Watching the US attempt to explain to the public why Washington can’t join the Russians in targeting extremists in Syria has been entertainment gold. The fundamental PR problem revolves around the fact that the West has gone out of its way to hold up ISIS as the quintessential example of pure, unadulterated evil that must be eradicated at all costs and yet when Moscow began bombing ISIS targets and publicly implored the US to join in, Washington said no.
If you’re the public that seems strange. To be sure, everyday Westerners are accustomed to Russophobic propaganda in the news and in cinema and the public is thoroughly conditioned to think of The Kremlin as a weird, multi-colored palace complex staffed with hundreds of James Bond villains in a country where it’s always dark, and always snowing. That said, Western leaders have had a difficult time explaining why that’s somehow worse than ISIS, whose slickly-produced videos have so far depicted a series of beheadings, a Jordanian pilot being burned alive, “spies” being drowned in a cage, and four men being packed into a Toyota Corolla which is then destroyed at close range by a rocket launcher. Continue reading