Power Games: Vladimir the Ball-Breaker vs Barack the Passive Metrosexual

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Matt K Lewis writes: As was the case when Russians invaded Ukraine, the Russians cloaked their activity in lies.

In the former example, Russian soldiers didn’t wear uniforms, a thinly-veiled move meant to create the impression the fighters were merely Ukrainian “separatists.”

“In the vast majority of the world, power (or the perception of power) is what matters. In America, President Obama’s brand of metrosexual coolness works well.”

Likewise, Wednesday’s bombings ostensibly targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil); in fact, the strikes were aimed at moderate rebels and civilians – part of a plan to take out any opposition to their client, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

President Bashar al-Assad claimed the British Government is "determined to militarise the problem" in Syria

Syrian President Bashir al-Assad Photo: REUTERS

This all comes on the heels of President Barack Obama’s drawing of a “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons, only to back down when the Assad regime – by most accounts – used them.

This past week, White House press secretary Josh Earnest strained credulity when he said Mr Obama doesn’t regret drawing that red line.

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“For those paying attention, Mr Obama’s foreign policy world-view has failed.”

Weakness invites provocation, and – never one to miss an opportunity to outmanoeuvre Mr Obama – Mr Putin provided a self-serving opportunity that would also allow the president to save face: Moscow would push Syria to put their chemical weapons under international control.

It’s also important to note that in the wake of the red line being trampled, Russia invaded Crimea. President Obama’s legacy may be mixed, but one thing is for sure: Vladimir Putin is much more powerful and provocative than he was before Mr Obama took office, and Russia has only expanded its sphere of influence.

[Read the full text here, at Telegraph]

The Syria bombings also come almost immediately after Mr Putin met with Mr Obama at the UN where they agreed to “deconflict” military operations – a very Obama-esque line that Mr Putin immediately crossed.

Smoke rises after airstrikes in Kafr Nabel of the Idlib province, western Syria. Russian jets carried out a second day of airstrikes in Syria Thursday, but there were conflicting claims about whether they were targeting Islamic State and al-Qaeda militants or trying to shore up the defenses of President Bashar Assad.

Russian bombs exploding outside Idlib Photo: Hadi Al-Abdallah via AP

And prior to bombing our friends in Syria, the Russians also had the audacity to issue a “démarche” for the US to clear air space over northern Syria. As if that weren’t enough, this came just as reports that the Russians attempted to hack Hillary Clinton’s email server.

For those paying attention, Mr Obama’s foreign policy world-view has failed.

The suggestion that America could leave a vacuum that wouldn’t be filled by our adversaries – the idea that the “international community” (whatever that means) would respect us more if we were to retreat from the world – was always a farce.

At some level, high-stakes diplomacy is still a game of chicken – where machismo matters.

Even domestically, there are still traces of this left in our more civilised politics.

We recently witnessed an example of Jeb Bush standing on his toes during a photo-op, attempting to appear taller than Donald Trump. This is childish and petty, and yet serious people play these power games.

But nobody plays them better than Mr Putin, the former KGB officer who likes to ride horses while shirtless.

It’s nice to live in a postmodern country, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves into believing the rest of the world is impressed by our sophistication….(read more)

Source: Telegraph



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