March 3, 2014

The Washington Post editors say "President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy."

But it's not like they come down too hard on the President they have loved so much:
Mr. Obama is not responsible for [the "misbehavior" of Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others]... The model for Mr. Putin’s occupation of Crimea was his incursion into Georgia in 2008, when George W. Bush was president....
Bush did it too.
The urge to pull back — to concentrate on what Mr. Obama calls “nation-building at home” — is nothing new....
Nothing especially bad about Obama here.
The White House often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple.
We pretty much agree with everything Obama has been doing. We're all responsible, all in cahoots.
But it’s also true that....
That what?! That we're screwed? We can't get what we want?
Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. 
We wish and wish. We cling to these wishes, and Putin knows it of course. The WaPo editors offer nothing really — other than an acknowledgment that wishing is the stuff of fantasy.

There's really no substance in this editorial. There's also some literary swill:

1. Metaphor about tides — the "tides of war" and the "tide of democracy" — which lure us into indulging in the fantasy that war and democracy are forces of nature that have their ways that transcend the actions of individual human beings (like Putin). Obama would love to expatiate about the tides rising or receding, but that's the passive observer's view of history.

2. Some flourish around what "century" we are in. John Kerry, doing one of the Sunday shows, said Russia's action toward Ukraine is "a 19th century act in the 21st century," and the WaPo editors, having observed the things that are happening in this century, end on the hapless, helpless note: "Sadly, that’s the nature of the century we’re living in."

150 comments:

Tank said...

Not the exact model, Georgia attacked Russia !

exhelodrvr1 said...

They had to be very careful to avoid charges of racism, or to damage Hillary's candidacy.

Those factors override everything else.

garage mahal said...

Obama needs to take his shirt off and invade Mexico to prove he's tough. That should work until we figure what he should be doing. Something!

EDH said...

Crimea river.

Henry said...

I'm not sure there's a great track record of "projecting strength abroad" turning into "easy diplomatic wins!" The cold war was a 30-year history of projecting strength abroad and let's just say that our record of containment was rather frayed for much of it.

We did end up, despite ourselves, with the ability to humiliate the USSR economically, a power the West still has. Putin may get this gimme, but his entire game is short-term. The Russian citizens better settle in for some long depressing winters ahead.

What is sad about Obama's foreign policy is not that we can't stop dictators from playing kickball with their self-destructive neighbors, but that we have no strategic vision of our own. The only identifiable policy is to claim victory and retreat.

rhhardin said...

Weakening the world's strongest power changes the world's incentives.

It's called destabilization, just like you get when a power arms up.

Obama didn't think of that.

rhhardin said...

Iowahawk : "Soft Power": the theory that you win football games buy having the snappiest band uniforms.

From Inwood said...

We're mad.

Nasty note to follow.

More polysyllabic pontification by Kerry.

BTW, Palin & Romney were correct tho The Best and The Brightest derided them

SteveR said...

"Into the Valley of Death....."

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Obama already posed topless. Of course it has been shitcanned because he looked rediculous to everybody but his sycophants.

madAsHell said...

Sara Palin can't see Russia from her house, but everyone can see Putin's boot up Obama's ass.

The Drill SGT said...

Putin plays hard-ball, like all Russians. It used to be the American President's knew that, regardless of whether they were up to the game. Obama, Hill and JFKerry, think the game is T-ball.

Putin and the rest oof the Russians have measured Teh Won and he has been found wanting. It is ironic that the Press made Palin's comments about Ukraine and Georgia seem so out of touch in 2008 and Rommney's thoughts on Russia in 2012, yet the Post would, if it was forced agree with both.

What we should do is:
1. Don't go to the G-8 meeting in Sochi
2. Pointedly have a -7 meeting in Poland.
3. Kick Russia out of the G-8, it never belonged anyway.
4. Conduct some small but visible exercises with the Poles and Lats.
5. restart the ABM plans for Poland (if they'l have us.
6. Support the Polish FM and read his wife (Anne Applebaum, the WaPo reporter) for insights into Polish thinking. Her Hubby will be the next Polish PM. That is why she became a Pole. To clear the decks for his election.
7. Pay attention to Merkel. Together with the Poles, back their play...

Bob Ellison said...

John Kerry spoke of "19th century" and "21st century" in order to highlight his long, horsey face. He's smart, that guy. Most of us out here don't know that we're in the 21st century, and don't know that "19th century" refers to the 1800s.

Jenjis Con knew that stuff.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I think of all this pretty much the same way I think about another Crimean event, the Yalta Conference: Sure, FDR was duped, but even if he'd seen right through Stalin there wasn't much of anything he could have done about it.

JHapp said...

Had it not been for the doomsday CO2 predictions of so many, the US would be exporting LNG to Europe and Asia, and Gazprom would not be funding the start of WW3.

Matthew Sablan said...

I think that if Obama didn't, from the start, insist he could make everything better -- even lowering the seas! -- people would be more accepting of not having the right answer to a tricky problem [like Russia.]

Alas, even without poking the bear, it is up.

Sam L. said...

Wowwwwww. You're harder on The One than WaPo!

RecChief said...

interesting that they lament that "trustworthiness... still matters... even though [they] wish it did not".

cubanbob said...

The WAPO is treading on dangerous ground. Pretty soon they might connect the dots and realize that the entire agenda of the Obama Administration and that of the Democratic Party is a fantasy.

mccullough said...

Thankfully we have John Kerry as Secretary of State and Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. And Joe Biden as VP. Biden was the chair of the Senate Commmittee on Foreign Relations and knows all the world players.

traditionalguy said...

