Putin Plays Mideast Chess as Obama Looks On

It is sometimes said that in negotiations with foreigners, American leaders play checkers, while their wilier opponents play chess.   There is perhaps some truth to this, as American leaders sometimes chase short-term political results, a consequence of democratic governance and constantly changing leadership.  By contrast, despotic Persians are credited with inventing chess, and in modern times autocratic Russians have been its master, and so it is tempting to say of President Obama’s dealings with those two countries that the analogy holds. But that is way too charitable.  As Vladimir Putin skillfully reasserts Russian power and influence in the Middle East with Islamic Persian Iran as a willing partner, a more apt analogy might be that while the Russians and Iranians move their chessmen, isolating and threatening opposing pieces, Obama is not even at the table, but rather childishly looking on, as he pushes diplomatic dirt around the Middle East...(Read Full Article)

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