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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

David Ignatius: The U.S. cannot pass Syria on to Putin

David Ignatius writes in The Washington Post:

Russia isn’t likely to have any more military success in Syria and Iraq than has the United States. But for now, Putin is certainly winning the perception game. The danger is that regional powers will view recent events as a full-blown U.S. retreat, like the withdrawal of an exhausted Britain in 1971 from its military garrisons “east of Suez,” which was seen as the last gasp of the British Empire.

Given these reversals for U.S. policy, should the Obama administration simply accede to Moscow? That would be a significant mistake, in my view. For all of Putin’s vainglorious boasting, the Russians can’t defeat the Islamic State. Quite the contrary, Russian intervention (in partnership with Iran) may fuel the Sunni insurgency even more. And if U.S. military partners in the region — such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and even Israel — really think Washington has ceded the ground to Moscow, the region could become even more chaotic.

As Putin proclaimed Russia’s “growing ambitions” in the Middle East, did we perhaps hear a faint echo of George W. Bush on the eve of his 2003 Iraq invasion? The law of unintended consequences works for Russia, too.

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