Sunday, April 10, 2016

Putin Succeeded In Syria By Using The 80/20 Rule

Putin Has Achieved His Goals In Syria
On Sunday, March 27th, Meet The Press reported the Syrian army had re-taken the city of Palmyra from ISIS with the help of Russian support. Host of the show, Chuck Todd then went on to talk about how Baghdad and Brussels had suffered from suicide bombers. Later on, Face The Nation, Secretary of State, John Kerry also noted how Russia has helped to stabilize the area and helped in several situations.

These reports muddy the water a bit and indicate not everything is as black and white as we are often told. Now that the smoke is settling and Russia has announced plans to cut back on its role in Syria it appears that Putin has "won" in Syria by using the 80/20 rule. He went into Syria where he propped up and saved Assad’s regime. This allowed him to attack the rebels both America and Turkey had been supporting and has created a situation now in Syria where Assad is winning the war, but has not won the war. It is clear the intervention by Russia has been a success.

The Focus Of Russian Attacks Have Been Questioned
It looks as though Putin has masterfully orchestrated the plan that President Obama painted as a power grab and ill-conceived. As a result of maximizing Russia's air base in the area Putin has gained prestige and he has put Russia solidly back in the Middle East power game. This is the same Russia that is led by Vladimir Putin, who has been characterized by both the media and Secretary of State, John Kerry in talking points as a "thug and a bully." The bottom-line is most likely Putin has taken a look at this and he realizes, this thing is not going to be finally resolved for a long period of time.

In business, the 80-20 rule, also known as the "Pareto principle", the "principle of factor sparsity" and the "law of the vital few." It is used to help managers identify problems and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention based on an efficient use of resources. As a rule of thumb it states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. Resources should be allocated to addressing the input factors that have the most effect on a company's final results. It is as if Putin looked at this rule and realized the first few dollars spent to correct any ill are the most effective, after that the impact of your spending diminishes rapidly, and much of it turns to waste.

The return on investment necessary to achieve perfection, or get it all, may take substantially more effort and come at a tremendous cost than just reaching an acceptable level. Robert Ringer, author of Looking Out For #1 , and a man who preaches the principles of practical living, sees "perfection as the enemy of good". Yes, this means what you think it does, if someone demands perfection they often become frozen in place unable to accomplish anything, think of the artist that constantly destroys their work because they see it as flawed. The amount of effort to achieve perfection after a certain point becomes pure folly and becomes an exercise in futility. It could be said Russia won this round in Syria by playing fast and dirty.

Returning to the subject of Putin, he loves surprise moves, and the fact he doubled down in Syria shocked much of the world. He accomplished several things in Syria besides keeping Assad in power. Now that he's pulling his forces out of the area out and working with the Americans he has placed himself in a position of great power to help negotiate a solution. Putin not wanting to get involved in a quagmire has gotten as much of the territory back for Assad, as he possibly can in a short time using the least amount of effort he needed to expend. Putin is not writing a blank check for Assad, but instead he’s putting a lot of pressure on Assad going into the peace talks to try to make a deal. Most people agree Putin now holds a great deal of influence over the initiative at Geneva and this could also aid in getting Europeans sanctions lifted on Russia.

Putin has shown a lot of wisdom, with the Ukraine situation still playing out he doesn't need to be fighting a two front war bogged down in Syria. We should remember he also faces economic woes at home from both low oil prices and sanctions, it could be said, he’s got his hands full. It remains clear this is not a full or real withdrawal, in the sense that they’re retaining some forces there. They retain the S-400 air defense system which rules out the idea of a no-fly zone in the north. To many observers of his actions it could be said that what Putin has really done is to throw out a rotten olive branch to the White House. This also extends to the Europeans giving them hope with the pretense that by putting pressure on Assad and hinting on a long term schedule he might withdraw.

Putin's original purpose was to save the Assad regime first and foremost, to go after those trying to overthrow it, this included both the rebels we support as well as ISIS. While Putin helped to re-establish control in the western part of Syria he knows that ISIS still remains off in the east. General consensus and rumors lead us to believe that as things stand ISIS is having difficulty maintaining its salaries because of the increased pressure put upon it.  Also we should note that in Syria the Kurds, as in Iraq, have carved out a federal provincial area for the new federalism in Syria, where they rule they have autonomy there. This has upset both Turkey and Assad. As this unfolded Turkey acted as NATO's proxy and even shot down a Russian jet, in the end however, they do not look like a big winner, if anything strife is tearing Turkey apart.

Too many this was a bold move by Putin who decided this would expand his sphere of influence while Obama was fiddling away and pondering what to do in Syria. Putin took action and determined he could up the ante and move in. Now it is very possible that because he has assumed the initiative on this the Saudis are far more willing to engage with him. He may be able to move the Sunni Arabs into the Russian orbit specifically by increasing arm sales to them. Putin has sent out the message if you want influence with Russia in the Middle East where America doesn’t hold sway buy stuff from us. And this is good for the Russian economy. Going back to his roots with the KGB, this is hard ball old school politics.

Some hope exists while the ceasefire is holding up. Still it is hard to ignore all the humanitarian violations that occurred. It was a brutal way to do it, but he got the job done for the time being. In truth even while pulling back, about half of his air force is still there as well as a number of Russian troops. By re-establishing Russia’s position as a player in the Middle East, a force at the peace table, and an equal of the United States in dealing in the Middle East he succeeded. Putin's purpose was to bolster Assad and to send a message to the White House that they can’t dislodge another leader in his region, in that sense it appears Putin accomplished.his mission.

No comments:

Post a Comment