Obama's Syria policy now officially a 'fiasco'

With the mercy killing yesterday of the half billion dollar program to train Syrian rebels, an effort Rick Moran correctly labeled an “epic fail,” President Obama’s entire Syria policy is a fiasco.  Even the New York Times admits the training program was “a central piece of President Obama’s strategy for confronting extremists in Syria.” Syria, the country where Obama drew his “red line” and then failed to enforce it, has become the embodiment of the collapse of what Obama fauously called his “smart diplomacy.”

Russia’s Putin is realizing a dream that goes back more than half a century, to make Russia the dominant force in the Middle East, where the world still gets a huge share of its oil. With air and naval bases being established in Syria, and acting in a de facto alliance with Iran and Iraq, Russia will be in a position to act in ways that help it and harm us.

President Obama airily claims that Russia will not succeed, that it will only get bogged down and spend money it cannot afford as its economy collapses. But this is whistling past the graveyard at best.

The single factor that would most help the Russian economy is a rise in world oil prices. Despite the proliferation of new sources of oil owing to fracking and other technologies, Saudi Arabia continues to exercise the largest influence on oil prices. Currently, the Kingdom is pumping enough oil to keep prices low, mostly, it is believed, to drive higher cost producers such as frackers, out of the market. But with Russia on scene allied with Iran, with Saudi’s oil producing region home to large population of Shiites, and with Obama revealed to be spineless, great pressure could be brought  on Riyadh to dial back oil production and let prices rise. This would help out Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, whiloe inflicting pain on the US and Western economies.

And that is among the subtler ways that Russia could use its new foothold in the Middle East to help itself at our expense. Israel, facing the prospect of modern, more accurate missiles raining down from adjacent Syria, is well aware of the other sorts of mischief. The sheiks of the Emirates and Qatar as well, significant oil producers, also realize there’s a new force to be reckoned with.

All in all, President Obama has caused a calamity through weakness and sheer incompetence. But unlike every problem encountered by George W. Bush’s Middle East policies, the media are not screaming “Fiasco!” from the rooftops. They are focused on the House GOP fight over the speakership, on twisting Ben Carson’s answers to questions into statements he did not make (such as “disparaging” the victims of Roseburg), and on taking guns away from law abiding citizens.

Before our eyes, the geography of world power is changing and the US is being demoted from its position of preeminence, fought for, paid for, and tenaciously maintained for seven decades. It is a historic turning point, and 99% of the populace is completely unaware of what has just transpired.

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