Won’t have time to delve deeply into the problem of the rampaging Islamic State. Suffice for now to say that my way of dealing with them will surprise many. What to do? Ignore them for a year or so. Force Europe to do something. Europe will do something. Don’t doubt that in the secret cabinet meetings in Berlin and London, the discussion orbits around how to get America to do what is both distasteful and needed. Per usual. Then they can point fingers when things get nasty.
I’ve said before, time to pull back and let the kids go to bed without supper. Deprivation feeds appreciation.
Among other evils which being unarmed brings you, it causes you to be despised.~Machiavelli
I noticed a change in the political zeitgeist in the weeks following the Russian takeover of Crimea. Liberals in the media and all over the internet became more critical of Obama, but not merely of his response to Vladimir Putin’s adventurism. After noticing this, I recognized it for what it is: No one wants to be on the side they consider weak. The Left of course is almost always against military intervention, however the human psychology that Machiavelli pointed to centuries ago is still at work even in the minds of those that say they dislike militarism and “bravado”.
When President Obama first took office, his opponents criticized him for his Cairo speech, complaining that it showed weakness to the Muslim world and would not have the effect some hoped for. Even though I believe this is correct, the predictions were largely theoretical and difficult to prove.
The confrontations with Vladimir Putin on the world stage on the other hand provided the same stimulus to onlookers as does an athletic competition. While still open to debate, generally people had strong feelings about which leader was winning these contests, and the winner was not Obama. True or not, the perception is that Obama is weaker than Putin, and this may be fatal. The beginning of the end was the Syrian “Red Line”. Crimea sealed the deal.
So what we see happening is the subliminal rejection of weakness, even by those who always argue for the soft touch. No one likes weakness. Putin’s apparent strength is attractive not only to Russians, but even to liberals in America. While America’s initial response to the situation in Ukraine may have been tepid, I’ve argued that the recent moves by America’s president were correct, and bolder than Putin expected. But it came too late. When weakness is perceived, former supporters will begin to find all kinds of reasons to dislike their man in Cairo. Even Maureen Dowd laments:
You are the American president. And the American president should not perpetually use the word ‘eventually.’ And he should not set a tone of resignation with references to this being a relay race and say he’s willing to take ‘a quarter of a loaf or half a loaf,’ and muse that things may not come ‘to full fruition on your timetable.’
“An American president should never say, as you did to the New Yorker editor, David Remnick, about presidents through history: ‘We’re part of a long-running story. We just try to get our paragraph right.’
“Mr. President, I am just trying to get my paragraph right. You need to think bigger…
“Especially now that we have this scary World War III vibe with the Russians, we expect the president, especially one who ran as Babe Ruth, to hit home runs.
Make no mistake, the peaceniks love to crush their enemies, and they want a champion in office. One need only look at some of the tactics of the American Left when it comes to punishing dissent and political opponents. Some may agree that these tactics are justified, but it’s difficult for me to believe they are any less nasty than the supposedly more hawkish Right. Even in the eyes of liberals, weakness is no virtue.
Ralph Peters recently commented that Vladimir Putin’s personality makes it very possible that he will overreach. I believe he already has. First, even though some critics have complained about a weak initial response by President Obama, (Peters believes the response was too weak), I think that Putin is rather taken aback by the US response, which has been incrementally tough.
First, Obama did the correct thing in hitting Russia with economic sanctions. Russia’s economy, insufficiently diversified, is its weakness. Additionally, the incremental approach is best, for it does not allow Putin to declare that the US and NATO are unjustly harming the Russian people, just as the Versailles Treaty allowed Hitler.
The US deployed warships to the Black Sea. Again, I do not believe that Putin expected this. Given his past negotiations with President Obama, Putin thought the US president would flinch, he expected concessions and platitudes. He actually got harsh words, even from European leaders. Additionally, the US and other NATO nations began military exercises in Poland, in an effort to communicate US resolve in providing security to its Eastern European allies. Eastern Europe, unlike some nations in Western Europe, feel no sense of entitlement when it comes to their security and the US’ role in that security; these nations have felt Russia breathing down their necks since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and most of them greatly appreciate the US’ help. Indeed, most of the countries in Eastern Europe have backed the US all along the way during the War on Terror. They are valuable and faithful allies. We should return the favor.
