WP: Ukraine Is A Test For Obama’s “Smart Power” Or Something

Unfortunately, the test is more like something from Common Core

Obama and Putin are on trains on the same track, 500 miles apart. If one is traveling east at 45 miles per hour and the other is traveling west at 35 kilometers per hour, how many pancakes does it take to shingle a dog house? How many appearances on talk shows will Obama make?

Here we go

Ukraine crisis tests Obama’s foreign policy focus on diplomacy over military force

For much of his time in office, President Obama has been accused by a mix of conservative hawks and liberal interventionists of overseeing a dangerous retreat from the world at a time when American influence is needed most.

The once-hopeful Arab Spring has staggered into civil war and military coup. China is stepping up territorial claims in the waters off East Asia. Longtime allies in Europe and in the Persian Gulf are worried by the inconsistency of a president who came to office promising the end of the United States’ post-Sept. 11 wars.

When it comes to the Arab Spring, the problem wasn’t a use of force by the US, it was that Team Obama, and particularly Obama himself, refused to make statements in support of the people fighting for freedom until it was too late. The Iranians involved in the Green Movement begged Obama, as POTUS, to declare his support. He wouldn’t. He was mostly silent on the Arab Spring itself, until he decided to bomb Libya, then have no post-bombing plan. He declared “red lines” for Syria, where lots of civilians were already being killed, then walked them back and allowed Putin to step in and make a fool of Obama. And his mostly silence, along with a few wishy washy statements, gave the Islamic jihadis all the time to infiltrate and take over the movements. And this doesn’t even attempt to discuss the mess Obama helped create in Egypt. And how Sec Of State Clinton called Bashar Assad a “reformer”.

No one respects Obama internationally, hence China becomes more adventurous, and Russia has no qualms about going in to the Ukraine.

Now Ukraine has emerged as a test of Obama’s argument that, far from weakening American power, he has enhanced it through smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances and a realism untainted by the ideology that guided his predecessor.

It will be a hard argument for him to make, analysts say.

The question is, will he even try? He made a brief statement before going on happy hour. He made a few phone calls. Will this continue? Five years in office shows that Obama will probably not do much more. His words may work great on the campaign trail, but as a world leader he is a joke. There’s little respect for Obama from most world leaders. Our alliances are suffering, the people he nominates as diplomats are fools, and he has no real policy. He simply wings it.

A president who has made clear to the American public that the “tide of war is receding” has also made clear to foreign leaders, including opportunists in Russia, that he has no appetite for a new one. What is left is a vacuum once filled, at least in part, by the possibility of American force.

It’s not simply about war: really, would we go to war over Ukraine? Highly doubtful. Obama has no power to back up his assertions and demands, though. And he has no one to help him out. He hasn’t cultivated any working relationships with world leaders, other than a few selfies at a funeral. Say what you want about Bush and his crazy ideological push for freedom, the man cultivated relationships. Whether they were friendly or simply leader to leader, they were present. His relationship with Putin was based on respect as leaders, as well as fear and power. Putin has no respect for Obama. None.

There are rarely good — or obvious — options in such a crisis. But the position Obama is in, confronting a brazenly defiant Russia and with few ways to meaningfully enforce his threat, has been years in the making. It is the product of his record in office and of the way he understands the period in which he is governing, at home and abroad.

The signal Obama has sent — popular among his domestic political base, unsettling at times to U.S. allies — has been one of deep reluctance to use the heavily burdened American military, even when doing so would meet the criteria he has laid out. He did so most notably in the aftermath of the U.S.-led intervention in Libya nearly three years ago.

Again, it’s not just about the use of military intervention. Heck, he’s more than willing to use drone strikes (and kudos to him, in all seriousness). It’s about getting involved, speaking out, working the phones, building backing from world leaders, even using the United Nations. Obama gives the impression that doing the job, taking care of business, is a chore and interferes with parties, fundraising, golf, appearing on The View, and all the other fun trappings of being POTUS. High end politicians live for these kinds of situations. For Obama, it’s just a bother.

