The United States will always win out in foreign policy versus the Russians for one overriding reason. Morality plays a major role in our foreign policy decisions, and the world knows that. In an arena where so many decisions are underpinned by Machiavellian considerations, the morality factor both restrains us and acts as our greatest benefit.
Now, the Middle East is faced by a re-entry of Russians into their arena. The aerial bombing they are conducting on behalf of their client, Bashar al-Assad, threatens to change the balance of power and perpetrate continued rule by this ruthless dictator. The United States has been largely relegated to a minor role.
While President Obama’s usual opponents are wringing their hands, he may be treating the situation exactly right. The Russians are not, and never will be, loved by their clients. Resorting to their assistance represents a last chance act of desperation by Assad. And the Syrian civil war shows little sign of abating any time in the near future.
But resolutions in the Middle East occur over the long term, over centuries rather than years. And Russia’s bombing raids are making enemies quickly among people who don’t forget.
So President Obama may be correct in his observations about the Russians entering a quagmire. And he may be doing our nation the greatest favor ever by keeping us relatively uninvolved.