Obama and Kerry's imaginary UN Armed forces protecting the USA is a bream world ' It is like the matador's red cape. Everybody except the Dumb Bull knows that there is only an executioner's sword waiting behind the bright red distraction.

Note well: our most devastating combat system in existence (the A-10 Warthogs) are being cancelled for no reason except to make sure we don't scare our enemies much less kill them.

MayBee said...

When Obama was running for President in 2008, he announced he didn't think the US should hold itself above other countries. He said other leaders shouldn't see meeting with the president of the US as a prize. That we should see pus elves as more equal.

Do you all remember all that?

As a result, he got the worlds first pre-success Nobel Prize.
But also as a result, leaders who actually looooove having power saw Obama's lack of desire for American power and influence. They understood that Obama's leading from behind left room in front for someone who wanted it.

The great failure of Obama's worldview is the belief other countries only *respond* to US aggression, and would not be aggressive if we were not.

The problem is, we are where we are because too many people believed declaring Obama's success before it happened was actually going to make it happen. We are stuck in "what are we supposed to do about it now? Send in troops?" Mode because we (our administration) didn't do the real work between the accolades and now.
"Never let a crisis goes to waste" becomes "why waste effort before we have a crisis?"

MayBee said...

Ourselves became pus elves. Thanks, autocorrect. I can see how that seemed a better option.

khesanh0802 said...

"Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not." WAPO editorial

If the editors at the WaPo can see this how hard should it be for administration.

It really boils down to Obama's lack of experience that was pointed out by so many before he was elected. As math is hard, so is making decisions. If you haven't had any practice in low risk situations you aren't going to do too well when the other guys are shooting at YOU.

RecChief said...

While I agree with Winston Churchill ("To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.") one has to have something to back that up. Some incentive for the other side to take a deal, whether that is a carrot or a stick.

You can't go around thinking that the power of oration is going to save the day. I'll say it again, this is an administration that learned everything it needed it needed to know about the Executive Branch by watching episodes of "The West Wing"

Pogo is Dead said...

You must have missed Obama looking tough and resolute in the photo of him talking to Putin.

So everything's fine.

Next he should do a 'thoughtful, worried, world on his shoulders' pose like JFK.

chrisnavin.com said...

I'd say Obama is still pretty committed to the idea of peace through compromise, sacrificing for peace like the Camp David accords model.

Why not draw down our military and withdraw from the region while aiming to bulk up the international community? Peace is on the horizon if we all activate and organize and believe.

Peace in Palestine is just around the corner. Abbas is a fella we can do business with and the Palestinians ready to get to work and live normal lives, just like the Brotherhood, the Libyan opposition, Protesters in the Arab Spring etc.

Eventually reality catches up to a worldview with so little empirical evidence, knowledge of history, and strategic competence to back it up.

Until then, he plays the competent, wise leader giving lofty speeches.

chrisnavin.com said...

I was thinking we could get him in on some games of Stratego and Risk, and maybe some Battleship

traditionalguy said...

The shit should be hitting the fan fast from North Korea, Russia, China and Iran. They can read a calendar. They have a brief window of opportunity for conquest until Obama is gone.

It was one thing to get them to sit and wait because Obama promising to surrender and downsize and retreat everywhere first if they would just give him time...but times up.


The only Nation Obama wants to ratchet up a war with is Jerusalem's Bad Jews.

PB Reader said...

I wonder how this ties into the "flexibility" Obama promised Putin and Medvedev?

Jane the Actuary said...

But - but Obama had a 90-minute call with Putin! Didn't that fix everything?

We're screwed. Or, rather, Ukraine is screwed. And disinviting Russia from the G-n conference isn't going to cause them to leave Crimea, any more than boycotting the Olympics caused the Soviet Union to pack up and leave Afghanistan.

The best we can do now is containment -- make sure Poland, the Baltics, etc., are safe. But there is no easy answer to the situation in Ukraine. (Heck, if Russia hadn't invaded, I'd have said that it would have been perfectly appropriate for Crimea to go its own way.)

http://janetheactuary.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-80s-called.html

paul a'barge said...

Standard, boiler plate question: Who voted for Barack Obama, anyway?.

just askin' ...

RecChief said...

From Jim Geraghty:

"We have a White House full of officials who think they can spin a Russian invasion. It's as if they think they can alter reality with their minds.... [T]he Obama administration came into power oblivious to some hard lessons of foreign policy, and has proven strikingly resistant to those lessons: Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no 'international community' ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be."

ddh said...

Prof. Althouse is right to point out that the editorial is half-baked, but a little while ago The Washington Post wouldn't have noticed that anything was amiss in the White House. Will The Post begin seeing how much truly is wrong with President Obama's foreign policy? Will The Post return to the liberal fold? More importantly, will Obama cling bitterly to his failed foreign policy?

Harry Reid will blame the Tea Party and the Koch brothers, and the DNC will ask for a $3 donation.

The Crack Emcee said...

“In another world”: Merkel tells Obama she thinks Putin’s losing touch with reality

Quasimodo said...

Smart diplomacy will start working in 5,4,3,2, ..... boom!

Just send Biden over to negotiate with them. They won't be able to stop laughing long enough to order an attack.

This is another opportunity to sneer at Palin who suggesteded that Russia might ...wait. Never mind.

Laslo Spatula said...

We are giving away the 'end' of the Cold War piece by piece. Merkel will rebuild the Berlin Wall in hopes of keeping the Russians out.

John Borell said...

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

David said...

I remember January 20, 2009 as the day the oceans of democracy stopped rising.

