The word morass is defined as “an area of muddy or boggy ground and a complicated or confused situation.” If there’s one word to explain what’s resulting in the Middle East from President Obama’s “pivot strategy,” it is morass. Now, there are those who truly believe the situation’s completely under control and should be allowed to develop as it is. There are those who feel it’s perfectly fine Russia’s filled the void created by a politically-driven, ideological bent — not sound foreign policy.
What’s happening in the Middle East is Russia, who has not enjoyed influence in the region for some 30-40 years, is now the essential military power in a part of the world where respect is earned by strength and might. Rhetoric has no regard or credibility in the Middle East. Therefore, when White House spokesperson Josh Not-So Earnest states Russia is playing checkers and not chess, well, he reflects an abject delusion of the Obama administration for which he speaks.
As reported by Fox News:
Russian fighter jets shadowed U.S. predator drones on at least three separate occasions high above Syria since the start of Russia’s air campaign last week, according to two U.S. officials briefed on this latest intelligence from the region.
Meanwhile, U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters a U.S. aircraft flying over Syria had to be rerouted to avoid a Russian fighter jet at least once.
“We have taken action to maintain safe separation,” Davis said, adding that the U.S. aircraft “changed path a little bit.” He did not disclose which type of U.S. aircraft was involved.
U.S. officials tell Fox News the drone encounters took place over ISIS-controlled Syria, including its de facto headquarters in Raqqa, as well as along the Turkish-Syrian border near Korbani. Another occurred in the northwest, near the highly contested city of Aleppo.
“The first time it happened, we thought the Russians got lucky. Then it happened two more times,” said one official. The U.S. military’s MQ-1 Predator drone is not a stealth aircraft. “It is easy to see a predator on radar,” said one official.
We shared with you last week the incident of a Russian general delivering a “letter of demarche” advising the U.S. to cease flight operations in Syria. We also reported to you the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that he expressed a concern over “unintended incidents” occurring in Syrian battlespace. Last week, we explained to you what “deconflict” means, considering how many different types of aircraft are flying Syrian airspace right now — uncoordinated: Russian, American, Turkish, maybe Syrian, and potentially Israeli. Who owns this airspace? And don’t forget, the United States has not declared war against Syria, heck, we haven’t done so against ISIS. So Syria, a sovereign state, has every right to allow the shooting down of U.S. aircraft flying in its airspace. And there’s even word that Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi may grant airspace rights to Russia to fly combat operations against ISIS in Iraq.
And who is playing checkers, Mr. Earnest?
And now we have reports of Russian attack helicopters deployed into Syria as well. Even more telling are the 26 cruise missile strikes conducted by Russian naval warships against ISIS and Syrian rebel positions. The ships fired from positions in the Caspian Sea, some 900 miles away. The missiles flew through Iranian and Iraqi airspace.
And who is playing checkers, President Obama?
The Obama administration rhetoric is Russia has the wrong strategy. I think it was on the show “Homeland” where art imitated life when the character asked, rhetorically, “what is our strategy?” And yes, we’re all asking the same question, what is the U.S. strategy? It appears paralysis has indeed set in and the Obama administration hasn’t a clue.
We also just learned Russian-linked gangs sought to provide nuclear materials to ISIS. What we fail to understand is Islamic jihadists aren’t looking for a big ol’ intercontinental bomb to fly thousands of miles to the United States. That’s what Iran and North Korea are seeking to do. The savage jihadists know it’s all about terrorizing the populace and it can be done on the cheap, the easy. Instead of firing cruise missiles into New York City, why not just hijack aircraft on the East Coast bound for the West Coast with full tanks of fuel and fly them into buildings. Not just any building, but those which reflect the areas of American national power — military and economic.
We find ourselves in a “complicated and confused situation” — not by happen stance, but by clear intent and the evident recalcitrance of a president determined to prove his charisma can bring about fields of green, peace and unicorns. Vladimir Putin has taken Barack Obama’s promise of “flexibility” and turned it into a strategic advance spanning from the Middle East to Ukraine to the Arctic…where next?
Solution? First of all, this must be confronted in its early stages, and this is nothing new. Nikita Khruschev sought to test a young American president, but found John F. Kennedy willing to make a stand with the Cuban missile crisis. Putin has found Barack Obama will sheepishly afford him free reign. And the longer Putin is allowed to establish himself, the fewer the options will remain. Now’s the time to go full bore and assert U.S. leadership in strengthening alliances with Egypt, Jordan, the Kurds, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Israel — and, to an extent, Saudi Arabia. This alliance must form to combat the Iranian and Islamic jihadist threats. But the U.S. must show leadership and willingness to step up the game. We can’t afford to lose in the game of chicken being played by Putin. Kennedy emplaced a blockade; we need a no-fly zone, fully enforced.
The Russians have extended supply lines, and we need to sever them, as well as cut off reinforcements to Iranian Quds forces and Hezbollah fighters. This must be done while pummeling the crap out of ISIS wherever they’re established — yes, that means Raqqa. And to make matters worse for Putin, we need to emplace the missile defense shield system in Eastern Europe and develop military-to-military relationships with Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States. The pressure needs to be put on Putin right at his own doorstep. We need to counter the Putin advance in the Arctic and establish our claims.
We need to scrap the Iranian nuclear deal and let Iran know, in no uncertain terms, we will take action against them if deemed necessary and the rule of the mullahs must end.
The bottom line is we MUST seize the initiative away from Putin and make him react to our actions. We must deny him options and place him in an untenable position. We need to end the ban on our oil and natural gas imports and turn the tables of the fight for energy resources. And President Obama needs to stop the immature and childish behavior of threatening a veto of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Sadly, I don’t believe any of this will occur. Obama will talk and the liberal progressive media will do everything it can to provide him cover for the next 15 months. Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State responsible for the Russian reset. Joe Biden is Obama’s vice president. And Bernie Sanders, well, he’s Bernie Sanders and there’s no way he can be trusted to defend this nation.
Yep, we’re in a morass — stuck in a muddy mess, bogged down. But we can get to firm ground with principled, resolute leadership. It is a time for choosing.