Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 24, 2015 · Page A20
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page A20

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Page A20
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Page20A Saturday,October24,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com Guess who just p opped up in the Kreml in? Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, now Vladimir Putin’s newest pet. A fter four years holed up in Dam ascus, Assad was summoned to Russ ia to bend a knee to Putin, show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially bless the Russ ian-led four-nation takeover of Syria now underway. D oes the bewildered Obama administration finally understand what Russia is up to? President Obama says Russia is doomed to fail in the Syrian quagmire. But Russia is not trying to reconquer t he country for Assad. It’s consolidating arump Syrian state on the roughly 20 p ercent of the country he now controls, the Alawite areas stretching north and west from Damascus through Latakia and encompassing the Russian naval base at Tartus. It’s a partition. It will leave the Is- l amic State in control in the interior north and east. Why is this doomed to failure? Putin’s larger strategy is also obvious. He is not reconstructing the old Soviet empire. That’s too large a task. But he is rebuilding and reasserting R ussia’s ability to project power beyond its borders. Annexing Crimea restores to the motherland full control o f the warm water Black Sea port that Russia has coveted since Peter the Great. Shoring up a rump Alawite state s ecures Russia’s naval and air bases in the eastern Mediterranean. Add to that Russia’s launching advanced cruise m issiles from warships in the Caspian Sea to strike Syrian rebels 900 miles a way and you have the most impressive d isplay of Russian military reach since the Cold War. F or Obama, of course, these things don’t matter. “In today’s world,” he told the U.N. last month, “the measure of s trength is no longer defined by the control of territory.” That he clearly believes this fantasy was demonstrated b y his total abandonment of Iraq, forfeiting U.S. bases from which we could have projected power in the region (most notably preventing, through control of Iraqi airspace, the Iranian rearming and reinforcement of Assad’s weakening regime). While Obama counts on the arc of the moral universe bending toward j ustice, Putin acts. As soon as the ink w as dry on the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s Q asem Soleimani flew to Moscow (a s anctions violation that we blithely i gnored) to plan the multinational Syria campaign he is now directing. His Shiite expeditionary force is comprised of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Iraqi Shiite militias and Lebanese Hezbollah fighting under the cover of Russian a irpower. T hey are pounding non-Islamic State rebels, many equipped, trained and allegedly supported by the U.S. and O bama’s vaunted 60-nation coalition. W hat a comfort to be pulverized by 60 t o 90 Russian airstrikes each day but to know that Belgium is with you. T he immediate Russian objective is to retake Aleppo, the eastern part o f which is the rebels’ last remaining urban stronghold. Russia is not fighting the Islamic State. On the contrary. Its attacks on the anti-government, anti-Islamic State rebels have allowed the Islamic S tate to expand, capturing rebel-held villages north of Aleppo, even as the S hiite expeditionary force approaches from the south. Apart from the wreckage to Oba- ma’s dreams of a “reset” with Russia, think of how these advances mock Obama’s dreams for Iran, namely that t he nuclear deal would moderate Iranian behavior. What has happened since the signing of the deal in July? Iran convicts an American journalist of espionage, contemptuously refusing to offer even the most minimal humanitarian g esture. Iran brazenly tests a nuclear- capable ballistic missile that our own U.N. ambassador said violates Securi- t y Council resolutions. And now Iran’s most notorious Revolutionary Guard commander takes control of a pan- S hiite army trying to decimate our remaining allies in the Syrian civil war. O bama’s response to all this? Nothing. He has washed his hands of the r egion, still the center of world oil p roduction and trade, and still the world’s most volatile region, seething w ith virulent jihadism ready for export. When you call something a quagmire you have told the world that y ou’re out and staying out. Russia and Iran will have their way. 60 Minutes asked Obama: Are you c oncerned about yielding leadership to Russia? Obama responded dismissively: Propping up a weak ally is not leadership. I’m leading the world on climate change. Upon hearing that, anyone in any conflict anywhere who has put his trust in the United States should start packing his bags for Germany. Obama does nothing as Putin, Russia march on We chose our syndicated columnists to present a diverse range of perspectives over the course of each week. Every day, we will offer a different viewpoint from one of these writers: Esther Cepeda M ichael Gerson Charles Krauthammer