William said...

I don't see how Putin comes out a winner. The Russian stock market, already undervalued took a fifteen percent hit. No sane person wants to own rubles, and interest rates in Russia spiked over one percent in a day. If Putin was acting in his rational self interest, he would not have done this. But that's what dictators do. They're restrained by superior force and not by higher reasoning......The only up side I can see with Obama as President is that, at least, now the Post isn't blaming Bush's warlike posturing for te Russian invasion.

Revenant said...

Putin would have invaded regardless of what our military forces were like and regardless of who was President. He's guessing that Americans have zero interest in waging war on behalf of Ukraine and he's right.

Obama's mistake -- which he keeps making again and again -- is issuing empty threats. Blah blah we'll think about joining with other nations to say mean things about Russia blah blah blah.

Just issue a statement condemning it... and move on.

Big Mike said...

Back during the Carter years someone on a Sunday morning talking heads show asserted that Carter's problem was that he and his foreign policy team didn't know their own minds. George F. Will stomped all over that, saying that they know their own minds very well, what they don't know is the minds of their international adversaries.

And that's where we're at today.

From where came this notion that Putin would "never" invade the Ukraine? It has something he has to have -- Crimea and Sevastopol. He, correctly, observed that we wouldn't do anything about it if he marched in and secured them. So why not?

Our top leadership have to understand Putin, and the Iranians, and the Chinese leadership, and Assad, and even Netanyahu. And no one from Obama all the way down to the editorial board of the Post seems to want to be bothered.

And did you catch the false choice, Professor? "We don't want US troops in Crimea." So the choice is between doing nothing except a little speechifying versus boots on the ground? Looks like a failure of vision coupled with a lack of creativity to me.

Big Mike said...

@William, your comment is exactly what I was talking about. "If Putin was acting his rational self-interest ..."

What if Putin believed that his rational self-interest was tied up in securing Sevastopol was more important to his country than his stock market is?

who-knew said...

All who say there's not much we can do in the Crimea and Ukraine are right, it's just simple geography. But it does highlight (for those not paying attention previously) what a mistake it was to pull back on missile defense for Poland. Maybe now this administration will start backing our actual allies and stop wasting time and effort trying to convince our enemies we're really not that bad.

Illuninati said...

This looks like a tempest in a tea pot. If the people of the Crimea are given the opportunity to vote, they will probably vote to rejoin Russia and to succeed from Ukraine. So what? Why should anyone expect Putin to listen to the USA?

When the Old Yugoslavia broke up, the USA under Clinton didn't have any difficulty intervening to break up a sovereign country which was Russia's ally. Clinton bombed the heck out of the Serbs. He even bombed the Chinese embassy. Compared to that USA intervention in the affairs of another country, the Soviet invasion of the Crimea has been almost bloodless.

Seeing Red said...

What a bunch of hand ringers! There's nothing we can do!

Sounds like the realists during the Cold War. We have to live with this. Then Reagan came and pushed.

Time for another bloody history lesson. I loathe you vile Progs. The death cult.

tim maguire said...

"a 19th century act in the 21st century,"

No, it's a timeless act in modern times. But then, Kerry always was an intellectual lightweight.

David said...

"Literary swill."

Ha!

Just thinking about Phillip Roth improves one's writing.

JHapp said...

Bush did it too, but the press treats Obama differently.

David said...

Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not.

In other words, we wish we lived in a fantasy world too. And their wish worked. Completely self fulfilling.

Laslo Spatula said...

If only Putin valued Obama's intellect as much as Obama does this would never have happened.

garage mahal said...

Time for another bloody history lesson

You leading this, or are you part of the 101st Chairborne?

Fen said...

The great thing about being a diversity hire is that its always someone else's fault.

mccullough said...

Obama needs to call Fareed Zakahria. He's a brilliant foreign policy thinker. He'll know what to do.

Fen said...

Garage: You leading this, or are you part of the 101st Chairborne?

Poor libtard. The best response he can muster is "Chickenhawk!"

How about this Garage - reverse your argument: if you haven't served in a Victor unit, sit down and shut up.

garage mahal said...

Fen
I just checked flights. For about $1599 you can get to Simferopol. Not too bad actually.

Seeing Red said...

Putin is voting against his own self-interest. Lololol

Good Lord, how can a generation born and raised under The Cold War get it so wrong?

Clueless. This isn't rocket science.

Putin's also losing territory to the Chicoms.

Seeing Red said...

David, I'm wondering if the WP wasn't also lamenting people don't trust them anymore. I can see why they would wish trust didn't matter.

GM. Lololololololol

You are stupid.

You might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

It's like you're reborn every day and the years you've been on this planet plus 6000 years of recorded human history is fiction, a page turner, but fiction.

Trust, but verify.

Seeing Red said...

Rantburg, especially for the generation born and raised under the peace, is a good place to get your feet wet. Military, ex-military and (ex-)spooks participate.

Fen said...

By Garage's own chickenhawk logic, he can't have an opinion on this because he never served in combat.

So sit down and shut up Garage.

The Crack Emcee said...

Putin's trying to hold onto a kid who doesn't want to stay.

How's that work out for a bad Dad in real life?

Fen said...

Already on social media:

Obama's hands are tied because of the sequester. Yes, its the Tea Party's fault.



The Winston Smiths over at JournoList 2.0 have been working hard all weekend.

garage mahal said...

I wonder how long it took Seeing Red and Fen to find Ukraine on the map.

damikesc said...

I guess that reset didn't work out.

