Critics should beat the hell out of the Obama administration for this epic naiveté…
Despite warnings from U.S. intelligence agencies that Putin’s military buildup was intended to keep Assad in power, the White House nonetheless decided to explore cooperating with Russia on the ground. Throughout the summer and into the fall, top Russian officials — including Putin himself in a meeting last month with Obama at the U.N. — said they were not committed to keeping Assad in power for the long term, and would only target Islamic State fighters in their military offensive, according to U.S. officials.
These officials no longer believe Russia was telling the truth. Reuters reported this week that Putin was planning his Syria intervention for months with Iranian officials, while misleading the West. Now any hope that the U.S. and Russia could work together on stabilizing Syria has ended.
…but remember, the GOP presidential front-runner also enthusiastically backed the idea that Russia would handle ISIS for us.
“Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don’t want them coming into Russia,” Trump assuredly told CNN’s Erin Burnett late last month. “And I’m saying, why are we knocking ISIS and at the same time, we’re against Assad. Let them fight, take over the remnants, but more important, let Russia fight ISIS! … Let Russia – they’re in Syria already – let them fight ISIS! I don’t want ISIS. ISIS is bad, they’re evil – when they start doing with the head-chopping and drowning of every — these are really bad dudes. Let them fight it out. Let Russia take care of ISIS.”