Russian warplanes began bombing American-backed Syrian opposition strongholds on Wednesday, a move that can be viewed as the latest example of American humiliation abroad.
As was the case when Russians invaded Ukraine, the Russians cloaked their activity in lies.
In the former example, Russian soldiers didn’t wear uniforms, a thinly-veiled move meant to create the impression the fighters were merely Ukrainian “separatists.”
Likewise, Wednesday’s bombings ostensibly targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); in fact, the strikes were aimed at moderate rebels and civilians – part of a plan to take out any opposition to their client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
This all comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s drawing of a “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons, only to back down when the Assad regime – by most accounts – used them.
Weakness invites provocation, and – never one to miss an opportunity to outmanoeuvre Mr Obama – Mr Putin provided a self-serving opportunity that would also allow the president to save face: Moscow would push Syria to put their chemical weapons under international control.
It’s also important to note that in the wake of the red line being trampled, Russia invaded Crimea. President Obama’s legacy may be mixed, but one thing is for sure: Vladimir Putin is much more powerful and provocative than he was before Mr Obama took office, and Russia has only expanded its sphere of influence.
In the world of high-stakes diplomacy with a man like Mr Putin, politics is closer to the law of the jungle than anything civilised.
He’s not terribly concerned about being on “the wrong side of history” — a line Mr Obama bandies about as if its intimidating to anyone outside American cities.
It has been said that when you watch a political debate, you should turn down the sound and predict the winner, via body language.
When you look at Mr Putin and his ministers, and then compare them to Mr Obama and their Russian counterparts, one gets the sense that the Russians would easily win every fist fight.
Unfortunately, it’s the United States of America that is left with a black eye.
Full article: Vladimir Putin sees Barack Obama’s coolness as weakness – and it is hurting America (The Telegraph)