Further to these posts,
They’re WEIRD–Why Obama et al. Don’t Get Putin
The Bear’s Growing Claws in Syria
Charles Krauthammer pounds the mis-match between POTUS and Putin:
Putin’s gambit, Obama’s puzzlement
Once again, President Obama and his foreign policy team are stumped. Why is Vladimir Putin pouring troops and weaponry into Syria? After all, as Secretary of State John Kerry has thrice told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, it is only making things worse.
But worse for whom? For the additional thousands of civilians who will die or flee as a result of the inevitably intensified fighting. True, and I’m sure Lavrov is as moved by their plight as by the 8,000 killed in Russia’s splendid little Ukrainian adventure.
Kerry and Obama are serially surprised because they cannot fathom the hard men in the Kremlin. Yet Putin’s objectives in Syria are blindingly obvious:
1. To assert Russia’s influence in the Middle East and make it the dominant outside power. Putin’s highest ambition is to avenge and reverse Russia’s humiliating loss of superpower status a quarter-century ago. Understanding this does not come easily to an American president who for seven years has been assiduously curating America’s decline abroad.
2. To sustain Russia’s major and long-standing Arab ally. Ever since Anwar Sadat kicked the Soviets out of Egypt in 1972, Syria’s Assads have been Russia’s principal asset in the Middle East.
3. To expand the reach of Russia’s own military. It has a naval base at Tartus, its only such outside of Russia. It has an airfield near Latakia, now being expanded with an infusion of battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers and housing for 1,500 — strongly suggesting ground forces to follow.
4. To push out the Americans. For Putin, geopolitics is a zero-sum game: Russia up, America down. He is demonstrating whom you can rely on in this very tough neighborhood. Obama has given short shrift to the Kurds, shafted U.S. allies with the Iran deal and abandoned the Anbar Sunnis who helped us win the surge. Meanwhile, Putin risks putting Russian boots on the ground to rescue his Syrian allies.
Quite, read on. Very relevant:
The Chasm Facing Mutual Comprehension: Islam and the WEIRDS
Poor POTUS, or, Obamaprof and ISIS, Russia
WEIRD Omabadreaming About Defeating the Caliphate