Paul Richter and Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times argue that the Russian strongman is doing something very peculiar in modern history. He is engaging in single combat with the Leader of the Free World. Putin is tearing down one man and not as one would expect, the entire system of a rival nation state in order to gain success. They write, “Putin is using his Syria gambit to disparage Obama”.
The outcome of Vladimir Putin’s bold military gamble in Syria is far from clear, but in the short term, one loser seems certain: President Obama.
The Kremlin raised the stakes Wednesday by firing cruise missiles into Syria from warships nearly 1,000 miles away as Obama’s critics at home and abroad said Putin’s escalating attempt to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad already has made the White House look weak and wavering.
Even the New York Times senses the Russian’s agenda. ”Is Vladimir Putin Trying to Teach the West a Lesson in Syria?” Ivan Krastev asks. He can’t figure out the logic behind Russia’s military moves. “But what does this spoiling power actually want? Is Russia in Syria simply for the sport of watching a humiliated President Obama?”
That is because the logic is less military than psychological. Putin is in Syria to humiliate president Obama for sound strategic reasons. Putin appears to be the darling of the hour. Radio Free Europe reports that Afghanistan’s “First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum is seeking help from an old ally — Russia.” Iraqi Shi’ite politicians, caught up in the madness of strongman adulation, have called on Putin to bomb Iraq.
Suddenly Obama’s partners for peace are going out of their way to treat him like a nobody in the most insulting way. Reuters reports that “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday banned any further negotiations between Iran and the United States”. This only weeks after receiving $100 billion dollars from the One and Iran won’t even take his call. To add insult to injury, Gen. John Campbell, commander of US forces in Afghanistan told the Senate that Tehran is arming the Taliban. Foreign Policy says that Iran has supplied Hezbollah with SA-22 SAMs and Yakhont surface-to-surface precision land attack missiles. A hundred billion doesn’t buy much gratitude these days. Iran couldn’t express their contempt more clearly if they took out a full page ad in the Washington Post.