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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Obama Administration changes backtracks in Syria, stating that regime change is not imperative.

Link:  U.S. accepts Russia's stance regarding Bashar al-Assad.

In a move which reflects the complete collapse of coherent policy in the latter days of the Obama Administration, United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that the U.S. no longer believed that "regime change" was necessary in Iraq.  Until now, the U.S. policy had been squarely behind the conviction that a future, peaceful Syria would not have Bashar al-Assad as it's Chief of State.  In fact, U.S. policy (and money) had been focused on various indigenous Syrian groups who were opposing both the Assad regime and ISIS.  Over the years, Syria has been a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policy in the Levant, basically because of the Syrian Ba'ath Party and two men, Hafez al-Assad and his son Bashar.  Both men ruled Syria as Presidential strongmen, tolerating no opposition, playing any internal opposition of against each other, and declaring "death to Israel" at just about every opportunity.  Syria and the Assad-led Ba'athists had no reason to expect generosity from the United States.  In fact, a good argument can be made that Syria has on more than a few occasions has supported terrorist actions against U.S. civilians and property.  But for some reason, the U.S. State Department chose this week to make up with Assad.  No need to ask why.  The reason the Obama Administration removed its previous insistence that Assad had to go is because the United States Department of State has become unwilling to oppose Russia on any terms.

Earlier this year, the conflict in Ukraine was headline news.  Watching the drama unfold was fascinating, as Russia openly manipulated an emasculated Europe and United States, to solidify its annexation of Crimea and set the stage for further dismemberment of Ukraine down the road.  The only action the Obama Administration was willing to take to confront Russia was the threat of more sanctions.  No doubt the sanctions regime that eventually took hold caused some disruption in the Russian economy, but the Russian people are used to sacrifice, and over the years they have shown their disdain for the use of economics as a weapon; the Germans tried to starve Russia in both the first and second World Wars, and failed miserably both times.  At this moment in time, Putin is running the show.  The EU, NATO, and the United States show no real inclination to stand up to Russian aggression, and the Chinese seem to be content to watch from the sidelines.  Russia intends on destroying ISIS and remaking the Middle East, but according to its designs, which include Iran as a regional superpower.  The disappearance of the United States has been breathtaking.  Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are scrambling to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran, supported by Russia as the world's sole superpower.  Putin has laid his cards on the table; he is determined to rewrite the legacy of the Cold War, this time with Russia as the winner.  His timing has been perfect, with U.S. President Barack Obama apparently uninterested in facing down his Russian counterpart.  For the moment, what Russia wants, Russia gets.  In 2016, a new President moves into the Oval Office; will it be too late to set things right again?

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