Russia's decision to send its Air Force to Syria in response to an official request from the Syrian legitimate democratically-elected government has prompted some Western experts to suggest that the Syrian operation may turn into the "second Afghanistan" for Russia.
The US-led coalition's airstrikes against terrorists have proven ineffective, particularly because of Washington's unwillingness to cooperate with Syrian government forces on the ground.
So what steps will Washington undertake in order to boost its shrinking influence in the Middle East? It seems unbelievable that the US will just watch how Russia and Iran gain ground in the region eliminating terrorists.
"I believe the Obama administration will continue to criticize Mr. Putin and Russia, via the State Department and controlled media. Then, as has been the case for decades, the administration will do everything in its power to turn Syria into the quagmire Mr. Obama warned Mr. Putin about. This is the course they will choose, even if it means a losing proposition for all concerned. Washington, as I've said before, is "all in" on the Arab Spring end game," Germany-based American political analyst Phil Butler told Sputnik.
Indeed, Washington war hawks are up in arms about Russia's involvement in Syria’s affairs. In his recent article for New Eastern Outlook Butler referred to an article written by Council on Foreign Relations' fellow Steven A. Cook, entitled "Syria: Let Putin Bleed."
"The organization is symbolic of the kind of elitist attitudes and thinking that has set our world on end for a century or more. If world peace and prosperity were ever a desirable end, these organizations and the people governing them are utter and irrevocable failures. From a practical standpoint, "Putin Bleeding" is code for business as usual – continual conflict and unwinnable wars," Butler underscored commenting on Cook's controversial piece.
Interestingly enough, back in the 1980s, the United States and its then president Ronald Reagan were also displeased with the USSR’s decision to provide military assistance to the legitimate Afghani government fighting against Islamist Mujahideens.
The Reagan government even went so far as to provide Islamist insurgents (branded as "freedom fighters" by Washington) with American Stinger surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in 1986. It is believed that the move contributed to the Soviet withdrawal. Later, however, the US had reaped the whirlwind it sowed providing extremists with the missile launchers, when it faced off against former "freedom fighters" during Washington's longstanding campaign in Afghanistan.
Is it possible that the White House will again supply sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons to its proxies, also known as "moderate rebels" in Syria?
"Of course this will be the strategy. As was the case in Afghanistan, the United States policy makers wanted to lure the USSR into a zero sum game. The same advisers, men like notorious Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, they still control much of America's policy thinking. Brzezinski, if you will remember, was the architect of the USSR-Afghanistan debacle we speak of. So, nothing in the play book has changed. The only difference now, is that the American public and the world at large are sick and tired of these games. And another thing, Russia's leadership today is much stronger than in the 1980s. Also, Syria is not Afghanistan, and the American people are not afraid of the USSR, but the terror ISIL is helping to spread," the analyst underscored.
"The American policy makers cannot turn the world around on a dime. We've been funding the terrorists, and Mr. Putin has decided to eliminate them. Apparently, he has decided to broadcast this via YouTube as well," Butler added.
But is there the risk that Moscow's Syria campaign could turn into another Afghanistan? Can we draw parallels between the USSR of the 1980s and today's Russia?
"The Soviet Union had no choice but to leave Afghanistan. Given the political climate inside the USSR at the time, and external pressures applied by the United States and her allies, the USSR was bogged down in a catastrophe. That said, the mistake was taking the bait in the first place. As I mentioned, US strategic advisers such as Zbigniew Brzezinski cooked up the plan to serve the USSR "their own little Vietnam" — and it worked," the analyst elaborated.
"Syria is not the same situation though. This time Russia has the capability and the situation, to prove terror can be defeated with resolve," he stressed.
Although it is difficult to make predictions, there are a number of possible scenarios, according to Butler.
"If the US prevails in this endeavor, if Russia is pulled into another endless quagmire, then ongoing conflict in this region is a certainty. No leadership, installed by the American strategists of the last 40 years, has survived intact. This is an undeniable fact. If Assad is unseated, the Obama replacement will be much worse for Syria and the Middle East. I think this is the end game for the Washington think tank dinosaurs," the geopolitical analyst emphasized.
According to Butler the alternative of a US-led solution is unthinkable for anyone desiring to end this perpetual war in the region.
On the other hand if Vladimir Putin's moves win out, "Russia will have shown the world the US and her allies had not the resolve to defeat terror in the first place," the analyst explained.
"In this scenario, a win for Russia is a win for Syria and the region, because some peaceful solution can be obtained once stability is restored. Plus, US hegemony will have been halted, which will be a good thing for the American people and the world," Butler stressed.