Putin’s Pawn: Forget Chess or Checkers — Obama Forfeited

History is longer than the news cycle or a term in office, writes the chess champion

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Ramil Sitdikov / handout / Getty Images

Presidents Putin and Obama greet each other at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5, 2013

There has been a surplus of trite chess metaphors thrown around during the world’s response to the civil war in Syria. As a former world champion I would like to pull rank and ask everyone to reject all the nonsense about “Putin is playing chess and Obama is playing checkers,” or tic-tac-toe or whatever. Putin did not have to outplay or outthink anyone. He and Bashar Assad won by forfeit when President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron and the rest of the so-called leaders of the free world walked away from the table. They have all set up a new game at the negotiating table where Putin and Assad set the rules and will run the show under the protection of the U.N.

Just a few weeks ago, Assad was hiding in a bunker and worried about a wave of defections in the face of imminent strikes after he used chemical weapons to murder 1,400 of his countrymen. Putin was backing away slowly, preparing to evacuate Russian personnel from Syria and stating there would be no response to a punitive Western military strike against Assad. They assumed that strike was coming because Obama had said, almost exactly one year earlier, that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a “red line” and that there would be “enormous consequences” were it crossed.

Assad skipped over that red line and yet his position is now stronger than he could have imagined. Putin grabbed his chance to look like a global power player while doing nothing more than attempting to preserve the status quo. Syria and Iran are excellent customers for Russian weapons and expertise (including nuclear), and for years Putin has used Russia’s permanent position on the U.N. Security Council to provide both regimes with excellent customer support. What the “say no to war” anti-interventionists forget is that there is already a war in Syria. The choice is not between war and peace but between attempting to help end the slaughter of civilians sooner or ignoring it.

Putin, Assad and Ayatullah Khamenei were not the only ones keeping a close eye on Obama’s red line. Every autocrat, terrorist and thug from Beijing to Yemen is stronger in the face of inaction and impotence by the free world. And to those of us living under repressive regimes the consequences are very real. Putin will feel even less constrained about cracking down on the Russian opposition now that he has built up capital as a global diplomat. He still has an aging arsenal and economic influence based on oil and gas exports, but Putin is neither ideological nor interested in anything other than holding on to enough power to support his looting spree. He meddles abroad to keep the price of oil high and to foster his macho image at home as a protector of Russia against the countless enemies supposedly threatening our very survival.

Every dictator needs enemies to justify the suffering of his people and his own brutality. If no such enemies exist, they are invented. Putin follows this pattern, lashing out in Russia against the most vulnerable groups like gays and immigrants. His propaganda machine spews hatred and suspicion of the West, and especially America, as enemies of Russia, when in reality he and his regime are the true source of the damage to Russia’s strength and standing.

I am far from being a naive utopian, but as someone who grew up and lived over half of my 50 years in the Soviet Union I can speak to the importance of knowing that there were people outside, and entire nations of them, who cared about freedom — and my freedom — and were willing to invest in it, even fight for it. America was not a beacon of hope to so many behind the Iron Curtain because of blue jeans and McDonald’s. Its affluence was a part of it, yes, but its leaders also talked openly about rights and liberty and other ideals that mean a great deal to those who live in their absence.

With their unmatched might, the U.S. and allies like the U.K. and France have the ability to prevent genocides, to remove or at least deter dictators, and to give millions of people a fighting chance at obtaining the freedoms their own people take for granted. Unfortunately, they have decided to instead withdraw from the world. History is longer than the news cycle or a term of office. The phrase never again is reserved for allowing horrors to go unchallenged, not for failed attempts to prevent those horrors. It is reasonable to fear making things worse. It is inexcusable to allow that fear to paralyze you and to stop you from doing what you can.

