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Is America About to Checkmate Russia?
Townhall.com ^ | May 7, 2013 | Rachel Marsden

Posted on 05/07/2013 2:05:59 PM PDT by Kaslin

PARIS -- As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with his Russian counterparts this week in Moscow to discuss Syria, much of the world is wondering what America's endgame is. But what if we are already witnessing it? What if America's ultimate exit strategy for the Syrian conflict is to have it grind on ad infinitum because there's very little advantage to doing anything else?

Increasingly, it's Russia that has the most to lose from the ongoing hostilities in Syria. What if America has successfully applied the old Soviet-era (and judo) subversion tactic of allowing an opponent to fully follow through with their hardest punch to the point of bringing harm upon themselves, rather than daring to block the blow at one's own risk?

What would America get by ending the Syrian conflict? Not much compared with what it gets from a prolongation. Conflict keeps some of the less savory actors of the region -- al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force -- busy fighting and depleting their resources while Israel keeps the whole mess contained. If they're all drawn into Syria for the time being, they're less likely to be blowing up things for kicks on a Friday night.

Meanwhile, various Western security contractors are making a few bucks off black ops. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in on the anti-Assad action, blowing cash on staging opposition efforts in Turkey, which has long been hoping to score some brownie points in its ongoing bid for European Union membership. Since Qatar is the same nation that blew millions to pay David Beckham to play soccer for a few months in Paris, it's not hard to imagine that it would bankroll the Syrian opposition purely for the entertainment value. Putting this in fiscal perspective, it would be like a normal person paying 10 bucks to see a movie.

Kerry and America would apparently like Russia's help in negotiating a resolution to the conflict. However it responds, Russia cannot win. And over time, its losses can only continue to grow.

Russia has criticized America and its allies for their role in materially supporting the Syrian opposition, for obvious reasons. Russia is Syria's largest arms supplier and has been caught sending weapons to Syria throughout the conflict. Earlier this year, a Russian ship flying the flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was found to be carrying ammunition bound for Syria after it was forced to dock in Cyprus during a storm. Russia claims that such shipments aren't illegal -- though they would be if not for Russia repeatedly blocking U.N. Security Council resolutions to impose sanctions against Syria.

While the Russians have a legitimate gripe about Western support of a ragtag band of rebels linked to al-Qaeda, Russia is being equally obtuse. It could have brought Syrian President Bashar Assad to the negotiating table anytime it wanted, and on its own terms, when it was operating from a position of strength. But doing so too early wouldn't have been advantageous, because Russia had been profiting from the conflict. It sells arms to Syria, supplies Hezbollah through Syria and Iran, and makes money off Iran by developing its nuclear program. All that works just fine for Russia as long as the supply chain isn't compromised, as is becoming increasingly the case.

Now that Israel has been able to pinpoint and surgically strike weapons in Syria that are bound for Israeli terrorist foe Hezbollah before they can present any threat to civilians, Russia's cash cow is on life support.

So now, here comes America, asking Russia to intervene by bringing Assad to the table. What does America lose if the Kremlin refuses? Absolutely nothing. One could argue that America's ideal endgame in Syria is a continuation of the status quo. By making Western disengagement a condition of negotiation rather than just dragging Assad to the table, Russia has been checkmated into taking a position that now increasingly runs counter to its own interests.

No matter what ultimately happens in Syria, there will be no happy ending to this story. These are tribal factions hell-bent on killing each other, and whenever the teacher leaves the room, they'll revert back to doing so. It's difficult to imagine a bigger nightmare for Russia than a mix of terrorists and thugs, including members of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, right in their backyard and only a car ride away from the Islamist elements that Russia has struggled to control in the North Caucasus.

Syria is ultimately Russia's problem -- not America's.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel; Russia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: israel; russia; syria; waronterror

1 posted on 05/07/2013 2:06:00 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

For Kerry to “checkmate” Putin would take some divine intervention, because Kerry is a mega-lightweight compared to Pooty-poot.


2 posted on 05/07/2013 2:10:07 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: Kaslin

John Kerry couldn’t checkmate a chimpanzee.

While Russia, our old advesary, may be spying on us and gently testing us, the focus of our scrutiny should be on China. Their military expansion has a lot to do with hacking into our computer systems, and one thing I do agree with bouncing Bob Beckel on is that China will be our #1 foe in the coming years.


3 posted on 05/07/2013 2:11:00 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: Kaslin

Lint has a higher IQ than Kerry....would probably beat him in a chess game, too.....


4 posted on 05/07/2013 2:11:37 PM PDT by illiac (If we don't change directions soon, we'll get where we're going)
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To: Kaslin

I don’t think this was a plan, but I agree that the best outcome is a long civil war. We could airdrop liberators and handfulls of ammo all over the country.


