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Credibility on the line
Ukraine Crisis Will Reverberate in Middle East and Beyond

Bashar Assad will surely be watching Ukraine closely over the next few days and weeks. Much is at stake for his main patron there. Aaron David Miller penned a prescient op-ed on what the Ukraine crisis means for the Middle East. Some highlights:

As go Putin’s fortunes, so go those of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However the crisis turns out, with one possible exception, the Syrian regime is likely to benefit. And that exception is the highly unlikely contingency that Putin is so weakened from a botched policy in Ukraine or an uncharacteristically bold response from the United States and the West that he is permanently damaged and diminished, or removed from power. Not likely.

The possibility that events in Ukraine will leave Putin victorious will only buck up al-Assad further and demonstrate that Russian street cred is rising….

Victories for Russia, particularly in the face of the West’s empty rhetoric and red lines, can only reinforce al-Assad’s conviction that he’s betting on the right ally.

It’s not just Assad: Ayatollah Khamenei is also carefully watching events in Ukraine. Russia has consistently supported Iran in its conflict with Israel and the West, and Putin’s resolve in the face of widespread international condemnation is surely heartening for Tehran.

Even beyond the Middle East, certain world leaders are paying close attention to how President Obama plays out this crisis. China, as we wrote earlier today, is sure to consider Washington’s response in Ukraine as an indicator of how the United States would react to increased Chinese aggression in East and Southeast Asia. North Korea too. And don’t forget, our allies are also watching: if push comes to shove on Iran, Israel will remember these days.

All around the world, the leaders of ankle-biter regimes are studying America’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis. If Obama appears weak, if his rhetoric is bold but empty and backed up by little or no action, then we shouldn’t be surprised if challenges to America’s credibility and leadership pop up with increasing frequency even after the Ukraine issue simmers down.

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  • Jim__L

    And then, with enough broken windows in the neighborhood…

  • rheddles

    Do you really think that no one else in the world knew that Obama could be rolled until Ukraine? Put your keyboard away.

  • Anthony

    What appears to reverberate is a little bit of knowledge and an irascible anti disposition reflecting editorial prerogative in also on the American interest.

    • Gene

      Would you care to try again?

      • Anthony

        Res ipsa loquitur. – thanks (I’m done here).

      • f1b0nacc1

        Ever notice when you corner this idiot, he runs away?

  • Andrew Allison

    Credibility? What credibility?

  • free_agent

    Looks like we’re going into a Carter moment. What ass-kicker will be elected in 2016?

  • lukelea

    Nah, as long as Russia just sticks to the Crimea this whole thing will blow over in less than a year and have practically no consequences as far as Iran is concerned. Assad has already won in Syria (probably the least bad result in my opinion) and if anything the arrow of causation runs the other way.

  • DougPage
  • Corlyss
    As with the Soviet/Russia apologist, Stephen Cohen, there’s nothing wrong with their voicing their opinions on events, but it would be nice to know if they are being paid to have those opinions or just hopelessly naïve. Last week Cohen said Putin had no intention of invading Ukraine. None whatever. I thought at the time, “He’s kiddin’, right? After Georgia? He’s gotta be kidding.”

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