Theres a very weak relationship between scroll
depth and sharing. Both at Slate and across the Web, articles that get a lot of
tweets dont necessarily get read very deeply. Articles that get read deeply arent
necessarily generating a lot of tweets.

As a writer, all this data annoys me. It may not be obviousespecially to you guys
whove already left to watch Arrested Developmentbut I spend a lot of time and
energy writing these stories. Im even careful about the stuff at the very end;
like right now, Im wondering about what I should say next, and whether I should
include these two other interesting graphs I got from Schwartz, or perhaps I should
skip them because they would cause folks to tune out, and maybe its time to wrap
things up anyway

But whats the point of all that? Schwartz tells me that on a typical Slate page,
only 25 percent of readers make it past the 1,600th pixel of the page, and were
way beyond that now. Sure, like every other writer on the Web, I want my articles
to be widely read, which means I want you to Like and Tweet and email this piece to
everyone you know. But if you had any inkling of doing that, youd have done it
already. Youd probably have done it just after reading the headline and seeing the
picture at the top. Nothing I say at this point matters at all.

So, what the hey, here are a couple more graphs, after which I promise Ill wrap
things up for the handful of folks who are still left around here. (What losers you
are! Dont you have anything else to do?)

This heatmap shows where readers spend most of their time on Slate pages:

This "heatmap" shows where readers spend time on Slate pages. The
"hot" red spots represent more time on that part of the page; the
"cooler" blue spots represent less time.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And this one shows where people spend time across Chartbeat sites:

similar heatmap across a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Schwartz told me I should be very pleased with Slates map, which shows that a lot
of people are moved to spend a significant amount of their time below the initial
scroll window of an article page. On Chartbeats aggregate data, about two-thirds
of the time people spend on a page is below the fold; on Slate, that number is
86.2 percent. Thats notably good, Schwartz told me. We generally see that
higher-quality content causes people to scroll further, and thats one of the
highest below-the-fold engagement numbers Ive ever seen.

A SLATE PLUS SPECIAL FEATURE:


You Will Not Comment on This Article

A primer on commenting on Slate.


Yay! Well, theres one big caveat: Its probably Slates page design thats
boosting our number there. Since you usually have to scroll below the fold to see
just about any part of an article, Slates below-the-fold engagement looks really
great. But if articles started higher up on the page, it might not look as good.

In other words: Ugh.

Finally, while I hate to see these numbers when I consider them as a writer, as a
reader Im not surprised. I read tons of articles every day. I share dozens of
links on Twitter and Facebook. But how many do I read in full? How many do I share
after reading the full thing? Honestlyand I feel comfortable saying this because
even moms stopped reading at this pointnot too many. I wonder, too, if this
applies to more than just the Web. With ebooks and streaming movies and TV shows,
its easier than ever, now, to switch to something else. In the past year my wife
and I have watched at least a half-dozen movies to about the 60 percent mark. There
are several books on my Kindle Ive never experienced past Chapter 2. Though I
loved it and recommend it to everyone, I never did finish the British version of
the teen drama Skins. Battlestar Galactica, toobailed on it in the middle, hoping
to one day jump back in. Will I? Probably not.

Maybe this is just our cultural lot: We live in the age of skimming. I want to
finish the whole thing, I really do. I wish you would, too. Reallystop quitting!
But who am I kidding. Im busy. Youre busy. Theres always something else to read,
watch, play, or eat.

OK, this is where Id come up with some clever ending. But who cares? You certainly
dont. Lets just go with this: Kicker TK.

1.1k
356
Slate
TECHNOLOGY
INNOVATION, THE INTERNET, GADGETS, AND MORE. JULY 5 2017 8:08 PM
CNN Clotheslined Itself
1.1k
0
356
The network may not have blackmailed a Reddit user, but it managed to look
foolish, self-righteous, and petty.

By Will Oremus
CNN Logo
The worldwide leader in admonishing dudes named HanAssholeSolo.
Joe Skipper/Getty Images

To say that CNN blackmailed a man over a wrestling GIF he posted on Reddit is
probably an exaggeration. But the fact that Im even writing such a sentence is a
sign that something went quite wrong in the networks approach to what was not, in
the scheme of things, a particularly consequential story.

Will Oremus
WILL OREMUS
Will Oremus is Slates senior technology writer. Email him at will.oremus@slate.com
or follow him on Twitter.

To recap: On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a video version of a GIF of a pro


wrestling match that showed him pummeling an opponent whose head had been digitally
replaced with the CNN logo. On Monday, CNNs KFile investigations team tracked
down the Reddit user who had originally posted the GIF. On Tuesday, KFiles Andrew
Kaczynski posted a story about tracking him down and reported that the user,
HanAssholeSolo, had apologized and taken down the post, along with other past
racist and anti-Semitic posts on the site. Kaczynski said CNN had decided not to
publish the users identity but that the network reserves the right to do so
depending on his future behavior. That sounded enough like blackmail to enough
people that, by Tuesday night, the hashtag #cnnblackmail was a trending topic on
Twitter.

ever ending. But who cares? You certainly dont. Lets just go with this: Kicker
TK.

