Is Putin the New King of the Middle East?

Opinion
Editors note: this OP-Ed was filed prior to President Trump's historic peace deal brokered with Turkey and the Kurds.

Vladimir Putin in Belgrade
Is Putin the New King of the Middle East?

USA -(Ammoland.com)- “Russia Assumes Mantle of Supreme Power Broker in the Middle East,” proclaimed Britain's Telegraph. The article began:

“Russia's status as the undisputed power-broker in the Middle East was cemented as Vladimir Putin continued a triumphant tour of capitals traditionally allied to the US.”

“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump's Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.

The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us.

Before concluding that Trump's pullout of the last 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is America's Dunkirk, some reflection is needed.

Yes, Putin has played his hand skillfully. Diplomatically, as the Brits say, the Russian president is “punching above his weight.”

He gets on with everyone. He is welcomed in Iran by the Ayatollah, meets regularly with Bibi Netanyahu, is a cherished ally of Syria's Bashar Assad, and this week was being hosted by the King of Saudi Arabia and the royal rulers of the UAE. October 2019 has been a triumphal month.

Yet, consider what Putin has inherited and what his capabilities are for playing power broker of the Middle East.

He has a single naval base on the Med, Tartus, in Syria, which dates to the 1970s, and a new air base, Khmeimim, also in Syria.

The U.S. has seven NATO allies on the Med — Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Greece and Turkey, and two on the Black Sea, Romania and Bulgaria. We have U.S. forces and bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Djibouti. Russia has no such panoply of bases in the Middle East or Persian Gulf.

We have the world's largest economy. Russia's economy is smaller than Italy's, and not a tenth the size of ours.

And now that we are out of Syria's civil war and the Kurds have cut their deal with Damascus, consider what we have just dumped into Vladimir Putin's lap. He is now the man in the middle between Turkey and Syria.

He must bring together dictators who detest each other. There is first President Erdogan, who is demanding [and has now achived] a 20-mile deep strip of Syrian borderland to keep the Syrian Kurds from uniting with the Turkish Kurds of the PKK. Erdogan wants the corridor to extend 280 miles, from Manbij, east of the Euphrates, all across Syria, to Iraq.

Then there is Bashar Assad, victorious in his horrific eight-year civil war, who is unlikely to cede 5,000 square miles of Syrian territory to a permanent occupation by Turkish troops.

Reconciling these seemingly irreconcilable Syrian and Turkish demands is now Putin's problem. If he can work this out, he ought to get the Nobel Prize.

“Putin is the New King of Syria,” ran the op-ed headline in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

The Syria of which Putin is now supposedly king contains Hezbollah, al-Qaida, ISIS, Iranians, Kurds, Turks on its northern border and Israelis on its Golan Heights. Five hundred thousand Syrians are dead from the civil war. Half the pre-war population has been uprooted, and millions are in exile in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Europe.

If Putin wants to be king of this, and it is OK with Assad, how does that imperil the United States of America, 6,000 miles away?

Wednesday, two-thirds of the House Republicans joined Nancy Pelosi's Democrats to denounce Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and dissolve our alliance with the Kurds. And Republican rage over the sudden abandonment of the Kurds was understandable.

But how long does the GOP believe we should keep troops in Syria and control the northeastern quadrant of that country? If the Syrian army sought to push us out, under what authority would we wage war against a Syrian army inside Syria?

And if the Turks are determined to secure their border, should we wage war on that NATO ally to stop them? Would U.S. planes fly out of Turkey's Incirlik air base to attack Turkish soldiers fighting in Syria?

If Congress believes we have interests in Syria so vital we should be willing to go to war for them — against Syria, Turkey, Russia or Iran — why does Congress not declare those interests and authorize war to secure them?

Our foreign policy elites have used Trump's decision to bash him and parade their Churchillian credentials. But those same elites appear to lack the confidence to rally the nation to vote for a war to defend what they contend are vital American interests and defining American values.

If Putin is king of Syria, it is because he was willing to pay the price in blood and treasure to keep his Russia's toehold on the Med and save his ally Bashar Assad, who would have gone under without him.

Who dares wins. Now let's see how Putin likes his prize.


Pat Buchanan
Patrick J .Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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tomcat
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tomcat

Who cares if Russia wants to spend a lot of money and people in Syria. The should have learned a lesson in Afghanistan, they were there before us and eft with their tail between their legs. I doesn’t matter who you are, the fighting between these tablecloth heads will never stop until one or both faction is killed off. No more American lives spent on these camel jockeys.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Tcat, All true. I can’t argue with that. It is hard to find people stupid enough to be a volunteer live target, except in the middle east. And real world, for keeps, live fire missions provide experience that just can not duplicated.

Other armies have a plan and think that they know what they are doing, but have not beta tested. We have, and our shit works.

