Via the Free Beacon, a reminder from the Hague today that no one takes so long to say so little as our O. Simple two-part question from Jon Karl: How does it feel now that America’s adversaries routinely ignore your threats and bogus “red lines”? And wasn’t Romney right about Russia, a comment you made fun of at the time because you thought you could squeeze a smart-ass soundbite out of it? Less than 30 seconds later, at around 1:14, Karl finds himself literally shaking his head at the lame straw man Obama’s set up, twisting the question into some sort of accusation that enemy nations routinely used to do America’s bidding until O got elected. That’s not what Karl said, obviously; his point was that defiance of U.S. demands is becoming more common, especially after Obama’s empty threat towards Assad. But this is what happens when you put The One on the spot.
Five minutes later, his answer boils down to (a) the nations you think are a threat to the U.S. really aren’t, e.g., Russia is a “regional power” that seized Crimea out of weakness, not strength, and (b) besides, the ones that are kinda sorta a threat have been contained anyway by the genius of Hopenchange soft power (“Syria’s never been more isolated”). Show of hands: Who thinks a country with thousands of nuclear-tipped ICBMs aimed at your hometown is a “regional power”? Exactly how broad is Russia’s “region” if NATO exists to this day to make sure the Kremlin doesn’t send tanks west towards the Atlantic? I’m usually all for tough talk but there’s no benefit I can see to scoffing at Putin’s military muscle at a moment when he has thousands of troops perched across the border from Ukraine and is trying to decide whether to seize the country. If America’s not prepared to push him back militarily — and this poll says Americans definitely aren’t — then why taunt him? Noah Rothman makes a nice point here:
“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness,” Obama asserted, as though he was talking about the psychological insecurities that plague the average playground bully.
“The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more,” Obama insisted.
How convenient. Even when Russia directly threatens to topple the international order, of which America is the chief guarantor, they are not threatening the international order because the threat itself is an implicit admission of inadequacy.
Imagine how weak Putin will look when he’s knocking on Poland’s door. But anyway: I’m keen to know whom O thinks is America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” He refuses, for reasons of simple ego, to admit that Romney was right even though it’s Russia more so than any other rival power that’s thwarted American action against Iran and Assad. Once upon a time, O might have named Iran itself as our top geopolitical foe but he wouldn’t dare say that right now, with a fragile nuclear deal pending. He could say China, but that would be foolish antagonism at a moment when the U.S. has its hands full with the other Asian behemoth. So who is it then?
Note the bit at the end here about how he’s more worried about a loose nuke going off in Manhattan than a Russian missile barrage. Good to know that the probability of the former is sufficiently high to top a classic Cold War scenario at a moment of high tension with Moscow.