1.1k
356
Slate
TECHNOLOGY
INNOVATION, THE INTERNET, GADGETS, AND MORE. JULY 5 2017 8:08 PM
CNN Clotheslined Itself
1.1k
0
356
The network may not have blackmailed a Reddit user, but it managed to look
foolish, self-righteous, and petty.

By Will Oremus
CNN Logo
The worldwide leader in admonishing dudes named HanAssholeSolo.
Joe Skipper/Getty Images

To say that CNN blackmailed a man over a wrestling GIF he posted on Reddit is
probably an exaggeration. But the fact that Im even writing such a sentence is a
sign that something went quite wrong in the networks approach to what was not, in
the scheme of things, a particularly consequential story.

Will Oremus
WILL OREMUS
Will Oremus is Slates senior technology writer. Email him at will.oremus@slate.com
or follow him on Twitter.

To recap: On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a video version of a GIF of a pro


wrestling match that showed him pummeling an opponent whose head had been digitally
replaced with the CNN logo. On Monday, CNNs KFile investigations team tracked
down the Reddit user who had originally posted the GIF. On Tuesday, KFiles Andrew
Kaczynski posted a story about tracking him down and reported that the user,
HanAssholeSolo, had apologized and taken down the post, along with other past
racist and anti-Semitic posts on the site. Kaczynski said CNN had decided not to
publish the users identity but that the network reserves the right to do so
depending on his future behavior. That sounded enough like blackmail to enough
people that, by Tuesday night, the hashtag #cnnblackmail was a trending topic on
Twitter.

rson, Trump pressed Putin on Russian interference in the U.S. election and
others domestic politics, presumably a reference to Germany, France, the United
Kingdom and other U.S. allies in Europe. Not surprisingly, almost nothing on this
subject has come out from the Russian sidejust Putins blanket denial that any
interference was the work of the Russian governmentalthough Putin acknowledges
that it poses a hindrance to the improvement of U.S.-Russia relations.

For this reason, Tillerson announced, Moscow and Washington will hold further
discussions on a framework for dealing with a wide array of cyber threats, from
interference in elections to terrorist attacks. If that discussion was Trumps nod
to the intelligence communitys conclusion that Russia hacked the 2016 election
and is continuing to launch cyberattacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, then it
was likely inadequate to reassure Trumps critics in Washington, DC. The political
impetus for the Russia investigation and pending sanctions legislation on Capitol
Hill will therefore continue.

The most concrete deliverable from the meeting seems to be a ceasefire to be


declared in Southwestern Syria, near the city of Daraa. While any cessation of
hostilities is positive, and could help save lives, this particular declaration is
significant mostly because the region is of interest to U.S. allies Jordan and
Israel, on which it borders. A ceasefire along the border could reduce the
likelihood of any future incidents between Israeli or Jordanian and Russian forces,
which would in turn put pressure on the White House to pick sides. So the ceasefire
is a win for Trump, if a small one. To the extent such a slight reduction in
hostilities enables the renewal of political dialogue, as Tillerson has suggested,
also represents progress. However, past ceasefires have been neither comprehensive
nor enduring, and it is hard to imagine this case will be any different.

For Trump, the summit with Putin was a chance to advance at least two of his
repeated campaign and post-election promises. Trump promised to improve the
relationship with Russia, and has cited the importance of U.S.-Russian cooperation
to stemming the spiraling crisis in Syria, and to the global fight against
terrorism more broadly. With the Syria ceasefire, he now has something modest but
concrete to show. Having praised Putin as a strong and effective leader during the
campaign, and endured withering attacks from his opponents for it, Trump can now
also claim victory as a tough negotiator who pressed Putin on various areas of
disagreement, from cyberattacks to Ukraineon which newly appointed Special Envoy
Kurt Volker is set to begin work next week in Kyiv.

For Putin, the primary focus was always his domestic audience. Although his
reelection in March next year to another six-year term is virtually guaranteed, the
real test is whether he can maintain the enthusiasm of his electoral base, and
produce a credible turnout as a validation of his continuing rule. This two-hour
meeting with Trump allowed Putin to showcase his own skills as a negotiator,
holding firm to Russias longstanding positions on hacking, Syria and Ukraine, but
also putting the final nail in the coffin of the previous U.S. administrations
policy of isolation. After sitting down as an equal with the leader of the
worlds most powerful country, while attending a gathering with over a dozen other
top leaders in the richest country in Europe, Putin can hardly be called isolated.