American Patriot
Member
American Patriot

Let Russia have the Scum of the World! There will never be peace there as long as Muslums walk the desert never have been. It’s not our place or our worries, we can spend our money securing OUR Borders & protecting our country instead of the world. Europe is big enough without our help if there are any MEN left over there to protect their own A$$’s. The UN doesn’t agree with the US in most cases anyway Except when it comes to America footing the Bills. America & American would be much better off without fighting others wars &… Read more »

a.x. perez
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a.x. perez

Forget Putin. The fact is the United States abandoned an ally during wartime. Should we have been in that war? Probably not, but once we got in we contracted an obligation to those who sided with us.
As far as I’m concerned the I will only do business with Donald Trump cash and carry, his promise of payment or delivery of goods and services is worthless to me.
And the bad part is, he’s still better than anything the Democrats have to offer.

Vern
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Vern

What brought Russia to the middle east in the first place? Was it love of the Syrians? Iranians? Turks? How about the Israeli’s? Myself I believe it was a hook set in their jaw by the one who controls what happens in the world as spoken of in the book of Ezekiel, 38th chapter. As the prophecies concerning the last times were set in motion on May 14, 1948, they can be seen converging on the foreseeable near future and Russia has a big role in it just as those others involved today. The U S has no involvement as… Read more »

PMinFl
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PMinFl

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance……….not eternal war ! Bring our troops home and let the eternal enemies kill each other not our boys.

KenW
Member
KenW

If the fighting could be contained in the Middle East, these people could eliminate each other, and that would be a good thing. Jordan and Israel can handle defending themselves.

These terrorists like blowing themselves up let them have at it. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran

Arny
Member
Arny

And I thought I was alone on this assessment.

GoBoy
Member
GoBoy

Who gives a sh*t if Rootin tooin Putin is king of anything. Now get our troops out of Afganistan, with the U.S eyes in the sky we can watch what is going on anywhere in the world and take action as needed with our weapon systems. If we ever get into another shooting war, don’t stop until the enemy has been destroyed and their homeland is conqured and driven back to the stone age. We have not won a war since Wll, look at the screw up in Vietnam that cost thousands the lives of our men, all because a… Read more »

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@GB, Russia has an economy smaller than Texas. Let him have the middle east. Cuba costs Russia billions per year … money wasted. How much more of a drag on the Russian economy will the middle east be? The real threat, for now, is cyber attacks from Russia and China. And China is gearing up for future hot war (e.g. forced hand over of technology from American business partners, Huawie info. theft, opioid and fentynal production, AI theft to support the Autonomous Killing Machine program, weaponization of space, college and university infiltration and propaganda program, organ harvesting program, individual social… Read more »

Oldvet
Member
Oldvet

@GB…And or profit from it ! Russia will have their hands full with the muslimes which may be the greatest benefit . And in case you haven’t noticed china has been declaring war on us for years . ie drugs, lead paint on kids toys, chemicals in baby food , hazardous products in pet food ,ciber warfare and on and on !

Stuck in Commie Ct
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Stuck in Commie Ct

These people have been fighting since they crawled out of the sand, no one will ever change this. It’s about time we stop interfering and wasting trillions of our tax dollars.

Will
Member
Will

@Stuck,Even their camels are tired of it ! Only been going on a few hundred years. No more US troops lost ! TRUMP/PENCE 2020 !

Charlie Foxtrot
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Charlie Foxtrot

What “historic peace deal brokered with Turkey and the Kurds?” It is a ceasefire that isn’t even followed to give the Kurds 5 days to give up 20×280-miles of land. After that, the music continues as Turkey invades Syria for resettling 3.6 million Syrian refugees from Turkey back to Syria. Meanwhile, we are fleeing our own bases in Syria and then bombing some of them to make them “less useful” to whoever will be the next landlord. This isn’t an orderly withdrawal. The only good thing the ceasefire did was that we don’t have to run away under fire. There… Read more »

Arny
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Arny

We weren’t invited to the party in the first place. Abandoned US bases who cares they are abandoned. Exactly what did we have to gain ? Sorry I don’t see Russia as a enemy. I don’t by all the media hype either. And do we have all the intel to make a rational assessment ? What does Trump know that we don’t ? Let Congress declare a act of war & explain why. They won’t have my support.

Charlie Foxtrot
Member
Charlie Foxtrot

The irony is, our troops are not leaving!!! They are being repositioned in the region and even increased in other parts of the Middle East.

Autsin Miller III
Member
Autsin Miller III

Um, King, no. Agent Provocateur maybe. King wannabe-yep. We need to find a way to get him to spend rubles he doesn’t have, to keep that position….cause 5,000 years from now they will STILL be fighting.

freedom isnt cheap
Member
freedom isnt cheap

idiots just keep blaming Trump..Russia isnt our enemy ,they are the liberals enemy ,as the last thing they want is us befriending another white nation of blonde hair and blue eyes…so they keep Russia as the bad guys…the GD islamics are the enemy and the stupid dimmwit liberals