Kasparov is the chairman of the New York–based Human Rights Foundation

18 comments
nofail
nofail

I dont understand why dictators or semi-dictators like Assad and Putin should be friends. Syria was a military client of Russia, a chess move would be to somehow colonize Syrian sovereignty under two constraints : ground access under UN resolution and key military supplier position. So, is Assad lucky of Putin's free hands on Syria or is it worse than western strikes ? Maybe Obama should Yalta the Syrian cake with Putin. It may stabilize the arab spring, but maybe Russia plays the Iceman of the events and dont really care about the ideals involved.

splash
splash

gary, first of all the west doesn't want to intervene to save the rebels. They want to ensure they are not attacked by rogue elements that might gain these kinds of WMD. Secondly, if Putin wanted to maintain high oil prices he would want an attack on Syria.

PedroZozaya
PedroZozaya

Dirty anti-Russian propaganda.

All Americans need to know that Garry Kasparov is not Russian, he was not born in Russia, he does not live in Russia, he does not like Russia and Russians, he is always lying about Russia, so his is so often printed in the West. In the West, liars and russophobes now in vogue.

Shame on you! 

1913Intel
1913Intel

I do agree that Obama walked away from the table, but he was only at the table due to incompetence - the red line ad-lib. It's not the job of the US to save everybody. If the US saves the Syrian people then they will love us for a day before they hate us again. It the US does nothing then the Syrians will just hate us. 

Iran is the real problem. Let us save our energy for Iran.

deanjackson60
deanjackson60

Garry Kasparov  says, "He [Putin] meddles abroad to keep the price of oil high..."

In fact, it is the West that has meddled throughout the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, bringing chaos to those oil rich regions, thereby spiking the price of oil which Russia uses to (1) maintain its stability; and (2) proceed with its current massive military overhaul. 

Why is the West assisting Russia? Because both political parties were co-opted decades ago by Moscow & allies, which is why the West refused to alert its citizens that the "collapse" of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse...a fake. 


Take a look at these pictures out of Russia...


http://www.airliners.net/photo/Russia---Air/Antonov-An-12BK-PPS/1584360/L/


and


http://www.defencetalk.com/pictures/mig-23-flogger-russia/p42987-mig-23ub.html


Then for Russian Naval vessels, take a look at what's still appended to the bows (enlarge picture)…


http://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/correction-russia-for_starjpg/


Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the "collapse" of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party...the Red Star... is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the "collapse" of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.


Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…


http://www.redstar.ru/


“Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for "Red Star", the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper's official designation is, "Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense." Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin's head!


The fraudulent "collapse" of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn't have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan's favorite phrase, "Trust, but verify".


Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the "electorates" of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to "elect" for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential "elections" since the "collapse" of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That's 76.92%! If the "collapse" of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.


Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia's strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.


In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control! They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR! The same is true for the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations.


For those unfamiliar with this subject, the "collapse" of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy" (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the "new" strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the "collapse" of the USSR in 1991. The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland.


The "War on Terror" & Iraq War I and II:


Regarding the “War on Terror”, Moscow and Beijing tasked the American operation to ensure that while the USSR was in a “liberalized” and therefore weakened state, such a war would (1) create enmity between Islam and the West; thereby (2) aborting any possibility for an alliance between Islam and the non-co-opted militaries of the West against their mutual and true enemy…World Communism; and (3) create the image that the United States is a rogue state, invading/attacking nations with impunity, thereby setting the stage for a future "democratic" China replacing United States preeminence on the world stage.


Before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR in December 1991 Moscow tasked Washington, DC to ready the 1990 Gulf War with Iraq. Why? Because Moscow, after the "collapse", was going to intentionally implode its economy to ensure foreign investments went to China instead. Russia could live on the relatively higher price that its oil exports (Russia is #2 behind Saudi Arabia in oil exports) would obtain thanks to the United States placing an embargo on Iraqi oil, thereby raising the world price of oil relative to the lower price the commodity would have fetched if the Iraq embargo hadn’t been in place. China has no such export market for oil, therefore would have to rely on foreign investments to build her military.


