Fast forward three years. Here’s where we stand.
Given Europe’s failure to stand up to Russian aggression in Crimea, Russia’s borders have expanded to include Eastern Ukraine, northern Kazakhstan and larger portions of Moldova. As of 2014, Russia had consolidated its hold on Transnistria, the Eastern region of Moldova, which is heavily Russian; Russia had annexed Crimea; Russia had placed troops inside Eastern Ukraine.
But it didn’t stop there. Russia began squeezing Georgia again, and pro-Russian regimes are consolidating their power in Kazakhstan and Belarus. Belarus asked the Russian government to place 15 warplanes inside the country in 2014; Kazakhstan got into a tiff with Russia over comments Putin made unsubtly suggesting a possible invasion of the country, then complied with Putin’s demands when the West did nothing.
Thus far, Putin has not invaded any NATO countries. But that could change, given the high Russian population in Latvia and Estonia.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Jordan’s kingdom has fallen, replaced by a radical Islamist regime. That Palestinian Arab regime has attempted to consolidate its power by forming an alliance with Hamas in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. In Lebanon, the Iranians and Syrians have effectively annexed southern Lebanon. Israel’s only quiet border is now its southern border with Egypt.
In Syria, Bashar Assad has retained a measure of power by essentially conceding territory to ISIS in the eastern part of the country; after a halfhearted intervention against ISIS, the international community went quiet as ISIS formed its sought-after caliphate in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.
In response, Iran essentially invaded southern Iraq, and Turkey launched covert action against the Kurds in order to prevent the formation of a broader Kurdistan encompassing parts of Turkish territory.
With the withdrawal of the United States and its allies from Afghanistan, Pakistan has once again made its presence felt. The Taliban have effectively taken control of large swaths of territory, with the help of the Pakistani regime, which has shifted leadership but not position with regard to radical Islam.
In the most stunning international move, China has threatened full-scale annexation of Taiwan, barring access to the South China Sea from Western countries and cutting off Taiwan’s trade routes. The West has refused to leverage China, fearing financial retaliation. China has made similar moves against the Philippines.
Come 2017, this will be President Obama’s legacy: a world of redrawn borders, all to the benefit of some of the worst regimes on the planet. When America retreats from the world, its enemies expand.
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