But for the same reason, a swift improvement in the largely dysfunctional U.S.-
Russia relationship should not be anticipated. For Putin, dysfunction is useful
since it reinforces the longstanding narrative that Washington aims to contain
Russia geopolitically and degrade it economically, with the ultimate objective of
regime change. This narrative yields one inescapable conclusion for the majority of
Russian voters: only Vladimir Putin is capable of guaranteeing their safety and
wellbeing.
Even if new dialogues are launched on hacking, Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin is in
no position to make concessions, and the White House is under such pressure and
scrutiny from Congress that it is also unlikely to give an inch. The best-case
scenario, therefore, may be that increased dialogue helps to manage and prevent
unintended military escalation between Russia and the United States and its allies
in Syria or the Baltic region. Beyond that, the path to what the Kremlin has called
normalization with Washington is still obstructed by deeply conflicting
interests, domestic politics and widespread mutual distrust.

Matthew Rojansky is Director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center in


Washington, DC.

Why people online dont read to the end.

By Farhad Manjoo
A person browses through media websites on a computer on May 30, 2013.
She's already stopped reading
Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Im going to keep this brief, because youre not going to stick around for long.
Ive already lost a bunch of you. For every 161 people who landed on this page,
about 61 of you38 percentare already gone. You bounced in Web traffic jargon,
meaning you spent no time engaging with this page at all.

So now there are 100 of you left. Nice round number. But not for long! Were at the
point in the page where you have to scroll to see more. Of the 100 of you who
didnt bounce, five are never going to scroll. Bye!

OK, fine, good riddance. So were 95 now. A friendly, intimate crowd, just the
people who want to be here. Thanks for reading, folks! I was beginning to worry
about your attention span, even your intellig wait a second, where are you guys
going? Youre tweeting a link to this article already? You havent even read it
yet! What if I go on to advocate something truly awful, like a constitutional
amendment requiring that we all type two spaces after a period?

Wait, hold on, now you guys are leaving too? Youre going off to comment? Come on!
Theres nothing to say yet. I havent even gotten to the nut graph.

Get Slate in your inbox.

I better get on with it. So heres the story: Only a small number of you are
reading all the way through articles on the Web. Ive long suspected this, because
so many smart-alecks jump in to the comments to make points that get mentioned
later in the piece. But now Ive got proof. I asked Josh Schwartz, a data scientist
at the traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, to look at how people scroll through Slate
articles. Schwartz also did a similar analysis for other sites that use Chartbeat
and have allowed the firm to include their traffic in its aggregate analyses.

Schwartzs data shows that readers cant stay focused. The more I type, the more of
you tune out. And its not just me. Its not just Slate. Its everywhere online.
When people land on a story, they very rarely make it all the way down the page. A
lot of people dont even make it halfway. Even more dispiriting is the relationship
between scrolling and sharing. Schwartzs data suggest that lots of people are
tweeting out links to articles they havent fully read. If you see someone
recommending a story online, you shouldnt assume that he has read the thing hes
sharing.
OK, were a few hundred words into the story now. According to the data, for every
100 readers who didnt bounce up at the top, there are about 50 whove stuck
around. Only one-half!

Take a look at the following graph created by Schwartz, a histogram showing where
people stopped scrolling in Slate articles. Chartbeat can track this information
because it analyzes reader behavior in real timeevery time a Web browser is on a
Slate page, Chartbeats software records what that browser is doing on a second-by-
second basis, including which portion of the page the browser is currently viewing.

A typical Web article is about 2000 pixels long. In the graph below, each bar
represents the share of readers who got to a particular depth in the story. Theres
a spike at 0 percenti.e., the very top pixel on the pagebecause 5 percent of
readers never scrolled deeper than that spot. (A few notes: This graph only
includes people who spent any time engaging with the page at allusers who
"bounced" from the page immediately after landing on it are not represented. The X
axis goes beyond 100 percent to include stuff, like the comments section, that
falls below the 2,000-pixel mark. Finally, the spike near the end is an anomaly
caused by pages containing photos and videoson those pages, people scroll through
the whole page.)

This is a histogram showing how far people scroll through Slate article pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Chartbeats data shows that most readers scroll to about the 50 percent mark, or
the 1,000th pixel, in Slate stories. Thats not very far at all. I looked at a
number of recent pieces to see how much youd get out of a story if you only made
it to the 1,000th pixel. Take Mario Vittones piece, published this week, on the
warning signs that someone might be drowning. If the top of your browser reached
only the 1,000th pixel in that article, the bottom of your browser would be at
around pixel number 1,700 (the typical browser window is 700 pixels tall). At that
point, youd only have gotten to warning signs No. 1 and 2youd have missed the
fact that people who are drowning dont wave for help, that they cannot voluntarily
control their arm movements, and one other warning sign I didnt get to because I
havent finished reading that story yet.