Then by 2001 oil began getting too expensive due to India's emergence on the economic scene, threatening China's military buildup. To ensure China had the oil it needed, and at a lower relative price then what it would have been otherwise, and not exhaust Russian oil reserves, Moscow once again tasked Washington, DC to invade Iraq for the purpose of now opening up Iraq's oil reserves once again to the world oil market. Hence the March 2003 Iraqi War, and why China is the major player that has benefited from Iraqi oil contracts.


If anyone is interested in a list of "victors" names of those 52 "elections" that have taken place in the republics of the "former" USSR, let me know. I'll post it. The list also includes the Soviet era Communist Party status of the "victor".



Heinz
Heinz

Very aptly said  but can the US really afford to be involved militarily .. .. is it sustainable.... g iven the weariness of Americans of another involvement abroad?

HardyCampbell
HardyCampbell

Methinks that Tovarisch Kasparov has got things backwards. Obama and his CIA/Mossad handlers instigated this civil war in the first place in order to deprive Iran of its most important  ally in the region. Indeed, anyone familiar with false flag ops recognizes this whole chemical attack business is right up Tel Aviv's alley. But the O'Bomber has so poorly manipulated his  "humanitarian" justification for aggression that he gift wrapped Putin's forthcoming Nobel Peace Prize (if the OBombinator can get one, why not?) Wake up and smell the vodka, Garry. 

newcrescent47
newcrescent47

For your information Mr. Garry Kaparov Ayatollah Khamenei died 03rd June 1989.

Severyanin
Severyanin

Kasparov is a dissident in Russia because he is a known rusophobe, who sold out to the zionists and is now zealously helping them to overthrow our government to rob our nation. Go play checkers! Obviously, you can not even play chess anymore if you can not see the abyss your masters are leading you to. You do not even deserve to carry a Russian last name, go back to "Weinstein" - your real last name and do not embarrass our nation, pathetic zionist warmonger. Or better, why don't you move to Syria and join the "freedom fighters", who eat livers, cut off limbs of alive people with chainsaws and cut out fetuses from pregnant women and play soccer with them.  Is this the people US wants to help to come to power in Syria?? 

Everyone has to watch this documentary called "Syrian Diary" and see for themselves what is really going on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-VCQMR009U

poliphobic
poliphobic

Dear Mr. Kasparov,

If you believe that David Cameron is a world leader or that the UK still has might, matched or unmatched, you are seriously deluded.

The Russian gentleman who referred to Britain as "a little island who no-one listens to anymore" is closer to the mark , and personally I prefer it that way.   

RamonRoman
RamonRoman

Mr gasparov, you are an excellent chess player, but you are not a player that has a grasp of the actual world chess. The free world?  Mr gasparov, the cold war is over, not matter how many times, you and warmongers like you want to revive it to satisfy an analytical world that fortunately is buried. You see, mr gasparov, even during the cold war and through the history of mankind, the divisions and wars have been for economical reasons. Now, is not different. The big economic powers are fighting tor new customers, or to keep the old ones. The big military complexes can not survive in a world of peace, then they are always creating new hot spots to sell their products of death. Inevitable, the human race is doomed to extinction. If you analyse this economic system and the advances that are going to take place in the next 500 years, there is no much room for a race of intelligent beings.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Russia believes that chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, was a provocation and insists on thorough check.
This was stated by Russian permanent representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin  at the first meeting of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly on September 17.
Churkin said that besides the incident in Ghouta the UN mission, which was led by Swedish professor Ake Sellstrom, should investigate other instances of alleged use of chemical weapons "including the incident on March 19 near Aleppo as well as incidents of intoxication of Syrian government troops on August 22 and 24-25."

