'Hillary Clinton threatens Russia and China ‘will pay a price’ for their vetoes over sanctions against Syria. But how does Washington intend to punish these nuclear-armed states? Tough talk requires a follow-through, otherwise it is a sign of weakness. Tying Washington’s prestige to who controls Damascus risks subordinating America’s interests to one faction in a civil war....
This puts East and West on a collision course. Our leaders are talking past each other.
This distrust is made worse by the fact America’s power is declining. Instability follows because regional players are not pawns as they were in the Cold War, and sometimes they set the pace.
In 1914, the really big powers let their smaller allies make the running. During the Cold War, Washington and Moscow reined in their reckless allies. Now, however, East and West are squaring off over Syria today, and Iran probably tomorrow.
Moscow and Beijing don’t really control the Assad regime, let alone Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Washington knows Israel will make its own decisions and has limited influence over the Saudi-Qatar axis which is pouring money, weapons and even special forces into Syria....'