THE BLOG

'Ain't Gonna Study War No More'

I conjure up an old spiritual by way of emphasizing that America wants to get out of the war business, which is something her friends and allies should better absorb. After a decade of misconstrued (Iraq) and overextended (Afghanistan) wars, which saw thousands of young American men and women killed, maimed and psychologically damaged, not to speak of the many thousands of casualties on the other side, the American people are sick and tired of this series of military misadventures.

In my view, Barack Obama's pirouette away from an unfathomable military adventure in Syria has, down deep, been appreciated by the public, despite the torrent of propaganda from the Tea Party, with its undertones of racism and tinges of Confederate symbolism, depicting the president as weak and indecisive.

Similarly, the Russians too seem to want to avoid hostilities. President Putin did not move to a more accommodating position on Syria until he realized that an American attack was imminent (and it really was). It seems clear that Putin wants to avoid an embarrassment for the Russian armed forces that an American attack on Syria would have produced, not speak of the Russian citizens spread around the country.

Should the question of a military attack on Iran arise in the near or middle future, the Russians can be expected to try to prevent it, mainly for the same reason of a loss of face militarily. This picture of a Putin operating from a position of weakness seems under-appreciated by most observers.

The above is not a way of saying that wars will not occur in the years to come. As Charles de Gaulle once stated, "The future lasts a long time."

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