At this point, all Obama can do is take symbolic actions of disapproval, like skipping the G-8 and a trip to Russia. Which would have about as much affect as an unpopular boy boycotting a party he wasn’t wanted at in the first place. No one would care if Obama was absent. He’s annoyed and insulted our allies many times. He treats them with a lack of respect, and shows his narcissism when he meets world leaders. He blew off Poland and the missile shield to cozy up to Russia, and Russia saw this as weakness. Putin knows that he has all the leverage.

“The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.

Who knew Joe Biden could have said something so right? BTW, where is Sheriff Joe in all this? Wasn’t he picked as Obama’s running mate because of all his foreign policy experience?

Crossed at Right Wing News.

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19 Responses to “WP: Ukraine Is A Test For Obama’s “Smart Power” Or Something”

  1. Jeffery says:

    You failed to mention that President Obama also had a 90 minute call with Putin.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-and-allies-try-to-decide-on-response-to-ukraine-crisis/2014/03/01/463d1922-a174-11e3-b8d8-94577ff66b28_story.html

    We get it. You hate Obama.

    BTW, what did St. Reagan do in 1983 when the Soviets shot down an airliner murdering a US Congressman?

  2. John says:

    Bush was despised by Europe Bush started 2 wars and failed both times 2 weeks before you even knew where Ukraine was he sent the flagship of the 6th Fleet into the Black Sea.

  3. gitarcarver says:

    Five years into the Obama presidency, we still see liberals blaming Bush or Reagan.

    It is like dealing with second graders who constantly say “but he did it too!” or “but look at what he did!” instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

    Obama has been a massive failure on the international front.

    I am sorry that liberals are so blinded by ideology that they cannot see that.

  4. gitarcarver says:

    Oh. Here’s a cheery thought:

    A White House official emailed some reporters to say that President Obama’s team met today to discuss the ongoing situation on Ukraine. It appears President Obama did not attend.

    “The President’s national security team met today to receive an update on the situation in Ukraine and discuss potential policy options. We will provide further updates later this afternoon,” reads the full statement.

    According to Time magazine’s Zeke Miller, Obama skipped the meeting. “Obama did not attend the meeting, but WH official says he has been briefed by Susan Rice and his national security team,” says Miller.

    So instead of going to a briefing where different points of view and options are presented, Obama skipped the briefing and instead listened to a summary from Susan “I won’t apologize for lying to the American people for saying a video was responsible for Benghazi” Rice.

    Unbelievable.

  5. Unbelievable

    I don’t think that word means what you think it does (in relation to Obama)

  6. Jeffery says:

    g2,

    You start from the position that “Obama has been a massive failure on the international front.”

    But compared to what? Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Eisenhower, Nixon? Nearly 10,000 Americans lost their lives to foreigners while George W. Bush was in office. Was that a success to you? We invaded two countries. Are you disappointed that President Obama hasn’t?

    As I pointed out, your evidence (e.g., Look at the Ukraine now!) is deeply flawed. What else you got?

    We get it. You hate Obama. Mostly because he’s a Democrat. Probably because he is pro-choice and supports other liberal social causes. 30 years ago the far-right was terrified of communists, 10 years ago it was Muslims, not it’s communists again.

    We have thermometers telling us the Earth is warming. What evidence do you have that our foreign policy now is any worse than ever? Sarah Palin’s Facebook rants? Tell us you have more.

  7. gitarcarver says:

    Jeffery,

    There you go again, blaming Bush. Liberals need to get professional help for the idea that Bush is to blame for everything. We are five years into the Obama presidency and you guys still blame Bush.

    You start from the position that “Obama has been a massive failure on the international front.”

    I must have stated that right up front as that was my starting position, right? Oh wait. I didn’t start there.

    It is a conclusion, Jeffery, not a starting position.

    But if you want to see what that conclusion is based on, we can go with Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Syria, Russia, England, North Korea, China, Japan, and even Canada.

