Another foreign policy defeat for freedom-loving people is taking place in Syria. A United Nations report says an “extermination” campaign has been underway against the Syrian opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime. Tens of thousands are now dying or fleeing Russian-backed aggression against the city of Aleppo. The attacks on civilians are getting some coverage on the evening news programs but haven’t become an issue in the presidential campaign or the debates. Instead, the big new issue is Donald Trump’s latest insult.
In contrast to the debate moderators, who generate ratings by provoking personal attacks among the candidates, correspondents and columnists are now covering what Roger Cohen of The New York Times is calling a “debacle” for U.S. foreign policy. Why is Obama, supposedly a friend of the world’s Muslims, silent? The inescapable conclusion is that President Obama has been collaborating with, rather than opposing, the Russian aggression. He has chosen the side of Russia and its allies over the Syrian people.
In a statement, the National Syrian Coalition appealed to the free world and international organizations “to act and put pressure on their governments in order to take immediate action to stop the crimes against humanity committed in Syria.” The group said, “Those around the world who can in any way shape or form make a difference have a moral responsibility to act now to stop the atrocities in Syria and put an end to this tragic chapter of world history.”
What we are seeing unfold in Syria are the consequences of a literal invasion by Russia, Iran and their surrogates. The idea that these foreign forces have been “invited” into the country is pure Russian propaganda. The Assad regime in Syria is a Russian client.
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However, the Obama administration’s policy has been to try to negotiate with the invaders from a position of weakness. This has only encouraged the Russians and Iranians.
New York Times columnist Cohen writes, “The troubling thing is that the Putin policy on Syria has become hard to distinguish from the Obama policy.” He adds, “Putin policy is American policy because the United States has offered no serious alternative.”
Some may argue that this is just another misguided “failure” on Obama’s part. But as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has repeatedly pointed out, Obama knows what he’s doing.
Based on interviews with witnesses and survivors, and other documentary evidence, the United Nations says the Assad government “has committed the crimes against humanity of extermination, murder, rape or other forms of sexual violence, torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearance and other inhuman acts.”
That U.N. report doesn’t even cover what’s currently happening in Aleppo.
Washington Post correspondent Ishaan Tharoor writes, “The Assad regime advance was boosted by the support of Iran-backed militias on the ground as well as months of Russian aerial bombardment. Other powers, including the United States, have looked on with a degree of helplessness as Moscow’s intervention tilted the course of events on the Syrian battlefield strongly in the regime’s favor.”
That “helplessness” is a betrayal of those in Syria who wanted Assad to go and a democratic form of government established in his place. Recall that Obama had once called for Assad to go. He dropped that demand to appease the Russians and Iranians.
There is no other way to describe it: the Obama policy is to let the Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah axis take over Syria. That is what the current battle for Aleppo is all about.
Times columnist Roger Cohen argues that “It is too late, as well as pure illusion, to expect significant change in Obama’s Syria policy.” But he proposes that Obama should at least increase the number of Syrian refugees taken in this year to 65,000, as opposed to his currently proposed 10,000. But letting in more refugees scares Americans who suspect that there will be terrorists among them.
Such a proposal plays into the hands of Donald Trump, who wants a moratorium on Muslim immigration, while supporting Russian aggression in Syria. “If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100 percent, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it,” Trump said during the fourth Republican presidential debate.
As those who understood Russian strategy knew from the start, Putin’s policy has been to “knock the hell out” of the anti-Assad rebels, not ISIS. No wonder Putin called Trump “bright and talented.” The Russian president figures he would be able to manipulate a President Trump just as easily as he can have his way with Obama.
Yet it’s Trump who throws around the word “pussy” at Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), one of his opponents in the Republican presidential campaign.
Like Obama, Trump supports Putin’s military aggression in Syria. Unlike Obama, Trump wants to stop the additional refugees from coming in. So Trump looks like a tough guy with his anti-Muslim immigration policy, which is a consequence of his pro-Russian policy that generates the refugees in the first place. It is completely nonsensical.
Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has proposed that Iran join Saudi Arabia and other Arab/Muslim countries in a coalition. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a statement from a group of former officials noting that Sanders’ recommendation that Iran should join with its adversary Saudi Arabia in a military coalition was “puzzling.”
Coverage of the entire campaign has been puzzling, as we are constantly being entertained by insults back and forth with Trump usually at the center of media attention. This time, it’s a vulgar insult from Trump about Cruz.
How about some coverage of the Obama administration’s complicity in the extermination campaign being carried out by Russia and Iran in Syria? And the complicity of those such as Donald Trump who have encouraged Putin’s aggression in Syria?
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.