Putin is right on Syria, Obama is wrong

Here we go again, from one quagmire to the next Photo: jack engelhard

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 ― Russian President Vladimir Putin advises us to keep our hands off Syria, but our own president is moving ahead anyway.

Fools keep rushing in. Apparently, President Obama has learned nothing from our folly in Egypt, where we traded in Hosni Mubarak for the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Suppose we do help topple Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad with small arms and ammunition for the rebels, as Obama proposes to do?

One guess as to who is ready to replace him.

We seem to have a habit in this country to root for the underdog, even if the underdog is Al Capone.

Putin has his own selfish reasons for wanting the West to stay out (he is a supporter of Assad), but given Russia’s own misadventures against looming radical Islam in such places as Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Chechnya, Putin may have our best interests at heart after all. A Russian who cherishes an American Super bowl ring as much as he does can’t be all bad.

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In places where people wage the wars of Allah, we frequently get Black Hawk Down when we interfere.

For once, doing nothing was the smart move. Obama played it cool for the longest time, until over-zealous hawks like Sen. John McCain and Charles Krauthammer got to him. Retaliation works on ice during a dull hockey game when fans yell out, “Hit somebody.” But such rashness it is not what we need in a foreign policy.

Do we know exactly who is getting all that military equipment? The Syrian rebels probably call themselves freedom fighters, but that is what terrorist masterminds Osama bin Laden and Yasser Arafat called themselves. Overall and over the years we haven’t been too sharp when sorting out the good guys from the bad guys.

Too often our guns and bullets fall into the wrong hands.

We provided thousands of guns for a “walk” into Mexico in order to trace Mexican drug lords. We ended up losing both the guns and the drug lords. We got similar results when we chose the Palestinian Authority to serve the cause of “peace and security.” Large numbers of those military supplies wound up in the welcoming arms of Hamas and Hezbollah.

As noted, we sided with the rebels in Egypt only to find that these guys were even worse than those guys. Ditto Tunisia and Libya.

After all the blood, sweat and tears for Iraq, swaths of that country keep plunging into chaos. It is not much better in Afghanistan; maybe worse. That is where nearly everybody takes a shot at bringing peace to a land of perpetual chaos. Now it is our turn and this takes us from one quagmire to the next without taking a deep breath.

In Afghanistan, where the Taliban are deemed evil incarnate, al Qaeda are the good guys.

We tend to forget that in some wars, both sides are rotten to the core.

So what awaits us in Syria? Here is Putin in his own words about those Syrian rebels, after the Internet showed a gruesome image: “You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support?”

Maybe he knows something we don’t know.


Jack Engelhard, a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist, Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, brings his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior and reaches around the globe.

Read more Jack Engelhard, A Novelist’s View of the World


New from Jack Engelhard, the novel Compulsive

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Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard enjoys international fame as a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, which was turned into film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir Escape From Mount Moriah has been acclaimed for excellence and a movie version was an official selection at CANNES. Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer. Engelhard’s journalism covers all topics, with special focus on  the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe. He can be contacted at www.jackengelhard.com


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