Something tells me that Barry has a long history at being one as well.
I originally laid this out here last week. This is a YUUGE departure from longstanding U.S. policy.
It’s much bigger than merely a matter of ops or outcomes in Syria. It rolls back the entirety of the American strategic perspective since the end of World War II, one of whose pillars has been that the “great crossroads” of the Eastern Mediterranean needs to remain open and balanced, accessible to all and under the exclusive thumb of none.
The Truman Doctrine was the first cross-cut of specific policy through this pillar. It functioned as such because it opposed the Soviet effort from 1945 to 1948 to gain exclusionary influence in Greece, Turkey, and Iran. But the Truman Doctrine had a quintessentially American character, in that it envisioned warding off excessive Soviet control through the use of offshore power, development of local clients, and diplomatic and economic influence. The European model of armed force on land, occupation, and colonial administration was not to be the U.S. approach.
Obama’s obeisance to Russia in Syria, finalized this week, reverses the core principle of that longstanding policy. With American forces embedded in a territorial fight, it hands to Russia a measure of control — over our forces’ fate as well as over the political outcome — that can’t be counterbalanced under the structure Obama has agreed to. It hands the fight and the regional veto power to Russia. That’s something the Brits spent decades resisting before World War II, and Americans quickly realized we needed to continue after it.
This is a problem not because there’s no way to cooperate with Russia, under post-1991 (or post-2011) conditions. It’s a problem because Obama is incapable of cooperating with Russia on an independence-of-action basis. Which is the only way we should do this.
Everyone else knows Obama’s incapable of that. And they see clearly the implications for the balance of power in the Near East. Well, there are some Europeans who are still deluded. But not in Eastern Europe. The case I’ve been laying out is a revelation only to Americans. It’s obvious to those in the affected region — including Erdogan in Turkey, which is one of the main reasons he’s making his run for the border just at this moment. Obama has decided to give up on the counterweight of U.S. influence, and an armed NATO guarantee of the status quo in EASTMED, and instead tilt the scale with his own hand in favor of Putin’s Russia.
It should come as no surprise that, in agreeing to “join forces with Russia” and do Russia’s bidding in Syria, John Kerry has kept parts of yet another agreement secret.