Newsmax contributor John Fund says President Barack Obama has inadvertently opened the door for Russia to flex its muscles in the Middle East in his handling of the Syrian crisis.
"The biggest problem we've had with Syria so far is not the president's unfortunate red line," Fund told former Michigan Congressman Pete Hoeskstra, guest host of "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"It is that we have now opened the door for the reinsertion of Russian influence, both military and political, into the Middle East where they haven’t had that for 40 years. And that is very troubling and very dangerous, and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is playing this brilliantly."
Fund says Obama is losing clout with the American public and even the Democratic Party.
"A bunch of Democrats are going to be up for election in 2014. We have 23 Democrats, most of them in states Romney carried in the Senate. In the House, there are 30 or 40 Democrats in marginal districts. They're going to be very, very worried about following the administration's lead on any issue," he said.
Still, in the short term, "there’s every reason" for the Democrats to remain unified, according to Fund, a political journalist and conservative columnist.
He said that Obama is hoping for a diplomatic solution in dealing with Syria's use of chemical weapons.
"The problem is the Syrians and the Russians are playing really hard to get. The demands of the Syrians and the Russians are right now you have to first promise you'll not attack Syria ever and you also have to promise you're not going to arm the rebels anymore. We just started arming them a few days ago," he said.
"In the end, the president has to have some kind of face-saving device or agreement or modus vivendi because otherwise, he'll be thoroughly humiliated."
Fund said the battle cry by some Republicans earlier this summer to "shut down the government" as leverage to try to kill Obamacare is dead for now.
"Anyone who wants to utter the words 'shut down the government' at a time when American military units are sitting right offshore of Syria and there's real concern about whether or not we're going to have the proper defense, that's not on," he said.
"I don't think it makes sense at any point during this crisis to bring in shutting down the government because that's all people hear. They don't understand that the normal functions of government continue if you have an impasse in the budget process. So I don't think that's on. We're going to see a short-term continuing resolution that both parties can assent to."
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