Russia Rising

put

Following up on its proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control for inspection and destruction, Russia submitted its plan to implement this proposal to the United States for review. One day after President Obama’s prime time televised speech in which he called for a diplomatic pause before moving forward with any military action against the Assad regime, Secretary of State John Kerry sounded a hopeful note. He liked what he heard from his phone conversation on Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whom, Kerry said, “had some interesting observations about the ways in which he thinks we might be able to achieve this.” This situation is not likely to be resolve so simply, however, and geopolitical complications appear to be mounting, as Russian President Putin senses his advantage and Obama’s weakness.

Kerry and Lavrov are to meet in Geneva on Thursday to try and reach agreement on securing Syria’s chemical weapons, which Kerry reiterated must contain an “ongoing verifiable process” with “unlimited” access by international inspectors to all Syrian chemical weapons sites. “This cannot be a game. And that we have made very, very clear to the Russians,” Kerry insisted.

The problem for Kerry and his feckless boss is that, to the Russians, this is little else but a game. And the Obama administration is being played. Putin helped Obama get out of the corner in which he painted himself – at least temporarily – but at a steep price. Sensing Obama’s ambivalence and the likelihood that he would lose a vote in Congress for authority to launch a punitive strike against Syria, Putin pounced. The wily former KGB agent has managed to gain the moral high ground while Obama looks like a combination of a paper tiger and a deer caught in the headlights.

Russia is demanding that Obama foreswear the future use of any military force against Syria. It opposed a draft UN Security Council resolution put forward by France, with U.S. and British backing, which would have authorized the use of force if Syria reneged on the transfer of all of its chemical weapons to international control. Give peace a chance, Putin is telling Obama, all the while chuckling as he outflanks the Nobel Peace Prize-winning U.S. president as the anti-war world leader.

Yet while Putin projects a peacemaking image to the world, he is busy sending arms to the Assad regime as well as to Assad’s friends in Iran. He is renewing his offer to supply Iran with sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems as well as offering to build a second reactor for the Bushehr nuclear plant. Putin and the new, supposedly more “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rowhani will be discussing “questions of military technical cooperation” at a summit meeting this Friday, according to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Putin’s interest in advancing an international monitoring plan for Syria’s chemical weapons, while continuing to arm Syria and Iran, is designed to enhance Russia’s influence in the critical Middle Eastern Shiite arc at the expense of the United States and its allies. Russia also wants to maintain its naval base in Syria as well as build a bulwark against Sunni jihadist expansion from the Middle East into the North Caucasus and the rest of Russia. Putin is not about to let Syria slip out of Assad’s hands if he can help it.

From the perspective of Putin’s overriding interest to keep the Assad regime in power, his international monitoring proposal makes Machiavellian sense. The devil is in the details of monitoring and enforcement. Who would be responsible? Assuming that the United Nations is called upon to provide chemical weapons inspectors for the mammoth task of verification, custody and destruction of Syria’s vast chemical weapons stockpiles, just consider how difficult it was to get even the small UN expert team into Syria, for a short period of time, to investigate past allegations of chemical weapons use. The “modalities,” in UN-speak, took months to negotiate. And we are still waiting for the results from their investigation of the August 21st chemical weapons attack – simply to ascertain that chemical weapons were in fact used, which we all know already, not who used them. We are now told that the results will be made available by this Monday.

Negotiating the mandate and procedures for a more permanent presence of UN chemical weapons inspectors in Syria is sure to run into far more difficulties. As they have already shown, the Russians will not agree to a Security Council resolution with any firm deadline or ultimatum imposed on Syria to surrender its weapons for inspection or face the use of force. Thus, Obama would have to go back into the corner from which Putin rescued him a few days ago. Either he would have to ask Congress for the authority to launch a strike on his own if negotiations with the Syrian regime drag on too long for his taste, or risk domestic and international wrath if he proceeds without any authorization from Congress or the UN Security Council while the UN is still in negotiations.