Or look at John Dickersons fantastic article about the IRS scandal or something.
If you only scrolled halfway through that amazing piece, you would have read just
the first four paragraphs. Now, trust me when I say that beyond those four
paragraphs, John made some really good points about whatever it is his article is
about, some strong points thatwithout spoiling it for youyou really have to read
to believe. But of course you didnt read it because you got that IM and then you
had to look at a video and then the phone rang

The worst thing about Schwartzs graph is the big spike at zero. About 5 percent of
people who land on Slate pages and are engaged with the page in some waythat is,
the page is in a foreground tab on their browser and theyre doing something on it,
like perhaps moving the mouse pointernever scroll at all. Now, do you know what
you get on a typical Slate page if you never scroll? Bupkis. Depending on the size
of the picture at the top of the page and the height of your browser window, youll
get, at most, the first sentence or two. Theres a good chance youll see none of
the article at all. And yet people are leaving without even starting. Whats wrong
with them? Whyd they even click on the page?

Schwarzs histogram for articles across lots of sites is in some ways more
encouraging than the Slate data, but in other ways even sadder:
This is a similar histogram for a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

On these sites, the median scroll depth is slightly greatermost people get to 60
percent of the article rather than the 50 percent they reach on Slate pages. On the
other hand, on these pages a higher share of people10 percentnever scroll. In
general, though, the story across the Web is similar to the story at Slate: Few
people are making it to the end, and a surprisingly large number arent giving
articles any chance at all.

Were getting deep on the page here, so basically only my mom is still reading
this. (Thanks, Mom!) But lets talk about how scroll depth relates to sharing. I
asked Schwartz if he could tell me whether people who are sharing links to articles
on social networks are likely to have read the pieces theyre sharing.

He told me that Chartbeat cant directly track when individual readers tweet out
links, so it cant definitively say that people are sharing stories before theyve
read the whole thing. But Chartbeat can look at the overall tweets to an article,
and then compare that number to how many people scrolled through the article.
Heres Schwartzs analysis of the relationship between scrolling and sharing on
Slate pages:

130507_TECH_Twitter1
Courtesy of Chartbeat

These graphs show the relationship between scrolling and Tweets on Slate pages.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And heres a similar look at the relationship between scrolling and sharing across
sites monitored by Chartbeat:

This graph shows the relationship between scroll depth and Tweets across a large
number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

They each show the same thing: Theres a very weak relationship between scroll
depth and sharing. Both at Slate and across the Web, articles that get a lot of
tweets dont necessarily get read very deeply. Articles that get read deeply arent
necessarily generating a lot of tweets.

As a writer, all this data annoys me. It may not be obviousespecially to you guys
whove already left to watch Arrested Developmentbut I spend a lot of time and
energy writing these stories. Im even careful about the stuff at the very end;
like right now, Im wondering about what I should say next, and whether I should
include these two other interesting graphs I got from Schwartz, or perhaps I should
skip them because they would cause folks to tune out, and maybe its time to wrap
things up anyway

But whats the point of all that? Schwartz tells me that on a typical Slate page,
only 25 percent of readers make it past the 1,600th pixel of the page, and were
way beyond that now. Sure, like every other writer on the Web, I want my articles
to be widely read, which means I want you to Like and Tweet and email this piece to
everyone you know. But if you had any inkling of doing that, youd have done it
already. Youd probably have done it just after reading the headline and seeing the
picture at the top. Nothing I say at this point matters at all.
So, what the hey, here are a couple more graphs, after which I promise Ill wrap
things up for the handful of folks who are still left around here. (What losers you
are! Dont you have anything else to do?)

This heatmap shows where readers spend most of their time on Slate pages:

This "heatmap" shows where readers spend time on Slate pages. The
"hot" red spots represent more time on that part of the page; the
"cooler" blue spots represent less time.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

And this one shows where people spend time across Chartbeat sites:

similar heatmap across a large number of sites tracked by Chartbeat.

Courtesy of Chartbeat

Schwartz told me I should be very pleased with Slates map, which shows that a lot
of people are moved to spend a significant amount of their time below the initial
scroll window of an article page. On Chartbeats aggregate data, about two-thirds
of the time people spend on a page is below the fold; on Slate, that number is
86.2 percent. Thats notably good, Schwartz told me. We generally see that
higher-quality content causes people to scroll further, and thats one of the
highest below-the-fold engagement numbers Ive ever seen.

A SLATE PLUS SPECIAL FEATURE:


You Will Not Comment on This Article

A primer on commenting on Slate.


Yay! Well, theres one big caveat: Its probably Slates page design thats
boosting our number there. Since you usually have to scroll below the fold to see
just about any part of an article, Slates below-the-fold engagement looks really
great. But if articles started higher up on the page, it might not look as good.

In other words: Ugh.

