How Vladimir Putin taught the West a lesson in Syria, by Bret Stephens. A realist assessment instead of the usual Putin cliches. Lessons for future interveners and users of power include:
Take a side. That’s an improvement over the Obama Method, which is to take the side of “history” while casting feckless and irritating aspersions on everyone. It’s an improvement, too, over the Bush Method, which was to go to war for the sake of a concept, like democracy, and then cross your fingers that it would find a competent local champion.
Preserve your options. Russia has withdrawn from Syria — except where it hasn’t. … That was an option the US could have exercised in Iraq, or Libya, by maintaining a military presence sufficient to suppress insurgents, deter Iranians, and balance competing sectarian interests. We didn’t, and the results are well known.
hat-tip Stephen Neil