The Conversation

Russia's Game in Syria

A day after Obama's slobbering sycophants at NBC News ran a hilarious article about the Community-Organizer-In-Chief "dominating" the black-belt KGB man with his imposing body language, the world knows Putin kicked Obama's butt sideways at their summit meeting.  "Putin overwhelms Obama at the Sulky Summit," snarks Bloomberg News, citing an even more damning article in the French paper Le Figaro entitled "Syria: G-20 Trapped By Putin."

Putin bounced forth from the summit to announce that Russia would provide Syria with a missile shield if Obama attacked them.  Russian forces are making a lot of strange moves in the region, including a warship currently en route to Syria with some sort of "special cargo."  Russia dropped an exhaustive 100-page report claiming the rebels used chemical weapons before Assad on the United Nations, which is taking the report seriously.  Meanwhile, the Russians are sneering at the comparatively thin case against Assad.  (I'm inclined to think Assad's regime is guilty of the big "red line" chem weapons attack, but Obama's people haven't really been putting their backs into proving it.)

What's the Russian game plan here?  Is Obama on the verge of starting World War Three?  Maybe - these things do have a way of spiraling out of control once the shooting starts, and frankly the hapless incompetents of the Obama Administration make it seem like Syria is escalating out of control before a single American bomb drops.  There's no compelling sense that Team Obama has any plans to handle unpleasant contingencies, outside of Obama's personal political escape plan of getting gullible Republicans to sign off on a military authorization so he can blame everything that goes wrong on them.

But I don't think Putin's boys are planning to shoot at Americans when Operation Stalemate gets under way.  No, they'll be shooting at the Syrian rebels.  They've got a well-established case against them for using WMD.  They can throw Obama's foolish, reckless "red line" rhetoric right back in his face.  (Remember, in the "red line" speech he now insists he didn't give, Obama explicitly said he'd call for action against anyone who uses WMD in Syria.)  If the Russians or Russian-backed regime forces in Syria capture a couple of rebel units with gas shells, it's game over.

The long game is for Putin to show prospective Russian client states around the world that they're much better off seeking an alliance with him than with the Empty Chair.  Putin looks like the sober statesman; Obama's a bumbling fool whose ego demands a war, because otherwise his "credibility" is shot.  The Russians are way ahead in the "credibility" sweepstakes at the moment, and that should scare the heck out of everyone.  If the Russians intervened on Assad's behalf in Syria right now, they'd have a larger international coalition than Obama would, especially since the French just announced they want to wait for the UN inspectors to finish their work.  It's not good at all for the American President to look like an amateur, while Vladimir Putin comes off like a pro.


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