Russian navy: First port visit to Egypt (among others) in 21 years

Rule Rossiya.

Suddenly, even Vladimir Putin looks more attractive.  He looks, at least, like he actually intends to fight radical Islamism – in some of its varieties anyway.  In theory, he has some pull with Iran.  He can exert a certain level of “check” on the Syria crisis.  His relatively well armed nation sits on the other side of Erdogan’s wild-card Turkey, which keeps bouncing from China to Iran to NATO and back again.  He’s not “Europe” – not really – but “Europe” acknowledges that he has to be given a place at the table.

Maybe he doesn’t look attractive, exactly; maybe the word is interesting.  Whatever it is, it’s showing up in real forms now, in regional nations’ decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean.  Last week came the flurry of reports that Continue reading “Russian navy: First port visit to Egypt (among others) in 21 years”

Rock, hard place, Syria

Force depth: all gone.

Through his latest action, calling for a vote of Congress on a strike against the Assad regime – but not trying to make it happen quickly – Obama has crystallized the Syria dilemma to the fullest extent.

It is no longer necessary to predict that failure to make good on his promise about a “red line” will be fatal to American credibility.  The die is cast.  We have reached the limit of fate’s tolerance for indecision, and the verdict is in: Obama, and the West, couldn’t handle this one.

But hold that thought for a moment – call it the rock in this scenario – and let us consider the hard place, which has its own argument to make.  Those who have continued to press for a military response in Syria seem not to understand that the situation of the U.S. military is severely compromised, due to the very real effects of not spending on readiness.  We literally do not have the forces available to expand on any limited strikes we might undertake. Continue reading “Rock, hard place, Syria”