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Obama’s Syrian Illusions

The U.S. says it has Putin and Assad right where it wants them   Assad (l) & Putin (r)

Nov.2.─ So the U.S. government that was surprised by Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Crimea, surprised by his invasion of eastern Ukraine, surprised by his plan to sell S-300 missiles to Iran, and surprised by his intervention in Syria now thinks the Russian strongman will sue for peace in Syria on U.S. terms and oust Bashar Assad.

“Russia’s intervention is a powerful example of the law of unintended consequences,” said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a security conference in Bahrain this weekend. “It will have two primary effects. First, it will increase Russia’s leverage over Assad. But second, it will increase the conflict’s leverage over Russia. And that in turn creates a compelling incentive for Russia to work for, not against, a political transition.”

Secretary of State John Kerry’s right-hand man even used a Vietnam War-era word to describe Mr. Putin’s supposed predicament: “The quagmire will spread and deepen, drawing Russia further in.”

Somehow we doubt Mr. Putin feels so beleaguered. So far his intervention in Syria has stabilized Mr. Assad’s regime and let the Syrian go on offense principally against rebels who are fighting both him and Islamic State. Russia has done so at the relatively modest cost ...

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