Even in peacetime situations involving nations that volunteer to give up their chemical weapons, the process of collection, identification, destruction and deactivation can take years. Syria is a war zone. The chemical weapons are dispersed, including in areas where the conflict with the rebels is raging. Security is imperative, as the small UN chemical weapons expert team found out last month when it came under sniper fire and had to temporarily retreat. Even with full cooperation from the Syrian government and military, the al Qaeda forces and their jihadist allies will not stand idly by. They are sure to do everything they can to disrupt the chemical weapons transfer to international control and launch attacks to seize loose chemical weapons for themselves.

As a former UN weapons inspector from Iraq, quoted by the New York Times, said: “We’re talking boots on the ground. Whichever country would be sent in there to try to get the accountability and do the security, and maybe eventually get to the destruction – they will be a target for someone, for one group or another. Because no matter who you are, you get mortared somewhere by one of the parties.”

A Pentagon study concluded that just securing the weapons would take more than 75,000 troops on the ground.  They will obviously be in harm’s way.  Where will they come from?

The United Nations will not say whether there is any contingency planning underway for a UN peacekeeping force to provide security. However, the UN peacekeeping operations are stretched thin as it is, have suffered significant casualties in other missions, and are not set up to handle this kind of massive task.

NATO is a possibility.  Turkey, which is a member of NATO and is a neighbor of Syria’s with the potential for direct exposure to Syria’s chemical weapons, provides a rationale for NATO involvement. However, a NATO-led operation, even if were to be under the auspices of a UN Security Council resolution, is almost certain to run into heavy resistance from Russia, which does not want to see a repeat of the Libya experience. In any case, it is inconceivable that the American people would support a significant commitment of American troops as part of a NATO or other international force contingent, after being assured that there would be no American “boots on the ground” in Syria.

Unless Turkey, Arab League countries and possibly some European countries such as France take up the slack, that leaves Russia itself and the Syrian military as the prime guarantors of security with some other nations’ troops possibly involved for window-dressing. In other words, to carry out Russia’s plan for protected international assumption of control over the Assad regime’s chemical stockpile, the price would be the Assad regime’s retention of power to avoid the specter of complete chaos.

The Assad regime buys significant time. Russia increases its military presence under the pretext of providing security for the transfer to international control. The rebels, including the so-called “moderates” whom the Obama administration says it is supporting, are marginalized.

In short, Russia wins. And the United States, under President Obama, looks weaker than ever.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • katarina broman

    The “thing” with Russia, and Putin, is that Putin hates radical Islamic extremists and wants to do everything in his power to put a stop to them, and that is why he will get the support of “decent” people round the world. He will get the support of Christian people and of those who love their countries (patriots) and that don´t want to see their countries taken over by Islam and a different culture.
    Obama on the other hand seems to be supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic extremists, and who would have thunk it!, that a President of the US would do that.

    • Jason

      That is a bit of a generalisation, and Putin is no saint. As in the article, he supports Iran with weapons. Iran, a state that wants to develop nuclear weapons, a state that hates the west with a passion!

      However, with Syria, Russia has got it right. Putin actually recognises the danger that Al-Qaeda poses, and is acting like a sensible world leader and waiting for definite proof before he takes sides. It’s amazing that what Kerry said as an off hand comment about Syria giving their weapons is being taken seriously by Russia. Amazing that the US didn’t think of this before. Putin comes out of this much better than Obama does.

    • reader

      Neither Iranian mullas, nor Assad are decent people. Putin wants for Assad to survive, because Assad is his best client in the region. Obama, of course is shilling for muslim brothers, who want Assad dead and gone. I’m just enjoying Putin putting up a show and playing – in the words of Ann Coulter – Obama like a monkey.

    • George Ramos

      No question.

      Putin isn’t the guy waging war against the Constitution of the United States.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Putin hates jihadis that attack Putin’s interests. Putin LOVES jihadis that attack his enemy’s interests.

      0′Bama f’ed up, because Putin actually saved the US from empowering an even worse enemy: Sunni Islamic imperialists.

      Putin is an enemy. He is one that could be contained as a mere foe. 0′Bama empowered an enemy who then saved the USA from an even worse enemy.

