"I like to watch."
- Chance the Gardener, "Being There" (1979)
As I observed yesterday, with Russian deployment of S-400 missile systems in Latakia, which are capable of downing aircraft 250 miles away (including planes landing at and departing from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport), President Obama has ceded control over the entire Syrian theater of operations to Putin. Thus, it should come as no surprise that RT is today gloating:
"Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes 'has nothing to do with the S400 deployment' in Syria."
Nothing to do with the deployment of the S-400 systems? Yeah, right.
In a New York Times op-ed entitled "President Obama’s Hypocrisy on Syria," Peter Wehner writes:
"In 2012 Mr. Obama rebuffed plans to arm Syrian rebels despite the fact that his former secretaries of defense and state, his C.I.A. director and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supported them. He repeatedly insisted he would not put American soldiers in Syria or pursue a prolonged air campaign. He refused to declare safe havens or no-fly zones. And it was also in 2012 that Mr. Obama warned the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, that using chemical weapons would cross a 'red line.' Yet when Mr. Assad did just that, Mr. Obama did nothing.
The president, perhaps fearful of offending the pro-Assad Iranian government with which he was trying to negotiate a nuclear arms deal, chose to sit by while a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded. As Walter Russell Mead wrote in The American Interest, 'This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn.'"
Pete's right; however, I believe that America's credibility and deterrent power have also crashed and burned under a commander-in-chief who likes to watch.