Ukraine crisis: How Obama chose chaos over courage

maxresdefaultIf the reader will recall, President Obama came under fire in March 2012 when, during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, he told outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to inform his successor (Vladimir Putin) that he would have “more flexibility” after the November election to address the contentious issue of European missile defense to Russia’s liking. The statement was picked up by a microphone neither leader knew was on at the time. Those who took exception to Obama’s comments were concerned with the president both telegraphing political weakness to the Russian government as well as his duplicity in deferring the issue until such time as he no longer had to answer to American voters.

With regard to the tenuous standoff currently taking place – the European Union, Ukraine and the U.S. versus Russia – forget for the moment Russian president Vladimir Putin’s alleged desires to restore the Soviet Union to its former dubious glory, or to become “Supreme czar of all the Russias.” Forget Russia’s arguably valid concerns over an ultra-nationalist, Nazi-influenced ascendant regime in Ukraine and the arguably strategically sound measures Putin has taken in light of the uprisings there. Finally, let us set aside the plausible argument that Putin, Obama and EU leaders are, as some have suggested, acting out scenes in a play whose final act will solidify the power of global elites for all time.

For the moment, let us examine President Obama’s hand in the Ukraine crisis and the failures both strategic and diplomatic that, in my view, ought to relegate all of the subsequent bluster to fodder for stand-up comedy.

Apart from military entanglements, the chief ostensible concern among U.S. and EU leaders is the result of Europe having allowed itself to become reliant on natural gas they receive from Russia by way of Crimea, the long-disputed territory and strategic seaport recently annexed by Russia. With Russia in direct control of the flow of natural gas, obviously any political tension between Europe and the Russian Federation could dramatically affect both the comfort and the economy of Europeans.

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Posted by Erik Rush in Columns

Who is Putin really fighting in Ukraine?

obama-putin1It would be an understatement to say that I was decidedly irked at Sens. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and others of their caliber making the rounds of television news shows this week bemoaning President Obama’s weakness on foreign policy as the cause for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Equally irksome was their bastardization of conservatives’ talking points pertaining to the issue; i.e., extolling the wisdom of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney in their admonitions to beware Russia in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

Palin and Romney were right, to be sure, but it is the GOP leaders’ hypocritical theatrics that gall. It has not been Obama’s weakness that is to blame for Putin’s excursion into the Crimean Peninsula, it is Obama having purposefully telegraphed weakness – in the same way he has telegraphed weakness in his foreign policy overall, thereby emboldening both enemies and potential enemies alike.

What’s the difference? The difference is huge. Jimmy Carter was a foreign-policy bungler. He was weak because he had a delusional overview of geopolitics and his significance as a world leader. Barack Obama has advanced similar policies, but this is not because of miscalculation; it is because of his desire – essentially a lifelong desire – to diminish the United States’ status as a superpower.

Obviously, Obama does not care if his detractors declare that he is weak or inept at foreign policy, any more than he cares if they believe he is a poor economic manager or leader on domestic issues. His policies, which have been detrimental to America on every front – economic stability, national security, domestic tranquility, foreign policy – are the sabotage of an enemy operative, not the careless acts of a ham-handed politician.

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Posted by Erik Rush in Columns