      None of this is good. This is all caused by deranged leftists who have insane delusions about the world. The greatest superpower in world history gets played time after time thanks to the left.

    • Zee

      None is correct.

  • truebearing

    America’s sinking is floating every enemy we have. The most troublesome thing about our sinking is that it entirely unnecessary and a direct result of Obama’s plan.
    Obama could do any number of things to get Putin to lay down by his dish, like make announcements on major weapons initiatives, massive military aid to Israel, a plan to revive our scuttled missile defense system, or perhaps invite some Eastern European nations to join NATO. No doubt there are ways to get Putin’s attention, but there is one glaring problem with a strategy like that: Putin knows Obama wants the US diminished just as much as he does. One way or the other, in this international political theater, Obama is playing the fool and making America the victim.

    • davarino

      So its a win-win for both sides.

    • m4253y

      “Obama could do any number of things to get Putin to lay down by his dish, like make announcements on major weapons initiatives, massive military aid to Israel, a plan to revive our scuttled missile defense system, or perhaps invite some Eastern European nations to join NATO.”

      you mean undo what he went out of his way to tear down?

      there is nothing, i repeat, nothing short of a war that the muslim in chief can do. he undid everything Bush accomplished in the region (remember the missile shield for the Czechs and Poles).

      your point is, BINGO! “Putin knows Obama wants the US diminished just as much as he does.”

      America has one hope…survive 3 more years under the Caliphate and pray to God that we find a new Reagan that can pull us and the world back from the brink.

      When the Caliphate said he needed one more term to finish what he started, he was dead serious.

      • quousque

        Could not agree more. One comment though; missile shield was not for Czechs or Poles (why them, I would ask), but for western Europe and old USofA. Czechs and Poles went on the limb to take the brunt of Russian wrath, but Iranian missiles on the way to these shores must be detected and knocked off in the early and most susceptible stages of ballistic trajectory. Czechs to the south and closer to Teheran would get early warning radar stations, Poles to the north would host land based, anti-missile batteries. Now it is all academic and where in the world our Dilettante in Chief will put the sea based systems; Caspian Sea perhaps?

        • m4253y

          ny times article 06/15/2011 (no worries)

          BERLIN — The Czech Republic announced Wednesday that it was withdrawing from plans to participate in the United States missile defense program out of frustration at its diminished role in the system, which was conceived as a deterrent against a potential threat from Iran.

          Related

          Times Topics: Missiles and Missile Defense Systems | Czech Republic

          The administration of PresidentGeorge W. Bush had initially proposed stationing 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic. But in September 2009, the Obama administration scrapped those plans and proposed a revamped program with an unspecified role for the Czechs. Two months later, it offered the Czech Republic the possibility of hosting a separate early warning system. The shift prompted accusations from Republican critics who accused President Obama of betraying allies under pressure from Russia, while officials in Eastern Europe, who viewed missile defense as a symbol of American support for the region, expressed discomfort at the change in policy.

          The Czech defense minister, Alexandr Vondra, who met Wednesday in Prague with Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III, said that the conditions offered by Washington were not good enough. “We will seek other possibilities of how the Czech Republic may participate in the allied system in future,” he said. “They gave us an offer and we assessed that.”

          Mr. Vondra, a former Czech ambassador to the United States, was previously an outspoken proponent of Czech participation in missile defense, even as his center-right party faced deep resistance from a skeptical public. But at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels last week, Mr. Vondra dismissed the revamped Czech role as “a consolation prize.”

          “Our ideas about the future cooperation are more colorful than just a room or two with some screens there,” he said.

          The decision by the Czechs to step away from missile defense came a month after Mr. Obama traveled to Poland for a 24-hour visit during which he emphasized America’s close ties with its allies in the former Eastern Bloc. Yet Polish and Czech officials have watched with increasing concern as the Obama administration has reached out to Russia as part of a broader effort to restart talks to reduce nuclear weapons and to seek closer cooperation over Iran and Afghanistan.

          On Wednesday, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that the shared early warning center had been “overtaken by events,” because missile defense was adopted as a NATO mission at a Lisbon summit last November. Even so, the tone of Mr. Vondra’s remarks last week and on Wednesday show the level of disappointment with the Obama administration among what have been staunchly pro-American countries in this part of Europe.

