Prepare for another LB ramble on Syria. Yesterday, I felt anger at the American military being humiliated by the way the Russians began their air campaign in Syria. That 3-star general showing up at the US embassy in Baghdad with démarche orders was meant to humiliate. We have no leadership in America, only bloviating political hacks – President Obama in the White House. mealy-mouthed generals at the Pentagon, and the media’s perennial favorite Republican foreign policy “expert”, Senator John McCain. They put the US military in this humiliating position, not Putin.
Propaganda campaigns run amok and sad to say a lot of what the US reports will be as deceptive as the Russians. For the record, keep in mind all the assurances of the US training and aiding “Syrian moderates”, who turned out to align with ISIS as soon as they had US weapons. Then there’s the stream of intelligence reports from CENTCOM under investigation for allegedly being doctored. And our weak, feckless President, the “Syrian moderate” mouthpiece in the Senate, John McCain and even some in the Pentagon will work hard to cast all Russian actions in a bad light. John McCain will quote his sources “in the know” and perhaps someone should ask him on whom he relies – is it his aide O’Bagy and her contacts in Syria? Remember his 2013 fact-finding trip to Syria – he was photographed with alleged terrorists. We should get the answers to that before we trust McCain and his “reliable” sources. We expect propaganda from the Russians, but watching the mountain of lies from our own government makes me hesitant to believe we’ll be getting honest information as the Obama administration and the “Syrian moderate” cheerleaders try to save face. Russia assuredly has grand strategic aims. We have no strategy.
Whether the Russians will be able to use the force necessary to defeat ISIS remains to be seen. Yesterday, when the Russians initiated airstrikes the US government railed about Russian bad manners for how they informed the US of these impending Russian airstrikes. The Russians aimed to humiliate the US, of that I have no doubt, but the US response amounted to sniveling. While the Russians orchestrated a rather masterful diplomatic and military effort to assist Assad, the US Secretary of Defense rambled on about the Obama social engineering and budget cuts that will diminish American military might. That message is not lost on the rest of the world and frankly, Ash Carter may be a nice man, he may be well-studied on military matters, but here’s the truth – he comes across as a weak squish. John Kerry, Mr. pink bicycle rider, comes across as a weak squish. Obama, our leader from behind, comes across as the weakest squish of all.
What Putin’s ultimate aims are remain to be seen, but it’s clear he isn’t afraid to act. G. Murphy Donovan penned an excellent piece at the American Thinker today: “Putin, the Indispensable Man?” Donovan writes:
“We remember great men because, as Pericles prophesied, great men do great things and then live on in the hearts of other men. “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.” Reputation is immortality indeed.
A great man, alas, is not necessarily good or popular. History is not kind to necessary villains. Stalin might be the best example from the WWII pantheon. Good and necessary are very different virtues. Josef Stalin was nonetheless one of those indispensable men who made victory and Russian national survival possible. Ruthless men make good soldiers.
Vladimir Putin may be such a man. Just as surely, Barack Obama is unlikely to be remembered for much beyond strategic inertia.”
John McCain and President Obama will keep mentioning Ukraine in every other breath talking about Putin, but here’s the truth – the US was trying to aid and abet a soft coup there, relying on fools like Victoria Nuland, from the US State Department, whom the Russians intercepted her phone conversation with the US ambassador in Ukraine – discussing which leader the US wanted in Kiev. The Russians leaked that phone conversation in western media. Some of the factions the US was cozying up to in Ukraine were neo-nazi thugs, not “freedom fighters”. The US seems to have become a stickler on the international law and agreements when it comes to demonizing some countries, but with our “regime change” democracy projects, we’re rather lax on following those rules ourselves. Putin made some fascinating comments in that CBS Charlie Rose interview (part 2 of the interview start about minute 14). Someone should pin down President Obama on our actions around the world, from Ukraine, Libya (Benghazi too), Iraq and what in the heck our strategy really is in regards to defeating ISIL. Putin laid out his position clearly.
Putin did offer the rules correctly when he spoke to the UN – Assad does represent the government in Syria and Assad invited the Russians in. Ash Carter offered up this version of the Russian’s failed logic on propping up Assad, stating that the Russians went after the Free Syrian Army and not ISIL (as the administration refers to them). Carter, McCain and the administration spend more time arguing for removing Assad than they do talking about how to defeat ISIL. My main questions for them are: If Assad goes before ISIL is defeated, how is the US going to insure some stable, non-radicalized government emerges in Syria?” Will it look like Iraq once Obama was in charge of US policy? Do they plan to help install another regime? What is their plan to keep ISIL or other jihadists from filling that power vacuum?
If Libya and the Obama pull-out of US troops from Iraq are any indication, they don’t have a plan. The pretzel logic falls on the US side in this mess.