“He is playing poker while everyone else is playing chess.”
This is how Russian chess great, Garry Kasparov, aptly described Vladimir Putin in trying to convince the world that the biggest threat to global unrest is not the Islamic State, al-Qaida or North Korea, but the Russian president himself.
While Kasparov may just be expressing his concern about the unrest that Putin has been creating in Ukraine, from the time he forcefully annexed Crimea until today when he is fighting the sanctions impose by the US, UK and the EU on Russia for his continuing aggression against a sovereign state that was once part of the USSR, but now wants to join the EU, still there is some underlying truth in what Kasparov is saying.
Perhaps, foremost in the minds of people around the world about this jihadist group known for killing a number of individuals at a time, carrying out public executions, beheadings crucifixions and other atrocious acts, is answering this question: Could there have been an ISIS or ISIL borne out of a continuing civil war in Syria that is causing extreme havoc in the Middle East had Putin joined the Western world leaders in their efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power?
Think about it. Despite the huge humanitarian crisis resulting from Assad’s persecution of his own people who are against his despotic rule, Putin’s indifference and continued support for Assad for geopolitical considerations is only adding more misery to what is already a dire situation in as far as displaced people or refugees are concern.
Because of Putin, ISIS, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, exist, much to the consternation of the whole world.
This is how dominant Putin has become in the world stage and he realizes this such that he would commit despicable acts against a sovereign country and the world can only despairingly watch it, its leaders making hollow warnings and the most they can do is impose sanctions.
While the Western world is spending money and using their resources in battling the ISIS or ISIL from killing, expanding and getting stronger to be able to form its own caliphate, Putin is secretly and slyly plotting his next move against Ukraine, in particular, and the EU, in general.
Kasparov fears that Putin will use Russia’s vast supply of natural gas as leverage ahead of what he calls the “upcoming cold winter,” threatening to shut down supplies to Europe and other former Soviet republics and satellite nations.
Kasparov believes that using this ploy, Putin is confident that once again the Western governments will blink first and capitulate, succumbing to his effective bluff.
After all, “Putin is playing poker while everyone else is playing chess.”