Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nerd Analysis: Putin and Syria

Historian Arthur Herman ponders the Putin deal, which he sees as a poison chalice:
The deal may save Obama from embarrassment but it makes America look weak. ...
Even more, this Putin deal undoes 40 years of a US policy of keeping the Soviet Union, then Russia, out of a major role in Middle East affairs. Ever since the Yom Kippur War every American administration has recognized that no peace or stability is possible in the region if it becomes an arena for Great Power competition between the US and Russia. This isn't the place to summarize the why and hows of that policy; but what Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon achieved and we've sustained ever since, has been completely undone by the Obama team over the last four years, especially in Syria.  
This Putin deal puts the seal on that reversal. Iran, Israel, the Saudis, everyone who doesn't read the New York Times will know: Russia now calls the shots. And when Russian personnel flood the country, ostensibly to monitor chemical weapons, and the Russian naval base in Tartus is finished, and we do nothing, it'll be the biggest stand down by a Western power in the Middle East since Suez.
This isn't going to end well.


Eric said...

President Carter, 1980 State of the Union Address: “Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

AKA the Carter Doctrine which had been the foundation of our Middle East Policy with the added Reagan Corollary in response to the Iran-Iraq War of securing the region from internal threats like Saddam.

Eric said...

Odd. My comment is missing the key explanatory point. I must have been distracted.

The key point is that the Carter Doctrine, while a general regional security guarantee, was specifically in response to the "outside force" of the Soviets in the Middle East. It's been the cornerstone of our ME policy for decades. It looks like Obama is on the cusp of giving over what the last 5 US Presidents had denied the Russians as a matter of policy.

Mad Minerva said...

So one way of looking at this is to note that even Carter was better at the Middle East than Obama. CARTER.