          Separately, Russia, China and other members of a regional security organization signed a declaration on Wednesday that criticized plans by the United States to deploy a missile shield, saying it “could harm strategic stability and international security.”

          Judy Dempsey reported from Berlin, and Dan Bilefsky from New York. Michael Schwirtz contributed reporting from Moscow.

          • Anna

            “(remember the missile shield for the Czechs and Poles).”

            Their purpose was to THREATEN Russia. Nothing else.

          • Aizino Smith

            1. Say the U.S. wants tot mix it up with Iran.

            2. Say they want or need (for domestic political reasons) want allies.

            3. The U.S. asks the Europeans to ally with them against Iran.

            4. The Europeans demur because frankly the Iranians are threatening them

            5. the U.S. without allies does nothing.

            So the missile shield is important. Obama’s not building a shield is malfeasance or incompetence.

            Now anyone who wants to go into Syria, sooner or later is going to mix it up with Iran. so if fighting the current Syrian government is good, then fighting the current Iranian government is good.

            But you ave to put the piece in place 1st.

            ***

            As to threatening Russia. they already have missile defenses. So this would just achieve parity.

          • EarlyBird

            And where does the US get money for that missile shield? At least tell me you are for higher taxes to pay for your preferred war, you idiot.

          • Aizino Smith

            For one I would cut obama’s green energy boondoggles for the money.

            For another an economy is dynamic and not static. You grow the economy.

            As someone recently pointed out, you not have stimulate demand. that is a ignorant or evil way of thinking. People have infinite wants & desires.

            What is the problem is supply or people’s willingness to work. they don’t work because of things like “learned helplessness” (from psych class). Either the government takes care of them and if they need a little on the side they go underground economy or they reach a certain level of subsistence and it is not worth working longer hours because the government is going to be taking an even greater share.

            Maybe you should go to Marginal Revolutions blog or ZeroHedge Blog and argue.

            If the laffer curve is not real, then i wasted my time in Calculus and Macro economics class, which more education than most congressmen have since most of them are J.D.s. however Obama has proved that he knows how to say calculus and use it in the colloquial sense. I am so proud of him! :)

            You also can look at as a Cost Benefit Analysis.It is much cheaper to pay for a missile defense than to rebuild a nuke city, pay tribute when you are blackmailed with a nuclear armed state, build up other parts of your military so as to not be blackmailed.

            Beside building a missile defense is a stimulus. It has a real direct benefit, peace and it provides jobs for all the radar and missiles being built.

            i would rather money go to workers at GE than a person collecting welfare. both spend money after they get it, but the former have more pride and are more benefit to society.

          • Aizino Smith

            Shoot and scoot ANNA, you may leave. you have earned your 30 pieces of silver for today. your masters are pleased with you.

            ” Despite its incessant propaganda against U.S. ballistic missile defense efforts, Russia is building a unified “aerospace defense” system aimed at intercepting U.S. ballistic missiles.”

            http://missilethreat.com/russian-deployment-of-missile-defenses/

            http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Russia_unveils_plans_for_new_anti_missile_system_5th_generation_fighter_jet_999.html

          • m4253y

            you are joking i hope.

            The Poles and the Czechs who have suffered immeasurably under the former USSR were looking to threaten the Russians?

            Anna, with all due respect, your baseless comment is like a gaseous expulsion, it only lasts as long as the stench in the air.

          • Aizino Smith

            Please provide a link next time. i reached my article limit at the NYT.

            I dislike reputable leftists sites like the NYT but I will use their articles to try to convince lefties by using site they trust.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/world/europe/16shield.html?g

            http://hydrablog.csusm.edu/2011/06/czechs_disliking_role_pull_out.html

          • m4253y
      • craig

        3 years is a long time away. At this rate, we be sunk.

        • nightsong

          We need an immediate change, now, as we might not make it to 3 years.

