Treads on armored tank.

Russia’s European Game in Syria

Vladimir Putin is an old-school imperialist, whose military intervention in Syria is partly designed to divert attention from his dismemberment of Ukraine. And his thinly veiled threats against the Baltic states, Poland, Finland, and now Turkey reveal a strategy that has as its chief goal the weakening of Europe.

PARIS – This much is clear in Syria: There is no good solution.

There has not been a good solution since that black Wednesday in August 2013, when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s war machine, by using chemical weapons, crossed the “red line” that US President Barack Obama had warned would trigger an American military response. The moderate opposition still stood, and the Islamic State had not yet emerged from the shadows. Yet, in a shocking last-minute about-face, Obama declined to intervene.

That lapse cannot be undone. But in the hell of bad solutions on offer for Syria, some are worse than others. And the one devised by Russian President Vladimir Putin is probably the most infernal of all.

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