What policy that Sec Clinton oversaw actually worked out well? Did any of them?

Seeing Red said...

Ever been out that way, GM?

virgil xenophon said...

@Tradguy/

"They can read the calender."

"Beware the Ides of March!"

---some guy or another, iirc..

Tim said...

Everything this administration has "accomplished" has been based on fantasy.

Paco Wové said...

"trustworthiness as an ally ... still matter[s], much as we might wish [it] did not."

"It sucks to have to be trustworthy"? What a pathetic sentiment.

"We don't wanna be adults!! It's not fair!! We don't wanna!!"

Belial said...

I would very much like to see the reaction from Russia and the EU if the US invaded and assumed operational control over New Brunswick because US citizens were subject to a theoretical risk of marginalization there.

Belial said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

The Obama Doctrine --> Peace through incompetence.

Jay said...

The Post correctly notes that Obama's foreign policy is based upon fantasy but neglects to mention that his health care policy, his fiscal policy, his economic policy, and his domestic policies are also all based on fantasy.

Boltforge said...

Post Obama ...

If the adults (read Republicans) get back in charge, what would be the correct way to face this new f-ed-up-by-Obama/Democrats world?

How can you even have allies when at any moment 50% of our population goes off the rails and elects idiots like Obama? Long term support? What is that?

Obama is the living nightmare of an soft academic in charge. His entire life is built around the lecture. You prepare your talk. You give your talk. You are done. Let's all drink wine after the colloquium and celebrate our amazing-ness. His entire life has been one lecture to the next. And the majority of Dems live in that fantasy world.

The Crack Emcee said...

Tim said...
The Obama Doctrine --> Peace through incompetence.


Only to conservatives. I see non-violence. That's his guiding principle, rather than some "grand strategy" you're looking for.

Which is ironic, since it's the Republicans who desperately NEED a grand strategy, and they see no need to have one,...

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

The WaPo seems to think hand-wringing is both a policy and exculpatory for Obama.

Eric said...

You leading this, or are you part of the 101st Chairborne?

Has anyone noticed garage hasn't even tried to defend Obama for months?

Rusty said...

We did end up, despite ourselves, with the ability to humiliate the USSR economically, a power the West still has. Putin may get this gimme, but his entire game is short-term. The Russian citizens better settle in for some long depressing winters ahead.


Now would be a good time to make this very expensive for them.

Seeing Red said...

It's working out well. Non- violence. Lololol

How many has he droned today?

Seeing Red said...

Obamas just letting the world community reorganize itself.

Don M said...

Georgia did not attack Russia. Russian "peace keepers" occupying part Georgia permitted Russian 120mm mortars to fire from the occupied south Ossetsia into unoccupied Georgia, hitting Georgia military positions. Georgia sent a small patrol into the occupied part of South Ossetsia to identify the source of the fire. They were ambushed before they were able to accomplish their mission. Russia invaded Georgia after that, to include parts distant from South Ossetia. Minority pro-Russia elements were supported by the invading Russians, and the Majority pro-Georgia elements were evicted from their homes.

Don M said...

One way to resolve Soviet pretensions in Russia would be to cut oil pipelines outside of Russia, and sink tankers approaching ports to pick up Russian oil.

A more passive approach would be to work with Europe to deploy the fracking technology that is making the US energy independent.

RecChief said...

"I see non-violence. That's his guiding principle, rather than some "grand strategy" you're looking for."

Oddly enough, I somewhat agree with you. Unfortunately, I think his guiding principle gets in the way of seeing that other actors do not share his guiding principle. But, I am not sure that non-violence is his guiding principle. Not sure what his guiding principle regarding foreign policy is, but I don't think non-violence is it. As for a "grand strategy" I agree he doesn't seem to have any strategy at all, other than to weaken the US.

The Crack Emcee said...

Seeing Red said...
It's working out well. Non- violence. Lololol

How many has he droned today?

It's a smaller footprint.

Your desperation to be critical is showing,...

The Crack Emcee said...

RecChief,

"I agree he doesn't seem to have any strategy at all, other than to weaken the US."

That's why his critics are seen as crazy - who gets elected leader and then tries to destroy the country his daughters will grow up in?

It not only doesn't make ANY logical sense, but shows a strange and willing detachment from reality,..

Seeing Red said...

I will ask GM again, has he ever been in the vicinity of the Ukraine?

Archie said...

Tides, schmides. This editorial is a tsunami of melena.

Nate Whilk said...

rhhardin wrote, "Obama didn't think of that."

Don't bet on it.

garage mahal said...

I will ask GM again, has he ever been in the vicinity of the Ukraine?

I have not. Would that make me an expert?

Hyphenated American said...

The invasion into Ukraine made perfect sense for Putin. His popularity was sinking for quite a while in Russia, people correctly understood that his government is extremely corrupt, Olympic Games in Sochi were a pretext to steal tens of billions of dollars. Many projected an economic crisis. And now Putin found an excellent way to explain everything and unite the country.

Had Obama have 1/5 the iq the media told us he had, he would have been paid more attention to Russia, but instead he is wasting valuable time pushing for impossible peace between Israel and PLO, while john Kerry is busy fighting "climate change". Oh, and obama's red line on Syria, unilateral disarmament, betrayal of Israel and Eastern Europe, appeasement of Iran and Moslem brotherhood did not help either.

Obama had strategic advantages with a win in Iraq, rebellion in Iran, and technological breakthroughs for gas and oil exploration in USA. H squandered it all.

Btw, make no mistake, as of now, many people in Russia support put ins invasion into Ukraine. Putin gas much stronger position in Russia now. Every economic trouble can now be explained by evil west.

