The Colossus of Putin

Illustration courtesy of Ray Staar


The iconic view of Rio de Janeiro, by sea or air, is Cristo Redentor, the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer. The arms are outstretched, extending its blessing to those denizens captured within the Iberian Catholicism that was transplanted to the whole of the lower portion of the American continent. Can we expect a similar monument, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin as the subject, to be erected somewhere on the Persian Gulf. The way things are going, Putin may earn it.

Vladimir Putin's appraisal of the Middle East fiasco is that the U.S.-led Western nations have made a mess of things in that part of the world. They destabilized existing governments, of which they had an unfavorable view, by decapitating the leadership of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt. Those blatant, imperialistic actions created deadly vacuums. The arrogance of their ignorance precluded them from comprehending the deep complexity of the sects and rivalries extant among the various national and language groupings within Islam. These catastrophic failures were akin to throwing open wide the gates of hell and losing the long-suppressed bane of the whole of modern civilization: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as ISIS).

The mosh pit that is now Syria began when ISIL – whose deadly reign of terror already had politically and militarily compromised Iraq – extended hits bloody tentacles into Syria. The civil war then in progress there, to oust Dictator Bashar Al-Assad was greatly affected by ISIL's attempt to defeat both Assad and the rebels. Barack Obama had drawn a redline against the use of chemical weapons by Assad. Just at the point of U.S. missile intervention, A deus ex machina, in the form of Vladimir Putin, descends just in time to rescue Assad, by facilitating the transportation of the chemicals out of the country. Of course, Putins action were self-serving; he is keen to protect the status of his client Bashar Assad – as well as Russia's valuable Syrian port access.

The U.S. entered the fray by air. The attempt to arm Syrian rebels against Assad ended in a miserable failure. The ensuing bloody and inhumane conflict produced flights of refugees that at first overwhelmed Jordan and Turkey – and now have caused incalculable consequences in Europe and, soon, the U.S.

With hardly a notice of/to the Western quixotic Keystone Kops, Putin sets up shop in Assad's front yard. With a wink to the West, he says he is going to bomb ISIL – and immediately proceeds to go after the rebels who are attempting to oust his besieged client Assad. He says, Oops, and then lobs a few bombs owe in the general direction of ISIL. Putin: See, I told you I was after them devils, too! (He giggles to himself.) For the coup-de-gras, he is ready to send in ground troops – that which the West has become too gun-shy to do. Obama and other U.S. voices hope that Putin will become enmeshed in the Middle East swamp, as had we. Putin's calculation is this: By going after both the rebels and ISIL by air, and holding the territory with ground troops, he saves Assad's ass – and by extension, his influence and port in the Middle East. Thus, by defeating ISIL and the rebels, he establishes, at least, a status quo peace that allows the refugees to return home, thereby relieving great pressure on Syria's neighbors and the EU.

If Putin is able to accomplish this Syrian hat trick, and also assist in the defeat of ISIL in Iraq and elsewhere, then, by God, the West should, at least, spring for the cost of the newest of the World's Greatest Wonders, the Colossus of...(er...) – Vladimir the Redeemer.

***** ***** *****

A macho-man they call "Putin,"
Rode in, a-rompin' and a-hootin'.
He said that he'd heard
Ol' Sam was a nerd.
'Twas time for him to go shootin'!



Curtis W. Long

Curtis W. Long

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