President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been meeting at the United Nations amid deep disputes over Ukraine and Syria.
Obama is having his clocked cleaned by Putin and I suspect he doesn't even know it. Yesterday we saw that Putin just made a deal to provide security to Iraq and Syria--sounds very much like what the U.S. used to do, doesn't it?
That kind of sealed the takeover of Russian influence over the oil of at least Iran and Iraq. Obama is no match for Putin in geopolitical chess; Obama hasn't a clue that Putin already has him at least in check. I think Putin has completely overwhelmed any meaningful influence that Obama thinks the U.S. can continue to have not only in the Middle East but, amazingly, also in China. Not only the West but also China and the rest of Asia need oil to fuel their rapid growth. Putin is setting up Russia to provide it.
If you look on a map at the location of the Russian Caspian Sea oil fields and pipelines feeding the West in relation to Chechnya, Georgia, and Iran, Syria and the Middle East more broadly, a clear pattern emerges. Even Ukraine comes into focus as territory that is crossed by Russian pipelines feeding energy to Europe. Then there are the Siberian oil fields and those in the Arctic, where one third of the world's oil reserves are said to lie. It makes sense that Putin would make a play for the Middle East and the Arctic, and with respect to Siberian energy he already signed one deal with China.
Putin is looking to make Russia an oil hegemon. He knows that as an industrial power Russia would be hard pressed to catch up with the West. Thus, while Obama plays amateur strategist walking away from a Middle East he thinks he is leaving with a new self-enforcing security structure, Putin is moving in and is positioning Russia to supply oil to Europe AND China and the rest of Asia!
Sorry Barack but that's check. The only reason I don't say it's checkmate is that I still have hope that the next President will somehow return us to a position of leadership.
Obama has abandoned Iraq, so naturally they are open to Russian overtures. Does anyone think this advances US interests of makes the world a better place? Once again, we see how Obama mistakes advance Russian and Chinese aggressive policies.
Russia backed Syria to ignore and embarrass Obama on his chemical weapons red line. Now they are expanding in the Middle East in an unprecedented way.
China learned from Putin and has now taken a much more aggressive posture in claiming territory and cyber espionage.
We need to remember that as a nation, we were sucked in by a well spoken Obama, who lacked any foreign policy or military experience. For that matter, no experience in the private sector, energy, healthcare, etc.
Obama sucked and the nation followed. We need to avoid a repeat performance.
In the meantime, be prepared for a truly devastating 18 months, as our adversaries take advantage of the remaining months of the failed Obama presidency. This provides them great opportunities, as Russia and China have shown so obviously.