RecChief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tank said...

Here's how Steve Sailor describes it:

Okay, "Russia invaded Georgia" in 2008 in the sense that the Soviet Union invaded Germany in 1945. The war started on August 8, 2008, when George sent over 10,000 troops across the de facto border into South Ossetia, which had been de facto not ruled by Georgia for a decade and a half. Now, there are many arguments you can make on Georgia's behalf, such as its legal right to rule the South Ossetians based on old Soviet borderlines, or various provocations across the de facto border.

But, there was no war until Georgia, using over 10,000 men and 80 T-72 tanks, invaded South Ossetia.

I remember it clearly. The news came as a big surprise to everybody except the Georgian government. The lowly wire service stringers immediately reported that Georgia was invading South Ossetia.

After about a day, the bigfoot American pundits were saying that Russia must have invaded Georgia, and that was the dominant Narrative for awhile.

But in the wake of the war, various journalistic organizations did investigations and concluded that the stringers on the spot got the story right originally, and the Bigfoots were wrong. That's how Wikipedia tells it today.

But who care about what really happened in 2008 when you can just keep misleading Americans over and over so that they remember the past wrongly?

Gahrie said...

That's why his critics are seen as crazy - who gets elected leader and then tries to destroy the country his daughters will grow up in?

It not only doesn't make ANY logical sense, but shows a strange and willing detachment from reality,..


Unless he realizes (like the rest of us do) that his daughters will be among the elites and the super rich, and so are unlikely to be effected by the changes he is making.

RecChief said...

"That's why his critics are seen as crazy - who gets elected leader and then tries to destroy the country his daughters will grow up in?"

Look, I don't think he believes that he is destroying the country, he basically said that the US shouldn't hold itself above other countries. I think he believes that making everyone equal on the world stage is noble. And it is. But he cannot see the difference between how he would like things to be and how they are. Not every country shares our values (whatever that means) or his specifically. I happen to think that he is making a mistake. The thought that all we have to do is explain our position patiently enough then all will be well is pollyannaish. I think you see this kind of thinking in all sorts of left liberal positions: crime, moral equivalency between cultures, etc.

In the area of foreign policy, I think the left liberals in this country will continue to try anything that comes nowhere near Reagan or Bush methods. It comes from ascribing evil motives to anyone who disagrees with you. It comes from describing your domestic political opponents as immoral, you see it in the language of "smart power" which is really just soft power, but it also automatically describes any other option as dumb. In short, he and the people who think the same way have painted themselves into a corner, that is, reduced their options. What if they are wrong? what if their strategy of "smart power" is an incorrect solution applied to an inaccurate analysis?

Gahrie said...

Only to conservatives. I see non-violence. That's his guiding principle, rather than some "grand strategy" you're looking for.

He seems to be fine with violence. It's American power and its use he seems to have a problem with.

RecChief said...

Gahrie has a point too

RecChief said...

Gahrie has two excellent points

Seeing Red said...

You suggested I couldn't find it on a map. How do you get from that to "expert?"

Otoh, the "experts" got this wrong.

Caribou Barbie & Mittens did not. Geez, and she could only "see" Russia from her house.

for future reference I do have a passport I have used it and visited Russia. So I have been in the vicinity. Talking to locals doesn't make one an expert, but it does give one things to think about.

Amazing since I'm a product of a public school education.

Revenant said...

I see non-violence. That's his guiding principle, rather than some "grand strategy" you're looking for.

According to Obama himself, he is personally responsible for approving the assassination of high-value targets and has done so many times. Then there's the war he launched in Libya and the one he tried to launch in Syria.

If non-violence is his guiding principle, it could be fairly said that he's done an incompetent job of following it. Heck, Reagan used the military less and killed fewer people, and he was famously accused of being a warmonger.

garage mahal said...

Caribou Barbie & Mittens did not. Geez, and she could only "see" Russia from her house.

I work with two Russians, I'm going to relay this to them and I will let you know what they say.

Kernel Bill said...

"Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not."

Those bitter clingers!

gadfly said...

I don't know what "Pus Elves" are, but I just found out that the distance between the Gimhae International Airport in Busan (it will always be Pusan to Americans), South Korea (PUS) and the El Fasher Airport in the Sudan (ELF) is 6,428 in miles, 10,344 in kilometers and 5,585 in nautical miles.

Scott M said...

Non-violence As A Guiding Principle: Tripling US casualties since 2009.

The Crack Emcee said...

You guys are so stupid - if I talk about race, you paraphrase what I say into complete garbage - but, here, I say non-violence and you're sticking to those words like they're gospel.

I also mentioned a smaller footprint. Why'd you ignore that? Because it indicates what I've really been saying - he's not going to engage in large-scale nonsense. He doesn't believe in it.

He's not a war-monger, basically.

gerry said...

"Pus elves" is hysterical!

Scott M said...

I work with two Russians, I'm going to relay this to them and I will let you know what they say.

If I work with more than two Russians, does it give me more cred than you, GM?

Seeing Red said...

Otoh, maybe if you showed an interest before this, you would have already had your answer.

I work with a Russian and a Pole, both grew up under the USSR. Do you think they were surprised?

If you're a Cold War baby, you should have known better.

Geez or at least have watched "Peter the Great" or a couple of documentaries on a The History Channel.

I spent an Independence Day in Czechoslovakia.

I told that to 2 eastern Europeans. One was on a train during the '68 uprising, one was crossing the Alps escaping from the USSR when I was there.

