The Perils of Paper Tiger Foreign Policy
“[I]t is a maxim, founded upon the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest; and no prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it.”
George Washington (1778)
“Even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead,” claimed Obama. “And too many still are not working at all.”
And that is the net result of the Obama “recovery strategy,” five years in.
But Obama spent most of the day with his National Security Council trying to look presidential in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Just two weeks after the Ukrainian people ejected corrupt Russian-puppet president Viktor Yanukovych, Russia seized Crimea on the Black Sea. The occupation was a booming shot across the bow of the newly elected leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The message: We will shut off your energy and agricultural supplies if you step out of line
Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday and expressed his “deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and told Putin that if they did not withdraw, “there will be consequences.” (Now that Obama has used his “phone” option, maybe now he can use his “pen” to send Putin a tough-love rebuke.)
In a mock Berlin Airlift effort to sustain Ukraine, Obama sent John Kerry to Kiev with a briefcase full of $1 billion in unmarked American loan guarantees, while the EU and the International Monetary Fund pieced together an emergency aid package. They also canceled a G8 meeting scheduled in Sochi and threatened to boot Russia from the group altogether.
Clearly, Obama’s claim that his 2013 Russian relations “reset button has worked” was another case of wishful thinking.
You remember that unfortunate moment when former SecState Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a giant “reset button” prop, and he informed her that the Russian word “Peregruzka” printed on the button didn’t translate as “reset” but “overloaded.” That faux pas was a fitting metaphor.
Perhaps “overloaded” was the correct word, because this administration is in way over its head (though some astute observers suggest that the reemergence of Russian authoritarianism is precisely the socialist reset Obama wanted).
For certain, Obama and his Leftist cadres, as with previous Democratic administrations of Clinton and Carter, refuse to accept that power doesn’t tolerate a vacuum, neither intrastate nor interstate. When a sovereign state like Ukraine has no protection from the expansionist ambitions of another more powerful state like Russia, because the latter is not constrained by concerns of reprisal and justice, the former is an easy mark.
Vladimir Putin, a hardened Communist KGB aggressor, who said famously that the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century was the disintegration of Russia’s Soviet empire, loses no sleep over empty words from the former “community organizer.” He knows that Obama is milquetoast putty, which he can shape into whatever he wants.
Recall if you will, Obama’s 2012 assurance to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would surrender NATO’s plans for anti-ballistic missile defenses in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria. Obama was caught on an open mike whispering to Medvedev, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev replied, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” He added, “I stand with you.”
This was conclusive evidence that the most significant national security threat we face is Obama himself, because he has ceded our security and interest to Russia as if he was Putin’s pocket puppy.
As for Obama’s Ukraine “options,” he has none.
Russia has already worked through every U.S. response scenario, and clearly there is little recourse, because Europe depends on Russian energy exports, and half of Russia’s natural gas exports flow through Ukrainian pipelines. (Anyone for the Keystone XL pipeline?)
Putin and company are at least five moves ahead of Obama, as they were with the “deals” Putin brokered for him in Syria and Iran.
Putin’s hostile maneuvers in Crimea are a test, a probe of U.S. resolve — and will clearly cement Obama’s impotence by demonstrating he can do nothing to defend the 1994 treaty the U.S. and Russia signed affirming Ukraine’s sovereignty. His ineptitude will be in plain view of our adversaries — and allies — worldwide.
As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) put it, “Putin is playing chess and we’re playing marbles. As you move down the list in Syria and the Ukraine and other areas, they’ve been running circles around us.”
In an editorial entitled “Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy,” The Washington Post’s editors, not known for their criticism of Obama, wrote: “For five years, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality.”
Notably, the same could be said of his domestic policies — Obama, the consummate narcissist, believes that because he thinks it, it must be reality for all.
The Post editors describe Obama’s fantasy foreign policy as “a world in which ‘the tide of war is receding’ and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past.”
The editors conclude, “Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.”
Sen. John McCain, a hardened freedom fighter who served our country with honor and dignity, was more to the point: “This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”
And speaking of McCain, in the 2008 presidential campaign, his running mate, Sarah Palin, criticized then-Senator Obama’s irresolute foreign policy just days ahead of the election, noting, “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence — the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s [Vladimir] Putin to invade Ukraine next.”
The former Alaska governor had a few words this week for those who scoffed at her back then: “Yes, I could see this one from Alaska.”
And it was in the final 2012 presidential debate when Obama ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia was a “geo-political” threat: “You said Russia. … You said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because … the cold war’s been over for 20 years.” Romney rebutted Obama: “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe … and I said Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. … I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”
Of Romney’s assertion, John Kerry said, “I think that candidate Romney has been breathtakingly off target, and naive and in fact wrong in his judgment about Russia when he said Russia is our number one [geopolitical] foe. I cannot think of any statement that frankly is more inappropriately threatening and simply wrong by any calculus than that.”
In fact, the foreign policy of Obama and Kerry has been “breathtakingly off target … and simply wrong by any calculus.”
Like The Washington Post, even the Leftist editors of the New Republic admitted that Romney was right and Obama dangerously wrong.
Obama said this week, “I think the world is largely united in recognizing that the steps Russia has taken are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, that they’re in violation of international law, they’re in violation of previous agreements Russia has made.”
What the world is “united in recognizing” is Obama’s chronic foreign policy ineptitude. And his latest spin on Russia/Ukraine is that we have to show “some humility” in order to reach a resolution. For the record, Neville Chamberlain tried that approach with another tyrant back in 1938. It didn’t work then either.
Obviously, Obama would like to get the Ukraine out of the headlines so he can resume his perpetual campaign stumping around the nation. Notably, among other campaign stops, Friday he will be mixing it up with the wealthiest of liberal one-percenters at Key Largo’s exclusive Ocean Reef Club — an excursion that will cost taxpayers far more than the few million Obama will raise for Democrats’ 2014 re-election bids.
Tragically, in just five years, Obama has effectively reversed most of the worldwide gains in peace and liberty that President Ronald Reagan seeded. Recall that President Reagan faced a far more dangerous national security threat in the Soviet Union than we face now in Russia, and he framed his foreign policy on peace through strength. In his first five years in office, he set the stage to bring the Soviets to their knees.
Of course, the Reagan defense strategy expanded our national debt. However, Reagan both raised taxes and offered budget proposals to cut domestic spending to offset most of the defense expansion. While the Democrat-controlled House and Senate certainly welcomed the tax increases, they refused cuts in domestic spending — and that is the real culprit in the deficit calculus, both then and now.
The cost of Obama’s foreign policy malfeasance, however, will be much greater than defense spending deficits, and will be paid in the blood of young Patriots. For those of us with family members who are active-duty military, that would be our blood.
Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis