So if you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably heard information about the increased Russian military presence in Syria. Personally I’m not going to speculate as to Putin’s motives in doing this; I’m guessing that the war is going badly for Assad and Russia’s concerned about its naval base in Tartus. Others think it’s a ploy to let him draw back on Ukraine so as to ease sanctions, while still keeping up the appearance of a Russian superpower. Whatever the case, the Russian government seems to be denying it, as they did in Ukraine.
Personally I don’t care. I’d prefer their troops there than in Ukraine. Let them piss away even more money and resources trying to play superpower. There’s just one thing I find hilarious about this, however, and that is their denial. See, Putin has actually garnered some international praise in the past regarding his stances on Syria. It’s also unlikely that the West is going to react very negatively toward Russian involvement even if they aren’t going to be directed mainly at fighting the Islamic State (if at all). Logically the Kremlin should be shouting about this from the rooftops. Imagine if they’d done this in 2013 instead of annexing the Crimea and invading eastern Ukraine. And yet they are trying to keep it secret.
So once again we’re confronted with the paradox of the pro-Kremlin crowd: Russia is supposedly this rising superpower, a global alternative opposing the Western hegemony. Putin isn’t afraid of sanctions; he doesn’t care what the West thinks. And yet he still denies all responsibility for what happens in Ukraine and is now trying to keep Russian involvement in Syria a secret. Is this how a superpower works? Ignoring all the moral questions about projecting military power around the world, it seems that if you can’t even admit you’re doing it, you’re probably not such a great power after all. After all, even Turkey admitted it had invaded and occupied Cyprus. You lie about pretexts, not the invasion.
There’s a lot of talk about Putin’s actions being about saving face with his main constituency- vatniks. The problem is that they cannot help but notice that their Dear Leader seems really timid about openly talking about the campaigns of the great Russian imperial military, to the point of disowning his own soldiers when they get captured. Many Russians sincerely wanted a war against Ukraine. If Putin told them his troops were there, pushing towards Kharkiv or Odessa, they’d jump for joy. And yet they can’t help but notice how every time the West criticizes him over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, he and the rest of the Kremlin Klowns staunchly deny it. What are they afraid of, sanctions? They spit on sanctions, right? They are proud to be sanctioned, right? Right?!
Yet still…They deny. They deny in spite of the fact that there will most likely be no consequences. They deny in spite of the fact that this, coupled with a pull back from Ukraine, could actually garner some goodwill towards Russia, however misguided the reader may consider such sentiments. Not only can they not tell the truth when they’re doing wrong, they can’t even admit it when they are, by some people’s standards, doing right.
Is this the rising superpower that is going to bring us a “multi-polar” world? This is the super-macho president who doesn’t give a flying fuck what the West thinks, so much so that he produces a photo set of his workout session and tea party with his prime minister? Look out, America! The Russian bear is rising!