I’ve called Barack Obama worse, but then I’m not the authoritarian leader of an adventurous, devious, and nuclear-armed state.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday slammed the US for refusing to share intelligence with Russia on Syria, and accusing it of muddled thinking.
“I believe some of our partners simply have mush for brains,” Putin said, expressing some of his strongest criticism yet of Washington’s handling of the Syrian crisis.
Late last month, Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria, saying it needed to target Islamic State jihadists before they cross into Russia, which has a large Muslim population.
But Washington and its allies slammed Russia’s intervention in the conflict, saying Moscow was also targeting Western-backed moderate rebels and sought to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
“Now, we often hear that our pilots are striking the wrong targets, not IS,” Putin said at an investment forum in Moscow explaining that Russia had asked Washington to provide a list of targets.
But Washington declined.
“‘No, we are not ready for this’ was the answer,” Putin quoted them as saying. “Then we thought again and asked another question: then tell us where we should not strike. No answer too,” he said, adding: “That is not a joke. I did not make this up.”
Putin of course is trolling Obama. Did Moscow really ask for targets? Probably, but for their own ends rather than to help our anemic little air campaign against ISIS. Did Moscow really ask where not to strike? Probably, but only to get a better idea of exactly where to strike — our “friends” over there are Assad’s (and Putin’s) enemies.
But this White House sets itself up for these trolls with seeming abandon, rarely missing an opportunity to give Putin an opportunity.