D ana Milbank B etsy McCaughey Leonard Pitts C onnie Schultz C al Thomas “Putin’s larger strategy is also obvious. He is not reconstructing the old Soviet empire. That’s too large a task. But he is rebuilding and reasserting Russia’s ability to project power beyond its borders.” CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER COMMENTARY Thumbs up: For the U.S.Army’s decision to turn over- s ight of substance abuse treatment for soldiers to Army Medical Command. A USA TODAY investigationfound that the Army’s substance-abuse treatment program was in disarray, including poor treatment and a spike in suicides a mong those battling addiction. USA TODAY reported that the quality of care for these soldiers began to decline after the Army decided in 2010 to place the program under the Army’s Installation Management Command, which lacks medical expertise. Medical experts are applauding the deci- s ion. T humbs up: For the kind and giving citizens in the g reater Rochester area . More than 16,000 diapers were collected in the Democrat and Chronicle’s diaper drive for ROC City Bottoms. ROC City Bottoms is a new diaper bank t hat assists needy families in Rochester. Diapers can not be purchased with food stamps or Women Infant Children b enefits. Rochester has long held a reputation for being a charitable community and the outpouring of support for the D &C diaper drive shows that the reputation is well des erved. Thumbs down: For the Republican National Convention Committee’s decision to charge reporters an access fee to c over the 2016 national convention. The RNCC will charge $ 150 for a space that includes a writing surface and an electrical outlet. Journalists serve as the eyes and ears of the p ublic, and governmental watchdogs. The decision to charge journalists to cover the news — a national political convent ion of importance to all citizens, no less — is outrageous. While credentialed media can still gain access for free, the area has an inferior view and will not contain a writing surf ace or electrical access, thus hampering the ability to work on deadline. This ridiculous decision by the RNCC should be o verturned immediately. Thumbs down: For Air Canada, which Jerremy Lorch of H enrietta says denied him access.According to Lorch, who r elies on a wheelchair, he arrived 2.5 hours before his flight t o ensure airline agents understood how to get the quadriplegic man on the 18-seat plane. Reportedly, the equipment to get Lorch onto the plane, which was not parked at a jet- way, was available but not used. A spokesman for Air Canad a apologized for “the inconvenience caused” to Lorchand s aid the airline is reviewing the matter. This was shameful c ustomer interaction by Air Canada. Thumbs down: For the dead ends found on New York state’s Jobs Express site. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office re- c ently touted the website as having more than 132,000 post- i ngs, with 10,800 “current” and “available jobs” in the Finger Lakes region. However, a number of the postings lead to expired listings or link to company pages that no longer exist. Um, if you are going to crow about a new and helpful t ool, make sure it works as billed. Thumbs up, thumbs down Cheers and jeers from the Editorial staff CARTOONISTS’ VIEW Hochul avoids jinxing the Mets When the New York Mets finished off the sweep of the Chic ago Cubs en route to the World Series, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and her staff could exhale. H ochul’s official Twitter account got ahead of itself Wednesday night, congratulating the Mets on beating the Cubs and advancing to baseball’s championship series when the deciding game still had more than an inning to go. “New Yorkers are proud of the @Mets for the sweep — On to win it all!,” Hochul tweeted, tacking a #LGM at the end. (Uh oh, Mets fans. This was tweeted and since deleted. p— Jon Campbell (@JonCamp- bellGAN) October 22, 2015) The premature, quickly deleted tweet called to mind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Twitter gaffe earlier this month, when he congratulated the Astros for advancing to the American League Championship Series when they were six outs away from a win —only to watch the team blow the game and series to the Kansas City Royals. Luckily for Hochul, the Mets persevered, beating the Cubs 8-3and moving on to next week’s World Series. Hochul — or whomever was tweeting from her account— had fun with the errant post, tweeting out “#optimistic #LGM” a s social-media users caught on to the deleted tweet. After the game ended, she re-posted the original tweet word for word. JON CAMPBELL VOTEUP BLOG BLOGATORIALS More Online To read this a nd other blogs, click on Blogs and go to the Voteup b log. Opinion “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.” FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION EDITORIAL BOARD Michael G. Kane, President and Publisher Karen M. Magnuson, Editor & Vice President/News Julie J. Philipp, Senior Engagement Editor Sheila Rayam, Community Engagement Editor Len LaCara,Erica Bryant Anna Valeria Iseman and Jim Ryan Jr. Community Members

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