5 posted on 05/07/2013 2:16:58 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: Kaslin

I think that would be giving Obama and Kerry way too much credit.


6 posted on 05/07/2013 2:26:24 PM PDT by VRW Conspirator (Cyprus - the beginning)
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To: Kaslin

This strategy assumes that the people in the White House and State Dept are smart enough to pull it off.

They are not.


7 posted on 05/07/2013 2:28:35 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: Kaslin

It’s nice to compare foreign affairs to chess. There are a fixed number of pieces on a board with a fixed number of squares. The pieces can only move in a certain pattern. What if you had to play chess and your opponent had a rifle and periodically took a shot at you? Obama isn’t smart enough to run a snocone stand. We are in deep trouble.


8 posted on 05/07/2013 2:28:49 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Viennacon

Buy your Lenovo spying computer and be happy.


9 posted on 05/07/2013 2:29:30 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: Kaslin
Is this the MSM’s brand new “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” for Obama?

Obama is the shrewd foreign policy Machiavelli, and not the inept president too fearful to act?

Gimme a break.

Obama turned Libya and Egypt over to the Islamic Brotherhood.

He planned the same endgame for Syria.

Except for one problem.

Assad decided to fight for his life from the first gunshot.

And why not?

Assad watched Gaddafi murdered and defiled on TV, and sees Mubarak slowly dying in a prison hospital.

10 posted on 05/07/2013 2:33:20 PM PDT by zeestephen
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To: Kaslin

That “checkmate” could be the effect of cowardice and dithering in the White House but I doubt it is the intention.


11 posted on 05/07/2013 2:36:57 PM PDT by arthurus (Read Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson ONLINE www.fee.org/library/books/economics-in-one-lesson)
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To: Viennacon

JF’nK’s playing tiddly-winks.


12 posted on 05/07/2013 2:46:24 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Kaslin
The U.S., and to a greater extent Israel, aided both sides in the Iran-Iraq War. The result may have been delay the end of the conflict. Are Israel's recent strikes on Assad's military strictly about self defense? I'm not saying we should do this in Syria but one man's holy war may be another man's Roach Motel.
13 posted on 05/07/2013 2:54:22 PM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (A politician can't give you anything he hasn't first stolen from you.)
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To: Kaslin

This administration couldn’t checkmate a ... (You finish it, I can’t think of something stupid enough)


14 posted on 05/07/2013 2:56:49 PM PDT by ThePatriotsFlag ( EVERY DIME Obama Spends is given to him by the Republicans in the House.)
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To: Kaslin

Nope. We are way too stupid.


15 posted on 05/07/2013 2:56:56 PM PDT by my small voice (A biased media and an uneducated populace is the biggest threat to our nation.)
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To: Kaslin

As Slick Willy would say, “define checkmate”!


16 posted on 05/07/2013 3:01:01 PM PDT by RetiredTexasVet (You don't have to be stupid to become a Progressive, but it does speed up the process.)
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To: Kaslin

Russia is led by a man, it is unlikely that anyone in our leadership cadre can checkmate him.


17 posted on 05/07/2013 3:03:43 PM PDT by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: Kaslin

Anything good coming out of this state department will be purely an accident.


18 posted on 05/07/2013 3:04:46 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: Kaslin

If Putin’s playing chess, Kerry’s playing Chutes and Ladders.


19 posted on 05/07/2013 3:14:47 PM PDT by mykroar (Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.-Thomas Paine)
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To: Kaslin

“...though they would be if not for Russia repeatedly blocking U.N. Security Council resolutions to impose sanctions against Syria.”

Putin consistently flips off the UN, Soros, Hillary, EU bankers and Obuma. Rachel Marsden needs to spend a dollar and buy a scorecard. A few weeks ago, Rachel was cheering on the French monkey President François Hollande. Even UK PM David Cameron had enough sense to flip the bird to Hollande at the last G-20 meeting. Spend a dollar, Rachel.


20 posted on 05/07/2013 3:21:44 PM PDT by sergeantdave (No, I don't have links for everything I post)
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To: Kaslin
Russia claims that such shipments aren't illegal -- though they would be if not for Russia repeatedly blocking U.N. Security Council resolutions to impose sanctions against Syria.

There's the key sentence.

In all previous military interventions, the US has had the sanction of the UN and the cover of International Law, including the World Court.

This time, in Syria, our interference is illegal and in violation of International Law.

Russia knows that they have Obama and the US in a corner, while our strength is waning and Russia and China grow stronger.

