Two days after Barack Obama’s UN confab talkathon with Vladimir Putin, Russia attacked U.S.-backed forces in Syria.
On Wednesday, a Russian general dropped in at our embassy in Baghdad and issued a démarche (a diplomatic slap down) summarily demanding that U.S. personnel and aircraft get out of Syria because Russia would begin airstrikes in an hour.
And Russia did just that — not against Islamic State adversaries but against the dwindling U.S.-backed Syrian militias attempting to topple the tyrannical Russian client state regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Unlike Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, his actions in Syria put Russian and U.S. military forces on a collision course for direct combat.
Of course, Putin knows that Obama will back down.
According to retired General Jack Keane, former Army Vice Chief of Staff, “Once again, Putin, who’s economy is in the tank and who’s military is no match for the United States … has outmaneuvered and out-bluffed [Obama]. He knows that [Obama] will do nothing but verbal condemnation. What he is counting on is [Obama’s] predictable fear of escalation and fear of confrontation. This is a game changer, this is significant because Putin is changing … the strategic balance of power.”
Indeed he is.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton stated succinctly, “[Putin] is bidding for dominance in the Middle East and he thinks he can prevail because he [faces] a weak and feckless occupant in the White House.”