NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

September 14, 2013

Putin gets leg-up over Obama in Syrian controversy

Big Freddy was deep into his morning newspaper when I arrived and only grunted as I squeezed my way into the booth.

“Win one or lose one?” I asked as I waved for the usual from the waitress.

“If you’re referring to me, I’ve been playing matters of interest at the tracks close to the vest, but if you’re referring to what’s going on between Obama and Putin over the Mexican standoff over poison gas in Syria, I’m betting Putin wins big time with Obama playing second fiddle with his fingers crossed,” Freddy said.

“What’s with the Mexican standoff?’’ I asked.

“Three countries going head to head over whatever with each one of them trying to figure out how to come out the winner,” Freddy said.

“The US, Syria, and Russia,” I said.

“With Russia calling - you should pardon the word - the shots,” Freddy said.

“If you’re referring to the piece from him in the New York Times, I didn’t hear any ‘shots’ in it,” I said. “In fact, I thought he made a lot of sense.”

“You have a lot of company,” Freddy said.

“Obama has himself way out on a limb with a big crack in it - ready to give the ‘GO!’ signal for an attack on Syria, even though he was taking heat from both sides of the aisle in Congress because of what they were getting from the ‘Not another war!’ calls from back home.

“So Putin gives him a breather.”

“Smart move by Putin.” I said.

“Putin’s being Putin and don’t knock it this time,,” Freddy said. “It gives him a leg up in more than the muddled East.

“Syria’s important to Russia, but he’s not all that comfortable with the poison gas, so he takes some of the heat off Assad, whom he wants gone, and gives himself the leg up he needs with Syria.

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