      • EarlyBird

        “America has one hope…survive 3 more years under the Caliphate and pray to God that we find a new Reagan that can pull us and the world back from the brink.”
        Yeah! If anyone can read this message, HELP! I am an American who is writing from Obama’s jihadist gulag, being forced to learn the Koran. Help me!
        You idiot.

      • Drakken

        I believe that the damage that has been done by Comrade Obummer and company is broken to the point it cannot be fixed, we are in for some very rough nasty times ahead and I hope that when all is said and done, that the citizens don’t forget who put them into the poor house in the first place and make an example of them so that the next batch of pols remember seeing ropes and oak trees being put to good use when throwing the American dream down the sewer for feelings and self enrichment.

        • EarlyBird

          Stop being a drama queen.

    • EarlyBird

      “Obama could do any number of things to get Putin to lay down by his dish, like make announcements on major weapons initiatives, massive military aid to Israel, a plan to revive our scuttled missile defense system, or perhaps invite some Eastern European nations to join NATO.”

      But why would we? To what end? What purpose? Why would we want to antagonize Russia?

      Better yet, now that Putin has come to Obama’s rescue, let him. LET Russia take the lead, and responsibility for Syria.

      • Drakken

        Holy jumping dog s***! I agree 100% with you on this one! Hell once again has frozen over, but then again a broken clock is right twice a day! ;) There is actually hope for you yet!

  • ReyR

    Some ridicule Obama that he won’t play chess. Well, chess is a great game, but I prefer bow shooting. I don’t mind though if others play golf as long as they don’t scramble in my shooting range. It beats me why they keep ignoring my warning signs on the trees around.
    Seriously, Russia just wants to be left alone. But, “Everything we have is better than the neighbor’s, except the neighbors”. Most of our neighbors just happen to have sold out to either the NATO or Islamists. With this to consider, we are forced to throw regional weights again. On the other hand, common sense and history have taught Russians that world domination is dangerous game. Even if you shoot it dead, it kicks back, and the monster’s mom is always near. The average Russian is more politically aware than his American cousin, and with few exception we are a nation of Ron Pauls. We don’t like same-sex marriage, sham democracy, human rights for Islamic terrorists, oppression for the majority by minorities, and we want to keep it all the old Russian way… We’re fed up with social experiments, thank you. We are conservative, period. Perhaps the last conservative stronghold still standing. Isn’t this why Russia is painted so black by the MSM?
    Throughout history, Russia had to deal with neighbors, drink, dance and fight with neighbors. On the other hand, America has no neighbors to speak of. America is a pants-down-the-ass gangsta boy that ventures out to bully somebody once in a while, then celebrate it all in a rap song. Real loud.
    Different mentality, different skills, different lifestyles.
    Gore Vidal said, “American writers want to be not good, but great, and so are neither”. Rephrasing him, the Kremlin wants to be not great but good, as opposed to a bunch of self-appointed amateur geniuses on the Capitol Hill. Obama goes for the global prize: the most-hated-nation-of-the-world title. Who’s to blame if he gets what he wants? After all, there’s only so much hatred on this planet, and with the US in the focus, perhaps they can even forget to blame Russia one day…
    Putin is not a man, you see. Nor is he a superman. Putin is a team. Obama is not a team, nor a man, just a puppet played a team that hides in shadows. Putin and his team are of flesh and bone. Obama is a plastic doll assembled in a third-world factory between two calls to prayer. How much brain do you expect in a doll? Chess or no chess, Obama is a suicidal virtual-reality freak. He’s incompetent. Even worse: he’s Muslim. You need to send him packing.

    • katarina broman

      You are absolutely right. Obama is puppet, and he was “put” in office by that very, very strong team that, as you say, hides in the shadows.

    • Drakken

      As much as it pains me as an American to say, I have to completely agree with you, Obummer and company are in over their heads and complete amateurs where international relations are concerned. I have to really laugh at how easily your Putin runs circles around the boy child Obummer without breaking a sweat.

