Russian planes, tanks and combat infantry troops have moved into Syria. Putin's boldness is being debated around the world, and his brazen style is being held up as a guide for a modern world leader. A brash decision to tackle a thorny situation that has confounded leaders across the globe.
But, on further review what is there to gain from such a daring, costly move? Whether the goal is to destroy the combat ability of the ISIL forces or to support a despotic, minority dictatorship there is no clear exit strategy. It is not a fight that can be won, at least not through invasion.
Even now thousands of Sunni Jihadist are flowing into Syria to counter the new threat. In many ways this could be the best recruiting tool the fledgling caliphate could have hoped for, the only move they would have appreciated more is America sending troops (thank you, Vladmir). As despicable as Assad is, and he is a brutally repressive Shiite minority leader, he is nothing compared to the foreign nationals who brought their jets, tanks and guns to prop him up.
Putin should have looked at the American experience in Iraq to see the scene list for this play. If that seems too remote to apply perhaps he should study the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Despite an overwhelming superiority in weaponry and a mutual border things did not proceed as planned.
This may not be the Mujahideen, but it is the same brand. And they will fight just as furiously. And Russian forces will be bogged down in protracted war against an enemy with no plans to engage in a set piece battle.
So, what does Putin have to gain? He can prop up Assad, but for how long, only a little bit longer than he is willing to stay, without Russian might there is little hope for the brutal despot.
Does he think all of that might is going to scare ISIS into a full scale retreat? Of course not, there is nothing in recent history that would support that conclusion. For all his weaknesses Putin is not stupid.
Is it just the need to intervene, and be a world power, that drove this decision. The same old game, on a different field, with a new opponent. The game that quit working years ago? Sooner or later, there will be "peace with honor," and a hasty retreat. But how many will have to die before?
If Russia wants to be seen as part of the solution they will pressure Assad to step down. ISIS will only be defeated by an Arab solution. Rescuing a war criminal with a history of slaughtering Sunnis is not the solution the Syrians need. Syria is being destroyed from within, civilians, those that survive, are facing unimaginable nightmares. Democracy never comes from the barrel of a gun, no matter how large. As painful as it seems democracy is going to require distasteful compromise with unsavory people, that is how it always works.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
Syrians deserve better.
There is not much to say, but, for those who find any offense, please remember these are only stories, jokes, and have no relation to reality. Kind of like life.
I like life, and hope it lasts a long time, but it does require some explanation, that is why these blogs exist. To help people navigate times and events that make no sense.
Here are a few places you can find a few things.
The Original Life Explained. Where it all started, a little rambling and a lot of nothing important.
Life Explains The End Views on humanity's race to self extinction. I hope I am wrong.
Life Explains Smiles Because everybody likes it when you smile.
Life Explains Aging Getting older is not always easier, but it is worth the effort. And a few small things can make it much more pleasant.
Life Explains Traveling and Commuting Mostly commuting. Driving bugs me and working bugs me so driving to work is the ultimate insult of modern life, and I like to complain.
Life Explained Explores History. The real problem with history is there is so much of it. It is all over the place. But, if you take the time to look at the small pieces it is fascinating.
Life Explains Music Music is a universal language. I like guitar based rock and roll, but there is a little bit of a lot here.