On Wednesday evening, we suggested that Vladimir Putin’s explicit promise to go ahead with airstrikes against terrorist targets in Syria with or without the help of the US effectively marks the end of Washington’s years-old effort to destabilize and ultimately remove the Assad regime.
The Kremlin’s pronouncement came just a day after the mainstream media began reporting that Moscow and Tehran are coordinating their efforts on the ground (something which should come as no surprise to anyone) meaning any Sunni extremists and/or CIA-trained “freedom fighters” intent on seizing control of the country will now need to go through Russia and Iran, with the latter now seemingly willing to make the badly kept secret of its military support for Assad no secret at all.
Of course the thing about irreparably bad situations is that although they cannot, by definition, get better, they can always get worse and for the US in Syria, that would mean China showing up. Beijing has made a concerted effort this year to project the growing power and influence of the PLA navy. That effort has so far involved an unprecedented land reclamation effort in the Spratlys, a “rescue” operation in the Yemeni port of Aden, and a surprise appearance off the coast of Alaska.