JOHN SCHINDLER: Syria’s Civil War Is Over — Russia Won.
For Putin, his Syrian intervention has been an unambiguous win on the world stage. Its benefits exist on many levels, not least Russia’s reinforcing the potent message that Moscow, unlike Washington, stands by its friends. When his regime was collapsing in 2011, Hosni Mubarak, who had led Egypt for three decades as a loyal ally of America, was coldly abandoned by the White House. President Obama, against the advice of his own national security experts, cut Mubarak loose to the mob, refusing to take his panicked phone calls pleading for help.
That same year, when his regime was facing the abyss as civil war enveloped Syria, Bashar al-Assad got all the help he wanted from Moscow. Russia saved Assad and has not cared one whit about cries from the international community and NGOs about the brutal methods employed by the Syrian regime against rebels. This message has not been missed in the Middle East. It’s no wonder that even Israel has sought parley with Moscow, which has replaced Washington as the new regional kingmaker-cum-sheriff, while Egypt has renewed security ties with the Kremlin that Cairo abandoned more than four decades ago, in favor of the Americans. No more.
Putin and his ministers have acted cynically and cunningly in Syria, to good effect for Russia. However, it would be wrong to portray Moscow as strategic geniuses here. It’s much more about the staggering, unprecedented foreign policy incompetence of President Obama and his White House than anything else. Time and again, Obama and his coterie of self-proclaimed foreign policy masterminds on his National Security Council have been bested by the Russians, who view them with undisguised contempt.
As Mark Steyn noted about the jihadis after 9/11 — the question isn’t “Why do they hate us?” but “Why do they despise us?“