It will take a decade but the US will rue the day they supported any side in Syria.

21 posted on 05/07/2013 3:22:24 PM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it, and the Constitution and law mean what WE say.)
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To: Navy Patriot

Russia is not growing stronger. As a matter of fact, Mother Russia is barely hanging on.

Syria is a good customer and if lost will severely effect the small markets they have for weapons


22 posted on 05/07/2013 3:29:48 PM PDT by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 .....History is a process, not an event)
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To: Vince Ferrer
...the best outcome is a long civil war. We could airdrop liberators and handfulls of ammo all over the country.

Are you referring to Syria or the United States?
23 posted on 05/07/2013 3:41:51 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: Kaslin

Increasingly, it’s Russia that has the most to lose from the ongoing hostilities in Syria. What if America has successfully applied the old Soviet-era (and judo) subversion tactic of allowing an opponent to fully follow through with their hardest punch to the point of bringing harm upon themselves, rather than daring to block the blow at one’s own risk?


Wait I get it - Putin is a judo practitioner and this is an article about Putin. My how clever these writers are - a bit like reading Joyce or Proust!


24 posted on 05/07/2013 3:43:48 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: bert

“Russia is not growing stronger. As a matter of fact, Mother Russia is barely hanging on.”

Really? Russia just dropped $2 billion of private equity into the China Investment Corporation. Russia, along with China, is nurturing the BRICS economies and competing against western private equity firms in emerging markets. As someone else said, Putin is playing chess. I wouldn’t sell Russia short.


25 posted on 05/07/2013 3:44:11 PM PDT by sergeantdave (No, I don't have links for everything I post)
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To: bert

Russia is NOT growing weaker. It is the US that is growing weaker every day under Zero’s administration. Meanwhile, Russia builds sophisticated missiles and aircraft while we disarm ours.


26 posted on 05/07/2013 4:05:54 PM PDT by Thunder90 (All posts soley represent my own opinion.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

My current Lenovo laptop which sees light use is starting to show cracks in the housing.

Since the droid does 80% of what I need, I may not get another laptop after this one.


27 posted on 05/07/2013 4:11:29 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: Kaslin
[Art.] Syria is ultimately Russia's problem -- not America's.

Ummmm .... not true, if someone gets frosted enough at our being cute, to lend someone else some deniable WMD to try out in Baltimore (the scenario in the weak film version of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears -- it was Denver in the book).

Either way, we get fried in numbers and Obozo gets to deny responsibility for that, too -- like everything else, which is the Alinsky Way.

28 posted on 05/07/2013 4:40:38 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: SpaceBar
Concidentally, Syria just cut their internet access. How about Egypt?

Egypt Investment Is Collapsing as Citizens Turn Into Vigilantes

The mass exodus of Christians from the Muslim world

29 posted on 05/07/2013 4:41:27 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: wally_bert
My current Lenovo laptop which sees light use is starting to show cracks in the housing.

My 1999 IBM i-Series did the same thing, but it took 11 years to start developing and another two or three to reach crisis proportions. A techie told me it was heat, and outgassing/embrittlement of the case's plastic.

30 posted on 05/07/2013 4:43:04 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus

I should expect as much from the people who foisted the most evil email product ever - Lotus Notes.


31 posted on 05/07/2013 4:44:19 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: wally_bert
Watch out for Android, too -- that's Google, the new Neural Plexus of Evil. (Or so I've heard.)
32 posted on 05/07/2013 4:46:22 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus

Pretty much all of big technology probably fits that description.


33 posted on 05/07/2013 4:51:41 PM PDT by wally_bert (There are no winners in a game of losers. I'm Tommy Joyce, welcome to the Oriental Lounge.)
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To: blueunicorn6

“Obama isn’t smart enough to run a snocone stand.”
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

It hardly matters, he is a puppet anyway and the string pullers intend for the snowcone stand to fail as soon as possible.


34 posted on 05/07/2013 5:04:43 PM PDT by RipSawyer (I was born on Earth, what planet is this?)
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To: zeestephen
Obama turned Libya and Egypt over to the Islamic Brotherhood international banking.


35 posted on 05/07/2013 5:05:08 PM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: Kaslin

There isn’t anyone in the administration with the political smarts or strategic acumen to think this up. Idea was probably at the instigation of the Israelis.


