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Vladimir Putin has been able to act forcefully in Syria not because he's bolder or more decisive than Barack Obama but because he has a clearer strategy. Putin has an ally, the Assad government. Oh, and Hezbollah forces and Iranian advisers who have been supporting the Syrian government.The United States, by contrast, is closely allied with the Iraqi government in its fight against militant Sunnis in that country. But it finds itself fighting on the same side of these militant Sunnis across the border in Syria as they battle the Assad regime.The American Army could, in my view, easily defeat ISIS, which has a lightly armed force of less than 30,000 men.When Washington allied with a local force that was capable and viewed as legitimate, it succeeded.The two big ones are whether to stop opposing Assad and whether to accept that Syria is going to be partitioned.Even if the civil war ends and a country called Syria remains, these groups will not live all intermingled again.
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