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Serial Humiliation
Putin: My Goal Is to “Rescue” Assad

In his meeting with President Obama on Monday, Vladmir Putin may press for outright capitulation to the Russian position on Syria. The Times of London reports:

In an interview with the CBS programme 60 Minutes, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday, the Russian president said he was “trying to save the Assad administration” and fight terrorism.

When asked whether Russian military intervention was designed to “rescue” Assad, Mr Putin confirmed: “Well, you’re right. And it’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary – in order to destroy the legitimate government – will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated.

“We see a similar situation in Iraq. And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism, but at the same time urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”

CBS has released some footage in advance:

We noted earlier that, despite the West Wing’s suggestions to the press that Putin was eagerly seeking the meeting, President Obama is in fact the one who needs the sit-down, as well as Russia’s help in taking the Syria crisis off his hands. At that time, it seemed Russia might give Obama a way out that saved some face. Now, it looks like Putin is seeking the serial humiliation of the sitting U.S. administration.

The question is: Will the president cave again?

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  • Maynerd

    No worries President Narcissist will continue to read his press clippings and fiddle while the fires burn.

  • Pete

    Putin gana.

  • Anthony
  • Andrew Allison

    Much as I hate to say so, Putin is exactly right. Our efforts to bring democracy to the Levant have been an unmitigated disaster.

    • Tom

      Pretty much, yeah. Having demanded that the Levant become democratic, we neither examined the history of the region to see if such was even desirable, much less possible, and then delayed action until such time as action was ineffective.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I don’t guess you even remember who overthrew a dictator in Iraq and attempted to hold democratic elections.

        • Tom

          I don’t guess you’re familiar with the commonly accepted definition of the Levant, which generally excludes Iraq.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m familiar that one of the names of The Islamic State is ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

            The POINT is that people here are singularly blaming Obama for trying to inject democracy into Islamic places. That’s historically ridiculous.

          • Tom

            Except that’s not what was happening, but okay. Sure. We’ll go with that.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okey dokey.

        • Gene

          I do, and I supported it, and I’ll only walk back some of my support for that. If you want to think poorly of me, be my guest.

          But it ain’t 2003 any more, and blaming everything on events of that year isn’t doing anything apart from making you feel good about yourself.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Bush was well-intended about the democracy thing for Islamic societies—-BUT, IT DID NOT WORK AS HOPED.

            This track record is WHY fair-minded people do not spend their days bash-bash-bashing on Obama as though conservatives did not do a two-trillion dollar screw-up (Donald Trump’s quoted number) and as though any of this stuff is easy. A lot of things do not work in the hellhole of Islam and I am simply tired of this band of critics here pretending that the fault of everything is Obama.

          • Boritz

            I thought the democracy thing was of secondary importance to Bush the main aim being to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction. (Thanks for not harping on that one.)

          • FriendlyGoat

            Believe it or not, I actually give George W. Bush more credit for trying to do the “right” thing than I would give to some of his advisers (such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, etc). I think Bush believed the world needed rid of the risks of Saddam (WMD and otherwise) AND believed that democracy would trump radicalism IF we supervised it in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
            .
            We ALL sort of hoped for that result and celebrated the purple finger moments. Unfortunately, we have all been disappointed again and again. Beyond those two, the Gazans elected Hamas and Egypt on the first try elected the Muslim Brotherhood. Iran has never replaced its Ayatollah. We have all had to accept the bitter reality that Islamic voters do not tend to choose secular freedom—-even when they have chances to get it.

            So, I don’t really engage in rabid bashing of Bush (other than his tax cuts) and I think fair-minded people should not just rant on Obama as is the norm here. None of this is easy. People who think Donald Trump is going to just kick A$$ all over the world need to think again. He’s not. Neither is Carly. Neither is Marco. Neither is Ben. Putin, China and Islam are real and none of them are pushovers—–DESPITE the perpetual meanness which insists that only Obama is the problem.

    • Blackbeard

      Agreed. And what does it tell us about our own President that he needs lessons in effective foreign policy from a brutal thug like Putin?

      • Gene

        First of all, all that rhetoric from Obama and Kerry about “21st century attitudes” to foreign affairs and world politics? THEY REALLY BELIEVE IT.

        Putin, like most of us who visit this website, knows that actual 21st-century attitudes, in most of the world, are a lot like 18th/19th/20th century attitudes. IOW, the world John Kerry really wishes for doesn’t exist and never did, just because he says it should.

  • gabrielsyme

    As much as Putin’s position is largely dictated by Russia’s own interests, he is right. If the Assad government falls, there is a massive risk of genocidal attacks not only on the Alawites, but also on Christian, Druze and other minority communities. Without the cooperation of the Assad government, it’s difficult to see how a military solution to ISIS, al-Nusra and other Islamist groups can be found.

    I’d prefer to link support for Assad to a partition of Syria wherein the Kurds would gain independence and the Hashemites would receive control over the Sunni centre and east of the country, strengthening the only sane Sunni Arab ally in the region. Such a partition could also pave the way for a similar partition of Iraq, which also needs to happen.

    • Tom

      That would require changing the borders of the Middle East, which the international community, for reasons unknown to anyone but them, have decided are sacrosanct.

      • gabrielsyme

        Well, the Western powers have decided they are sacrosanct – except when convenient for themselves. The U.S. and most of Western Europe enabled Kosovo to split away from Serbia – contrary to international law and their own commitments.

        Of course, international borders should not be unalterable, especially under such extreme circumstances as currently face the Iraqi and Syrian peoples.

        • Tom

          Note: Middle East, which is not the same as the Balkans. I mean, we could bring up East Timor, if we wished to.
          But I agree, borders should not be unalterable. However, the elites have decided so. Because reasons.

          • gabrielsyme

            I was assuming you were referring to the broader principle of not changing international borders wherever located.

          • Tom

            Not a bad assumption, but one I also knew wasn’t true–see Kosovo.

          • gabrielsyme

            Well, the argument is certainly cited in other geographic contexts – the Crimea, obviously, but also Nagorno-Karabakh. I’ve never seen the argument advanced in a way that is limited to Middle Eastern borders.

  • Fat_Man

    Will the president cave again?

    Of course he will, and he will pretend that he didn’t and the media will not question him about it.

    • ljgude

      Exactly what I think will happen..WRM asked a rhetorical question you nailed the answer.

    • AaronL

      Will he accept the Russian position or not? Of course he will. Does this mean that he is “caving” or is this part of his plan to weaken America? That’s an open question.

  • Matt B

    Well so much for Pax Americana… Pax Russiana anyone?

  • BrianFrankie

    So, is anyone taking odds on Putin even showing up to the scheduled meeting with President Obama? I mean, if he is trying for serial humiliation, then there are few better opportunities. President O shows up at the meeting, and at the last minute receives a message that Putin won’t be there. He had an emergency – a hangnail or something – and he can send one of his minions. Really, what would Russia lose from this tactic? Perhaps a few concessions, but If Putin feels he’ll be able to pocket them anyway later on, then there isn’t really much to gain from meeting. And on the other hand, think of the credibility he would gain in various regions from publicly standing up the US.
    I’ll offer 3 to 2 that President Obama is sitting alone in a room on Monday.

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