    I am hard pressed to find one international policy success from the Obama administration. Not a one. And before you even try to claim Syria, that too was a disaster as Obama was outmaneuvered by Putin as Kerry was running around talking about an agreement that didn’t exist and that was based on data that was false. (Not misinterpreted – FALSE.)

    Gee, where have we seen this administration lie to cover up their lack of focus before? (cough Benghazi cough)

    We also get that you hated Bush and Reagan because they leaned to conservative points of view. So instead of looking at the here and now, you try to distort and distract by acting like a 5 year old and say “the other guy did it to!” Or “look what they did!”

    Liberals never seem capable of accepting responsibility for anything.

    Like little kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar, they blame others for the cookies being there rather than their own theft of the cookies.

    As for Palin, I am not a Palin fan but it has to nag the heck out of you that while Palin was seen as some ditzy, ill-informed broad, she got this one right and the “intellectual” Obama got it wrong.

  8. Say, Jeff, can you name a foreign policy success of Obama’s?

    Furthermore, you seem to be upset that we went to war in Afghanistan after being attacked on 9/11. Do you sympathize more with al Qaeda than your own countrymen?

  9. Jeffery says:

    “Say, Jeff, can you name a foreign policy success of Obama’s?”

    1. We’re not talking about al Qaeda much these days. Osama bin laden and Atiyah abd al-Rahman were both assassinated on Obama’s watch. Thousands of American’s haven’t been murdered on Obama’s watch. Cons are hardly as pee-your-pants terrified of Muslims these days – being now afraid of Commies!

    2. He was elected, at least in part, to get us out of the boondoggle of Iraq. He did.

    3. New START treaty between US and Russia. Halved the number of US and Russian missile launchers.

    4. Closing the secret detention facilities where the US illegally tortured captives.

    5. Joined NATO in removing Ghaddafi. But, but… BENGHAZI!!

    6. Hasn’t started any new wars or invaded any countries at random.

    7. Engineered agreement with Iran to stop nuclear weapons in exchange for lessening sanctions. Iran has elected moderate Rouhani.

    8. Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    9. Improved economic relationships with east Asian nations.

    10. No Iran-Contra type scandals.

    But several setbacks as well. Little progress on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Little to show on combating climate change (cons would consider this a success!). Increased tension in U.S.-Pakistani relations. Mexico – drugs and violence. North Korea nitwits developing nuclear arsenal. Couldn’t avert EU austerity policies (or US!) deepening worldwide recession.

    We get it. You hate Obama.

    “Furthermore, you seem to be upset that we went to war in Afghanistan after being attacked on 9/11. Do you sympathize more with al Qaeda than your own countrymen?”

    How dare you, you disgusting piece of shit. It took us ten years, 2300 brave Americans killed, thousands more maimed, and 1-3 trillion dollars to kill the mastermind, Osama bin ladin. You trivialize their sacrifices to try to smear someone?? You’re a young man. Where were you stationed, Iraq or Afghanistan?

    At the end of the day, Afghanistan will descend into the same tribalism it’s experienced for centuries. I’m actually quite pleased that President Obama has finally focused our efforts on seeking and killing al Qaeda. We should continue to protect ourselves as we have since 2001, pressuring nations that may harbor terrorists, killing those responsible when we can, but stopping invasions and nation-building.

  10. jl says:

    “Hasn’t started any new wars or invaded any countries at random.” No one was invaded at random, you idiot. Remind me, weren’t there many Democrats who voted to go to war? “Where US illegally tortured captives.” If you’re a Dem and consider anything but a new Koran and three meals a day as torture, then yes. “No Iran-Contra type scandals.” Uh, except the Benghazi type scandal. “Engineered with Iran to stop nuclear weapons in exchange for lessening sanctions.” Sorry, J, they’re still working on their programs- with less sanctions. Thanks, Obama. “We’re not talking about al Qaeda much these days.” Sure, after Obama said they were less of a factor the press stopped reporting on them. What a coincidence. Not reporting on them doesn’t mean what you think it means. “He was elected in part to get us out of the boondaggle of Iraq. He did.” He also was elected to help the economy. He didn’t.

