Putin takes on ISIS: He’s no hero


Vladimir Putin has taken a bold step in the last fortnight to wedge Russia into the centre of the fight to stop the Islamic State, sending fighter jets and elite troops to Syria. He has combined this military action with a diplomatic push to back Russian ally – Syrian President Bashar al Assad – to bring “stability” to the country, rehashing the tired argument that the only rulers who can bring order to the Middle East are the worst of dictators.

Putin, in KGB uniform. Because just remember where this guy came from.

It would be darkly ironic, and disturbingly disingenuous, to see Vladimir Putin, as some kind of hero for taking the offensive to ISIS. Russia is currently occupying the territory of its neighbour, Ukraine, and has an atrocious record on human rights and corruption.  Putin managed the grand stroke of luck of being appointed as Prime Minister by his successor as President, Dmitri Medvedev, in 2008, before miraculously being reelected to the Presidency in 2012..  As such, he has effectively been the democratically elected constitutional dictator of Russia since 2000.  His political party, United Russia, dominates the Russian parliament, and controls the media. His political opponents, investigative journalists, and disobedient tycoons who he himself helped make rich, have a nasty habit of winding up either in prison or the morgue. For 16 years, he was an officer in the murderous KGB, and for a short period in the late 1990’s headed its successor, the FSB, which of course had cleaned up its act by then…

In short, Vladimir Putin is the very model of a modern-day fascist.

Putin’s motives are obvious – offer a military solution to Western leaders unwilling to get their hands dirty, in exchange for the removal of sanctions over Russia’s occupation of eastern Ukraine. We should not be under any illusion that this is anything other than a cynical move to establish Russian influence over the perennially strategic Middle East. Had the US, “led” by its flaccid President Barack Obama, shown real leadership in defeating ISIS, the current action by Russia would not be occurring.

As an aside, I hope the “progressive” media, which is always so quick to jump on any perceived or real act of aggression, or action considered to be outside of international law, or action which leads to civilian casualties, by the US and its Western allies, affords the same level of scrutiny to Russia’s military involvement in the fight against ISIS. I also look forward to reading the conspiracies propagated all over the internet by the far left, as to what are Russia’s “real” motives, and I want to see demonstrations the world over decrying Russia’s warmongering as “blood for oil.”

The West needs to accept that it cannot leave it to old-school Middle Eastern dictators, Communist-era Russian autocrats, and so-called “moderate rebels” if it want to bring order to the Middle East and stem the flow of migrants coming from it.  We are going to have to get our hands dirty, and by that, I mean ground troops.

Who would you rather gets their hands dirty?  Us, or Putin?

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David has studied history and political science at Melbourne University. His thesis was written on how the utilisation of Missile Defence can help to achieve nuclear disarmament. His interest in history was piqued by playing a flight simulator computer game about the Battle of Britain, and he hopes to one day siphon the earnings from his political writings into funding the greatest prog-rock concept album the world has ever seen.