The Globe's Jeffrey Stevens criticizes prime minister Trudeau's decision to pull Canada's CF-18 sixpack out of America's aerial coalition bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Stevens complaint is that our "allies will remember" what he contends is Canada's feckless abandonment of the collective cause.
Stevens, of course, doesn't know his ass from his elbow about the Kabuki theatre underway in the Syrian air war and, quite obviously, couldn't care less. Enter a guy who does know a good deal about these things, Gwynne Dyer.
President Putin said bitterly that Erdogan and his colleagues were "accomplices of terrorists". That's hard to deny: Erdogan is so eager to see Syria's President Bashar al-Assad overthrown that he left the Turkish-Syrian border open for four years so that recruits and supplies could reach the Syrian rebel groups, notably including Islamic State (IS).
Putin also observed that "We have long been recording the movement of a large amount of oil and petroleum products to Turkey from IS-occupied territories. This explains the significant funding the terrorists are receiving."
Black-market oil is Islamic State's largest source of revenue, and almost all of it goes to Turkey - which could not happen without the Turkish government's active connivance. And when the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, was driving Assad's forces back in northwestern Syria last spring, Turkey jammed the Syrian army's telecommunications to help the rebels win.
Erdogan is utterly determined that Assad must go, and he doesn't really care if Assad's successors are Islamist extremists. But he also wants to ensure that there is no new Kurdish state on Turkey's southern border.
That is a problem for him, because that state already exists in embryo. It is called Rojava, a territory that the Syrian Kurds have carved out in the far north of the country along the Turkish border, mainly by fighting Islamic State. Indeed, the Syrian Kurds are the US-led coalition's only effective ally on the ground against IS.
When Erdogan committed the Turkish air force to the Syrian war in July, he explained it to the United States as a decision to fight against Islamic State, but in fact Turkey has made only a token handful of strikes against IS. Almost all Erdogan's bombs have actually fallen on the Turkish Kurds of the PKK (who had been observing a ceasefire with the Turkish government for the past four years), and above all on the Syrian Kurds
Erdogan has two goals: to ensure the destruction of Assad's regime, and to prevent the creation of a new Kurdish state in Syria. He was making some progress on both objectives - and then along came the Russians in September and saved the Syrian army from defeat, at least for the moment.
Worse yet, Putin's strategy turns out to quite pragmatic, and even rather attractive to the United States despite all the ritual anti-Russian propaganda emitted by Washington. Putin wants a ceasefire in Syria that will leave everybody where they are now - except Islamic State, which they can all then concentrate on destroying.
This strategy is now making some headway in the Vienna ceasefire talks, but it is utterly abhorrent to Erdogan because it would leave Assad in power in Damascus, and give the Syrian Kurds time to consolidate their new state. How can he derail this Russian-led project?
Well, he could shoot down a Russian plane, and try to get a confrontation going between Russia and NATO.
If there was ever a time for NATO members to sit one out, this would be it.