The first thing to understand about Vladimir Putin is thathe\’s not content just to win. He has to destroy his opponents, foreign ordomestic.
His deeds may bedespicable and his manners far too crude for the Upper West Side, but the guyis a force of nature, a man who – by sheer strength of will – has used a brokencountry and its rusting military to change the world. Meanwhile, our astonishedpresident sulks like a high-school girl stood up by her boyfriend (“ButVladimir… you promised!”).
Now we have reachedthe point where a Russian general can barge into a US military office in theMiddle East and order us to stop flying our aircraft over Syria. Oh, we\’restill flying, for now – but you can bet that our flights are restricted andcareful to the point of paralysis.
You bet PresidentObama\’s afraid of Putin. Physically, tangibly, change-the-diaper afraid.
And he enjoys it.
But Putin sees anecessity in humiliating the United States. That\’s business. And yet, despitePutin\’s obviousness, the White House team and its acolytes publicly scratchtheir heads and other body parts, saying, “We\’re not certain what the Russiansintend.”
So let\’s help them.Here are Putin\’s clear strategic goals:
In the short term,rescue the failing regime of Russia\’s ally, Syria\’s blood-drenched PresidentBashar al-Assad. And in doing so, eliminate all opposition groups except ISIS,leaving the United States, Europe and the world with the stark choice of “Assador Islamic State?”
In the mid-term,create a fait accompli, irreversible circumstances, on the ground in the MiddleEast (and in Ukraine) that will defeat the next US president even before he takesoffice.
Expect a lot more between nowand Inauguration Day 2017. Obama\’s delusional worldview – that of a narrow-shouldered,bleeding-heart undergraduate at a second-rate university – is a gift to Putinthat keeps on giving. (In almost seven years in office, Obama still hasn\’tgrasped that words don\’t stop bullets.)
In the longer-term,Putin intends to re-establish Russia\’s grandeur and glory from the apogee ofthe czars – and to go still further by dominating the Middle East and itsenergy resources.
Putin has bet on theShia world against the Sunni Muslims and is well along in the process ofbuilding a wall of allies from Teheran to Tripoli in Lebanon. Already, Russiahas a renewed presence and influence in the Middle East after a four-decadeabsence.
Our response? We\’restill funding the Iranian-owned Baghdad government; still shortchanging theKurds; still afraid to use real military power against ISIS; and terrified thatPutin will push the Syrian situation into a confrontation.
He will. And theObama administration is utterly, profoundly unprepared.
Our confused policesin the Middle East have left us trusted by no one (not even Israel), respectedby no one and feared by no one. We\’ve scattered our military advisers aroundIraq, providing Iran-backed militias with instant hostages. We continue to fundthose who hate us in Iraq (where our diplomats can\’t think past the walls ofour white-elephant embassy). We continue to pretend that we can convince Iraqisand Syrians to fight for what we believe in, rather than for their owninterests.
And should Putinshoot down a US aircraft and should Obama finally screw his courage to thesticking point and attempt an appropriate military response, Turkey – disloyalto us and terrified of Russia – would deny us the use of Incirlik airbase.
The White Houseresponse now? Spokesman Josh “Baghdad Bob” Earnest tells us everything\’s under controland we\’re working things out. The new line is that Russia will only get boggeddown in a quagmire, as the Soviets did in Afghanistan. Sorry, folks: Justbecause Obama\’s incapable of learning doesn\’t mean Putin is, too. And Putin\’sforces won\’t go into battle with lawyers looking over their shoulders, either.
Want to know how lowwe\’ve sunk? The president of France just repeated his demand that Assad has togo. Secretary of State John Kerry, following the pattern of his surrender tothe Iranians, has already said that, well, maybe Assad can stay for a whileuntil there\’s a “managed transition.”
Never before has aUS presidential administration combined such naked cowardice, intellectualarrogance and willful blindness. We don\’t have a president – we have a scaredchild covering his eyes at a horror movie.
And Putin knows it.
I have made the same comparison of putin and Obama numbers of times in this blog. But I have never done it better than that.
I wish every citizen – most especially, ever voter – would read Ralph Peters\’ commentary, and then re-read it, so they will understand the danger of putting an inexperienced, unqualified person in the Oval Office.