Obama Warns Putin Not to Do Something He's Already Done

This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. Fresh off his appearance at a UN Climate Summit (which, so far as we can tell, appearing at a climate summit is the only plan Obama has to combat ISIS), Barack Obama warned Vladimir Putin not to do something he has already done, i.e., intervene in Syria’s civil war:

Paris (CNN)President Barack Obama warned his Russian counterpart Tuesday against intervening in Syria’s civil war, suggesting that Vladimir Putin is aware of the dangers his country faces by entering the bloody conflict.

“I think Mr. Putin understands that … with Afghanistan fresh in the memory, for him to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he’s looking for,” Obama said at a news conference in Paris.

Obama said he does not disagree with Putin — with whom he met on Monday — on the necessity of a political resolution to Syria’s conflict. But he said there remains discord over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States insists must leave power as part of a political transition. But he said the reality on the ground in Syria could change Putin’s calculus.

This is absolutely rich. Our semi-retired President, who shows all the fire and resolve of a comatose ox when it comes to dealing with ISIS, is wagging his finger and lecturing at Putin about something Putin has clearly committed himself to do, and implying that Putin is somehow ignorant of the “reality on the ground” in Syria, despite the fact that his military is there in much greater force than ours at the moment.

I think a lot of people (myself included) agree that Russia’s meddling in Syria is a Bad Thing, but the time for us to have made that point was several months ago before, you know, the bombs started falling on the rebels we were supporting. And the way to make that point, to a man like Putin, is not to hitch up your mom jeans and get ready for a really serious finger-wagging session, but rather to project a sufficient amount of force and will that Putin believes there will be real life consequences if he rejects your, uh, friendly advice.

It’s doubly rich because, unlike Obama, Putin isn’t just whiling away the time in a job he clearly hates waiting for his time on the lucrative lecture circuit to kick in. Whatever else you might say about Putin, he’s clearly engaged on a day to day basis  in protecting the long term interests of his country in the way he knows how to do so. If only we could say the same thing about our President, who is presuming to lecture him.

Of course, if we could say that, Putin wouldn’t be in Syria in the first place.