I've said before that the reason Vladimir Putin outmanoeuvres the US State Department in every diplomatic skirmish is that while American's play poker, which is all about bluff, Putin plays chess which is all about strategy.
Russia and China blocked Obama's Syria regime change plan (Picture source)
Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to risk the possibility of military clashes with the United States and its European Allies, Saudi Arabia, other major Muslim nations and Israel by intervening in Syria. But while the move is being portrayed by western mainstreasm media as reckless, futile and dangerous, knowing that his ally China will support him in any conflict, Putin has taken a rational calculated decision and it is paying off. Not only has he has once again called the bluff of the limp wristed sissy Obama who talks a good war but shits himself when challenged, he has again wrong footed the inept Obama administration policy makers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by achieving more in three weeks against ISIS that the US led allied had managed in a year.
First, Putin moved decisively to secure Russia's foothold on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Russia as a geopolitical entity is paranoid about securing its borders and maintaining the status quo. Preserving its increasingly challenged position in the world is the primary concern of all Russian leaders. Such conservatism is the antithesis of the revolutionary communist world domination ambitions of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras that fantasised with perfect faith about toppling every monarchy and democracy from throughout Europe and Asia, and installing a communist regime.
President Putin has good reason to look at stopping (ISIS). Russians fear an Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq would not only make its southern borders more vulnerable and radicalise the Free Chechens and other Muslim nationalist groups within Russia, they see the current US President as, if not actually Muslim, certainly anti European and sympathetic to Muslim ambitions in Europe.
The fact that Putin launched his campaign in support of Assad in early September is also significant. At that time of year Russians remember and mourn 186 children murdered by Chechen terrorists after being held hostage in a Beslan school building from September 1st to September 4th, 2004.
Putin and his number two, Medvedev have worked for years to re-establish the standing of the Christian Orthodox Church in Russia. Until the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, Russia saw itself as the defender of Christianity, especially Orthodox version, very seriously. Russia fought the brutal Crimean War from 1853 to 1856 against protestant England and Catholic France over the issue of which Christian power should take the lead in protecting Christians and their sacred sites in the Ottoman empire.
Syria was about 10% Christian 20 years ago; now its historic Syriac Christian communities, among the oldest Christian congregations in the world, are virtually extinct as Syriac Christians flee Muslim genocidists. Much as people in the secular nations of the European Union sneer, the motive of protecting Christians and other religious minorities from Islamic extremism features in Moscow’s calculations.
The Assad dynasty has been a loyal ally of both the Soviet Union and modern Russia. Loyalty is one of the most important virtues to the Russian mindset and Kremlin policymakers feel a duty of loyalty to Damascus much as the United States has felt an obligation to be loyal to Israel for many years.
Taking the broad view then, Russia has a lot to lose if Assad falls, but stands to gain much more if Obama's regime change initiative is thwarted, as other US regime change initiatives, in Libya and Ukraine, have created failed states. America's credibility as a world super power is at an all time low, Russia's appears to be on the up and up.
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