History is a harsh mistress at times, isn’t it? Back during the last campaign you probably recall Barack Obama telling Mitt Romney that the 1980s were calling to ask for their foreign policy back. The awkward joke was in response to Mitt warning the nation about the growing challenges we faced from Vladimir Putin and a newly invigorated Russia. To quote Bugs Bunny… what a maroon!
With the entry of the Russians into the Syrian battlefield and their haughty warning for the United States to clear out of the airspace, those predictions have come home to roost in an alarming way. Further, the fact that Putin is bombing some of the groups we’re ostensibly training and supporting rather than actual ISIS combatants just rubs salt in the wound. This situation has reminded our friend Andrew Malcolm of Mitt’s apparent prescience as well as Hillary’s now-famous reset button. It certainly did work, didn’t it? (Investors Business Daily)
The evidence against trusting Putin is overwhelming. His demeaning PR rescue of a bumbling Obama from the American’s own silly “red line” threat over Syrian chemical weapons. Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Its underwriting of armed rebellion in eastern Ukraine. Its successful defiance of economic sanctions. Its arms sales to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. And in recent weeks Russia’s armed occupation of parts of Syria, construction of a major airbase and upgrading of a port all allegedly to help fight ISIS.
Wednesday came the worst Obama humiliation yet. A Russian general delivered to a surprised U.S. military attache in Baghdad an abrupt diplomatic notice that within the hour Russian war planes would begin bombing in Syria and a demand that U.S. forces stay out of the way. They did. And we did.
And the world in general, and now-dubious U.S. allies in the Mideast in particular, saw once again who’s taking charge in that volatile region to occupy Obama’s willful power vacuum. And who in the person of John Kerry is left pleading with Russia’s foreign minister for a meeting to avoid any accidental conflicts.
I’m watching media analysts playing this down, particularly on MSNBC, but Andrew raises an excellent point which is not part of any partisan political games on our own shores. What are our allies supposed to make of this? We may have been “leading from behind” in terms of what’s going on in Syria but we were at least “leading” in the estimation of the international press and our allies. Then, in a matter of only a week or so the Russians had established a base, moved in tanks, troops, anti-aircraft equipment and jets. In the blink of an eye they were dropping bombs and issuing orders to us under the pretense of avoiding any accidental conflict.
Now let’s consider the eerie similarity between Russia’s warnings regarding accidental conflict and another shot across the bow we received from China within the same 48 hour period. (Yahoo News)
China navy calls for United States to reduce risk of misunderstandings
China hopes the United States can scale back activities that run the risk of misunderstandings, and respect China’s core interests, the Defense Ministry on Thursday cited a senior Chinese naval commander as saying.
Each country has blamed the other for dangerous moves over several recent incidents of aircraft and ships from China and the United States facing off in the air and waters around the Asian giant…
“(We) hope the U.S. side can pay great attention to China’s concerns, earnestly respect our core interests, avoid words and actions that harm bilateral ties, and reduce activities which cause misunderstandings or misjudgments,” [Admiral Sun Jianguo] added.
Doesn’t that sound strangely similar to the warnings which Andrew Malcolm highlights? Sure, it comes across with the far more understated tones which are typical of the Chinese government, but the message is pretty clear. Don’t mess with our activities in the South China Seas. It would be a real shame if anything unfortunate happened.
The Barack Obama / Hillary Clinton reset button has turned out to work magnificently. The relations between the United States and both China and Russia have been zeroed out and allowed to grow into an entirely new paradigm. And in this brave new world the other significant global powers are completely discounting the United States as they step forward boldly in military, as well as economic matters. They have no fear of us and apparently are losing interest in even the pretense of having any respect for us.
Why? Because they know there will be no price to pay for it. Reset accomplished.