Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

Russian Patriarch to Obama: Syria’s Christians Nearing ‘Extermination’

The leader of Russia’s 150 million Orthodox Christians begs the president not to give aid to Syrian jihadis.

by Raymond Ibrahim // PJ Media 

While many were fixated on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent letter to the American people, another letter from another Russian leader—this one directly addressed to the U.S. president—was missed.

Russian Patriarch Kirill

Russian Patriarch Kirill

On September 10, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill issued a letter addressed to “His Excellency Mr. Barack Obama, President, United States.”  Whether one wishes to interpret this communique as a product of politics or sincerity, it accurately highlights the plight of Syria’s Christians, especially in the broader context of a larger civilizational struggle.

I repost major portions of the letter below, interspersed with my observations for added context:

Your Excellency, Dear Mr. President,

The tragic events in Syria have raised anxiety and caused pain in the Russian Orthodox Church. We receive information about the situation there not from the news reports but from living evidence coming to us from Read more →

Goodbye Syria, On to Iran!

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, this is the way Syria ends: Not with a bang, but a whimper. We are back where we started — lots of people dying — as the crisis recedes with a high five and a sigh, rather than with America blowing some stuff up. Read more →

Syria Postmortem

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner 

I think the so-called Syrian crisis is working out as most anticipated:

1) In about a year or so Assad and Putin will announce that they “think” they might have in theory rounded up a lot of the WMD, and will soon make plans to turn it over to “authorities,” subject to further negotiations. Read more →

Obama’s Box Canyon

Our Hamlet-in-cheif wanted simultaneously to act and not act.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

The Syrian fiasco arose from two mutually contradictory desires. Barack Obama sincerely wanted Bashar Assad to stop killing his own people. Barack Obama also really was not willing to use force to ensure that Assad would stop killing his own people. At Harvard, those desires would not be antithetical. Elsewhere they are.

The desire to avoid the use of force was understandable. Obama ran for president as an anti-war candidate. He damned Bush’s “bad war” in Iraq, while critiquing the conduct of the “good war” in Afghanistan. He had no success with his own bombing in Libya. And he was embarrassed by even a rhetorical entry into the Egyptian quagmire. The president sensed rightly that the country was “tired” after Afghanistan and Iraq. Read more →

The Charade Can Go On — and On and On . . .

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner

So far in the Syrian charade, Bashar Assad has won de facto permission to be a legitimate ruler negotiating with superpowers, while promising to kill thousands more by blowing them up, shelling them, and shooting them without “obscene” chemical weapons.

Vladimir Putin controls the tempo of the crisis. He now issues new initiatives, now delays for consultations and retrospection — as he steps up profitable arms shipments to the Syrians and Iranians. In short, he is in the short-term “saving” Obama from himself, while in the long term insidiously destroying presidential credibility, influence, and respect by the sheer force of his cunning and audacity, as Obama in terms of foreign influence curls up into a veritable fetal position and wishes it would all just go away. Read more →

Fifteen Minutes of Foreign Policy Malfeasance

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine 

On the eve of the 12thanniversary of the terrorist strikes on 9/11, President Obama last night addressed the nation and reprised every delusional and bankrupt internationalist idea that contributed to that disaster. The current Syrian crisis––merely the latest Middle Eastern example of Obama’s incompetence––exemplifies more thoroughly than the rest just how politicized, incoherent, hypocritical, and dangerous to this country’s security and interests Obama’s foreign policy has been. Read more →

Putin — Saruman Come Alive

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner

“It was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire woke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves.”

— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers.

If it were regrettable that Vladimir Putin’s formidable diplomatic skills were wasted squashing rather than ensuring freedom inside Russia, it seems even more lamentable that his impressive prose likewise is not put to better use. Putin’s letter to us, the American people, is brilliant sophistry. The best rhetoric is always that which blends truth with half-truth and occasional fiction. In Putin’s case, he did all that—while offering the dessert of channeling Obama back to Obama.

Of course, as Putin reminds us, we fought together in WWII and should agree that such cooperation should be emulated. Russia suffered enormous losses for the Allied cause. Without such heroic sacrifices, the Anglo-American alliance may well have lost the war.

Yet Putin forgets to remind us that Russia’s war with Germany was prompted by betrayal. Russia was a de facto ally of Hitler. It kept sending him enormous amounts of material to help defeat France and Read more →

A Bare-Chested Machiavelli

by Victor Davis Hanson // NRO’s The Corner

 

It is unfortunate that Vladimir Putin could not use his formidable diplomatic skills at home to address his own near failing state rather than showcasing them abroad at our expense. Oh, well . . . Read more →

Obama’s Farce

He sold his plan for bombing Syria on flawed political assumptions.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

 

To support the president’s enforcement of his red line in Syria requires suspensions of disbelief. Here are several.Courtesy of Flickr

I wish it were not true, but there is scant evidence that the world, led by the U.S., went to war in the past over the use of weapons of mass destruction — whether by Gamel Nasser in Yemen or by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds and the Iranians. Understandably, the current West’s reaction, including Obama’s, to possible Syrian WMD use is calibrated mostly on the dangers of intervention, not the use of WMD per se. Thus Obama is now focusing on Syria in a way he is not, at least overtly, on Iran, the far greater WMD threat, because he believes the former could be handled with two days’ worth of Tomahawks and the latter could not. That would be understandable pragmatism if it were not dressed up in the current humanitarian bluster about red lines and the “international community.”

Obama, I think, is inadvertently doing the terrible arithmetic that the last 1,000 Read more →

Putin Puts Obama in Hot Seat: ‘What Will You Do If Rebels Are Ones Using Chemical Weapons?’

by Raymond Ibrahim // RaymondIbrahim.com

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a strange way of speaking straightforwardly, without all the artificial and “morally superior” airs one expects from Western politicians.

Earlier, for example, he wondered why Western leaders were supporting cannibals in Syria:

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. Read more →

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