Vladimir Putin has decided to take the role of leading man in the Middle East. With each passing week Vlad continues to displace Barack “The Shrinking Violet” Obama as the Big Man on Campus amongst Arab nations. And so far, it’s been easy. All he has to do is show up and say, “Hey, Barack won’t take the lead – I’ll do it,” and the nations of the Middle East begin to fall in line.
Arab nations are scared and discouraged. It appears they are willing to accept help from anyone who can aid them against the growing threat of ISIS and other radicals in the region. They must be looking at our weak and feckless Commander in Chief and his “Lead from Behind” strategy with disdain.
How does one lead from behind anyway? Is that not an oxymoron – like honest Democrat?
Putin already had Iran and Syria locked up. They’ve been allies of Russia since the Soviet days. Yet this time around Putin’s new pro-Soviet pact may end up with a lot more members than it had during the Cold War era. Thanks to pitiful American leadership, he may lock up so many Middle Eastern nations that he may not only end up as the new Supreme Soviet, but also the Caliph.
After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the obvious superpowers. Those were the good old days when the United States was respected and feared as an actual superpower.
In 1955, the Soviets entered into a pact with both Syria and Egypt, to counter American influence in the region. Syria, for example, received about $200 million in arms and military aid for their allegiance.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Middle East was broken up into the pro-American nations, which included Iran (pre-Islamic Revolution), Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, while the Soviets maintained alliances with Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria — although Khrushchev and Brezhnev both maintained loose ties with Israel until the Six-Day War in 1967, when Soviet allies Syria and Egypt got their butts handed to them by the Israelis. After that Brezhnev broke off all ties with Israel.
So it was a relatively even split between the pro-U.S. and pro-Soviet alliances in the Middle East. Fast forward to today and we see a rather different scene emerging from the rubble of the once-ballyhooed “Arab Spring.”
Putin is beginning to lock up the nations in the Middle East, and we’re going to be content to sit back and watch. Not that it ever really left, but Iran is effectively a Russian nation state, as is Syria. Khrushchev and Brezhnev must be cheering from the grave. If he continues, Vlad will do what neither Cold War Soviet leader could do.
So, you may say, he has Iran and Syria, so what?. Oh, didn’t you hear? Iraq, you know the country we “liberated” from that evil Saddam Hussein and got nothing in return, is abandoning us in favor of the Vlad and Ruskies.
“We might be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes in Iraq soon,” Hakim al-Zamili, chairman of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, told Reuters. “We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. . . . Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans.”
Well, ain’t that nice! But can you blame them? Obama has all but abandoned Iraq in the face of the ISIS onslaught. Whether we like it or not, Iraq cannot defend itself against ISIS and is looking for help – from anyone. And Putin, the opportunist, is ready to step in and fill that void. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Obviously, one of the purposes of Vlad’s intervention plan is to show up the U.S. as being a paper tiger. And with Syria’s ambassador to Russia claiming “that Moscow in just a few days of bombing has destroyed 40% of IS infrastructure,” it’s having an effect.
Obama and Kerry can yammer away all they like about how they want these countries to be able to defend themselves, and while they’re doing this, Putin is showing up with ships and jets and missiles and bombs. As Putin demonstrates his strength, more nations will seek protection under the new Soviet umbrella.
By the end of his tenure, Obama will have handed the entire Middle East to the new Soviet Arab alliance. And there will be darn little the next president will be able to do to regain a foothold. They will never trust us again. Why should they!