monster_gardener wrote:Though the recent French-Russian cooperation could be a complication.........
The strategic goals in Syria have been for the US, Turkey and France the same up until up to the last few weeks. It has been about regime change and an end of the Alawite dictatorship in Syria, and not really about destroying ISIS. Erdogan has been willing to support anyone who will support the agenda of removing Assad to counter Iran and Hezbollah and to increase Turkish dominance in the region with the cooperation and the support of their Saudis and Gulf State allies. The Turks and these state actors have been winking, nodding, and supporting ISIS for the last few years, and our confused, wimpy leadership has not called them on it, receiving only the pathetic lifting of the denial of US aircraft use of Incirlik Air Base this past July as a crumb of Turkish thanks for their fecklessness.
After the bombing of the Kolavia Flight from Sharm El-Sheikh killing 224 and the recent attacks in Paris killing at least 130, both crimes attributed to ISIS, the calculation has begun to move away from removing Assad as the primary objective to destroying ISIS. Such an effort would require, of course, increased cooperation between the US, France and Russia in any such effort, leaving the Assad regime intact for now. Erdogan, a committed Islamist, could not stomach that idea, so to throw a monkey wrench into this development, the Turks downed a Russian Su-244 Fighter jet for "violating Turkish airspace," never mind the fact that Greece has constantly complained to an indifferent NATO for years now of blatant violation of its airspace by the Turks.
Obama is too much of a wimp to strategically lead and Putin knows it. The Republicans will jeer anything he does from their peanut gallery as they always do for their own domestic ambitions, and no one outside of the US takes them seriously other than an opportunity for schadenfreude over our political degeneration.
Meanwhile events will go on. Expect the Russians to respond in a calculated and aggressive manner in the next week. Bad situation.