The PJ Tatler

Masters of War

President Obama refuses to speculate on what Assad and his allies might do if the US strikes Syria, unilaterally or otherwise. While Obama delays, Assad moves — he is reportedly shifting military assets into civilian neighborhoods and putting human shields on targets he cannot move. Assad’s moves have been entirely predictable. Barack Obama must not be much of a chess player. He doesn’t appear to be able to see even half a move ahead.

Iran has been caught ordering revenge attacks in Iraq and here in America if the US strikes Syria.

The Iranian message, intercepted in recent days, came from Qasem Soleimani, the head of Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force, and went to Iranian-supported Shiite militia groups in Iraq, according to U.S. officials.

In it, Mr. Soleimani said Shiite groups must be prepared to respond with force after a U.S. strike on Syria.

Vlad Putin is sending more Russian military ships to the Med. Not so the sailors can get a little sun or check out topless beaches in Greece.

Russia’s government-linked news agencies quoted senior military officials as saying two more of the country’s warships were headed for the Mediterranean, near Syria’s western coast.

The RIA-Novosti agency said two ships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the frigate Smetlivyi and the landing ship Nicholai Filchenkov, an electronic surveillance vessel, were ready to head to the region, according to a high-ranking source in the defense ministry. Russian news agencies said at the end of August that the navy was dispatching an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the Mediterranean.

Russia has a military base on Syria’s west coast at Tartus, and has been slowly increasing its naval presence in the region, along with the U.S., in recent weeks.

World War I started over a far less significant event than the unilateral bombing of a country embroiled in a terrible civil war.

As he surveys the world before him, Vladimir Putin the pragmatist and Russian patriot probably grasps several obvious facts. The United States has never had weaker, less rah rah leadership than it currently has. Obama’s popularity is low, and his judgement is suspect. The US economy continues to be weak and it’s questionable whether we could sustain a long-term war based on that fact alone. Congress has probably never been less popular or more divided, and the American people are deeply skeptical of getting involved at all in Syria, for mostly very sound reasons. Obama’s own base hesitates to support him, and he is deeply mistrusted by nearly the entire Republican Party, elected, grassroots and supporters. Russia itself is not in great shape, but Putin will probably never face a more divided, self-doubting America than the one he faces right now.