The record of removing secular dictators in the Middle East has been a remarkable failure. Just look at Iraq, Libya, and Egypt.
So naturally the U.S. foreign policy establishment is eager to remove Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
And Vladimir Putin doesn’t. He gets it:
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the U.N. on Monday that those who supported democratic revolutions in the Middle East are to blame for the rise of a globally ambitious Islamic State.
“Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster — and nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life,” Putin said through a translator. “I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?”
Now, I don’t doubt that Putin is interested in expanding Russia’s influence (is that not natural?), although I disagree with those who assume he is planning to restore the old Soviet Union, or even more outlandishly, to become the next Hitler. And frankly, I am fine with Russia filling a void in the Middle East. Let them take care of the radicals within their sphere of influence.
We need to maintain our interests-protecting Israel, preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and fighting jihad. We can do all of those things irrespective of Russia-or maybe (most likely the last) with Russia, depending on the outlook of our next President. But the American people are tired of policing the world, and as mentioned it has largely had opposite the intended affect in the Middle East.
Three people running for President dislike Russian intrusion so much that they are willing to risk world war over it.
Carly Fiorina came out in favor of an enforceable Syrian no-fly zone. Hillary Clinton and John Kasich followed. You see, Putin’s first bombing mission in Syria was designed to tweak the U.S. He bombed what some believe to be U.S.-backed rebels. For all we know, they could very well be bad characters themselves, and I do expect Putin to go after ISIS going forward, but predictably great offense was taken.
Nevermind the fact that backing the overthrow of Assad is a horrible idea (especially for Christians and other minorities), or that our arms funneled to the “rebels” mysteriously end up in the hands of terrorist groups.
Imposing a no-fly zone in Syria is asking for a world war. After multiple erasable red-lines from Obama, Putin doesn’t take the U.S. seriously. There is no reason to assume he wouldn’t violate the no-fly zone. But if the U.S. military had orders to shoot Russian planes down, and they did, all hell would break lose.
War between the two nuclear powers was successfully avoided even at the height of the Cold War. To broach that possibility again is insane and potentially disastrous. And it would not even be for a noble purpose.
Reagan believed in peace through strength. Are Fiorina, Clinton, and Kasich going to adopt “nuclear holocaust through stupidity” as their foreign policy slogans?