You cannot trust a Kenyan politician with anything – not with money, not with your wife, not with a shot of whisky. And certainly not with a geopolitical puzzle that needs solving. Our politicians, as every villager knows, will invariably let you down. That train is never late.
President Obama has had a good three years to craft a strategy on Syria. At the start, President Assad of Syria was hell-bent on wiping out the Sunni resistance in his country. He unleashed all manner of evil on them, from barrel bombs to, allegedly, poison gas.
A large number died, the United States made some thunderous noises about removing Assad, we all held our collective breath awaiting shock and awe to remove Assad and end the suffering, and then...nothing. Obama recoiled, found an excuse to do nothing, and fled.
Politics has these things called windows of opportunity: As Kenyans like saying, there’s no such thing as an enemy in politics. Today’s enemy is tomorrow’s bosom friend, as the alignment in our opposition leadership shows: People (like Martha Karua, Moses Wetang’ula, Kalonzo Musyoka) that were hurling insults at Raila Odinga four years ago are now his fellow top principals in the Opposition coalition, united by a lack of spine and principle.
And so it is with Obama: The window of opportunity to remove Assad came and went. The enemy changed from Assad to a poisonous evil the likes of which this world has not really seen: ISIS, the very spawn of the devil himself, an organisation so evil that Robert Mugabe must weep with envy when he reads about them.
ISIS has erased the borders of the Levant as we knew it, and in the process has turned murder, rape and torture into a spectacularly gruesome art. Homosexuals are blindfolded and thrown off seven-story buildings. Possessing alcohol is punishable by beheading. Refusing to follow their devil’s creed results in instant crucifixion. Syria is back to the second century AD.
Fighting Islamist terror
And what does the leader of the free world, Mr Obama, think about this? He is still fixated on Assad. When Obama had the chance to rid Syria of Assad, he shilly-shallied and pussy-footed and let the chance pass. Now that Assad is resisting ISIS, and the real enemy is ISIS – which has smuggled its demons into Europe and America to carry out attacks – Obama is still, like your typical Kenyan politician, yapping about Assad and how Assad needs to go.
But Obama does not offer troops to stabilise the country after Assad goes. Obama does not offer a strategy to contain the inevitable chaos that would result from a power vacuum in Damascus. He – and his posh poodle-sidekick, David Cameron of the UK – simply assert that Assad must go. And then, what?
Astonishingly, with the West too afraid of ISIS, it has fallen to their perennial bogeyman – Russian President Vladimir Putin – to decide enough is enough and do something about it. Mr Putin is setting up a massive airbase in Syria, ferrying in soldiers and materiel for what will clearly be a long, brutal war to defeat ISIS.
The Russians know a thing or two about fighting Islamist terror – they defeated the islamists of Chechnya in a war so brutal that no one wants to write about it these days. And in a rather cheeky aside, Putin then invited Obama to join him in a coalition. The Kenyan in the White House is in a lose-lose situation: join Putin, and he ends up defending the same Assad he wants gone. Refuse to join, and he is cast as a supporter of ISIS. Choices, consequences!