Obama's 'bargain' with Russia in Syria

Daily Beast:
Putin Sends His Dirty War Forces to Syria

The Kremlin isn’t sending just any troops to prop up the Assad regime. It’s dispatching units that spearheaded Russia’s slow-rolling invasion of Ukraine.

Building up a garrison in Syria absent any coordination with Washington but coinciding with talk of future coordination is a hallmark of a KGB president looking to get the better of his counterparts: establish a fait accompli, then negotiate the terms of the West’s surrender to it.

Putin knows that the U.S. may be tacitly OK with seeing Russia directly safeguard “state institutions” in Damascus—i.e., the Syrian army and the security services responsible for the bulk of the country’ carnage—especially as the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS creeps ever closer to the capital. He need only read U.S. newspapers, which cite anonymous White House officials objectively supporting Assad’s longevity, to glean as much. He also knows that calls for Russia to “stop arming and assisting and supporting Bashar al-Assad” can be met with an implied, “Yeah, yeah” because the U.S. will never come close to arming and supporting Assad’s opposition in a commensurate manner.

Anti-Americanism is now a central plank of Russian foreign policy, which depicts Russia as the only nation brave enough to stand up to American hegemony. Rebuffing and outfoxing Washington is a now a national pastime.

It was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, after all, who went to Sochi last May to cinch Putin’s assistance in reanimating the corpse of a Syria peace process—and ended up criticizing Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, a putative U.S. ally, while there. Now Putin has returned the executive gratitude by redoubling his support for Assad, and daring the U.S. to stop him. That he has done so quickly, and with the help of the Islamic Republic—another anti-American regime he’s meant to be helping the U.S. constrain—is just the cherry on top.
No one should think would do any better in this situation since he has implied all along that he would like the Russians to come in and do the dirty work.  Obama has a long record fo botched Syrian policy positions starting with his outreach to the so-called moderate Assad regime.  Kerry seems obsessed with process issues which Putin is willing to play along with as long as they do not get in the way of his objectives.


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