Obama Falls Right Into Putin's Trap
Published: September 13, 2013 (Issue # 1777)
President Vladimir Putin loves to set traps for U.S. President Barack Obama. The only thing Putin loves even more is when Obama falls smack into one.
Trap No. 1. Putin set his latest trap Monday with a seemingly attractive proposal to have international monitors identify and destroy Syrian President Bashar Assad's vast stockpile of chemical weapons.
If Obama falls for this one, he and international monitors will be jumping through hoops for years — first, trying to agree on acceptable language for the United Nations Security Council resolution, and then trying to find the dozens of suspected chemical weapons sites that Assad is hiding or constantly moving around the country. What's more, amid Syria's fierce civil war, inspectors will be constantly dodging bullets as they search for Assad's sites.
Without a foreign military intervention, Assad will never fully give up his chemical weapons. After all, they are his main trump card against the rebels and nuclear-armed Israel.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — who, like Assad, had a huge chemical weapons stockpile and used them on civilians throughout the 1980s and in 1991 — played a similar shell game with the U.S., UN Security Council and weapons inspectors from 1991 to 2003. During those 12 years, Hussein sent inspectors on wild-goose chases as he violated UN resolutions at will. Meanwhile, Russia served as Hussein's chief apologist and "defense lawyer" in the UN — and it is fulfilling the same exact role with Assad.
After Hussein's ruse, is Obama so naive to fall for the same hoax from another brutal Middle East dictator?
Regardless of all of these factors, Putin's Potemkin disarmament idea for Assad's chemical weapons is fundamentally flawed. It is like a judge telling a mass murderer, "OK, you don't have to serve any time in prison as long as you give up your automatic assault rifles." Assad should be punished for committing crimes against humanity in any event, and his chemical weapons sites should be destroyed as a given, not as an alternative to punishment.
Trap No. 2. Putin's second trap for Obama is Russia's strategic obstructionism as a permanent member in the Security Council.
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