On Tuesday night, as President Obama caved completely to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the media came to Obama’s defense. Instead of Putin playing Obama for a fool, as it appeared this week, Obama had actually played Putin! Ezra Klein of the Washington Post tweeted, “I can’t believe the White House’s strategy on Syria is working out this well. I doubt they can, either.” Meanwhile, the Huffington Post headlined, “SYRIA CAVES? WILL SIGN CHEMICAL WEAPONS BAN.”
Putin has no history of caving to the United States. In 2008, Georgia invaded South Ossetia, a northern province of the country populated largely by ethnic Russians. The Georgian move came after tacit encouragement from the Bush administration. The Russians, who had always sought to preserve South Ossetia as a Russian province, invaded and threw the Georgians out, and then proceeded into Georgia. After the United States pushed Georgia into signing a peace deal, Russia troops remained inside South Ossetia, as well as inside certain areas of Georgia. The Russian assembly voted to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
In 2009, Putin almost singlehandedly stopped action at the United Nations against the rampaging ayatollahs of Iran, who were busily shooting their own people in the streets. Putin has helped Iran build its nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, he proclaims that he, too, is against Iranian nuclear ambitions.
Last year, after Obama signed a bill that would call for travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia, Putin retaliated by cutting off all US adoptions of Russian children, imposing sanctions on US “human rights abusers,” and killing off any foreign-funded political NGOs. And when it comes to Syria, it has been Putin standing foursquare behind Assad’s development of chemical weapons. In a show of force to the United States, Putin publicly expelled a US diplomat for being a supposed spy.
This year, Putin slapped President Obama in the face by granting NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum, joking, “Such a present to us. Merry Christmas!”
As to the notion that Syria would cave by signing any chemical weapons ban, that is purely absurd – the enforcement mechanism for the treaty means nothing, considering that Russia has a heavy hand in the monitoring and compliance process. Worse, as Mike Doran of the Brookings Institute points out, “I guarantee you that as we speak, Assad’s chemical weapons team is frantically pouring bottles of Chanel No. 5, which Hezbollah stole from Lebanon, into missile shells that it will deliver to the U.N. in an elaborate demonstration of compliance with the agreement. We will take one whiff, call it perfume, and cry foul. The Russians will say that the evidence is not conclusive, a U.N. team should run tests.” Worse, the US will have become an active party to such a cover-up, since it will have caved on its policy in order to supposedly back paper promises.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).