Today, I see our childhood chess is starting to play out in world politics as Putin dangles his queen while knowing that he will take ours if we take his.
Putin stepping into Syria may seem like just another player in a crowded market but it isn’t. Putin seems to be doing a tactical move and a very dangerous one. Putin is essentially making sure that only Assad stays in power. By destroying all non-Islamist rebels leaves Assad and Islamic State as future owners of Syria. He knows that we will not allow IS and so he is trying to force our hands by killing as many rebels as possible. To take down Assad at that point means to leave the country in the hands of Islamists.
United States and the world have two choices: stand idly by while Putin bombs all future of Syria away by destroying any possible future democratic components, or begin to attack Putin’s planes and troops to stop Putin from destroying the last remnants of democratic Syria.
To do so would be to start a third world war and that is what I think will now be called “The Putin Bluff”.
Thus, at this moment, we have time to save Syria but it may mean starting a world war or we let Putin keep it in the hands of Assad. This has been the tactic of Putin in Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. He dangles the queen, we take it and then he wins a slow and painful game. The question is, how often will he do this? What is our alternative?
Sadly it may be too late, Putin may be too strong. We may have had a chance to reign them in in the nineties, but we ignored the slowly growing cancer thinking it would go away. But it hasn’t and instead, has become a full grown tumor.