When even the New York Times admits that Barack Obama has been outfoxed, outsmarted and outplayed, you know he has really been outfoxed, outsmarted and outplayed.
But there it was, in Wednesday’s edition: “suddenly Mr. Putin has eclipsed Mr. Obama as the world leader driving the agenda in the Syria crisis.” Putin, wrote Steven Lee Myers for the Times, “appears to have achieved several objectives, largely at Washington’s expense.” Chief among these was that “Russia has at least for now made itself indispensable in containing the conflict in Syria, which Mr. Putin has argued could ignite Islamic unrest around the region, even as far as Russia’s own restive Muslim regions, if it is mismanaged.”
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has been revealed as being spectacularly dispensable. The Syrian jihadis who were counting on his aid are bitterly disappointed that he has (at least for now) backed off on committing the U.S. to intervening militarily; true to form as ever, they are blaming it all on Israel. He and his administration’s top officials, most of whom spent years excoriating George W. Bush for lacking sufficient evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, are definitively unmasked as hypocritical, self-serving and partisan in repeatedly glossing over the fact that Obama still has not proven his central contention, that it was Assad who used the chemical weapons unleashed in Syria on August 21.
Putin talked a lot of sense, while simultaneously issuing Obama a veiled threat, in his op-ed. He warned, quite accurately, that a U.S. strike in Syria could risk “spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders” and added: “Is it in America’s long-term interest? I doubt it,” without quite getting around to mentioning that if the U.S. intervened, Putin himself would be one of the prime movers behind the escalation of the conflict.
Putin also scolded Obama for his reference Tuesday evening to “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” Putin pontificated: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
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