Finally, while I hate to see these numbers when I consider them as a writer, as a
reader Im not surprised. I read tons of articles every day. I share dozens of
links on Twitter and Facebook. But how many do I read in full? How many do I share
after reading the full thing? Honestlyand I feel comfortable saying this because
even moms stopped reading at this pointnot too many. I wonder, too, if this
applies to more than just the Web. With ebooks and streaming movies and TV shows,
its easier than ever, now, to switch to something else. In the past year my wife
and I have watched at least a half-dozen movies to about the 60 percent mark. There
are several books on my Kindle Ive never experienced past Chapter 2. Though I
loved it and recommend it to everyone, I never did finish the British version of
the teen drama Skins. Battlestar Galactica, toobailed on it in the middle, hoping
to one day jump back in. Will I? Probably not.

Maybe this is just our cultural lot: We live in the age of skimming. I want to
finish the whole thing, I really do. I wish you would, too. Reallystop quitting!
But who am I kidding. Im busy. Youre busy. Theres always something else to read,
watch, play, or eat.

OK, this is where Id come up with some clever ending. But who cares? You certainly
dont. Lets just go with this: Kicker TK.

1.1k
356
Slate
TECHNOLOGY
INNOVATION, THE INTERNET, GADGETS, AND MORE. JULY 5 2017 8:08 PM
CNN Clotheslined Itself
1.1k
0
356
The network may not have blackmailed a Reddit user, but it managed to look
foolish, self-righteous, and petty.

By Will Oremus
CNN Logo
The worldwide leader in admonishing dudes named HanAssholeSolo.
Joe Skipper/Getty Images

To say that CNN blackmailed a man over a wrestling GIF he posted on Reddit is
probably an exaggeration. But the fact that Im even writing such a sentence is a
sign that something went quite wrong in the networks approach to what was not, in
the scheme of things, a particularly consequential story.

Will Oremus
WILL OREMUS
Will Oremus is Slates senior technology writer. Email him at will.oremus@slate.com
or follow him on Twitter.

To recap: On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a video version of a GIF of a pro


wrestling match that showed him pummeling an opponent whose head had been digitally
replaced with the CNN logo. On Monday, CNNs KFile investigations team tracked
down the Reddit user who had originally posted the GIF. On Tuesday, KFiles Andrew
Kaczynski posted a story about tracking him down and reported that the user,
HanAssholeSolo, had apologized and taken down the post, along with other past
racist and anti-Semitic posts on the site. Kaczynski said CNN had decided not to
publish the users identity but that the network reserves the right to do so
depending on his future behavior. That sounded enough like blackmail to enough
people that, by Tuesday night, the hashtag #cnnblackmail was a trending topic on
Twitter.

President Obama is huddling with his national-security heavyweights to talk Iraq.


With combat troops supposed to be out of the country by the end of the month,
officials are feeling the pressure. Present in the situation room: new DNI James
Clapper, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and
National Security adviser Jim Jones.

Meanwhile, former ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill is positive about the


prospects for Baghdads success, even though nearly half a year after elections, a
new government has still not been formed. Things may be moving slowly, but Hill
says: in the last couple of weeks, the pace has really quickened. And there's a
feeling that things may be heading in the right direction. Hill will take over as
dean of the University of Denvers School of International Studies come the
beginning of September. Hills successor is James Jeffrey.

September 1 is fast approaching yet theres no sign that the Israelis and
Palestinians will begin direct talks before then, a date the administration had
hoped face-to-face discussions would kick off. George Mitchell had a meeting today
with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reiterated that Israel would only enter
into talks without conditions. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants Israel to
completely cease settlement building before talks can begin. Some remain, at least
publicly, very cautiously optimistic. Israeli President Shimon Peres commented on
some positive advancements toward negotiations, adding that I hope it will
happen as early as possible and as soon as I hope.

In Afghanistan, General David Petraeus was pleased to see the Afghan Ministry of
Defense meet its training quota two months early. Kabul has trained 134,000
soldiers. U.S. troops will start to leave the country in July of next year.

TweetShareShare

Topics:
Regions:The set of the proposals Tillerson voiced contains both the potential
necessary to help drive the Syria conflict to a final stagewhich is a gradual
settlementand a message that is acceptable to the Russians, Suchkov said.

It is important for Moscow to have it on an equal basis, but also the Kremlin
would be watchful to make sure the way the proposals are framed doesnt put the
U.S. in an upper position.

While the Russians might be willing to work with the United States and vice-versa,
the practical realities of implementing some sort of agreement to conduct joint
operations could be very difficult.

The Russians really, really, really want joint mechanisms in principle, Olga
Oliker, senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, told The National Interest.

In practice, working out rules is a bear. It also doesnt help that every time the
U.S. does something that annoys Russia, the Russians shut down what Syria
cooperation exists, because its the only thing theyve got.

Coordination between the United States and Russia will have to be a first step
towards joint operations should an agreement eventually emerge.

I think coordination is the necessary first step. If that can function


effectively, and not get shut down every few weeks, for a while, you can start
having conversations about joint action, Oliker said.