Vladimir Putin may have backed himself into a corner. For now, he is riding a nationalist wave in Russia. These things burn out quickly, particularly without a foe to fight. If Putin backs down, he may seal his doom in a country rife with domestic problems; a dying population, is not the least of those problems. If he invades Ukraine, he invites more economic sanctions and perhaps even military intervention on the part of Europe, something that Putin definitely does not want, despite his tough talk. Putin will not be talked down via rational debate. NATO will have to stand firm, and use action to stop him. Again, he does not want confrontation, as he knows he can’t win in a direct military confrontation with a united NATO. His tactics, ever since he took power over a decade ago, has been to divide NATO. If Putin perceives that NATO will not stand up to him, he will not hesitate to pounce. Russia has undergone significant military improvements since 2008. It’s 2008 military campaign in South Ossetia resembled the Nazis’ test run of their Blitzkreig tactics and newer military equipment in the Spanish Civil War. But now, Putin has no good options. His most powerful weapon remains his state run media, such as RT, and a credulous American and Russian people. His Edward Snowden operation was a masterstroke, but it’s wearing thin and it won’t make up for one stumble by Putin, who’s played the game as well as it can be played for quite a while. But the game may now be up.
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I was going to write a post about the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s body language throughout the whole congressional hearing on Syria, but someone beat me to it, here:
As I sat and watched, it was obvious that General Dempsey was not happy while listening to Sec State Kerry argue his hypocritical stance. When all government is now run by people who were never in the military, were never in a playground fight, have never played a serious sport, and don’t drink beer, expect this. And even those whom were in the military are people like Kerry…swift-boating America.
This speech by The Great Communicator sent chills up my spine. You can feel the audience is enthralled by words they’re never heard before.
There’s a lot of talk about compromise these days. If you don’t compromise, you’re hard-headed, partisan, or stupid, right? That’s the message that’s being sent to Americans by President Obama regarding the current budget and debt ceiling. The President wants to raise the debt ceiling, and raise taxes on the rich; the Republicans are resisting both ideas. Some people are arguing that the Republicans and Democrats need to compromise; the debt ceiling should be raised and taxes should be increased. How is this a compromise? This sounds like the Left winning both counts and it seems to be the continued digging of America’s grave.
Should the alcoholic compromise? Just a few drinks today. The drug addict? Just one more needle…This is exactly the kind of compromise that got us where we are. Just a little more spending…
At some point people of character must stand up to this madness. The Declaration of Independence was a statement against compromise. The Emancipation Proclamation, too, stood starkly against sitting the fence.
all persons held as slaves are, and henceforward shall be free
We should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. But we are facing an existential debt crisis. America is dying for all her decades of compromise. And for that, we’d best put people in power who know how to stop hedging.
President Obama’s chance has come and gone. Americans must ask themselves, what exactly has President Obama done to improve America’s standing in the world. His disastrous economic policies will be his most enduring legacy. His foreign policy is nonsensical and erratic, at times pleaded for the forgiveness of America by her enemies, only to undertake the Libyan War campaign that didn’t have an iota of the necessity of the Iraq War and undertake the surge in Afghanistan that proved a failure. This, after his primary campaign message was that America got involved, too often, in places it shouldn’t.
American confidence and productivty are at an all-time low. And all the Democrats can do after almost 4 years in the White House is blame Bush. They have to do better than that, and so does our country.
I urge everyone to consider carefully what is happening to our country. Has Obama Care in any way made most American people’s lives better? We are very close to sliding over a tipping point with our debt. Don’t think it can’t happen. This is not a scare tactic.
I have faith, that if America elects someone whom returns to common sense economic policy, policy that from the beginning of our history been the engine of American greatness, we will recover and it will be within less than 2 years. The President who lowers taxes, lowers Federal spending and decreases regulatory burden will not have to blame Obama because that President will be basking in the glory of success, not constantly defending his failures.
Hi there. We’re al-Qaeda and we’re here to help. John Rosenthal explains why the American intervention in Libya was a result of amazingly credulous politicos.
It’s no surprise. Afghan President Hamid Karzai now thinks America intends to dominate the AfPak region and believes the US poses a threat to peace between the Taliban.
It’s as old as the resentment the high school loner without a girlfriend has for the school’s quarterback. When you can’t get the job done yourself, blame the shining star.
I believe Karzai’s been co-opted. He stole the election, and President Obama recently told him that the needed changes to Afghanistan’s central government aren’t coming quickly enough. Karzai senses that American patience–and firepower are coming to an end, and now he needs to start hedging his bets. He’s shaking hands with Iran’s Ahmadinejad now and that’s never a good sign.
This is why I’m not a classic Neo-Conservative. I don’t think we can change culture with war, at least not a Western style of war. We could change it if we were willing to be brutal, but we’re not. Rome proved the that the pen is only mightier than the sword if the sword remains in the scabbard.
It’s time to admit that Afghanistan is no different from all the other countries is the Middle East, except for Israel (the only fully functioning democracy in the region and the one most picked at by liberals…strange eh?). It rejects wisdom, clings to myth, and is quick to blame others for its failure.
Karzai stole his election, but we’re stuck with him. But we don’t have to go down with his sinking ship.