Well, Putin bought the Egyptian tourism industry ten extra days, at least. But the evidence of an ISIS bombing was conclusive two weeks ago, and in the wake of the Paris attacks, with ISIS already having drawn Russian blood previously, the "Russian strongman" has evidently decided that the propaganda benefits of declaring war on the Islamic State now outweigh any further progress he can make on luring Egypt into Russian satellite status for now.
And unlike pusillanimous pissant Western "leaders," the "Jayvee team" has every reason to take Czar Vlad's threat deadly seriously:
President Vladimir Putin vowed to hunt down those responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt and intensify air strikes against Islamists in Syria, after the Kremlin concluded a bomb had destroyed the plane last month, killing 224 people.
"We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them," Putin said at a sombre Kremlin meeting broadcast on Tuesday. The FSB security service swiftly announced a $50 million bounty on the bombers.
Until now, Russia had played down assertions from Western countries that the October 31st crash was the work of terrorists, saying it was important to let the official investigation run its course.
But four days after Islamist gunmen and bombers killed at least 129 people in Paris, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB, told a late night meeting that traces of foreign-made explosive had been found on fragments of the downed plane and on passengers' personal belongings.
"According to an analysis by our specialists, a homemade bomb containing up to a kilogram of TNT detonated during the flight, causing the plane to break up in mid air, which explains why parts of the fuselage were spread over such a large distance," said Bortnikov at the meeting in footage released by the Kremlin.
"We can unequivocally say it was a terrorist act," he said.
Putin is sounding, dare I say it, Bush-esque in his declaration, and twice as serious about it. He's invoked Russia's right to self-defense under the U.N. charter, which gives him more or less carte blanche to send Russian forces anywhere on the planet under the pretext of pursing ISIS. Which could be interesting if one of their cells based in the U.S. had anything to do with it. Could lead to a scene like the one from the original Red Dawn movie.
But here's another thought: Might just this scenario have been why the Russians didn't initially bomb Islamic State territory? If Putin had done that, he would have been seen as following along in the U.S.'s policy wake; this way, he takes the lead against ISIS in a way that he knows Barack Obama will never emulate and can be counted on to impotently oppose, and his forces can now go anywhere they want with all the moral authority in the world. Indeed, they can start peeling France's allegiances away from NATO and make common cause with them against a very proximate common enemy, since The One can be counted on to do nothing serious on Paris's behalf.
It'll be interesting to see just how disproportionate the Russian retaliation is. I don't know if they possess neutron warheads, but if I were Putin, that would be my weapon of choice, slaughtering every ISIS-ian in Raqqa and leaving the buildings and infrastructure intact. That would be the ultimate "strong horse" statement that could be made against the Global Jihad - and us.