Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In Syria, Putin Does What Obama Wouldn't. And is Winning

It was only a year ago that Obama pledged that if Assad used chemical weapons he would launch a retaliatory missile strike from US missile cruisers in the gulf. Assad, having seen Obama fail to stand up, back up, or fulfill his word on anything in his entire 17 year political career including 6 years as president, laughed and then launched a sarin gas attack on Aleppo killing more than 300 children and more than a thousand adults.

MoveOn and other Tea Party Left groups launched an immediate campaign to convince Obama not to live up to his word, which is like trying to convince a ten year old not to eat brussel sprouts. For the Tea Party Left , launching a missile strike from a cruiser in the Gulf was "WAR!". That's what they called it. They circulated a petition rejected by 98% of their membership who refused to sign it,  calling for Obama to back down, another unnecessary waste of keystrokes.

Obama, instead of making good on his pledge decided to put his integrity to a vote. And his integrity lost. Again.

Most in congress refused to vote to give him the authority to launch the missile attack against Assad, an authority Obama didn't need in the first place but it was the cover he wanted and thought he needed to justify backing down. And so he did.

Ironically MoveOn has been circulating emails and petitions over the plight of the Syrian refugees. The irony is its a crisis they can take credit for helping to create since at the time they crowed in emails that it was their petition that influenced Obama to back off the missile  strike ( a preposterous assertion but if they want to pat themselves on the back for that they can do the same for the Syrian refugee crisis which might not have happened had the missile strike Obama promised taken place which would have severely damaged Assad's air power.)

Now Putin has bamboozled Obama again, like he did in Crimea and eastern Ukraine since Putin is now doing in Syria exactly what he persuaded Obama not to do after the Sarin gas attack. 

While it was Obama who backed down on the missile strike and also refused to arm the moderate Syrian rebels, it is Putin who is using his military to prop up the Assad regime by launching air and missile strikes against the rebels in rebel strongholds under the guise of attacking Isis.

Both Obama and new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter have both said they are " concerned" ( why they left out the word " deeply" is anyone's guess) that there are no Isis fighters in any of the areas Putin is attacking and bombing. Which had to make Putin laugh. You can almost hear him saying, "okay go be concerned".

The upshot is, while Obama and those around him were under some kind of self delusion that all he had to do was say " Assad must go", and that would be enough,( maybe he should have said it ten times fast), while refusing to support the Syrian rebels fighting on the ground, the people actually trying to make that a reality, Putin is now doing for Assad and his side, what Obama wouldn't do for his ( a recurring theme for Obama from health care reform to Wall Street to Crimea and eastern Ukraine).

As a result Putin is winning. And air strikes are taking a heavy toll. The latest news out of Syria is that Assad, emboldened by Russian air strikes, has started a new ground offensive against the rebels, while Obama, Kerry and Carter are still figuring out that when Putin said he was going to help Assad in his "lawful fight against the terrorists", to Assad the people terrorizing him are the moderate Syrian rebels fighting to get rid of him, not Isis.

Which means that while Putin and Assad are winning they are also successfully pulling the glass over Obama's eyes. And once more, like in Crimea, like in eastern Ukraine, like with Obamacare like calling Isis " the junior varsity" all Obama decisions that not only failed but made things worse,  if Obama does nothing different or too little too late or another half baked ineffective policy decision, he will preside over yet  another policy failure in a failed presidency marked mostly by what he could have accomplished and didn't. 

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