But I would imagine it would not be under anyones flag, but rather tightly
coordinated efforts with each firmly in command of their own forces.

Indeed, the Russian view of joint operations with the United States might mean that
Moscow simply has its zone of controlsimilar to what the Kremlin had proposed at
various stages during negotiations to set up peacekeeping forces in the Balkans.

I think the Russians real vision is of zones of influence/control, and


coordination between those, Oliker said.

Thats actually feasible, except for both sides limited control over their
proxies.

Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center,
highlighted the same problem.

I dont think the Russians have a problem operating in coordination or even


cooperation with U.S. forces, per se. The devil is in the details in Syria,
however, where Russias main operations are air support for the ground forces of
the Assad regime and Iranian backed militias and special forces, Rojansky told The
National Interest.

1 2 next last
TweetShareShare
show full page

Topics:
SECURITY
Regions:
MIDDLE EAST
More stories by:
Dave Majumdar
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during
clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the
West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad
Torokman?
Morgenthau's Realism and Today's Middle East

America can find a middle ground in the Middle East.


Stephen Pampinella
A magazine cut-out of a toilet roll made up of paper money, is taped to a screen of
a trading terminal at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, June 3, 2009.
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Why Economic Bubbles Aren't Always Epic Disasters

These useful bubbles keep the United States competitive globally.


Samuel Rines

Can Russia and America Work Together in SyriThe set of the proposals Tillerson
voiced contains both the potential necessary to help drive the Syria conflict to a
final stagewhich is a gradual settlementand a message that is acceptable to the
Russians, Suchkov said.

It is important for Moscow to have it on an equal basis, but also the Kremlin
would be watchful to make sure the way the proposals are framed doesnt put the
U.S. in an upper position.

While the Russians might be willing to work with the United States and vice-versa,
the practical realities of implementing some sort of agreement to conduct joint
operations could be very difficult.

The Russians really, really, really want joint mechanisms in principle, Olga
Oliker, senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, told The National Interest.

In practice, working out rules is a bear. It also doesnt help that every time the
U.S. does something that annoys Russia, the Russians shut down what Syria
cooperation exists, because its the only thing theyve got.

Coordination between the United States and Russia will have to be a first step
towards joint operations should an agreement eventually emerge.

I think coordination is the necessary first step. If that can function


effectively, and not get shut down every few weeks, for a while, you can start
having conversations about joint action, Oliker said.

But I would imagine it would not be under anyones flag, but rather tightly
coordinated efforts with each firmly in command of their own forces.

Indeed, the Russian view of joint operations with the United States might mean that
Moscow simply has its zone of controlsimilar to what the Kremlin had proposed at
various stages during negotiations to set up peacekeeping forces in the Balkans.

I think the Russians real vision is of zones of influence/control, and


coordination between those, Oliker said.

Thats actually feasible, except for both sides limited control over their
proxies.

Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center,
highlighted the same problem.

I dont think the Russians have a problem operating in coordination or even


cooperation with U.S. forces, per se. The devil is in the details in Syria,
however, where Russias main operations are air support for the ground forces of
the Assad regime and Iranian backed militias and special forces, Rojansky told The
National Interest.

1 2 next last
TweetShareShare
show full page

Topics:
SECURITY
Regions:
MIDDLE EAST
More stories by:
Dave Majumdar
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during
clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the
West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad
Torokman?
Morgenthau's Realism and Today's Middle East

America can find a middle ground in the Middle East.


Stephen Pampinella
A magazine cut-out of a toilet roll made up of paper money, is taped to a screen of
a trading terminal at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, June 3, 2009.
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Why Economic Bubbles Aren't Always Epic Disasters

These useful bubbles keep the United States competitive globally.


Samuel Rines

Can Russia and America Work Together in Syria?

Ultimately, it will be the Assad regime and the various other proxy forcesboth
U.S. and Russian alignedthat will determine if the two great powers can work
together.
Dave Majumdar
Latest Issue

TNI 150 cover


July-August 2017
It's Time to Break Up Syria
Table of Contents
SubscribeDigital Edition
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

email address
SUBSCRIBE
Most Popular

Iran's Missile Defenses

Slashing Command

Bolton's Beijing High Five for Clinton

Father Knows Best . . . ?

Prelude: What to Expect in This Space

The Wildest Dream: Bombing Iran

Heavyweight Huddle on Iraq

The set of the proposals Tillerson voiced contains both the potential necessary to
help drive the Syria conflict to a final stagewhich is a gradual settlementand a
message that is acceptable to the Russians, Suchkov said.

It is important for Moscow to have it on an equal basis, but also the Kremlin
would be watchful to make sure the way the proposals are framed doesnt put the
U.S. in an upper position.

While the Russians might be willing to work with the United States and vice-versa,
the practical realities of implementing some sort of agreement to conduct joint
operations could be very difficult.

The Russians really, really, really want joint mechanisms in principle, Olga
Oliker, senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, told The National Interest.

