Vladimir Putin is up to something in Syria–and the Obama can’t seem to figure it out, according to a recent article in Politico.
“U.S. officials are trying to determine what Putin is up to, and how his buildup–which now includes dozens of aircraft–might impact U.S. efforts to broker a peace settlement that could end Syria’s disastrous civil war…
“Confusion about Putin’s motives have plagued the Obama administration ever since the Russian leader first moved into Crimea in March of last year, creating a national security crisis for President Barack Obama that remains on slow boil.
“Earlier this year, the White House initiated a comprehensive review of its Russia policy with an eye towards better understand Putin’s grand designs. His latest moves further complicate an unclear picture.”
Essentially, Putin is playing the world–especially the Middle East–like a chessboard, and Obama is being outclassed every step of the way.
Putin has long felt anger towards the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the severe decline of Russia’s influence on the international stage ever since. Syria, especially Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who has his hands full fighting several revolutionary groups for the leadership of his country, remains an especially important ally to Russia because that’s where Russia’s only overseas naval base is located.
While ISIS has been the highest-profile Syrian revolutionary group, there’s a number of them–and the United States is support groups that are simultaneously fighting Assad, ISIS, and now the Russians.
Were Assad to lose, either to ISIS or to a U.S.-backed revolutionary group, Russian influence in the region would be crippled–leaving the United States as the sole arbitrator in the region.
However, after energy- and resource-sapping wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last fifteen years, the United States is eager to turn away from the tumultuous region that has dominated American foreign policy decisions. Putin sees a clear opening not just to establish Russian hegemony in a critical region, but to replace America’s dominance as well.
That’s clear to everyone except Obama–who’s still scratching his head as to why Putin would want to send in Russian troops to support a brutal and unpopular Syrian dictator, rather than play nice with the Americans in the Middle East.