  11. Jeffery says:

    j!,

    I didn’t say anyone else invaded a country at random, only that Obama did not. Why so sensitive, you idiot? Were you thinking about our misadventure in Iraq?

    Yes, we tortured captives, killing several, you idiot. One of Obama’s failings was to let those responsible walk, you idiot.

    There is no Benghazi scandal, other than in the minds of far-right fetishists, you idiot.

    We’ll see how it turns out with Iran, you idiot.

    Are you really claiming we did not get out of the Iraq boondoggle, you idiot?

    We get it, you idiot. You hate Obama. He’s a moderate Democrat. He’s black. He’s smart. He’s a social liberal. He’s pro choice.

  12. Jl says:

    J-From your rant I see you’ve done nothing to dispel the idiot moniker for yourself. But, two can play that game. “Are you really claiming we did not get out of Iraq boondoggle, you idiot”? Nowhere did I say that, Jeffy. I just copied what you wrote-please re-read. But why are you so sensitive? There is a Benghazi scandal, unless 4 Americans being killed while Obama and Hillary did….what? No one knows, except blame the violence on some film that they new wasn’t the cause even as they spoke. That, and not finding the killers (remember your “finding the killers when we can” statement? hmmm…) is exactly what people not in a scandal do, right? Ok. And waterbording is “torture” . That’s funny, because we put many of our servicemen through the same thing. “Killing several captives.” Gosh, you mean in a war captives were killed? Must be first in history, correct? I suppose Obama’s drone campaign hasn’t killed any innocents-is that your position? “You hate Obama”. Never said that, and I don’t. I hate his policies. Why are you so sensitive? “He’s a moderate Democrat.” Keep telling yourself, that, J. I’d hate to see a liberal one, then. “He’s black.” Irrelevant, unless you’ re racist, which you seem to be. I don’t care about color, only policies. “He’s smart and pro-choice.” Well, one of those is correct. But it’s funny you get the vapors over “idiot” when you call Teach “a piece of shit”. Maybe you should look in a mirror while you say that.

  13. Jeffery says:

    jilly,

    Benghazi (as Chris Wallace just pointed out) is a Darryl (Grand Theft Auto) Issa wet dream.

    The rest is typical jilly blah, blah, blah.

    I called the Pirate a piece of shit for lazily questioning my patriotism for criticizing foreign policy. I’ll take it back as soon as he apologizes.

    Vapors? Hardly. I respond to your silly name-calling games in kind.

    You relay your opinions as facts.

  14. 1. We’re not talking about al Qaeda much these days. Osama bin laden and Atiyah abd al-Rahman were both assassinated on Obama’s watch. Thousands of American’s haven’t been murdered on Obama’s watch. Cons are hardly as pee-your-pants terrified of Muslims these days – being now afraid of Commies! (and he had to be dragged kicking and screaming into making the call. Don’t forget, this made Muslims hate the USA)

    2. He was elected, at least in part, to get us out of the boondoggle of Iraq. He did. (getting elected is not a foreign policy win)

    3. New START treaty between US and Russia. Halved the number of US and Russian missile launchers. (and he only had to screw our ally Poland to do that)

    4. Closing the secret detention facilities where the US illegally tortured captives. (really? are you sure? Still not a foreign policy success)

    5. Joined NATO in removing Ghaddafi. But, but… BENGHAZI!! (saved the oil flow for France and the UK, left Libya in a mess where Islamists are streaming in. And a dead Ambassador)

    6. Hasn’t started any new wars or invaded any countries at random. (Libya, dumbass. Also, American troops in other countries. Launches drone strikes on sovereign nations.)

