August 18, 2019
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.
When asked why he trusted Vladimir Putin, George Bush said that he looked into his eyes and saw his soul. Probably the worst political statement ever made. If he’d looked again, he would have seen KGB beaming up from the depths of a cold soul. That’s the opinion of author Douglas E. Schoen in his just published book, Putin On the March, The Russian President’s Global Advance. (That’s my opinion also.)
Schoen advances insight into how Russia involved itself in Syria during the Civil War and is now aligned with Iran. Anyone interested in the future of the Middle East will do well to pay attention to Douglas Schoen’s insights.
Putin is different from ideological Communist rulers like a Lenin, Khrushchev, and Gorbachev. Rather, he is far more like Russian nationalists like Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. Schoen calls Putin a neo-Czarist. Having just completed a sixteen-session study of Russian history, I appreciate Schoen’s distinction. Putin typically functions like those Czarists of the past. He is a Russian opportunist down to his toenails.
An example of ignoring this mentality is one of President Obama’s worst mistakes. After threatening Syria for use of chemical weapons on its own people, when they did it again, Obama did nothing. He turned to Putin for assistance like talking to a friend. Putin promptly took Crimea, attacked the Ukraine and surged ahead in Syria. Putin saw an opportunity and seized the moment. Obama was left scratching his head.
Schoen strongly disagrees with President Trump’s approach to Putin, seeing the same naivete. When Trump joked with Putin about “not interfering” in our next election, the joke was on Trump. Schoen believes America and its European allies must wage counter-cyber warfare against Putin. He will not retreat from Russia’s aggressive moves in the Middle East unless confronted with consequences. Left unchecked, Schoen believes there is no limit to what Putin will attempt.
In recent blogs, I have detailed how Russian intervention increased the chaos and fighting in Syria. Assad would have fallen long ago if Putin hadn’t propped him up. The current conflict in Iran may well become another showcase.
What hope is there? Schoen believes it could come from the “better soul” of the Russian people themselves. Such was expressed in the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Solzhenitsyn displayed the same in The Gulag Archipelago. The West should support and encourage these impulses in the days ahead. Needless to say, treating Putting like a “buddy” only opens the door to more serious consequences.
Anyone concerned for peace in the Middle East needs to listen and read Douglas Schoen.
You might find my book on near-death experiences important for you:
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF ETERNITY