Russian President Vladimir Putin is up to no good in Syria, says Trudy Rubin (CDT, 10/4). Her take on Russia’s military build-up and bombing of the Islamic State in Syria is that it is a ploy by Putin to pave the way for Russia to become a dominant player in the Middle East.
It follows, Rubin claims, that it is a pipe dream by President Barack Obama and U.S. officials to assume Moscow “will squeeze Assad to negotiate a peace deal in which the Syrian leader steps down ... and is replaced by a government of regime and opposition leaders.” Rubin also faults Obama for not supporting the “right” rebels when the conflict in Syria began a few years ago.
In the long run, a negotiated peace deal with Assad stepping down may be a tough haul — but what if Putin’s intervention at least results in a cease-fire in Syria? A cease-fire, halting the bloodshed and exodus of refugees, would be of incalculable value to millions, and well worth the questionable risk Rubin poses of a Russian rise to power in the Middle East. In short — Russia’s intervention in the fight against ISIS sounds like a no-brainer to me — for the U.S. and all others.
One afterthought: Whatever happened to the Putin threat to take over Ukraine? Guess what — a cease-fire is in place and talks are on the way between the warring factions.
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