Back at the end of September, when Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to intervene directly in the nearly five-year-old civil war in Syria, more than a few U.S. pundits and politicians bemoaned the negative impact of Russia’s intervention on U.S. interests in the region, while lauding the Russian leader’s willingness to use force to advance Moscow’s interests in the region.
“A dramatic example of the diminution of . . . American influence in the region, particularly in Iraq,” said Sen. John McCain. “Putin is willing to back up his pursuit of his interests with force,” wrote Eliot Abrams, who seemed crestfallen that America’s feckless commander-in-chief wouldn’t do the same. “At least Putin has a plan,” complained the Washington Post.
So two months later it’s worth asking how Putin’s Syrian intervention is going.