Please recall my severe warnings of personal incompetence. I really meant them.
To Wallace Stevens: Thank you. Even at my age I ought not to have forgotten the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Sorry about that.
Here is Nocomment's comment: "Normally I find your analyses to be pretty accurate. This time, however, I
believe you have missed something.
Having idly stood by while the US
meddled and muddled in just about every Middle East country, Russia (once the
proud sponsor of its OWN autocratic regimes there) cannot bear to have its last
tinpot dictator taken out by the Yankees. I believe it is the US which has
forced its hand. Going into Syria is not to prop up a pro-Soviet regime
(Afghanistan) but to assert its rights to play at the same poker table. As the
US expands its Dark Force throughout the galaxy, we will see increasing pushback
from China and Russia. And as they travel down the same road as the US, expect
some collisions. And proxy wars.
I'm not sure Obama (or you) are right in
predicting another quagmire for Russia in a far-off outpost. Obama's hardly one
to talk. What you've missed is that Russia will get out when the US gets out of
Syria. Their quagmire is our quagmire."
I agree pretty much with your characterization of the situation in the first part of your comment, but I have a somewhat different view of the overall state of play. As I see it [influenced as I am by the world view of my old friend and University of Chicago colleague Hans Morgenthau], the American imperium expanded into the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is now being challenged by Putin's attempt to re-expand Russia's influence. I doubt that Putin is motivated simply by pique. I would guess that his expansionist moves are connected with the weakness of the Russian economy. Nor do I think [or guess, more accurately] that Putin will find it so easy to pull out of Syria once he commits forces there, even if the United States manages to withdraw under the color of an "international coalition." That was my reason for invoking the Tar Baby. Putin is not more skillful than the Americans are, so far as I can see, and it will be politically very costly for him to exit from Syria, having failed to prop up Assad and to defeat ISIL [as I am convinced he will fail.]
But I repeat, I really do not know, nor do I even have the right to claim any plausibility for my guesses. I suppose we shall have to wait and see.