"We hope that the full implementation of the mandate of Sellstrom's mission will give an objective picture of the events in Syria," Churkin said.
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_09_18/Russias-UN-envoy-urges-inspectors-return-to-Syria-0853/
 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Syria’s Crisis Enters New Phase Boris Dolgov

The Russia’s diplomatic proposal to transfer the Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons under international control and its subsequent liquidation froze for the time being the Washington’s plans to unleash a military intervention against Syria. It has also moved the situation development to a new phase…

The Syrian leadership expressed its readiness to comply and officially joined the international convention that bans chemical weapons. The decision was supported by the General Secretary of United Nations. Syrian President Bashar Assad said all the cases, when chemical weapons were used, should be investigated, including the events in Aleppo, where anti-government forces launched chemical weapons-tipped rockets killing hundreds. President Assad underscored that it was imperative to know all the details and make precise who exactly perpetrated the crime.  The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said in its latest report, delivered to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council on September 11, that the anti-Government forces have committed “war crimes, including murder, execution without due process, torture, hostage-taking and attacking protected objects,” as well as besieging and indiscriminately shelling civilian neighbourhoods.” The findings produced in the document are based on the evidence collected during the two-month period between 15 May and 15 July 2013.

The US accusations stating that the Syrian government forces used chemical weapons near Damascus in August 2013, that is on the very same day the United Nations inspectors came into the country, are absolutely groundless. The Syrian army has gained ground against militants in recent months; it is absurd to affirm that it used the weapons in the area of its own location. It’s also senseless to say the Syria government used the weapons at the moment of UN inspectors’ arrival.

 The use of chemical weapons in August 2013 was a provocation staged by Syria armed opposition in order to create a pretext for US intervention into Syria.   At that, the US goes on insisting the Syrian government is guilty. According to the administration, the strike is only delayed, the decision to deliver it is not reversed. 

The Washington’s cynicism goes too far, especially if one keeps in mind that the US used chemical weapons in Vietnam in the 1970s killing thousands civilians. Those who were children those days grew up to face the consequences suffering from diseases caused by poisoning.

After the Soviet Union was dismembered the United Sates have unleashed four wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

ChyleneRamsey
ChyleneRamsey

Your bias is obvious. No wonder. Times is owned by the CFR. The rebels themselves confessed to using the chemical weapons; eyewitnesses have repeatedly asserted it was the rebels who used them. Truth doesn't matter, though, does it? Even the 100-page report that was submitted to the UN and concluded the chemicals used were not those in Assad's arsenal did not satisfy the US war-mongers, did it The US, UK and France published carefully abridged versions. I dare you to print this. You won't, because you are first and foremost, liars, and patsies of your bosses, the CFR. 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@1913Intel  

Iran is a neighbor of Russia. In Iran excellent diplomats and we do not see any unsolvable problems in Iran.  

MaryBiniam
MaryBiniam

@Heinz it may might be more expensive in the future to set the stage right is what the Author is implying I think, by ignoring the current situation

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

In Yugoslavia and Iraq US troops used depleted uranium munitions causing ecological catastrophes and radioactive contamination. In Iraq it gave rise to immense cancer growth affecting adults as well as children. NATO bombings in Yugoslavia in 1999 caused environment in area around the Danube river. Back then Austria refused to let NATO aviation cross its airspace and warned it would defend it in case of violations. It is worth to note, Austria has taken the same stance towards Syria now – it has refused to approve a military action without a United Nations Security Council resolution and said no to NATO flights across its national air space.

In Syria the US pursues the very same goal – to overthrow the regime by all means.  It is an outright hypocrisy when the United States government says the planned action does not envision “interference into the civil war”.  This kind of keeping away from meddling in actually means that the USA plans to start a war against Syria joining together with Al Qaeda. 

Now it can be said that the prospect of military strike against Syria is postponed.Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, met in Geneva jointly with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the talks on September 13. According to him, an agreement is reached on would-be transfer of Syrian chemical weapons under international control. The next round of talks is scheduled on September 28 to discuss the prospects for Geneva-2 conference.  But there should be no illusions about the goals of US policy. Those who stand for peace in the Middle East have gained time, but the United States is expected to be seeking new excuses to unleash a military aggression…

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/09/14/syrias-crisis-enters-new-phase.html