October 14, 2021


NEW YORK, USA. SEPTEMBER 28, 2015. Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama shake hands at a meeting after the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly  (Credit Image: © Guneyev Sergei/TASS via ZUMA Press) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericasthirteen562776.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

NEW YORK, USA. SEPTEMBER 28, 2015. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) and US President Barack Obama shake hands at a meeting after the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (Credit Image: © Guneyev Sergei/TASS via ZUMA Press) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericasthirteen562776.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]


The action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand.

“The victor sees it as a sign of capitulation”


America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.

Harry S Truman


There is an old story of a boxer that was getting a terrible beating, and after a few rounds, bloody and bruised, asked his manager to throw the towel. “Why?” asked the manager, “we have him right where we wanted, his arms are getting tired”.

This corny story came to mind yesterday when White House spokesman Josh Earnest explained our strategy Vis a Vis Russia’s intervention in Syria as a continuation of our policy of “strategic patience”.   When you add to this mind-boggling statement with our Secretary of State John Kerry’s, that we will meet with our Russian counterparts to “deconflict”, and our Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, that the talks would consist of “technical issues”, it does not feel humorous, and it is sad and terrifying.   All these announcements are happening at the time when Putin is overtly helping Syria’s Assad with ground, air, and naval forces, ignoring the US role in the area and killing the rebel forces supported by our country.   One thing is believing in an isolationist foreign policy, but what this administration is doing is confusing and irrational.   The world, like it or not, needs a leader to act as a balance between nations and guarantee peace.   This role has been occupied in the last decades by our country.   As such, this peacekeeping responsibility has produced much criticism abroad and from within.

As imperfect as we might have been, sometimes incurring in failed policies, the alternative of having a Russia or China is not only worse but has the potential of provoking a nuclear conflict.   Other than the isolationist policy, we have embarked in Kissinger’s “realpolitik” strategy, as in Reagan and Clinton’s presidency, where we support strong rulers that are “friendly” to our country.   There is also the neoconservative ideology of establishing democratic regimes, by force if necessary, as if our system of governance would work in every nation and culture.   Much has been said about the reasons of toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq.   In my opinion, even if we justify the war by reasoning that Hussein was our enemy, our biggest mistake was that after a fairly easy military victory we tried to impose democracy into a culture and diverse population that requires a strong leadership.   Hussein had accomplished that, and a change to another military person, keeping the armed forces intact, which would have responded to our objectives, would have avoided the subsequent chaos that we are now living.   There has always been an ideological current in our State Department of espousing a guiding principle that believes on the “evil” of our ways and covertly, and at times overtly, has supported extreme liberal regimes as the Castro’s in Cuba.   This doctrine is the most dangerous as if foments our natural enemies and threatens our very existence.

Presently, we have no coherent plan, seemingly trying to appease our natural enemies and alienate our friends.   This lack of strategy has established a “vacuum”, which Putin is aspiring to fill.   China and Iranian led Middle East nations will also look to benefit from this change in the world order.   Obama’s administrations favorite reason for inaction is that Putin’s aggressive moves are a sign of “weakness”, and every military escalation only represents more failing on their part.   So, our response has consisted in telling our air force to “stand down” in the presence of a Russian military aircraft, to stop the training of Syrian rebels, to withdraw the Patriot missiles from Turkey, and order our naval force to abandon the area, the first time in ages when we will not have a presence there.   Total capitulation.   It is true that Russia’s economy is poor, and it’s military not of the quality it was once, but Putin has a clear goal, to keep his nation as a player in the world and to maintain and expand their influence.   His goal in Syria is simple; to keep Assad in power and when he secures this, to use diplomacy from a position of strength.   There lays the fallacy of Obama/Clinton/ Kerry’s thoughts that the only alternative to diplomacy is military action.   You do not have to go to war, to show strength.   On the other hand, you will never be able to achieve your goals diplomatically when having a shaky position.   Example; the Iran nuclear pact.   Presently our lack of a clear goal, strategy, and inconsistent declarations and actions has estranged our friends that can’t trust us, and encouraged our enemies.   History has proven that the present scenario is more dangerous and potentially more prone to provoke military action than when we were the clear world’s power broker.


Fernando J. Milanes, MD