We all have biases, some of which were learned in geography class. When most Americans learn about geography, the textbook has a map that looks something like this,
It is an unspoken message reaffirming that the US really is the center of the world. This map is one found in countless US textbooks for school children but in addition to being ridiculously out of scale, it creates a geographical bias in our citizens. Mr. Obama and his inept foreign policy staff are just as blind to this bias as are most Americans. The geographical bias is also why most Americans don't understand just how dangerous the world became the other day. Now look at this map,
Reality hasn't changed, just the focus point of the map. If you study the map, you will see that unlike the US, Russia is surrounded by nations that have invaded it. Here is a short list of countries that have invaded Russia or the Soviet Union;
1382 - Mongols (Golden Horde)
1571 - Crimea
1609 - Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
1707 - Sweden
1812 - France, Austria, Prussia
1854 - Britain and France
1904 - Japan
1915 - Germany, Austria-Hungary
1918- Allied Intervention in Russian Civil War (Britain, Canada, Japan, Greece, Poland, France, Serbia, Romania, Italy, China, India and the United States)
1938 - Japan
1941 - Axis Powers (Nazi Germany, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland)
That's pretty much every country along Russia's border. Unlike the watered-down, politically correct history that our common-core students are fed today, Russian school children are taught that most countries bode ill will towards mother Russia. No one has learned that lesson better than Mr. Putin.
Turkey (which was the home of the Ottoman empire until the beginning of WWI) doesn't trust Russia anymore than Russian trusts the former Ottomans. When the Su-24 flew into Turkish airspace, the Turks did not hesitate to shoot down the Russian jet, killing at least one crew member. (According to Russian websites, the Turks also shot down a Russian helicopter sent in to rescue the down pilots.)
We are seeing a replay of Czarist Russia versus Ottoman Turkey played out against the Syrian war. Mr. Putin's retaliation for the shoot down was swift and brutal. Mr. Obama and his lackey Mr. Kerry are ill-equipped to deal with this situation because it deals with old wounds. Worse, it is being played out against a background of the first caliphate being established in 14 centuries. Mr. Putin is fighting for the safety of mother Russia and the Russians will view his actions in that way.
The Turks on the other hand have viewed Russia's increased military presence in their region with suspicion. The lack of a hard-line response has convinced the Turks more than ever they are on their own. Remembering that Turkey is still a NATO member, the real question then becomes what will the rest of NATO do should the Russians and Turks continue to shoot at one another? Somehow Mr. Obama's determination to right the world through attending a summit on global warming in Paris seems even more out of step with reality than it did just 48 hours ago.