If you're a Cold War baby, you're caught with your pants down due to your lack of curiosity during the time you grew up in. But don't feel too bad, that's been a complaint of our European betters for decades.

So stay cocooned. At this point in time, it just looks like we're being ringed. Just so long as the bennies keep flowing, most don't care.

Seeing Red said...

"Large-scale nonsense?" What makes you think it would take a large-scale intervention?

CWJ said...

This is fun. I'll see Garage's two Russians and raise him two more plus two Moldovans and a Ukrainian.

Seeing Red said...

Iraq gave our allies fighting experience and access to high-tech equipment. We have a lot of equipment left.

garage mahal said...

If I work with more than two Russians, does it give me more cred than you, GM?

I'm claiming to have any cred about Ukrainian or Russian geo-politics.

Revenant said...

The Palin "prediction" is overhyped.

She said that because of Obama's weak foreign policy, if he was elected Russia might invade the Ukraine.

First of all, she included the weasel word "might". Any "prediction" that says "in the future, X might happen" isn't a prediction at all -- because it has no way of being false. If nothing happens, the person who made the prediction can back up and say "hey, I said *might*, not *would*".

Secondly, her statement tied her claim to Obama's election. The implication was that if McCain was elected instead, Russia definitely wouldn't invade Ukraine. Anyone who believes *that* has a lot to learn about Russia. Spoiler alert: if you border on Russia, don't own nukes, and aren't explicitly under the USA's nuclear umbrella, Russia will eventually fuck with you.

Purpleslog said...

As soon as the responsible YouTube uploader is identified, all will be well.

gadfly said...

Blogger garage mahal said...
Caribou Barbie & Mittens did not. Geez, and she could only "see" Russia from her house.

Think in three -letter words, Garage. What was incorrect in your comment when the answer is:
Tina - Fey - SNL.

Seeing Red said...

I wrote that first. Lolol. It's gotta burn.... Bwaaaa

Seeing Red said...

You don't need cred. The experts claimed to have cred. They were wrong. The people who were stupid and have no nuance were right.

Take an interest in the greater world.

Learn from history. Putin hasn't been shy about his intentions.

Seeing Red said...

You don't need cred. The experts claimed to have cred. They were wrong. The people who were stupid and have no nuance were right.

Take an interest in the greater world.

Learn from history. Putin hasn't been shy about his intentions.

Hyphenated American said...

Garage, you can talk to me, I am a Russian Jew.

Hyphenated American said...

Revenant, but the liberal experts who claimed that Palin was crazy imagining Russia's invasion into Ukraine are still proven to be dumber that she, right? Do you agree with the obvious?

Hyphenated American said...

Actual quote from Sarah Palin in 2008... Amazing Forsight.

"After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next," she said in Reno, Nevada on October 21, 2008.

Linus said...

If he looks weak on foreign policy it is also the case that he looks weak on domestic policy (which might depress you less if anyone - Republicans or Democrats - had a clue what to do about the ongoing employment crisis but I see little evidence they do [and to be sure neither do I {but then again I don't get paid to know}]).

Linus said...

If he looks weak on foreign policy it is also the case that he looks weak on domestic policy (which might depress you less if anyone - Republicans or Democrats - had a clue what to do about the ongoing employment crisis but I see little evidence they do [and to be sure neither do I {but then again I don't get paid to know}]).

Revenant said...

Revenant, but the liberal experts who claimed that Palin was crazy imagining Russia's invasion into Ukraine are still proven to be dumber that she, right? Do you agree with the obvious?

So far the only actual quote I've seen from a foreign-policy expert ridiculing Palin was from Foreign Policy magazine. And its argument was that Putin already dominated the Ukraine (which at the time he did) and wouldn't need to invade it. So the failure there was a failure to predict the uprising against the Russian-backed government.

If you can point me to other foreign policy experts who thought the idea of Russia invading neighbors was ridiculous, I'll be happy to give my opinion on those. The analysts I was reading at the time were very much aware of Putin's interest in reasserting control over the former Soviet states.

In any event, no, I don't think "Russia won't invade" is either more or less dumb than "Russia will invade if you don't elect John McCain". The US has for three administrations now clearly telegraphed to Russia that we consider the former members of the USSR to lie within Russia's sphere of influence, not ours.

RonF said...

Garage:

"Obama needs to take his shirt off and invade Mexico to prove he's tough."

I'd prefer that he stop Mexico's invasion of us and prove he's competent at doing the job he swore to do.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Because it indicates what I've really been saying - he's not going to engage in large-scale nonsense. He doesn't believe in it.

Of course he more than doubled down on the "good war" in Afghanistan without a plan for victory. I would certainly consider this large-scale nonsense. YMMV.

Trashhauler said...

So, we agree that we can do relatively little in this situation. What about the UN? Have we lost their phone number?

mtrobertsattorney said...

The question is not whether other US foreign policy experts were surprised at Putin's invasion of Ukraine but whether Obama was.

There's good evidence to suggest that he was.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hyphenated American said...
Garage, you can talk to me, I am a Russian Jew.


Watch him, Garage - he used the same line on me about American race relations,...

Micha Elyi said...

Sarah Palin could see Putin's soul from her house. And Drill Baby Drill turns out to have been good policy for both the US domestic economy and its foreign affairs strategy.

That woman is preternaturally wise. No wonder leftists hate her.

Michael K said...

"
Had it not been for the doomsday CO2 predictions of so many, the US would be exporting LNG to Europe and Asia, and Gazprom would not be funding the start of WW3."

