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On Syria, Obama Plays Tiddlywinks, Putin Plays Chess

By Investor’s Business Daily

The White House was “surprised” by a new intelligence-sharing pact among Iran, Syria, Russia and Iraq to fight the Islamic State. But given their own actions, anyone else could have seen it coming.

For the Obama administration, there’s always a surprise when it comes to the Middle East. Having pulled out of Iraq before Iraq was ready, they were taken unawares by the Islamic State’s rise. Now Russia’s strategic moves to be the big dog on the block in the Mideast have thrown them for another loop.

Russia has forged an alliance with Syria, Iran and Iraq to share intelligence to destroy the Islamic State — without inviting the U.S. The pact has a powerful moral rationale, given the monstrosity of the enemy and the U.S. lack of will to fight. But it also will permanently extend Russian power in the region, something that Russia had under the USSR but that is also a longstanding imperial ambition dating back to the days of Vlad the Great.

What we are seeing here is the totally predictable outcome of a U.S. victory thrown away.

No matter how much Obama blames former President Bush or Syrian dictator Bashar Assad for the current shambles in the Middle East, the facts on the ground remain: Our military was on the cusp of victory after a painstaking process of engagement, but the entire effort was discarded for the far cheaper aim of pulling troops out and calling the pullout “peace.”

Instead of stabilizing Iraq and making it a bulwark against Iran and a beacon for the other Middle Eastern states, there was just the Obama administration’s self-delusion of “peace” with few U.S. troops around.

The world doesn’t operate that way. Power abhors a vacuum, and Russia saw its opportunity: It will take not just the victory that the U.S. didn’t seem to want but an empire with a moral rationale to follow.

Those are two ideas absolutely foreign to the Obama administration but not to the Russians.     (my emphasis)

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