Over the week end I posted on what I see to be the real Russian strategy in Syria: use highly provocative actions and statements to create a narrative that Russia is the dominant power and America is on the decline. This strategy is working because Obama apparently lives in a universe where everyone is working together to achieve what is good rather than the universe the rest of us inhabit.
Obama appeared determined to take on critics whom he portrayed as impatient and ignorant of the complexity of the warring factions in Syria. He laughed off suggestions that Russian airstrikes in recent days against fighters opposed to President Bashar Assad, an ally of Moscow’s, have President Vladimir Putin looking stronger than Obama in Syria.
“We’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the United States and Russia,” Obama insisted during an afternoon news conference at the White House. “This is not some superpower chessboard contest. And anybody who frames it in that way isn’t paying very close attention to what’s been happening on the chessboard.”
This makes one wonder exactly which chessboard Obama is looking at. The one the rest of us sees is one in which long term competitors (Russia and China) and enemies (Iran) are using the perpetual vacillation and stupidity of this administration to expand their own power and their own freedom to operate.
As if to underscore his utter inability to understand the situation:
“Once we start something, we’ve got to finish it, and we’ve got to do it well,” Obama said. “Unless we can get the parties on the ground to agree to live together in some fashion, then no amount of U.S. military engagement will solve the problem.
“And we will find ourselves either doing just a little bit and not making a difference and losing credibility that way or finding ourselves drawn deeper and deeper into a situation that we can’t sustain.”
As one looks back over the history of the Obama administration the word “half-assed” just explodes out. From Obama’s creation of ISIS by his precipitous withdrawal to Iraq to the boneheaded Arab Spring fiasco to the benighted attempt to push Bashar Assad from power one is hard pressed to find anything that Obama has ‘done well’. The degree to which he is out of touch is revealed in the bizarre statement that we are trying to “get the parties on the ground to agree to live together in some fashion.” Most of us thought our mission in Syria was to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. When did getting along with ISIS and al-Qaeda become our goals?
As if to accentuate his incomprehension of the facts on the ground:
“Iran and Assad make up Mr. Putin’s coalition at the moment. The rest of the world makes up ours,” Obama confidently asserted.
Actually, Iraq is part of Putin’s coalition and, unlike “the rest of the world,” Putin’s coalition is actually doing something.
Obama is wrong. This is a “superpower chessboard contest” (ed. note: just what in the hell is a “chessboard contest”? Is he talking about chess?). What is at stake is the future of Eastern Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East. This interview shows Obama either can’t or won’t admit that Russia is in Syria for the sole reason of degrading the ability of the US to use economic and diplomatic power, making us reliant upon military power alone, indicates we are losing this game in a big way.