It will be fun – well, that might be going a bit far – to watch the usual partisan hacks on Fox attack Obama for his acceptance of the Putin offer in the next few days. Fun because the end-result is exactly what Roger Ailes proposed to solve the Syria problem over a year ago. McKay Coppins dug up the quote from Zev Chafets’ biography of Ailes from last year. Check this money quote out:
“Putin is angry. He thinks the United States doesn’t take him seriously or treat Russia as a major player. Okay, fine, that’s how he feels. If I were president, I’d get in a room with him and say, ‘Look at the slaughter going on in Syria. You can stop it. Do it, and I’ll see to it that you can get all the credit. I’ll tell the world it was you who saved the innocent children of Syria from slaughter. You’ll be an international hero. You’ll go down in history.’
Hell, Putin would go to bed thinking, ‘That’s not a bad offer.’ There will still be plenty of other issues I’d have with Russia. But instead of looking for one huge deal that settles everything, you take a piece of the problem and solve it. Give an incentive for good behavior. Show the other guy his self-interest. Everybody has an ego. Everybody needs dignity. And what does it cost? You get what you want; you give up nothing.”
And in the end, Obama did one better. He both explored this option for a year with Putin but got nowhere until he acted outside the box. At that point, Putin could genuinely feel as if the credit were his. As for empowering Russia in the Middle East?
What does it cost? You get what you want; you give up nothing.
(Photo: Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel attends the Hollywood Reporter celebration of ‘The 35 Most Powerful People in Media’ at the Four Season Grill Room on April 11, 2012 in New York City. By Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.)