Two big powers arm-wrestle in Syria. Neither one is the United States.

It is just as well that, when he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin March 5, Turkey’s President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan did not look up to his right. If he had, he would have seen towering over him a lofty statue of Russia’s Catherine the Great, who in the 18th century sheared Erdogan’s Ottoman forebears of much of their European territory and many of…

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