No, I don't think Putin is an exception to this rule. Putin isn't a paper-thin villain from a Wes Andersen movie, he has a long career of a pragmatic Russian foreign policy. This at time includes doing things that advance both Russian and American national interests, instead of simply trying to ruin America's national interests. If that was his foreign policy, not only has it been implemented incompetently, it'd have ruined his nation. You are right that the Russian government has been trying to assert itself more internationally this past decade (or you know, since 1905. Or that that's a typical foreign policy of regional powers. Yes I know that from 1950-1989 they were more than a regional power.) However increasing influence isn't necesarilly hurt American influence, grr former kgb. I would go as far as saying that acknowledging his KGB past doesn't actually give you any insights into his foreign policy. (Intelligence and security politics sure, and there is an overlap, but they're not identical.)You really don't think Putin's a little "the exception to the rule" as far as petty spitefulness among world leaders? The guy's a KGB veteran who actually admittedly looks up to Stalin and that period of Soviet influence. Any jab at the US he can make is something he's going to want to pursue, it's not really anything to do with "gossipy teenage girls", just a desire among the Russian government this past decade or so to reassert themselves, which there are plenty of argument supporting actually happening.
You can't give Assad political asylum after rattling the saber and talking the talk the way Obama and Kerry have, though. Can't/won't be done.
As for "insist on regional burdens"? Heh, worked out well this time with the UK vote. Britain left to its own devices wouldn't have done anything either way. France, highly questionable, too. NATO's comprised a huge chunk by U.S. interests anyway, so that doesn't fly.
As for the "middle eastern goodwill" thing, kinda naive. Pre-Afghanistan and Iraq we weren't seen too favorably east of Turkey, either.
And of course you can find a way to give political exile to Assad after threatening to invade. That's like a text-book example of sabre-rattling. But more importantly, you'd have your allies in the region do it, because that looks better.
Also you don't seem to understand how military alliances work. Its why Britain wouldn't act alone, and if NATO is "compromised a huge chunk by American interests" (I agree) that only means its more likely America can get its European allies to lift more of the burden. So what are you saying? Your paragraph confused me.
Goodwill in the region is a necessity if every single president is gonna attempt at least once to solve Israel/Palestine. I'm not the one setting the agenda or telling them to do it, so I fail to see how thats naive. Besides your attitude is defeatist, it is possible to build goodwill in regions that formerly hated us (Americans aren't being decapitated by Vietnamese, for example.) It would require a review of policies though.
I'm glad you made that clear, I thought Assad was shooting gaseous bullets and the whole situation seemed absurd.There's a difference, I mean I get the distinction, but that alone as a "but now we have to intervene" doesn't seem like enough, in the broader context. Especially given that they've done it at least twice before in the last year or so and we didn't so much as fart.
Russia and Iran are not world powers. Both are regional powers, this means that they do have a lot of influence regionslæy but not globally as such. Russia's enormous western border however is comprised almost entirely of NATO nations, and the EU. They have a lot to lose by making both of those organizations into military enemies. They simply don't have the economy for it. As for Iran, they have avoided invasion quite adeptly by not being complete morons. But also while they have some military influence, they did fight a devastating war throughout the 1980s with Iraq and that ended more-or-less status-quo ante-bellum. You very much want to avoid thinking that these nations have super militaries. They aren't even remotely close to being military competitors with the US. Overplaying the threat plays into the hands of foreign policy hawks, this situation has no resemblance to a belligerent 1930's Germany.Playing devil's advocate, Russia is though. Iran, to an extent. Syria's "theirs", and Assad prevailing through this solidifies them a little more. And, while superficial and not really amounting to a WHOLE lot, we do look worse for it all.
Assad's Syria is in the middle of a civil war. That's a state and nation in decline, not the opposite, and what do you care if America looks worse? Your allies need you more than you need them, and your enemies believe that you are prepared to use military force because FUCKING OBVIOUSLY. What I said about teenage girls? (And it applies to teenage boys too, don't get me wrong.) Caring about what you think the opinions of people who don't matter will be. Thats what teenagers do, thats why that sentence sounds like it was constructed by a teenager.
I hope I'm not coming off mean here, I don't do it intentionally, the way i sound in my head is definitely nicer than the way i can be read. This IS an interesting discussion, and I enjoyed your points. I just strongly disagree. Also sorry for any typoes, misspellings etc. Typing on a touch screen sucks. Thats also why I didn't do fancy stuff like put your name in the quotes.