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Russian victory in Syria

By Gwynne Dyer      

How did the Russians win the war in two years when the United States had fumbled unsuccessfully with the issue since 2011? By being cold-blooded realists, deciding which was the lesser evil, and then single-mindedly focusing on a military victory.

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LONDON, U.K.—Two years ago this month, the Russian air force was sent in to save the tottering Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad from collapse. The air was thick with Western predictions that Moscow had made a dreadful mistake. “These [Russian] military actions constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more radicalization and extremism,” said the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey in a joint statement three days after the first Russian bombs fell.

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