    7. Engineered agreement with Iran to stop nuclear weapons in exchange for lessening sanctions. Iran has elected moderate Rouhani. (LOL. He won’t show us the agreement, of which Iran says they got everything they wanted)

    8. Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. (do you understand what the phrase “foreign policy success” means? Apparently not)

    9. Improved economic relationships with east Asian nations.(how so?)

    10. No Iran-Contra type scandals. (no, just a dead Ambassador, drone strikes on civilians, al Qaeda going strong)

    I’ll throw you a bone: he’s done a good job with North Korea in that Obama refuses to play the game where NK gets all threateny and the US comes to the table and gives them stuff. For whatever reason, either a realization that NK was simply extorting crap and to stop doing that, or because Obama couldn’t be bothered with doing the job of POTUS, O simply ignores the pissant country and its nutjob leaders.

    How dare you, you disgusting piece of shit. It took us ten years, 2300 brave Americans killed, thousands more maimed, and 1-3 trillion dollars to kill the mastermind, Osama bin ladin. You trivialize their sacrifices to try to smear someone?? You’re a young man. Where were you stationed, Iraq or Afghanistan?

    You wrote

    We invaded two countries

    Whenever you fucktard liberals start whining about that, you are implying that the USA was the bad guy when it came to Afghanistan, that it was our fault. Which was the standard Progressive position, that we were to blame for 9/11. So take your indignation and shove it up your ass.

  15. gitarcarver says:

    1. We’re not talking about al Qaeda much these days.

    “We” may not be, but the President, Vice President and John Kerry have all said that al Qaeda is alive, thriving and growing.

    Oh, and don’t forget that Obama had to be dragged kicking and screaming into going after bin Laden. That decision shows a definite failure as a leader in that others make the decisions for him, and he takes the credit.

    2. He was elected, at least in part, to get us out of the boondoggle of Iraq. He did.

    And has left it much worse off than before. Only you could see leaving a country in worse shape than a previous administration as a “success.” (Don’t forget that Obama came out and publicly proclaimed the surge in Iraq would be a failure. It wasn’t. The fact that it wasn’t a failure and Obama was wrong counts as a success to you?

    10. No Iran-Contra type scandals.

    Other than Fast and Furious where the DOJ sent weapons illegally into another country. Is acting illegally your definition of “success?”

  16. Vin says:

    Wow, using his preparation to evacuate people from the Olympics should something happen and turning it into some act of clairvoyance is stretching it a bit, isn’t it? Then again, I imagine it’s easy to believe in someone so strongly if you’re not quite as intelligent as them.

  17. Vin says:

    Are you honestly trying to say that BHO was clairvoyant? I thought he sent the ships in the event of a tragedy at the Olympics!
    I guess the art of bullshitting goes well with an unintelligent audience…

  18. Jeffery says:

    You equate the ill-conceived gunwalking programs starting in 2006 with Iran-Contra where President Reagan secretly traded some 3000 TOW anti-tank missiles and Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Iran for the release of hostages? The deal also included cash from the Iranians, some of which was used to illegally fund the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.

    Global terrorism expert, Dr. Magnus Ranstorp wrote, “U.S. willingness to engage in concessions with Iran and Hezbollah not only signaled… that hostage-taking was an extremely useful instrument in extracting … concessions (from) the West but also undermined any credibility of U.S. criticism of other states’ deviation from the principles of no-negotiation and no concession to terrorists…”.

    We don’t negotiate with terrorists, except if we need cash to fund right-wing groups in direct violation of laws enacted by Congress.

    Only in the fetid mind of a right-winger can you equate a President negotiating with terrorists to a local gunwalking operation.

    Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  19. gitarcarver says:

    And only a mindless liberal cannot see the parallels or proclaim “there are no Iran Contra scandals” as a sign of how good this administration is. Such a claim demands the ignoring of the other scandals, but they don’t matter to you.

    There is a difference between us Jeffery. I look at Iran Contra and say “that was wrong.” I look at “Fast and Furious” and say “that was wrong.”

    You look at “Fast and Furious” and say “look what Reagan did!”

    It seems that you are incapable of demanding any personnel responsibility for anything.

    Your third grade teacher called. She wants you back in class now.

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