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« Pope Francis still has a lot to learn | Main | Kevin McCarthy's speakership is going to be a lulu of a loser »

September 30, 2015


Marc McKenzie

It's amazing--no, scratch that, it is unsettling--to see the glee from the Putin fans in regards to Russia's actions in Syria. In their minds, the US is the real foe for supporting the rebels against Assad and that ISIL is really the fault of the US. And here's manly-man Putin to step in and fix things (at least that's the vibe I see from the Putin-loving pieces over at Consortium News).

Of course, P.M., what you've written here is closer to the truth (and I have seen similar sentiments echoed on other sites not enthralled with Putin). What seems like a bold move is in fact an overplay of a very week hand, and that Putin is stretching Russia's resources very thin.

It seems that the disastrous 1979-1989 occupation of Afghanistan has been flushed down the memory hole, but don't be surprised if history repeats itself.

Just my 2-cents.

Peter G

David Ignatius is wrong. You certainly can pass on Syria to Putin and more importantly to all the other named allies in the Middle East whose interest's so vastly exceed American interest. Our unlamented fish food adversary Bin Laden was right about one thing and that was a Sunni/Shia showdown was to be avoided at all costs until the Sunni ascendancy he envisioned made clean up on aisle Shia a winning proposition. It started too soon.

Now anybody who wade into this mess deserves what they will get. I get Putin's view. He has the dictator's perception that the West (for which read the US) is about regime change. And maybe that includes him. To be honest there is a lot of truth in it. That was what was preached from the pulpit for pretty much the whole cold war. This is his miscalculation and he has chosen just the wrong place to demonstrate the Putin alternative.

Which brings me to the named expert in Ignatius' piece, retired diplomat Ryan Crocker and his eminently transparent bullshit. An appeal to authority ought to at least give some semblance of an argument from that authority and I notice it is absent. Unless of course what he meant by throwing away a pretty good hand was Congress forbidding the authorization of doing exactly what Putin is about to do, use air strikes in Syria. He surely could not mean the use of large numbers of ground forces for that would be idiotic.


The unprovable lament that there was a window of opportunity in which the US could have acted in Syria to depose Assad and preempt ISIS is well-established with the neocons and even some more liberal-interventionist types. Maybe there was, but I doubt it. And I am grateful that Barack Obama, and not one of the armchair generals, has been president these recent years, and has studiously avoided entangling us there outside of some airstrikes on ISIS.

He gets zero credit for it, but his move to throw the decision to bomb Assad over chemical weapons back to the GOP congress was excellent. Turn the GOP's knee-jerk obstructionism to his advantage for once, and let them prevent him from doing something he clearly didn't want to do anyway. And his willingness to work with the Russians to dispose of those weapons without military action was equally so.

If Putin wants to strut into Syria and fix things, my view is he's welcome to try. If he succeeds, maybe Syria's condition actually improves (though Assad would remain, which is tragic). If he fails, he'll bog Russia down in its own Mesopotamian quagmire and weaken his freedom to cause mischief in other venues. Either of those outcomes holds advantages for us.


A reader over at TPM has produced a very lucid assessment of the situation:

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