Hoping to defeat ISIS, Putin is supporting Assad. Obama calls on world leaders to fight extremism with ideas, jobs and good governance. Both want to defeat ISIS. For Obama, using Assad for this purpose is unthinkable.
Surely, in moral terms, how can anyone doubt that Obama is right and Putin is wrong? However, judged politically, and militarily, the situation is somewhat different. So far Obama’s moral policy has failed spectacularly.
The New York Times writes that Monday’s meeting at the U.N. “seemed to highlight the bewilderment of world leaders over how a movement like the Islamic State, which slaughters opponents, enslaves women and destroys historical artifacts, can continue to attract followers from around the world.
“Nearly 30,000 recruits from more than 100 countries have poured into Syria since 2011, almost doubling the total that was estimated a year ago, officials have said. The increase occurred despite international efforts to tighten borders, share intelligence and enforce antiterrorism laws. A $500 million Pentagon effort to train forces to take on the Islamic State in Syria has produced only a handful of fighters.”
No one knows how to defeat them.
No doubt Putin says about Assad that he may be – what is the Russian equivalent? – an S.O.B. but he is our S.O.B.
Who said this first? Teddy Roosevelt? FDR about Somoza or Trujillo?
It comes from King Lear, II, ii: “Nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch.”