      • EarlyBird

        Chesty, Putin out-foxed Obama on Syria because Russia has a genuine security interest at stake there, and real leverage in Syria. If the Islamist rebels unseat Assad, they get control of those chemical weapons and turn them on Russia. Just get out a map to see how close Mother Russia is to Syria. Not to mention, there are 30,000 Russian troops currently in Syria.
        Of course, Putin has zero interest in ensuring that Assad hands those weapons off to anybody. And Obama must be privately thrilled he’s been let off the hook.
        Obama’s entire “strategy,” if you can call it that, was to continue America’s long-standing, pie-in-the-sky global cop to enforce international norms routine, and the American people aren’t buying it. He bit off more than he could , or was genuinely willing, to chew a year ago when he declared that idiotic “red line.”
        Here’s what you don’t get: it’s okay if Obama is embarrassed, and if the US isnt’ the World Leader everywhere. That’s what

        • Drakken

          Here is what I get and let me be perfectly clear, your hero Obummer is in way over his head and ole Putin has played him like the little bitch he is. Personally I say sit back, get a good bourbon, some good cigars and watch as the savages tear each other to pieces, the better for all concerned if they do. Your a tad off as to how many Russians are in Syria by about 20,000, and don’t ask me how I know that. You might want to ask folks as to why all those various factions of jihadist are not taking on the Russians?

          • EarlyBird

            Russia is just as vulnerable to suicidal jihadists as the US, Chesty.

          • Drakken

            But the Russians aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty getting rid of them unlike us.

          • defcon 4

            I’m sure that fact fills you w/islamic pride doesn’t it mehmet?

          • EarlyBird

            “Your a tad off as to how many Russians are in Syria by about 20,000, and don’t ask me how I know that.”
            Oh I won’t ask you to blow your cover, Rambo. Clearly you’re writing from behind enemy lines. I hear there are a lot of Muslims that shop in the Wal-Mart in Des Moines where you handle “security.” Carry on, marine.

        • ReyR

          Russia has no troops in Syria. None. Nada. This is a lie. Russia has supplied arms and equipment to Syria, sure, but no troops. Russian presence in Syria is limited to the diplomatic corps and engineering assistance, period.
          Syria has not a single chance to “turn chemical weapons on Ruiisa”, it is a technical impossibility. Just ask your granny, if your head is too dense to figure it out.
          It’s amazing how amateurish you people are in just about everything. Your pathetic agony surprises me every day. Hey, let me tell you a secret, compadre: This ball-shaped thing on your shoulders is not only an eating tool.

          • EarlyBird

            Hey ReyR, in another post you praised Chalmers Johnson as a “patriot” and asked Americans to read him. Then you pretend in others to be a Russian defending the land of gold digging skanks, oil mafia and drunks. So what are you, a Russian or an American? Sounds like you’re talking out of various orifices, Boris.

            Oh, and you don’t think that your fearless commie leader Putin isn’t setting Russia up for pain by playing with fire in Syria? Talk about dense. And you talk about Johnson’s book, “Blowback”? Get ready for Russia’s “9/11.”

  • fred

    I am not surprised that Putin poked Obama in the eye with that NY Times Op- Ed piece. Putin saw in Obama’s speech what those of us with the ability to discern have seen for years – a rudderless, lost amateur. Putin saw a man-child whose convictions are NOT directed towards his country, but rather are ALWAYS exercised inward in an attempt to prop up his own crippled ego.

    • m4253y

      Putin saw a man-child whose convictions are NOT directed towards his country, but rather are ALWAYS exercised inward in an attempt to prop up his own crippled ego AND allah’s religion of peace.

      Remember, “The Future Must Not Belong to Those Who Slander the Prophet of Islam”

      • Solo712

        “The Future Must Not Belong to Those Who Slander the Prophet of Islam”
        Of course, if this is the underlining purpose of US foreign policy only disasters will follow. It is the bitterest irony that the only country which has officially reacted to al-Qaeda’s slaughter of Christians in Syria is the one led by a former KGB colonel.

        • m4253y

          true enough. it dawned on me only after reading that comment over and over again why stop at Prophet? What about the man himself, allah?

          Putin knows only too well of those that lurk in the shadows posing as secular moderates wanting democracy and capitalism according to mccain and the muslim in chief.

          scary.