Exactly and it's not too late to start but it's against Obama's religion. Ukraine has lots of oil and gas deposits that could be reached by fracking. We should have been helping the Europeans to free themselves from Russian domination by energy.

Does any one still remember this?

"Ronald Reagan's Influence on the Fall of the Soviet Union
By Gerald McCallister"

The Reagan administration tried to stop the Soviet pipeline that gives Putin his power .

They even blew up the pipeline . Does anyone imagine Obama doing something like that ? Even secretly ?

RecChief said...

"In any event, no, I don't think "Russia won't invade" is either more or less dumb than "Russia will invade if you don't elect John McCain".

Except the first came from people in the government who are supposed to be expert analysts rather than an amateur. So yes, it is dumber.

wildswan said...

What I liked was Kerry saying that if we cut the Russians off from visits to the West by lifting their visas we'd put such an intolerable strain on Russian system that they would give in. They wouldn't want to stay in Moscow. Meaning I suppose that if John Kerry or Obama were cut off from visits to their favorite vacation spots, they'd fold. So of course the Russians would give up their total control of the home port of their Black Sea fleet if they couldn't get to idyllic Aegean islands.

I see it now. We text them: "You hand ringing pus elves filled with melena, no more Paris, no more Rome. Only Moscow. No more European visas."

They text back: "Oh Oh Oh, NoNo No. We surrender."





Kansas City said...

I don't get Ann here. I think the editorial is a devastating criticism of Obama from the declarative title --"Obama's Foreign Policy is Based on Fantasy" -- and especially through the first three paragraphs:

"FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”

That’s a nice thought, and we all know what he means. A country’s standing is no longer measured in throw-weight or battalions. The world is too interconnected to break into blocs. A small country that plugs into cyberspace can deliver more prosperity to its people (think Singapore or Estonia) than a giant with natural resources and standing armies.

.Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior."

Revenant said...

Except the first came from people in the government who are supposed to be expert analysts rather than an amateur. So yes, it is dumber.

You know, I've asked several times now for the names of these "expert analysts" -- other than the guy from Foreign Policy, of course -- and nobody ever names names. I'm starting to be skeptical they existed.

In any event, I can't say I agree with holding would-be Vice Presidents to a lower standard than academics.

Revenant said...

I don't get Ann here. I think the editorial is a devastating criticism of Obama from the declarative title --"Obama's Foreign Policy is Based on Fantasy" -- and especially through the first three paragraphs:

What prevents the critique from being "devastating" is the inability to come up with a scenario in which things would have played out differently than they did.

Some people argue that we can cut our military and Russia will behave itself. Others argue that if we maintain a strong military, or grow our military even larger, Russia will behave itself. These two beliefs differ in one way -- while both are hilariously wrong, the former costs less.

Whether we spend $600 billion a year on the military or $60 billion on the military, we are not waging a war with a nuclear power in its own backyard. The very idea is so insane that not even John McCain can bring himself to endorse it.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Shorter Washington Post: The emperor has no clothes!

Big Mike said...

@Revenant, you mean there are no alternatives to doing nothing (besides making worthless speeches) and exchanging nukes with Russia? Nothing in between those two poles? Seems to me that Ronald Reagan found ways to succeed in supporting Solidarity in Poland and in running the Russians out of Afghanistan without resorting to nukes.

Now as to whether John McCain would have brought in experts to suggest good options that lie between empty speechifying and flinging nukes, well, he couldn't possibly do worse than the present incumbent.

Revenant said...

Seems to me that Ronald Reagan found ways to succeed in supporting Solidarity in Poland and in running the Russians out of Afghanistan without resorting to nukes.

My claim was that both a large military and a small military military are useless in dissuading Russia, because we aren't going to wage war on them. How citing examples of non-military pushback undermines my claim is not clear to me.

That aside, the examples are weak tea. It took over forty years to see payoff in Poland, and ten in Afghanistan. In both cases, regime change in Russia had to happen first, and that regime change was driven more by economics than by American diplomacy.

CWJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kentuckyliz said...

"I can see Russia invading the Ukraine from my house!"
--Tina Fey

(Sarah Palin never said it.)

RecChief said...

"A senior U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast that the timing of the military exercise, coming only days after the Ukrainian parliament voted to oust the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, was suspicious. But nonetheless, U.S. intelligence agencies have collected no information suggesting the training exercises were preparation for an invasion."

this is only one story I saw this quotation in, this particular one comes from here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/27/u-s-spies-no-russia-isn-t-about-to-invade-ukraine.html

"
In any event, I can't say I agree with holding would-be Vice Presidents to a lower standard than academics."

Actually you should, because "a senior intelligence official" isn't some political appointee. It's the type of person who would be advising a vice president. Or writing the analysis that gets briefed to the VP.

So no, there is no administration official quoted by name. Fuck off you childish pedant.

CWJ said...

Revenant,

I don't usually equate twice with asking "several times," but no matter.

You might want to check out Ben Domenech's March 1 article over in "the Federalist." He links to a number of articles with titles like Why Russia Won't Invade Ukraine or equivalent. So happy reading.

Hyphenated American said...

"My claim was that both a large military and a small military military are useless in dissuading Russia, because we aren't going to wage war on them. "

Of course if Ukraine had stronger military, Putin would not have invaded it....
Heck, pathetic Syria uses chemical weapons even though Obama declared the red line, and no one cares.

In other words, you need strong will and good armed forces to hav a deterrent.

Hyphenated American said...

"A Politico report calls it “a crisis that no one anticipated.” The Daily Beast, reporting on Friday’s US intelligence assessment that “Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine,” quotes a Senate aide claiming that “no one really saw this kind of thing coming.”

