Ever wonder what Putin’s objective is in Syria? What’s there to gain? Why does it feel like a sleeping giant has been awoken?
Russia has in many ways remained in the background for the last decade as it grappled with the world recession and as it simultaneously realized that it could no longer control the information its constituencies were fed. Armed with this now-available information, a great deal of the Russian people were leaning towards democracy — something that surely made the walls of the draconian Kremlin crack in sheer despair.
Some may remember the Old Russia — like a time in the fall of 1960 when Nikita Krushchev unceremoniously took off his shoe during a session of NATO and banged the heel of it on the table before him during an angry and threatening tirade.
Or you may remember the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962 when the U.S. and Russia played a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that left the world teetering on the edge of a full-out nuclear war. Who doesn’t get a shiver down their spine just thinking about that?
But that was the old, black, dark, cloak-and-dagger Russia.
Today, we have the face of Vladimir Putin that represents Russia and its interests. He’s a risk-taker of the highest proportions. He’s in it for anything and everything.
So, back to Syria. What’s in it for Putin?
It’s not that he wishes to fight a conventional war, although he is enjoying his display of what he most assuredly feels is Russian air superiority over Syria. For a conventional war, Russia would need deep pockets, something that it just does not have. In fact, experts on Russian economics project that at the rate the country is using its reserves, it could run out as early as 2017.
It’s about oil — crude oil.
And so, now you see that it’s about economics, too. If Assad’s current regime stays in control through Putin’s backing, it is likely that they will repay the favor to Russia in lower crude oil prices in the future. And if the by-product of Putin’s stand shows the leaders in the Middle East that Russia can be a strong ally, all the better for Putin and Russia’s future.
And then there is the second war he is waging. One of deception, fraud, broken promises and lies to world leaders. This is a concerted effort on his part, not something that inadvertently lingers in his wake. Because he’s a risk-taker, his objectives are to make the U.S. and its Western allies look hesitant and indecisive which, from some people’s perspective, he did with challenging the U.S. not to interfere in Syrian air space. Interestingly, the U.S. chose instead to show restraint. After all, not every war is our war.
So, Putin — desperate to show Russia as a force to be reckoned with — will stop at nothing, it seems — even showboating. He attempts to show himself as a virile male — like recent rumors conveniently leaked to the world press that his “disappearance” several months ago was to be at the birth of his child and by the side of his mistress. Or, by the carefully orchestrated video of him at 63 riding a horse shirtless. Seriously?
So, don’t listen to Putin; instead, watch his actions. Listen for his disinformation. Hear his broken promises. They all speak louder than words.