  • IngeC

    While all this takes place – Ft. Hood soldiers have received deployment orders to Egypt and SYRIA. McCain stated that if ‘boots on the ground takes place’ impeachment would follow. What gives? Does congress knows but, once again hides it from the American people?

  • Solo712

    It is a folly to think that the Syrian uncivil war is “nothing but a game” to the Russians. Caucasus is vitally important to the country’s economy, and also is Russia’s “soft underbelly”. US has been lucky to have Putin in charge in the Kremlin and not some crazy ideologue like Zyuganov or Zhirinovski. They would have had their USSR or Greater Fascist Russia back in no time, seeing what a mess the US has become, politically and economically.

    • Aizino Smith

      Who says Putin is weaker than any other potential Russian leader given what he has to work with?

      1979
      “However the Soviet Union felt that there was simply no way that they could directly support Vietnam against China; the distances were too great to be an effective ally” – wiki

      1991 Gulf War – Russia’s might in protecting a client or ally?
      2003 Iraq War – See above, re-run of 1991 although they did pull off one of Russia’s greatest deception operations.

      Libya the same

      I don’t think the problem is with Putin. He is doing the best he can with the told and society he has.

      syria is a heck of a lot close to Russia than Libya, easier to supply so long Iraq is an Iranian ally and is more important. the military is also tougher than Libya’s military.

      Obama is either dilettantely looking for a quick easy win, or he is looking for a distraction from the domestic mess.

    • EarlyBird

      “It is a folly to think that the Syrian uncivil war is “nothing but a game” to the Russians. Caucasus is vitally important to the country’s economy, and also is Russia’s “soft underbelly”.”

      You’re right about that. Russia is playing its game with Syria and Iran for its own purposes, but they are particularly focused on propping up Assad because if he loses to the Islamist rebels, and those chemical weapons get into their hands, they will point them to Russia.

      To me it makes sense: let the powers in the region who really have some interest in outcomes deal with it, and keep the US out of it, for once.

  • EarlyBird

    Funny how in this article’s subtitle refers to Russia becoming the “regional hegemon,” while failing to even mention Israel, the actual, current regional hegemon. Israel is of course the only nuclear armed nation in the region, a nation which, in a conventional war, could annihilate any two of its neighbors at a time with one arm tied behind her back.

    But we’re only allowed to think of pow widdo Israel, the 98 pound weakling who only wants to live in peace. At Front Page Magazine, for Israel it’s always 1948, the plucky little upstart beset by wolves on all sides. Pfaw. Israel has never been safer in its modern history.

    Secondly, Klein fails to describe why Russia’s insertion of itself into that hornets’ nest, and America backing out of it, is a bad thing for America and Americans.

    • defcon 4

      Funny how the genocidal aspirations of various islam0fascist leaders towards Israel never seem to factor into your deliberations on Israel, nor does the fact there is islamic scripture that supports such genocidal aspirations.

    • Aizino Smith

      Uhmm a hegemon typically does not get pounded frequently by weaker neighbors.

      if Israel was a hegemon Lebanon would be a client state. the South Lebanese Army would be making sure that your bosom buddies, Hezebollah or the PLO, did not shoot rockets from southern Lebanon into Israel.

    • iluvisrael

      and a safe and strong Israel is a thorn in the side for an Israel bashing nobody like you

    • truebearing

      You’ve made some ridiculous statements in the past, but this sets new standards for birdbrained thinking.

      First, before you use a word like “hegemon,” look up the meaning.

      Second, you assert that Israel “could annihilate any two of its neighbors at a time….” Uh Huh, but what if Syria, Egypt, and all of the rest of the Islamic countries in the Middle East attacked at once? What if Turkey, and/or Iran were in the mix? So much for your strategic blitherings.

      “Israel has never been safer in modern history?”
      With each new utterance you evince less IQ. Iran is on the verge of acquiring nukes. Pakistan already has them. Do you know what nukes are?

      With your fundamental lack of knowledge, wisdom, or intelligence, I’m beginning to think you are Barack Obama. Come on now, admit it!

