Russia doesn’t have to respond in force to American bombs, and it doesn’t have to engage the U.S. forces directly. All it has to do is outlast the Americans. That’s all that Assad or a successor to him have to do.
The Taliban has shown in Afghanistan that Americans can be defeated, just as Ho Chi Minh showed in Vietnam. Before that, both China and North Korea showed that American forces can be neutralized.
America’s leaders are living on myths of American superiority. Trump’s shiny new and smart missiles are a graphic example of this kind of thinking, as is Obama’s “American exceptionalism” and Rumsfeld’s “shock and awe”. They’re all living in a dream world.
America is committing suicide by degrees. Russia need only exercise patience as we kill ourselves. What are thought to be nickel and dime wars and engagements turn out to be long lasting sponges that soak up enormous resources. Russia and China need only wait.
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The U.S. government has outmoded second generation military forces that are incapable of conducting 4GW (fourth generation warfare). The U.S. leadership is poor. It doesn’t think ahead. It focuses on unimportant side issues. It acts emotionally. It’s motivated at times by moral considerations that are irrelevant, and then at other times it ignores moral issues that are of great importance. To top it off, the U.S. makes huge strategic blunders, as in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. American taxpayers are stretched thin paying for expensive military hardware that cannot deal with foes who are prepared to fight the Americans for 100 years if they have to. Americans are losing the spirit, morale and trust to maintain a far-flung empire.
Russia doesn’t have to engage the U.S. to the point where World War III starts. If it understands America’s weaknesses, it can wait while we self-destruct.