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The US in a “weak” position in Syria, notes Putin

Noting the obvious, Vladimir Putin pointed out that the US is in a very weak position concerning Syria:

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued a war of words with the U.S. over Syria, calling its policy weak and lacking in objectives as his air force carried out fresh bombing raids in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

“I don’t really understand how the U.S. can criticize Russia’s actions in Syria if they refuse to have direct dialogue,” Putin told reporters Thursday during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan. “The basic weakness of the American position is that they don’t have an agenda, though we’re keeping the door open” for high-level discussions with Washington, he said.

Of course, the administration had an answer:

“We’ve said that we’re not interested in doing that as long as Russia is not willing to make a constructive contribution to our counter-ISIL effort,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday, using an acronym for Islamic State. “Russia has their own agenda and it’s an agenda right now that they’re pursuing on their own.”

I suppose that’s so … but so does the US and it is apparent there really isn’t any desire for “dialogue” unless the US can have its way.  And it is a basic understanding in negotiations that the weaker party doesn’t have as many choices (if any) than the stronger party.  The US is certainly in the weaker position having ceded control of the Syrian conflict to Russia.  Also, don’t forget that the US withheld military aid to Iraq until Iraq made political changes it wanted to see happen.  What did Iraq do?  Well, it bought its fighter aircraft from Russia instead (likely with US money).

As for the possibility of talks.  Well, it seems that NATO partner Turkey has figured out a way to have them:

Russia and NATO member Turkey are establishing “lines of communication between our militaries in connection with events taking place in Syria” amid tensions over violations of Turkish airspace, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov told a conference in Moscow on Thursday, Interfax reported. Turkey and Russia can find consensus on Syria, Umit Yardim, the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, said at the same meeting.

Interesting and telling.

Foreign affairs, for this administration, is a disaster.  And they seem determined to make it worse instead of better.


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11 Responses to The US in a “weak” position in Syria, notes Putin

  • The Turks will do anything and everything to keep the Kurds from becoming more powerful, and then threatening to form Kurdistan, with part of Turkey.

  • DAMN that Vlad…!!! He INSISTS on thinking like Twentieth Century Man…!!!

    Doesn’t he know that’s SO passe…??? Our deft lightbringer WANTS to help him. If only he’d get on the right side of the arch of the trajectory of history…

    • I know – perhaps if we sent President Putin a link to the appropriate web site.

      While Vlad was there he could learn how to throw the word Quantum into his speeches.

      Like, maybe he could be all new millennium and say:
      “some or our international partners don’t understand Quantum reality”
      instead of
      “some of our international partners have oatmeal in their heads”.

      • Unfortunately, when you are the country with the idiot with “mush for brains”, you don’t have many options.

        Criticize the Administration’s Syria policy without providing alternative recommendations, and the President will dismiss you for mere carping. Argue, say, for a no-fly zone, however, and you will be dismissed for lacking the information and advice that only the President can have. Either way, in his view, you are a dummy, or, as he so artfully said of his previous Secretary of State, a peddler of “mumbo jumbo.”
        This pervasive contempt for the views of others is one of the President’s greatest weaknesses and least attractive traits. Inevitably, it percolates throughout his Administration and prevails in particular at the White House. Yet it seems not to deter those on the outside—apolitical experts, some Democrats, and not a few veterans of Republican Administrations—from attempting, in all sincerity, to devise and argue for alternative approaches.

        Not only are their efforts pointless—if Obama is his own strategist, why should he listen to you, foolish or wicked veterans of the Bush Administration?—they are misguided. One can only judge a policy on its implementation, and although a no-fly zone conceived by a tough-minded Commander in Chief and implemented by Bob Gates might be just the thing, a no-fly zone put into place by the President who brought you vanishing red lines, a botched withdrawal from Iraq, the reset with Russia that wasn’t, repeated groveling apologies for the inevitable accidents of war, and much else, could be a debacle.

  • The Russians just realistically observed that as much as they aren’t in love with Assad what will replace him in the form of some rebel led government will probably be worse – and then correctly point to Libya as proof.
    Hence their defense that they’re busy killing off the rebels in their support of the legitimate Syrian government while the Americans are busy pretending there are really good Islamic terrorists we can train who will create a western democracy when they win.

    Inevitably in these situations there are disparate rebel groups that gain regional control and pretend they will rule the country as a coalition until the most ruthless b******ds can figure out how to annihilate their opposition and co-opt the groups their closer to to go along for their own good. Rarely are the victors generous and gracious. There are far more ‘Soviet Union’ examples of how those coalitions work out than other sorts.

    One shouldn’t be surprised but that with all of written history to draw examples from the Obama administration is unable to see that as the most probable outcome.

    • The Russian model is Chechnya.
      Sure it didn’t go to well at the outset, but they leveled village after village, town after town, out of the view of the international press, and eventually, they “won”.
      Sure, it’s not beautiful, like Obama, but beauty fades.

      • And people either never know, and if they do they quickly forget.
        how does it go – “old men forget, yet all shall be forgot”

        They do remember they’re getting groped before they get to fly though.

    • Obama’s mission for the ME has been to replace leadership and governments that still have the stink of Western ‘Colonialism’ on them with more regionally authentic leadership (aka Islamists) whether its good for the US or not and whether its good for the people of those regions or not.

  • While everyone has been quick to characterize Moscow’s actions as the latest and perhaps greatest example of Vladimir Putin calling Washington’s bluff, it’s important to understand exactly why that’s an accurate characterization here. That is, this is more than just Moscow betting it could support Assad and Washington would simply move out of the way.

    This was Russia and Iran realizing that the only reason the US and its regional allies have been able to keep up appearances in the eyes of the public with regard to the “campaign” against ISIS, is because the public has never seen what happens when someone powerful makes a serious effort to eradicate the group. Once Russia moved in, gave the superpower greenlight for Iran to abandon all pretense that it isn’t also directly involved, and began racking up gains in a matter of days, the Western public was left to wonder why the US couldn’t accomplish in 13 months what Russia appeared to have accomplished in a matter of (literally) 72 hours.

    Then, just in case anyone was tempted to write off the discrepancy as a lack of US resolve or (gasp) diminishing American military capability, Moscow very publicly asked the US to join Russia in striking terrorist targets. Putin effectively said this: “You’re obviously no good at this, but that’s ok because we’re all in this together, so come help us.”

  • Be interesting to see if the President’s ‘supporters’ who claim the Russians can’t keep this up for long will be proved right.

    I kind of expect them to be made fools of, again, given:
    1) the quality of our intelligence assessments – or – perhaps I should say the quality of the ones that make it to the White House, rather than the ones that may actually be produced
    2) the fact that proponents will alternately cite sources in Russia when they favor the Obama storyline, and discuss how notoriously unreliable they are when they contradict it
    3) how surprised the general beltway crowd seems to be that Russia is IN Syria in force in the first place
    4) that they seem to be having effect given their operation time vs the amount of time we’ve spent allegedly doing the same thing

    Hearing them talk about how the Russian effort is doomed to collapse soon is like listening to them prognosticate the demise of Trump’s campaign.

    “Any minute now, you’ll see!!!!!”

  • John Schindler — @20committee

    Had a senior EU diplomat, old friend, ask me today, “How does your impeachment work? My government believes Obama is quite mentally unwell.”

    2:08 PM – 12 Oct 2015