By showing that Obama’s America is unable and unwilling to keep its promises, Putin has widened the leadership void in the Middle East—as a prelude to filling it himself. By helping to clear Iran’s path to a bomb, Putin positions himself as Iran’s most powerful ally—while paradoxically gaining greater leverage with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States, who would much rather negotiate with Russia than with Iran, their sworn enemy. While the Americans were heading out of the Middle East, and the Chinese were too busy with their own internal debates about the future of their economy and society, Putin saw that something valuable had been abandoned on the world stage, and he took it. For the price of 1,000 dead civilians in Damascus, he has gained great power status in the oil-rich Middle East. Iran, for its part, gets the bomb, which isn’t great news for anyone, but was probably going to happen anyway.
[. . .]
Only time will tell whose evil is worse—Putin’s or Obama’s. While Putin delights in using the old-school KGB playbook to consolidate his one-man rule, and to expose the empty moral posturing of the West, Obama believes that he can talk his way into a workable accommodation between his own sense of morality and global reality. But the lesson of Obama’s fig leaf is that it is better to be honest about what we are doing in the world and why. If Putin baited a trap for the United States in Damascus, it was Obama who walked right into it. If Obama had stood up and declared that the United States had no vital interest in Syria but would stop Iran from getting nukes—and would prosecute the authors of the nerve-gas attack at The Hague—then Putin would have been trapped. The same would have been true if Obama had said nothing and blown up two or three of Assad’s palaces. But he did neither. Sometimes, well-meaning lies and political spin can be just as deadly, in the end, as nerve gas.
(Via Tom Smith.)
5 thoughts on ““Did Vladimir Putin Bait a Trap for the United States in Damascus?””
Live by the pose, die by the pose.
If we start blowing up Russian air defense units in Syria, I think Putin will make good on increasing military support for Syria. I believe he would especially like to see those jihadists in northern Syria get crushed. Certainly Israel’s security will be tested on multiple fronts. Since the Saudi’s are in support of the rebels, is there Muslim Brotherhood support there as well?
we can use that red line to do chalk outlines of US troops killed by the rebels we are supporting
Maybe Hillary can find that Reset button she seems to have misplaced. I can’t imagine her as president. God save us.
Since the reign of Peter the Great, father of the Russian Navy, the overriding Russian geo-strategic goal has been the establishment of a warm water port, particularly in the Med.
Now they have a foothold in Tartus, Syria, where they have naval supply and maintenance base, and avoid the passage through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, the mother of many Russian wars and conflicts. Russia will seize this Obama-made opportunity to “reset” that warm water foothold, and expand it to become a full and permanent naval sea and air base, and major commercial port.
Of course, this factor has been elided in that MSM analysis, not withstanding it’s tactical significance to any military action in the Levant.
Odd too that Obama – the arch American anti-colonialist – and the most prominent American disciple of the “Orientalist” Edward Said, has readily accepted a French alliance versus Syria – its former Mandate. Now, indeed, the the topsy “Obama Doctrine” takes deconstruction critical theory from political rhetoric into foreign policy. Surely, it will be remembered for the decades to come as a watershed as we sacrifice, suffer and die from its strategic consequences of his real “Change” indeed
God have mercy on our children and theirs, who elected this sad era.
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