This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of September 28th, 2015.

The United States lack of direction and leadership in international affairs has left a power vacuum in the Middle East that saw the growth of ISIS, the spread of revolution in Syria and a refugee crisis that the world has not witnessed since the end of World War II. Syria is collapsing much to the delight of America. A cruel dictator that holds control of a country that he inherited from his equally brutal father is fighting for his political life.
Iran has long been a supporter of Syria. Iran has also long been a hater of America and our values. This hatred of America dates back to the 1980 revolution when the pro-Western and staunch ally of America, the Shaw of Iran, was overthrown by fundamental Islamist Ayatollah Khomeini.
During the cold war Russia was a staunch ally of Syria as well as Iraq. Iraq and Syria had leaders that led the same political parties, the Bath Party. Russian weapons and advisors were present in Syria during the communist control of the Soviet Union. Prior to Russia’s involvement, America had a positive presence in Syria. In the early 1980s an American friend living in Saudi Arabia took his wife and young children to Amsterdam to purchase a new Suburban. He drove and camped from Holland through Europe, Turkey and then Syria enroute to his home in Dhahran. While many questioned his wisdom to drive through Syria he explained that it was very safe. He told his friends that not only were the Syrians friendly but they spoke of the arrogance of the Russians and how much they wished the American’s would return.
Iran was not a big proponent of Russia or the Soviet Union. As much as Iran disliked America, Iran truly disliked communism and its’ ideology on religion. So three years ago Syria was in a civil war, Iran gave some support and Russia was standing by on the sidelines with the rest of world and watched civilians getting gassed and killed as the strife in Syria turned into a bona fide civil war. Then we continued to stand by as we saw what was referred to by American Leaders as a JV team astronomically exploded into a military and political force that swept across much of Iran and Northern Syria. ISIS was born.
Iran sent paramilitary forces into both Iraq and Syria to fill a void that America and Europe had failed to fill. A coalition force of Mid-East air forces launched strikes deep into Syria. We watched as the unheard of occurred; strikes from the United Arab Emirates was led by a female fighter pilot. We also watched as a captured Jordanian pilot was burned alive by ISIS like a caged animal. We also stood by to see nothing of substance being done by the West. There was an attempt to train a handful of mid-East soldiers to fight ISIS. This was a token gesture considering that ISIS has had 30,000 foreigners join its’ ranks in the last couple of years.
Russia had fallen on hard times since the fall of the Soviet Union when communism collapsed. Failure of the West to adequately support the country and treating Russia like a step son since it fell in 1990 was insulting and degrading to a once proud country. Vladimir Putin came to power and rebuilt public pride and nationalistic fervor that the country was craving. Russia annexed the Crimea part of the Ukraine while the world stood by and watched. Now it is actively involved with the fighting in the Ukraine while we place sanctions on Russia and send MREs to the Ukraine and a civilian airline is shot from the skies. Ukraine needs new sophisticated weapons and nothing is provided.
This lack of direction from the West has led to a very unlikely collaboration. Syria is on its’ heals due to ISIS. American and the West is now in a big dilemma. Does the West support the horrible Syrian government that represents everything that we have loathed and fought against for over two hundred years? Or do we support the rebels fighting the Syrian government but with the understanding that if the rebels succeed ISIS will possibly overrun the country and an even greater threat to world freedom will be created.
With this confusion as to how to best proceed a new coalition has been formed. Russia has poured arms and advisors and aircraft into Syria. Putin and his country is providing arms to Iran also and thus a scary coalition has formed. Russia has taken a leadership role that was once American. And to add to this realignment of power, Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel visited Russia last week. An unheard of gesture three years ago.

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