  • Ma Bell

    A coalition between Syria and Russia (Kings of the North). A coalition between Turkey, Arab League, and Europe (Revived Roman Empire) and Israel smack dab in the middle of it all. And if something goes wrong in this situation?….This is sounding like the predicted time of Christ’s return according to Biblical prophecy if you know anything about it; If it is, and nobody can be sure…. Make sure you are ready. Get right with Jesus, repent of your sins and put your trust in him. Check out Daniel 11, Ezekiel 38, 39

    • UCSPanther

      The way I interpret the “King of the North” verse, is that it is foretelling what has always went on: World powers rising, fighting for dominance, building mighty empires, falling, repeat. A regular cycle that has been repeated throughout history.

      • Ma Bell

        Except those verses are declared to apply to “the time of the end” specifically, that is, the time when man’s rule on earth will end and God’s rule on earth will begin. The Day of the Lord.

        • nightsong

          Ma Bell thank you for pointing this out, and it sure seems to be right in line with biblical timing.

  • EarlyBird

    We can’t have it both ways. We can’t scream that the US should not get involved in dangerous situations where the US does not have a vital security interest, such as Syria’s civil war, and then complain that our national pride is wounded when another nation which does have a vital interest – Russia in this instance – steps in and takes charge in that situation.
    The only “crisis” for America in regard to Syria is that Obama made threats about “red lines” he had no business or will enforcing, and now he’s trying to save his own credibility. Putin pulled Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire. Let him. Let Russia lead on Syria and wish them well (we actually share a lot of common interests in this respect with Russia) while the US takes care of its real interests.

  • Drakken

    Lets see, we have Putin a former KGB General with an IQ over 160 who plays chess and is 10 steps ahead of anyone else, then we have as our President a man whose lifelong experience has been in the sector know as community organizing whose IQ is around less than a 100,and can’t figure out how to play checkers, so please tell me what could possibly ever go wrong?

    • EarlyBird

      Clearly, you’ve got a crush on Putin. Every time he comes up you gush like a little schoolgirl. “Drakken and Putin, sittin’ in a tree….”

      • truebearing

        Wow, that was childish! Looks like EarlyBird may be suffering from a late hatch (in human terms that would be arrested development).

        • EarlyBird

          Drakken has a thing for Putin. Really. Don’t be so judgemental. So Draken is gay. Surely many other Gunney Seargents in the USMC have been gay and served with honor too.

          • ReyR

            So in your statement above, you use “gay” as an insult? Why else would you want to mention it, since it is totally irrelevant in the context of this exchange. After this, will you continue accusing the Russians of being intolerant gay-bashers?

          • EarlyBird

            Yes, I will. Russia is a very ugly society. It’s the corrosive effects of communism on a nation’s soul, which I blame for the hate they pile on gay Russians.

  • WhiteRob

    yay…Russia, a man can still be a man!

  • Flowerknife_us

    What better way for the Left to re-establish Russia as a”World Power” than to do exactly what the Administration has done sense taking office. It is impossible for a Rug to lie better than the Administration does. Why should we be so willing to confuse incompetence with willful intent?

  • neil

    What do you expect, Putin has a much higher approval rating among US citizen’s than our own President. Considering that obama has pretty much made the citizen requirements of the position no longer valid, and the fact that Putin has shown he knows how to use civilized diplomacy as well as being able to balance a nations budget, I would vote for him in our next election were he to run.

  • nightsong

    It is in Russia’s interest to maintain their access to the Mediterranean Sea through Syria.

  • EarlyBird

    Hey marine, you may just be smarter than you appear. Good for you!

  • CplLeBeau

    Russia has every right to pursue influence anywhere on the planet just as the US does. Putin’s gambit earned him a little more respect in the international community as a whole but much greater influence in his own neighborhood. Russia is fed up with the US pushing up against her borders with NATO and our incessant meddling in Central Asia and the Middle East. More nations may begin to rethink their dependence on US hegemony and look closer to home for protection.

  • Santosh seo

    Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post. The whole blog is very nice found some good stuff and good information here Thanks..Also visit my page chess training ..