Spectacular Failure for Vladimir Putin

The tsunami of bad news for Vladimir Putin on the foreign policy front this week was so overwhelming as to make it seem like a nightmare. But it was oh, so very real.

For the first time since Putin came to power, a majority of Americans told Gallup that they see Russia as an enemy.  Putin’s effort at propaganda in the New York Times was such a spectacular failure that the paper itself, in a virtually unheard of move, attacked him for it.

Ukraine thumbed its nose at Putin and declared its intention to join the European Union, a hop, skip and jump from NATO membership.

Belarus and Russia entered a state of open economic war.

And Putin’s policy towards Syria was openly mocked around the world. Everywhere, people were asking:  If, as Russia claims, Syria’s government did not use chemical weapons against its people, then why is Russia forcing Syria to disarm?

If you thought Putin could look to the domestic front for solace, you thought wrong.  2013 will be the sixth straight year in which Russian GDP growth has fallen from the year before, and 2014 will open in all likelihood with Russia entering a double-dip recession as a debtor nation barely able to make ends meet.

Putin’s foreign policy has left Russia isolated all around the world, a pariah state with only the likes of Iran, Syria and Venezuela for allies.  His domestic policy has left Russia impoverished and collapsing.  He is a disaster everywhere, all the time.

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Another Incredible New Low for Russia

It seems like only yesterday that Vladimir Putin was writing in the New York Times that the will of the United Nations must control what happens in Syria, and that the United States must bow to that will.

If you thought Putin’s hypocrisy in asking the US to do in Syria what Russia refused to do in Chechnya or Georgia was stunning, you had better sit down for this one:  Now, after a UN investigation revealed that Putin was lying when he claimed that it was the Syrian rebels, not the regime, who used chemical weapons in Syria (a “war crime” in the words of the UN), Putin is attacking the UN and refusing to follow its will.  He doesn’t just accuse the UN of lying about who was responsible for gas attacks, he also accuses them of lying about whether such attacks even took place.   His “evidence” for these claims comes exclusively from the tinfoil hat crowd.

This hubris and duplicity on Russia’s part is a new low for an already utterly wretched country.  How can any civilized nation possibly take Russia seriously after this?  In just a few years, Vladimir Putin has obliterated his nation’s credibility and set it on a course to become a rogue state itself, like Syria, Iran and North Korea.  Just when one thinks Russia can’t possibly sink any lower, it delves into depths so hideous that you can’t believe you thought it was bad before.

Writing in the Moscow Times, the chairman of the powerful U.S. House Armed Services Committee has castigated Putin for his dishonest, duplicitous and venal New York Times piece defending genocide and barbarism in Syria.  Putin’s refusal to follow the UN’s lead after demanding that the U.S. do so disqualifies Russia from sitting at the table of civilized nations. It can and should be booted out of the G-8 and G-20 organizations, the World Trade Organization and the UN security council.  Russia needs to learn what it feels like to be Syria, Iran or North Korea if it is Russia’s ambition to emulate those nations.

It is simply shocking to see how little pushback from his own citizens Putin faces for his outrageous public lies that disgrace their nation.  Because they don’t stand up to him, Russians are fully complicit in Putin’s misdeeds and richly deserve the brutal suffering that lies in wait for them.

Putin shows Yellow on Syria

Writing in the Moscow Times, Alexander Golts echoes the thoughts of numerous Russian pundits in claiming that Russia scored a “brilliant diplomatic victory” in Syria over chemical weapons in recent days. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What actually happened is that the world saw Russia show palpable terror at the prospect of U.S. bombing of Syria to destroy chemical weapons. Instead of standing up to the U.S. on behalf of its ally, Syria, which Russia insisted had not used any chemical weapons, Russia sold Syria out.  Putin rapidly agreed to help strip its ally of a formidable part of its military arsenal and to subject it to the indignity of international inspections. Let’s not forget that this is the same road traveled by Iraq, a road which ultimately led to the country being obliterated and the ruler killed.

Russia has shown it has neither the diplomatic nor the military assets to stand up to American power. It has shown it is not willing to go to the wall for any ally when confronted by credible threats of American power. It has shown that American will get its way whenever such issues arise.  Any remaining Russian ally can only be appalled.

This crackdown on chemical weapons is just one step on the road to ultimately unseating the Syrian dictatorship. What will Russia say when the U.S. demands that Syria liquidate other weapons systems, and cease support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah? The answer is obvious.

Meanwhile, if Russia is unable to satisfy the U.S. that it can purge Syria of chemical weapons, as seems likely based on Mr. Golts’s analysis, then Russia will face double humiliation. First the world will see that Russia could not deliver on its promise to purge Syria of WMD, and then it will see yet another Russian ally tumble into rubble under American guns.

A Treacherous Bastard Named Mark N. Katz

Mark Katz, Vile Traitor

What can you say about somebody who has been blogging for more than a year and whose blog has barely collected 2,500 hits in all that time, and no comments (DR, for contrast, is less than a year old and has nearly 50,000 hits and over 750 comments)?

Whatever it is, that’s what you’d say about George Mason University Professor Mark N. Katz.

Then take a look at MarkNKatz.com, where he tries to hawk his book  about Iraq and Afghanistan. It looks like it’s been thrown together by a four-year-old, and touts the good professor’s publications in lofty forums like “Fair Observer” and “New Zealand International Review” and “The Bangladesh Daily Star” as if they were something to be proud of. Yikes.

In terms of book sales, his tome does not rank in the top six hundred thousand on Amazon and has only been reviewed twice. Ouch.

Can it be any kind of surprise, then, that this hysterically insipid loser has published an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times that is full of outrageous misstatements about Russia?

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Russia is Despised throughout the Middle East

I curse Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, for helping in its wanton destruction, as he uses his veto to protect murderers, and supplies submarines and state-of-the-art weapons to kill yet more innocent Syrians. We Syrians recognise the type only too well. Vainglorious, brooking no dissent, buoyed up by financial mafias and laying on putrid cold war rhetoric, which leaves us even colder.

–Syrian Rana Kabbani, writing in The Guardian

The Russian government has stood against the people of Egypt, and watched their victory with bitter resentment.

It stood against the people of Libya, and was again humiliated before the world.

Now, it stands against the peoples of Syria and Iran, giving aid and comfort to the brutal dictatorships that oppress and destroy them.

But the people of Syria are winning, too. And they clearly see that Russia stands against them, while the nations of the West urge them to victory. When they prevail, they will not forget Russian treachery.  All through the Middle East, Russia’s reckless foreign policy is alienating nation after nation, leaving Russia a pariah with only the likes of Iran to call its friend.  This disastrous pro-terror policy is a hallmark of the horrific failure of the Putin regime across all aspects of foreign policy.

Russia is a doomed, benighted land.