36 posted on 05/07/2013 6:09:24 PM PDT by miele man
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks Kaslin.
...much of the world is wondering what America's endgame is. But what if we are already witnessing it? What if America's ultimate exit strategy for the Syrian conflict is to have it grind on ad infinitum because there's very little advantage to doing anything else Increasingly, it's Russia that has the most to lose from the ongoing hostilities in Syria... What would America get by ending the Syrian conflict? Not much compared with what it gets from a prolongation. Conflict keeps some of the less savory actors of the region -- al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran's Quds Force -- busy fighting and depleting their resources while Israel keeps the whole mess contained. If they're all drawn into Syria for the time being, they're less likely to be blowing up things for kicks on a Friday night... Western security contractors are making a few bucks off black ops. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in on the anti-Assad action, blowing cash on staging opposition efforts in Turkey, which has long been hoping to score some brownie points in its ongoing bid for European Union membership... However it responds, Russia cannot win. And over time, its losses can only continue to grow.
Gosh, these ideas look familiar... ;')


37 posted on 05/07/2013 6:43:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv

>>>>Thanks Kaslin.
...much of the world is wondering what America’s endgame is. But what if we are already witnessing it? What if America’s ultimate exit strategy for the Syrian conflict is to have it grind on ad infinitum because there’s very little advantage to doing anything else Increasingly, it’s Russia that has the most to lose from the ongoing hostilities in Syria... What would America get by ending the Syrian conflict? Not much compared with what it gets from a prolongation. Conflict keeps some of the less savory actors of the region — al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force — busy fighting and depleting their resources while Israel keeps the whole mess contained. If they’re all drawn into Syria for the time being, they’re less likely to be blowing up things for kicks on a Friday night... Western security contractors are making a few bucks off black ops. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in on the anti-Assad action, blowing cash on staging opposition efforts in Turkey, which has long been hoping to score some brownie points in its ongoing bid for European Union membership... However it responds, Russia cannot win. And over time, its losses can only continue to grow.
Gosh, these ideas look familiar... ;’)<<<<

In fact I think Russia is a single player to win from instability in the Middle East.
It makes energy prices grow.
An attack on Iran could be an extraordinary gift for Russian economy.
Don’t overestimate their dependence on Syria as a weapons market. These sales are nothing comparing to a size of Russian economy, let alone the fact in actually never generated any cash (Assad has a credit line in Russia).
10c plus for a barrel in enough to cover any possible losses.


38 posted on 05/07/2013 9:33:14 PM PDT by cunning_fish
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

39 posted on 05/08/2013 5:29:10 AM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: SJackson; MinuteGal

Syria is a no-win, and therefore possibly a win-win civil war for all parties concerned, except of course, for the innocent people being killed as collateral damage. No matter which side comes out on top in this war, it will be bad news. Either Assad the Dictator maintains his dynasty and iron grip control over his populations, or, in the alternative, the opposition will take over, and the Muslim Brotherhood (plus Al-Qaeda elements) will rule the new Dictatorship, establish Sharia law, as in all of the other Arab Spring turnover countries, and will become an eventual terrorist state and enemy of western countries. Some choice, eh?

However, if we do nothing, which is the preferable choice, as also stated in this article, nothing happens but more continuous fighting. Therefore keeping the Middle East in turmoil, with continuous fighting right in a neighboring state of Russia (which is fine by me) while two sets of bad actors, Assad and his regime on one side, and the Muslim Brotherhood/Al Qaeda, on the other, busy killing each other off. I feel extremely sorry for the more secularist parts of the Syrian population being adversely affected to the max, but as we already know from other Arab Spring country uprisings, these people never gain control, the Muslim Brotherhood extremists will (example Egypt).

Bottom line, let the Syrians keep on fighting till they wear themselves out, keep the U.S. out of this internecine warfare, and let Russia or others figure this out. John McCain and his constant war mongering notwithstanding, we have no dog in this fight to speak of, except to not get involved in yet another messy Mid East fiasco as we have done so many times before. The only country in the Middle East we have a moral obligation to defend and come to the aid of is Israel, the only true democracy in the whole area of the Mid East, our ally, our ears and eyes to what is going on over there in that forever turbulent region,and our only true friend in the neighborhood. OTHERWISE STAY OUT!


40 posted on 05/08/2013 9:41:11 AM PDT by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: flaglady47

P.S. what I disagree with in the above article is that this is Obama’s master plan to finess Russia. Baloney, Obama/Kerry aren’t one half Machiavellian enough to come up with such a plan. This is an inept regime (Obama’s) when it comes to foreign policy, and far too frequently, intentionally inept, as their default is generally to side with the enemy rather than the good guys.


41 posted on 05/08/2013 9:52:01 AM PDT by flaglady47 (When the gov't fears the people, liberty; When the people fear the gov't, tyranny.)
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To: Kaslin

If this were the case, then we’d finally have the State Department America always wished it had.


42 posted on 05/10/2013 5:28:04 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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