September 18, 2015

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: How Putin Outflanks Obama in Syria.

Once again, President Obama and his foreign policy team are stumped. Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weaponry into Syria?. . .

Kerry and Obama are serially surprised because they cannot fathom the hard men in the Kremlin. . . .

Putin will offer Russia as a core member of a new anti-Islamic State coalition. Obama’s Potemkin war — with its phantom local troops (our $500 million training program has yielded five fighters so far) and flaccid air campaign — is flailing badly. What Putin is proposing is that Russia, Iran and Hezbollah spearhead the anti-jihadist fight.

Putin’s offer is clear: Stop fighting Assad, accept Russia as a major player, and acquiesce to a Russia-Iran-Hezbollah regional hegemony — and we will lead the drive against the Islamic State from in front.

And there is a bonus. The cleverest part of the Putin gambit is its unstated cure for Europe’s refugee crisis.

Wracked by guilt and fear, the Europeans have no idea what to do. Putin offers a way out: No war, no refugees. Stop the Syrian civil war and not only do they stop flooding into Europe, those already there go back home to Syria.

When America fails to lead, others will step in to fill the global vacuum.

RELATED: Russia moves fighter jets to Syria.

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