Vladimir Putin Grabs For Power In Syria As Barack Obama Concentrates On Climate Change – Will American Voters Turn To Donald Trump?

I would get along well with Putin

Donald Trump

Vladimir Putin’s military campaign in Syria continues to draw speculation, as commentators clamor to understand the motives of the “bullying” Russian leader, whose country was hit with heavy sanctions following Putin’s efforts to take over Ukraine and Byelorussia.

Putin leads an economy that rides on oil and gas exports, supplying one-third of the European Union’s energy need, as reported by The Washington Times. Putin is likely to seek stabilization of the region, rather than demanding the ousting of Syrian leader Assad. Putin will also gain from obliterating ISIS rebel factions, who are active in Syria, and who threaten the stability of Russia.

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have clashed in their approach to the new conflict in Syria, with the American leader adhering to a strict “Assad must go” policy while – some would say paradoxically – holding off on committing to a full intervention coordinated with forces on the ground. Some have criticized President Obama for his approach, with Philly‘s Charles Krauthammer going so far as to say that Obama has yielded control of the critical Middle East region to Russia and Iran.

Krauthammer accuses Obama of “washing his hands of” the volatile Middle East region, citing recent incidents where the Iranian government appeared to demonstrate contempt for America in its diplomatic relations. Krauthammer asserts that after an American journalist was convicted of espionage in Iran recently, the Iranian administration “contemptuously [refused] to offer even the most minimal humanitarian gesture.” (Krauthammer fails to note that there are currently no diplomatic relations between Iran and the USA).

Further, Krauthammer asserts that “Iran brazenly [tested] a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that our own U.N. ambassador said violates Security Council resolutions” and that the stage is now set for Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia to swoop in and fill a military vacuum left by the American president.

Obama’s response to all this? Nothing. The president has washed his hands of the region, still the center of world oil production and trade, and still the world’s most volatile region, seething with virulent jihadism ready for export…Russia and Iran will have their way.

60 Minutes asked Obama: Are you concerned about yielding leadership to Russia? Obama responded dismissively: Propping up a weak ally is not leadership. I’m leading the world on climate change.

PBS reports that there are many unknowns in the conflict – it is unclear, for example, how many resources Putin is willing to expend to resolve the crisis his way, and indeed, how strong the rebel forces on the ground are, as reported by PBS.

In a thinkpiece strikingly titled Syria: What’s In It For Putin? journalist Priyanka Boghani writes that “Assad may be a valuable, long-time ally [of Vladimir Putin] who offers Russia a foothold in the Middle East”.

At the moment, it remains unclear how far Russia is willing to go, and how many resources it is willing to expend to secure Assad’s place…”It’s Putin’s bet that he can be in and out quickly, and somehow with an enhanced reputation and maybe even victorious,” Pomeranz says. But, he warned, “The Middle East doesn’t seem to grant people short, victorious wars.

Putin is likely to allow Assad to to hold on to a “rump state”. Reuters reports that “if events break the right way for him, Putin could surprise us all with a geopolitical victory.”

New York Republican Peter King claims that Putin is taking advantage of Obama’s soft approach, as reported by Newsmax.

“Unfortunately, [Putin] knows that President Obama is not going to fight back. He will not fight back unless it’s a glaring attack.”

All this comes on the eve of the Republican debate.

Donald Trump, who has previously said “I would get along great with Putin”, and who has attracted derision for many of his comments on foreign relations (Deadline reports that Trump’s strategy for dealing with ISIS can be summarized as follows: “bomb them, encircle them, and send Mobil to take their oil”), is in favor of allowing Putin to bomb Islamic State rebels fighting in Syria against Assad. In fact, Trump’s only qualm is that “we [the US] have to do it too”.

If Russia wants to go into Syria and bomb the hell out of ISIS, I’m sort of OK with that,” Trump said. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to go in and drop bombs on ISIS, I’m OK with it, but we have to do it too.

Outlining his general military strategy, Trump said:

[I] would build our military so strong and so good. I would make it so… that no one is going to mess with us.

Are you ok with Vladimir Putin going in to Syria? Will you be watching Donald Trump in the Republican debate? Let us know.

[Image by Getty Images]

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