You're the tottering, crumbling Afghan government. The Taliban and ISIS are once again running wild across your country, your patron of the past decade and a half - the United States - has already public declared its treacherous intention to abandon you and leave you and any Afghani who ever cooperated with you and/or Westernized in the slightest, tiniest degree to be systematically and wantonly butchered by your jihadist conquerors. What do you do?
You turn to another patron who will defend you - even if that patron is a previous conqueror whose succor has an hidden, ominously stiff price tag:
Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron — Russia — just as the Kremlin is seeking to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage.
President Ashraf Ghani has asked Moscow for artillery, small arms and Mi-35 helicopter gunships for his country’s struggling military, Afghan and Russian officials say, after the U.S. and its allies pulled most of their troops from Afghanistan and reduced financial aid.
“Russia is seizing the opportunity,” a U.S. official said.
An opportunity that Barack Obama gifted Vladimir Putin on a platinum platter as part of his Obama Doctrine elimination of American power and influence from the global stage. And Putin, like any sane leader, is helping himself and loading up like Chris Christie at a Golden Corral buffet. He's occupied Syria, is Iran's nuclear and conventional arms supplier, reestablishing vassalized Iraq as a client state, and now moving back into Afghanistan. In essence, every portion of the Middle East The One vacates, Putin is moving in and taking over. Oh, and let's not leave Turkey off that list, into which Vlad wheedled his way, don't forget, by repeatedly violating Turkish airspace, in a transparent-to-everybody-except-Obama angle to split the Turks off from NATO and add them to their burgeoning list of Middle East sphere-of-influence conquests. And, naturally, the wars and violence and butchery keeps growing and growing and growing.
Does anybody remember when Putin's ill-concealed-from-everybody-except-Obama invasion of Ukraine was considered a big deal? Seems like old home week now.
Exit question: Does NATO, as a practical matter, still exist for the Russian strongman to topple?