Russia is moving into Old Syria. Iran already owns the parts of Old Iraq that ISIS and the Kurds do not. Israel fears that the nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake of unthinkable proportions.
The data suggests that President Obama is a total failure when it comes to the Middle East.
Or… he is one of the most gifted wizards of persuasion and strategy our generation has ever seen.
The data fits both interpretations. You already know the interpretation that says Obama failed. Allow me to give you another interpretation – one that isn’t necessarily true – but happens to fit the data.
And the fun part is that we can make predictions based on both filters and see which one does the best job of explaining our reality. Just for fun. Don’t get your opinions on world politics from cartoonists.
The Master Wizard Hypothesis says there are people so skilled in the art of persuasion that they control world events while sometimes pretending they are inept, to cover their tracks.
The Master Wizard filter says that President Obama – magnificent bastard and Commander in Chief – just suckered Russia and Iran into the quicksand while taking The United States out of an endless and unwinnable fight.
And … doomed ISIS in the process.
The United States can’t defeat ISIS militarily because doing so would require killing too many civilians. Russia and Iran will have fewer problems in that regard because they control their media and their leaders don’t need to ask permission.
And let’s say you want to build a virtual wall around ISIS to contain them. You would need a substantial military power to guard the coast.
You need Russia.
Right where they are deploying.
The Master Wizard filter says President Obama has a winning plan for eradicating ISIS at the lowest cost for Americans. America’s frenemies have now encircled ISIS, and the American media with their freedom of the press will not be there to watch what happens next.
ISIS is reportedly planting landmines around captured cities to keep the civilian population from escaping. They expected the United States to avoid bombing population centers.
They were right.
But they they did not expect the United States to turn over the fight to Russia and Iran.
ISIS is done.
Unfortunately, so is the civilian population in ISIS-held territory. But living under ISIS probably isn’t much of a life either. And I have heard no one suggest a more humane solution.
The Master Wizard filter says President Obama either created this perfect situation or recognized the opportunity and encouraged it.
That would be totally bad-ass.
The Master Wizard filter also says Iran and the United States are cooperating behind the scenes and getting more comfortable as allies. In the long run, Iran was going to get a nuke if it wanted one. A Master Wizard of Persuasion would seek to keep his enemies close, where persuasion works best. Distance and non-contact are the enemies of persuasion. According to the Master Wizard filter, building an active engagement with Iran, combined with skillful persuasion, reduces risk. (Only a Master Wizard could feel confident in that plan.)
I’m not saying the Master Wizard interpretation of reality is true. I’m just saying the data fits the interpretation. We shall see what the future holds.
Donald Trump, another skilled deal-maker and persuader, also favors walling off ISIS territory to strangle them. In Trump’s case there is also a branding benefit when you define a border. One side can be TERRIBLE while the other is FABULOUS.
Update: Iran’s Supreme Leaders banned further negotiating with the United States because he says we are trying to “influence” Iran. Have you ever heard language like that before?