In the early 2000s Russia actually expressed interest in joining NATO. Russia apparently was rebuffed. That is mind boggling from the peace perspective.
It can be imagined the military industrial complex in America did not like the idea. When you don't have an enemy it is hard to justify a large defense budget.
On the other hand Russia has not exactly gone down the path of democracy. And it does not seem to have discovered some alternate path to putting its economy on a sound path to rapid progress.
Russia is Second World.
Be that as it may it is for Russia and America as the two leading nuclear powers on the planet to take the lead to creating a world free of nuclear weapons. Why keep weapons that everyone knows can never be used? Why leave the options open for false alarms that might end human civilization?
And while the two powers figure out their mutual dynamic, Syria suffers. The innocents in Syria suffer. It is a sad situation.
America could have done a much better job of winning the Cold War. It did not do enough to help Russia in the aftermath. It did not do a good enough job of face saving of a defeated rival.
And it is not too late for Russia to choose the path of democracy as the only available way to rapid economic progress and true greatness.
Letting go of Assad would be a good small step in that direction. Assad is irredeemable. Assad is deplorable. This guy has attacked his own people like Hitler attacked people in other countries.