People seem at a loss to understand Putin’s actions in moving anti-missile and anti-aircraft defenses to Syria. Is he empire-building? Re-starting the Cold War?
I think there’s another reason, one that is both simpler and makes more sense than either of those.
Islamist terror is of more moment to Putin than to America. Dealing with it is not just some R2P based on Western mores. Islam is his entire southern border – thousands of kilometers – and a good part of his Central Asian population.
Sunni Arabs have been killing Shia Persians for 1400 years. The only intelligent response to Syria (or any other intra-muslim violence) is to let it play-out; they want to keep killing one another as they have been for centuries – let them. Putin is just ensuring no one stops the bloodletting. Kinda like no one stopped the Iran-Iraq war through an entire decade and a million lives. The more muslims killed by other muslims (most muslims killed throughout the ages have been killed by other muslims), the fewer he need worry about attacking Russia. That’s a problem?
(And unless you are willing to sacrifice your OWN child to this mess, you don’t care enough to DO anything about it other than talk and demand someone ELSE sacrifice THEIR child.)
But – what, you may ask, about the women & children?
You mean the children having bombs strapped to their backs by the women who are their mothers? The children being raised by those same women to be killers based on religion? The children growing up to strap on their own bombs? Is that the question?
One can look at the 20th Century as a century of America getting in the way of natural selection between nations, to the detriment of hundreds of millions. Had Britain let Germany take Belgium & France in 1914, and had America been smart enough to stay out (the policy on which Wilson was elected), a case can be made that none of the following could have occurred: the USSR (strong Germany on its western flank preventing it & NOT letting Lenin return to Russia), the famine/show trials/purges, WW2 ETO, the Holocaust, the PRC, Cultural Revolution, Great Leap Forward, Korean War, DPRK, French Indochina/Vietnam, French Algeria, destruction by the West of the Ottoman Empire (which would have collapsed on its own without America & Britain to blame), no France refuge for Khomeini, no Islamic Republic in Iran, no Gulf I, no Gulf-II/Iraq, no Afghanistan, no 9/11… And the only losses would have been Belgium and France as independent nations. Well, Belgians recently were unable to create a government for two years, right? And France just voted to go bankrupt… So France and Belgium really don’t exist as independent states anyway… Belgium waddles along supported by the EU, and France, well, we’ll need to see if the Franco-Prussian wars now re-start based on the willingness of Germans to work until they are 67 to pay the retirement bills of the French now again retiring at 60…
We could have accomplished this same result a CENTURY ago far more easily… just by letting natural selection play out.
Net of our interference? 20th Century American interference in other peoples’ wars cost over 200M lives, and trillions of taxpayer dollars in the unintended consequences of our using our manufacturing might and wealth to impose our values on others.
A big “Thank YOU!” to our first Progressive, Academic, Know-it-All president, Woodrow Wilson (D). Rasing an army of millions and sending them to europe to kill and get killed – and bequeathing the bloody 20th Century on his successors and the world, all because a German telegram to Mexico was intercepted asking Mexico to invade the US.
Maybe Putin is just smarter than a West that demands to pretend that the entire world accepts Western norms…
… What will Obama pretend?