In practice, working out rules is a bear. It also doesnt help that every time the
U.S. does something that annoys Russia, the Russians shut down what Syria
cooperation exists, because its the only thing theyve got.

Coordination between the United States and Russia will have to be a first step
towards joint operations should an agreement eventually emerge.

I think coordination is the necessary first step. If that can function


effectively, and not get shut down every few weeks, for a while, you can start
having conversations about joint action, Oliker said.

But I would imagine it would not be under anyones flag, but rather tightly
coordinated efforts with each firmly in command of their own forces.

Indeed, the Russian view of joint operations with the United States might mean that
Moscow simply has its zone of controlsimilar to what the Kremlin had proposed at
various stages during negotiations to set up peacekeeping forces in the Balkans.

I think the Russians real vision is of zones of influence/control, and


coordination between those, Oliker said.

Thats actually feasible, except for both sides limited control over their
proxies.

Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center,
highlighted the same problem.

I dont think the Russians have a problem operating in coordination or even


cooperation with U.S. forces, per se. The devil is in the details in Syria,
however, where Russias main operations are air support for the ground forces of
the Assad regime and Iranian backed militias and special forces, Rojansky told The
National Interest.

1 2 next last
TweetShareShare
show full page

Topics:
SECURITY
Regions:
MIDDLE EAST
More stories by:
Dave Majumdar
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during
clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the
West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad
Torokman?
Morgenthau's Realism and Today's Middle East

America can find a middle ground in the Middle East.


Stephen Pampinella
A magazine cut-out of a toilet roll made up of paper money, is taped to a screen of
a trading terminal at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, June 3, 2009.
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Why Economic Bubbles Aren't Always Epic Disasters

These useful bubbles keep the United States competitive globally.


Samuel Rines

Can Russia and America Work Together in Syria?

Ultimately, it will be the Assad regime and the various other proxy forcesboth
U.S. and Russian alignedthat will determine if the two great powers can work
together.
Dave Majumdar
Latest Issue

TNI 150 cover


July-August 2017
It's Time to Break Up Syria
Table of Contents
SubscribeDigital Edition
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
email address
SUBSCRIBE
Most Popular

Iran's Missile Defenses

Slashing Command

Bolton's Beijing High Five for Clinton

Father Knows Best . . . ?

Prelude: What to Expect in This Space

The Wildest Dream: Bombing Iran

Heavyweight Huddle on Iraq

a?

Ultimately, it will be the Assad regime and the various other proxy forcesboth
U.S. and Russian alignedthat will determine if the two great powers can work
together.
Dave Majumdar
Latest Issue

TNI 150 cover


July-August 2017
It's Time to Break Up Syria
Table of Contents
SubscribeDigital Edition
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

email address
SUBSCRIBE
Most Popular

Iran's Missile Defenses

Slashing Command

Bolton's Beijing High Five for Clinton

Father Knows Best . . . ?

Prelude: What to Expect in This Space

The Wildest Dream: Bombing Iran

Heavyweight Huddle on Iraq

More stories by:


Rebecca N. White
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during
clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the
West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad
Torokman?
Morgenthau's Realism and Today's Middle East
America can find a middle ground in the Middle East.
Stephen Pampinella
A magazine cut-out of a toilet roll made up of paper money, is taped to a screen of
a trading terminal at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, June 3, 2009.
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Why Economic

The set of the proposals Tillerson voiced contains both the potential necessary to
help drive the Syria conflict to a final stagewhich is a gradual settlementand a
message that is acceptable to the Russians, Suchkov said.

It is important for Moscow to have it on an equal basis, but also the Kremlin
would be watchful to make sure the way the proposals are framed doesnt put the
U.S. in an upper position.

While the Russians might be willing to work with the United States and vice-versa,
the practical realities of implementing some sort of agreement to conduct joint
operations could be very difficult.

The Russians really, really, really want joint mechanisms in principle, Olga
Oliker, senior adviser and director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, told The National Interest.

In practice, working out rules is a bear. It also doesnt help that every time the
U.S. does something that annoys Russia, the Russians shut down what Syria
cooperation exists, because its the only thing theyve got.

Coordination between the United States and Russia will have to be a first step
towards joint operations should an agreement eventually emerge.

I think coordination is the necessary first step. If that can function


effectively, and not get shut down every few weeks, for a while, you can start
having conversations about joint action, Oliker said.

But I would imagine it would not be under anyones flag, but rather tightly
coordinated efforts with each firmly in command of their own forces.

Indeed, the Russian view of joint operations with the United States might mean that
Moscow simply has its zone of controlsimilar to what the Kremlin had proposed at
various stages during negotiations to set up peacekeeping forces in the Balkans.

I think the Russians real vision is of zones of influence/control, and


coordination between those, Oliker said.

Thats actually feasible, except for both sides limited control over their
proxies.

Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center,
highlighted the same problem.

I dont think the Russians have a problem operating in coordination or even


cooperation with U.S. forces, per se. The devil is in the details in Syria,
however, where Russias main operations are air support for the ground forces of
the Assad regime and Iranian backed militias and special forces, Rojansky told The
National Interest.

1 2 next last
TweetShareShare
show full page

Topics:
SECURITY
Regions:
MIDDLE EAST
More stories by:
Dave Majumdar
A Palestinian protester uses a sling to hurl stones towards Israeli troops during
clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the
West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad
Torokman?
Morgenthau's Realism and Today's Middle East

America can find a middle ground in the Middle East.


Stephen Pampinella
A magazine cut-out of a toilet roll made up of paper money, is taped to a screen of
a trading terminal at the German stock exchange in Frankfurt, June 3, 2009.
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Why Economic Bubbles Aren't Always Epic Disasters

These useful bubbles keep the United States competitive globally.


Samuel Rines

Can Russia and America Work Together in Syria?

Ultimately, it will be the Assad regime and the various other proxy forcesboth
U.S. and Russian alignedthat will determine if the two great powers can work
together.
Dave Majumdar
Latest Issue

TNI 150 cover


July-August 2017
It's Time to Break Up Syria
Table of Contents
SubscribeDigital Edition
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

email address
SUBSCRIBE
Most Popular

Iran's Missile Defenses

Slashing Command

Bolton's Beijing High Five for Clinton

Father Knows Best . . . ?

Prelude: What to Expect in This Space

The Wildest Dream: Bombing Iran

Heavyweight Huddle on Iraq


"Another question Israeli planners struggle with: how will they know if their
attacks have actually destroyed a significant number of centrifuges and other hard-
to-replace parts of the clandestine Iranian program? Two strategists told me that
Israel will have to dispatch commandos to finish the job, if necessary, and bring
back proof of the destruction. The commandoswho, according to intelligence
sources, may be launched from the autonomous Kurdish territory in northern Iraq
would be facing a treacherous challenge, but one military planner I spoke with said
the army would have no choice but to send them."

Yikes!

(c) CorbisThis comes from a sprawling, informative, must-read piece by Jeffrey


Goldberg that appears in the Atlantic. Goldberg says he's been on the trail for
seven years now. He provides a conspectus of the reasons that Israel might try to
go solo in taking out Iran's nuclear capabilities. He deftly discusses the Israeli
mindset (Auschwitz) and interviews Obama administration officials who emphasize
that nothing is off the table. (Why would they say otherwise?)

The most intriguing part of Goldberg's article comes in his discussion of the
influence of Ben-Zion Netanyahu, a scholar of the Spanish inquisition, upon his
son. Goldberg describes the 100th birthday party for the old man who, we are told,
announces:

"Our party this evening compels me to speak of recent comments made about the
continued existence of the nation of Israel and the new threats by its enemies
depicting its upcoming destruction, Ben-Zion began. "From the Iranian side, we
hear pledges that soonin a matter of days, eventhe Zionist movement will be put
to an end and there will be no more Zionists in the world. One is supposed to
conclude from this that the Jews of the Land of Israel will be annihilated, while
the Jews of America, whose leaders refuse to pressure Iran, are being told in a
hinted fashion that the annihilation of the Jews will not include them."
This is rather sinister stuff. Iran would have no compunctions about wiping out the
Jewish state, if it could do so without endangering itself, which it cannot. But
Netanyahu's lucubrations appear to suggest, if I'm not mistaken, that America's
Jews are, at best, cowards, at worst, quislings, not applying sufficient pressure
upon its leaders to attack Iran because they can obtain a dispensation from the
Iranian threat. Meanwhile,Israel, alone, friendless, reliant upon itself, must act,
whether or not the rest of the world objects.

It's always a mistake to suppose that leaders are driven solely by rational
calculations. Goldberg is right to highlight the influence of Netanyahu pere upon
Netanyahu fils. Obviously, Obama does not suffer from similar complexes. For Obama,
trying to extricate himself from Iraq, mired in Afghanistan, and intent on trimming
the defense budget, it might seem like a no-brainer to avoid a further conflict.
But maybe not. Goldberg reveals that George W. Bush dismissed the neoconservatives
as the "bomber boys." But Obama is really the only president who could sanction an
attack on Iran. Even if he doesn't, Israel might try anyway. Goldberg figures that
Israel could buy three to five years if it carried off successful strike.

A big if. Given the recent flotilla fiasco, it might seem that a little
circumspection might be in order. Sending in commandos to Iran might well be a
suicide mission. And the reasons for not acting have been outlined ad nauseam,
prime among them the danger of shoring up rather than undermining the nasty rule of
the mullahs in Tehran. Which is why the Obama administration appears to be aiming
for a new containment strategy of Iran, even as Hillary Clinton talks tough.