Obama is Right to Be Cautious in Syria
Eugene Robinson – The Washington Post
Contrary to popular belief, President Obama does have a plan for Syria. It’s just not one that promises to have much immediate impact on the course of the brutal civil war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, by contrast, has a plan that is far bolder and much more likely to produce results on the ground — but only in the short term.
I struggle to understand all the hand-wringing in Washington about the implications of Putin’s intervention for “American leadership.” We’re unprepared to wade in — for good reason, in my view — and thus in no position to do much of anything about Russia’s foray.
The big problem is that our most important goal in Syria is different from that of the non-jihadist rebels we support.
The Coming Defeat of NATO
Matthew Continetti – The Washington Free Beacon
Russian leadership of a pro-Assad coalition that includes Iran and Iraq effectively displaces America as the most influential external power in the region.
Russian provocations have forced Washington to plead for “de-confliction,” handing Moscow freedom of action over Syrian, and possibly Iraqi, airspace. And the location of the Russian base opens an additional front in Putin’s war against NATO….
His next target is the Baltic States.
Try this scenario: Sometime in the next 16 months, civil unrest breaks out in one or more of the Baltic States. It’s the Russian population, calling for “independence” from the central government and closer ties to Moscow. Fighting erupts as Russian tanks mass along the border and jets fly over Riga or Vilnius or Tallinn. They are all targets…. The Baltic authorities call on NATO to respond—invoking Article Four of the charter, which requires consultations, and possibly Article Five, requiring force.
But the West is distracted.
The Neoconservatives Fairy Tale about Syria
Matt Purple – The National Interest
Neoconservatives and hawks have dreamed up a yarn that goes something like this: Iraq was initially roiled with violence, thanks to Sunni and Shiite uprisings. It fell to the gallant George W. Bush to ride to the rescue and heroically order a troop surge. This led to peace throughout the land—until the yellow-bellied Barack Obama pulled out the troops, which undermined the Sunnis in western Iraq and ushered in ISIS….
Of course, this isn’t how foreign policy works—and yet those same elements are now being woven into a second mythical story.
This one is about Syria and, once again, it stars the hapless boy king Barack Obama, who’s spent the past two years bumbling and stumbling after Bashar al-Assad allegedly used chemical weapons on his own people. The moral of the story is that, had Obama listened to his tragically ignored hawkish advisers and armed the moderate rebels fighting Assad’s regime, he could have saved Syria. The notably lionhearted Marco Rubio advanced this argument in the last presidential debate.