Technically, Barack Obama will remain President of the United States until January of next year.
In reality he has retired in all but name. He has lost control of his own Pentagon, lost control of his own policy advisors, and lost control of Hillary Clinton who is in danger of running out of countries, individuals and concepts to declare war upon.
Today however, Obama’s government has climbed down from the brink of total war with Russia after bottling under pressure.
A continued stream of threats to actively target Syrian troops engaged in a life and death struggle with Islamic terrorism, led Russia’s Ministry of Defence to state quite plainly that any jets firing on Syrian troops will be shot down by Russia.
Obama clearly did not want to turn his blood soaked legacy into a legacy clouded in radioactive dust, and consequently America has publicly withdrawn plans to attack the forces of the Syrian Arab Army.
This however ought to be viewed with a measure of scepticism.
The announcement comes a few days after US officials said that since the US will never get a Resolution passed in the UN Security Council to do to Syria what America did to Iraq, that America would simply bomb Syrian troops without telling anyone.
The fact that this has already happened makes this one of the most curious twists of linguistic and logical acrobatics in memory.
The US has targeted Syrian troops not just through their Islamic terrorist proxies but directly. John Kerry then apologised for a ‘mistake’, an aerial assault which lasted for 4 hours.
Then the US said ‘we want to make more mistakes only this time on purpose’.
Then they admitted that they were going to lie about it and now they’re saying ‘we’re not going to do it after all, please trust us this time’.
In other words, not a great deal has changed other than the fact that someone in either the White House or the Pentagon was sensible enough to say that American and Russian forces directly shooting at each other is probably not a good idea.
Whoever that man or woman is, he or she is worthy of some measure of praise given the lack of cool heads and the abundance of hot air in Washington.
So here is what has not changed:
–Russia continues to aid Syrian forces fighting terrorists in Eastern Aleppo and beyond.
–Turkey continues to meddle in the situation to the detriment of both Syrian and Turkey security but as Alexander Mercouris recently wrote, Turkey and Russia appear to have made a private accord to keep their troops away from each other in Syria, a decision born of pragmatism on both sides.
—The US’s Al Qaeda affiliates and a Hillary Clinton armed ISIS will continue to spread hell as much as they can.
—The US may yet have some more ‘mistakes’ up its sleeve in respect of targeting Syrian troops.
So in this sense, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
For Barack Obama though, the show is over. He’ll likely spend the next few months on the American talk show circuit telling light-hearted jokes. In spite of one of the most deadly and disastrous foreign policy records in US history, as an individual Obama is far more likeable than Hillary Clinton, a woman who exhibits all the charisma of a rusty chainsaw in a hurricane.
The war may yet be long and a great deal will depends on whether Donald Trump will be given a fair chance to win the forthcoming election.
But the following is abundantly clear: the Syrian people want terrorists, uninvited foreign powers and all other miscreants out of their country.
The people of Syria, even the official, patriotic opposition, have rallied around their president in a time of war.
The people of Syria want to live in a free and united country.
By contrast the people of Ukraine want local democracy in order to choose the country in which they live.
In Donetsk and Lugansk, the people have already spoken.
Other regions may follow in the near future. The people there do not ultimately want to live in one country. It was always a shaky set of regions, smashed together by the Bolsheviks as I have recently written about.
Libya, currently a failed state, is the biggest mystery of all.
It will take a lot of effort, mostly by what’s left of the secular, respectable Arab world, to patch up Hillary Clinton’s smouldering inferno on the southern Mediterranean coast.
So this is Obama’s legacy: a Syria which will ultimately be strengthened after continued difficulties, a Ukraine which may not exist as a country in a few years – or if it does will be one changed beyond recognition – and a Libyan landscape ruled by terrorist mobs.
What can one say? At least he threw in the towel early.