October 27, 2019

WAIT, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE TOLD ME HE BLEW IT: Trump Outsmarts Putin With Syria Retreat: Russia will soon find itself caught between Turkey and Syria.

If and when such a border fight develops, Putin will find himself between Assad and Erdogan. Whatever he does, he will wind up in that most vulnerable of Middle Eastern positions, the friend of somebody’s enemy.

As the big power in charge, Russia also will be expected to help its Syrian client rebuild the damage from the civil war. Physical reconstruction alone is expected to cost $400-500 billion. This is a bill Trump had no intention of paying — and one more reason he was glad to hand northern Syria to Putin.

Russia cannot afford a project of this magnitude. It’s possible that Putin expects EU countries to foot the bill — motivated either by humanitarian impulses or by the desire to forestall another wave of destitute immigrants. But this is wishful thinking. Faced with a potential influx of Syrian refugees, Europe is more likely to raise barriers on its southern and eastern borders than to invest in affordable housing in the ruins of Aleppo and Homs.

Erdogan’s loud threats to send refugees are likely to boost anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

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