10 biggest diplomatic winners of 2013
Interesting list from Walter Russell Meade. The top 5 winners include (in order), Putin and Russia, Iran, Assad and Syria, Japan, and al-Qaeda and violent Sunni jihad.
Notice anything peculiar about this list? That's right - 4 of the top 5 are either our biggest competitor or our greatest enemies.
Way to go, Barry. This is quite an accomplishment. Here's what Meade has to say about Putin and Russia:
The champagne corks were popping in the Kremlin after a banner 2013. With Edward Snowden ensconced in Moscow, Putin can celebrate Russia's biggest embarrassment of the United States since the fall of the Soviet Union. But that's only the beginning. Russia's client Assad defied bloodcurdling White House threats of bombing raids and demands that "Assad must go" in Russia's biggest geopolitical victory over the United States since Brezhnev was in power. As icing on the cake, a desperate, fumbling White House had to accept a Russian proposal to escape from the trap President Obama built for himself. Russian foreign policy makers hadn't had this much fun since the Bay of Pigs. Finally, to complete the Kremlin's annus mirabilus, a clueless European Union lost out to Russia in a battle to bring Ukraine into a trade association with the rich western bloc. What makes this string of impressive victories even more impressive is that President Putin is playing with a weak hand. His economy is in trouble, his army is rife with corruption, his population is in decline, and his coutry faces a growing Chinese superpower to the east and a growing threat from terrorists in the south. Underfunded, underequipped, and underrespected, Vladimir Putin danced rings around Barack Obama, John Kerry and Angela Merkel this year. Western stupidity is his chief strategic asset, and in 2013 at least, there was a lot of that going around.
We're in the very best of hands.