Boy, "Smart Power" sure makes me proud to be an American, how about y'all?
To sum it up, Barack Obama has been wrong about Iraq since March 2003, which now extends into Syria in November 2015, he's been proven wrong, our enemies know he's wrong, and our allies know he's wrong, but he won't admit he's wrong, including about the Russian intervention, and is sitting back and waiting for what he considers his guaranteed chance to laugh in Vladimir Putin's face and say "I told you so - never argue with a god":
Russia’s intervention is a powerful example of the law of unintended consequences. It will have two primary effects. First, it will increase Russia’s leverage over Assad. But second, it will increase the conflict’s leverage over Russia. And that in turn creates a compelling incentive for Russia to work for, not against, a political transition. [emphasis added]
Obama thinks that every country is Obamerikastan and every big power "fights" wars the way he does.
Russia cannot afford to sustain its military onslaught against everyone opposed to Assad’s brutal rule. The costs will mount every day in economic, political, and security terms—but at best only to prevent Assad from losing, not to make him win. There is no military victory to be had. [emphasis added]
Obviously, Putin doesn't agree. He doesn't care about economic, security, or especially political terms, and he doesn't have to, given his 80+% popularity at home. All of which are offset by the simple fact that he's fighting to win rather than assuming he can't. And you know what? He is.
Meanwhile the quagmire will spread and deepen, drawing Russia further in. And Russia will be seen to be in league with Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran — alienating millions of Sunnis in Syria, the region, and in Russia itself. Already, Russia’s indiscriminate air campaign — while dropping many bombs — is making virtually no gains on the ground.
These people live in their own little existential bubble of ideological delusion, and it is more impenetrable than the energy field that surrounded the Tesseract in The Avengers. In the real world, there are no quagmires if you have clear objectives - Assad is going to stay - and if you are committed to victory - which Putin is. There are no actual disincentives against Putin continuing to do precisely what he's doing, largely because Obama isn't creating any; whereas his Regime simply assumes them out of discredited ideological rigidity and can't understand why everybody else can't see what seems so obvious to them.
Meanwhile, the British are incredulous, and not shy about saying so publicly:
The British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, told me he had good reason to be skeptical of that optimism.
“There’s a school of thought that says that as the Russians get drawn into this conflict, they will more and more looking for a way to get a political solution,” he said — but “it’s not my government’s assessment.”
Hammond said he spoke with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, the day before in Vienna after the talks concluded and Lavrov told him Russia did not have any flexibility on the issue of Assad’s departure. Hammond said that the Russian position on Assad is exactly the same as it was three years ago and that it’s likely to remain the same. Russia says Assad was elected [snort], and only an election can replace him. [emphases added]
Yeah, Boy Assad was "elected" - by his dead father Hafez.
But that's irrelevant to the issue. The British can recognize reality, and they see that the Obamunists cannot or will not.
Ditto the French, in the person of former president Nicholas Sarkozy:
“There are two international coalitions operating in Syria simultaneously. They agree on some goals and are at odds on others. It is necessary to unite these two coalitions. This is the condition for the military victory over IS barbarians…The Vienna meeting is the first step. What is our common goal? Is it destroying Islamic State or is it another goal? The fight against terrorism must be a priority for all. IS is our common enemy, one cannot say one thing and do another.”
True, the communists are running France these days, but even they can see what is before their own rheumy eyes. And the French - the French! - or at least Monsieur Sarkozy - are calling for all-out war with the Islamic State, including formally allying with the Russians to do it. To which all O can say in riposte is "humina-humina-humina" because at least opposing ISIS is supposed to be his official policy, even though it runs counter to his "Assad must go" policy, which would have us fighting the Russians, Iranians, AND Assad at the Islamic State's side. Is it any wonder that so many say that The One doesn't have a Syria policy?
Which isn't true; Barack Obama does have a Syria policy: that the United States lose there, as part of America's self-inflicted rout from the entire Middle East. Which, in turn, fits hand-in-glove with Vladimir Putin's Middle East objectives. If he and his minions have to say "humina-humina-humina" a lot, the joke is on us, because we'll soon all see and be forced (at gunpoint) to admit that he was right all along.
Now THAT's a quagmire.