Op-eds from all over the legacy press this week helped explained why. Through the rose tinted lenses of a media community deeply convinced that President Obama and his dovish team are the masters of foreign relations, nothing poor Putin did could possibly derail the stately progress of our genius president. There were, we were told, lots of reasons not to worry about Ukraine. War is too costly for Russia’s weak economy. Trade would suffer, the ruble would take a hit. The 2008 war with Georgia is a bad historical comparison, as Ukraine’s territory, population and military are much larger. Invasion would harm Russia’s international standing. Putin doesn’t want to spoil his upcoming G8 summit, or his good press from Sochi. Putin would rather let the new government in Kiev humiliate itself with incompetence than give it an enemy to rally against. Crimea’s Tartars and other anti-Russian ethnic minorities wouldn’t stand for it. Headlines like “Why Russia Won’t Invade Ukraine,” “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine,” and “5 Reasons for Everyone to Calm Down About Crimea” weren’t hard to find in our most eminent publications."

This is for revenant.

mtrobertsattorney said...

The Rev. argues that whether we have a weak military or a strong military makes no difference as to whether "Russia will behave itself." It follows from this if we disarm ourselves completely, Russia (and presumably
China) may or may not "behave itself."

This argument need more self-evident premises in order to be persuasive.

Revenant said...

Actually you should, because "a senior intelligence official" isn't some political appointee. It's the type of person who would be advising a vice president. Or writing the analysis that gets briefed to the VP.

Er, I'm not sure what you're talking about anymore. The original subject was the supposed foreign policy experts who "ridiculed" Palin back in 2008 when she made her comments.

Now you've moved on to discussing what an anonymous member of the intelligence community was leaking to newspapers last week. What's that got to do with Palin's comment five years ago?

"Russia isn't about to invade" was merely wrong -- it wasn't ignorant or stupid. Certainly not as stupid as implying that a McCain victory would rule out a Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Anyone who actually believes McCain would have scared Putin is clearly a retard.

Of course, Palin didn't actually believe it. It was just the usual empty political posturing.

Kirk Parker said...

tradguy,

Why paint with such unnecessarily broad brush?

The A-10 is only our "most devastating combat system" for some kinds of targets. For others, a B-52 or B-1 full of JDAMs is more to the point.

Revenant said...

The Rev. argues that whether we have a weak military or a strong military makes no difference as to whether "Russia will behave itself." It follows from this if we disarm ourselves completely, Russia (and presumably
China) may or may not "behave itself."


It is 17 degrees outside. People begin having hysterics over it -- "oh my GOD we're going to die if we go outside with less than forty layers of clothing and six down coats wrapped around us! We should be spending at LEAST a quarter of our income on winter coats!!!"

"Well, no", says someone with a little more perspective. "Actually you'll be fine with a good parka and some gloves. Maybe a scarf."

Then some genius -- we'll call him "nrobertsattorney" to protect the innocent -- makes the brilliant observation that by that logic it should be perfectly fine to go outside naked. Everyone has a good laugh before bundling up like Randy in A Christmas Story and toppling face-first into the snow.

Anyhoo. Now that that silliness is out of the way, I'll just take a moment to point out the obvious -- I was discussing what will prevent Russia from threatening *Ukraine*, not what will discourage them from threatening *us*. Obviously we need a military to keep other nations from threatening us. Just not remotely as large a one as we have now. :)

RecChief said...

"You know, I've asked several times now for the names of these "expert analysts" -- other than the guy from Foreign Policy, of course -- and nobody ever names names. I'm starting to be skeptical they existed.

In any event, I can't say I agree with holding would-be Vice Presidents to a lower standard than academics."

what you asked. I answered. Apparently you are just being willfully obtuse because you don't want to acknowledge the fact that "a senior intelligence official" who is supposed to be an expert, missed it. A week ago. I'm starting to think Rev and Garage are the same person.

CWJ said...

RecChief,

No Revenant is not garage, but his/her comments on this thread made it difficult to work with him/her constructively. He/she was all over the map. Even though I was willing to concede that there may have been only one published mocker of Palin's comments, when I read over all his/her comments I wasn't certain whether he/she was sticking to the mocking theme, or whether he/she was also asking for evidence of "expert" opinions contrary to Palin's.

I went with the latter (as did you and others) because the larger point is not the mocking but what the "smart" people believe(d).

I'm saddened that Revenant retreated back into demanding evidence of multiple mockers rather than address the contrast between the blythe academic assurances that Putin would not take military action in Ukraine against what in fact has happened.

As you said, "Fuck off you childish pedant." I certainly agree with the pedant part.

Andrew Torres said...

One must be careful when critisizing a presidents forieng policy, that is of course if he/she is not wreckless with they way they go about things. Americas forieng policy has almost always been to rally up the allies to make a stand and provide a case in such regional conflicts that directly have an effect on U.S. interests and treaties in which we have signed. In this case with Crimea we have no such treaties, they are not part of NATO or the E.U. Of course Obama can't do anything at the moment except for utilizing sanctions even if Russia were to invade eastern Ukraine. What would Obama do if Russia invaded all of Ukraine? Well here's what he won't do, and that is direct military intervention. Although an invasion of all of Ukraine will definetly not be a bloodless undertaking, once Ukrainian military personal take on casualties by the hands of Russians and their militias, only then would NATO and the UN get involved.
Another reason Obama seems quiet on the matter is because one US interests are not in jeopardy (yet) and haven't been compromised, two, the whole situation really is petty, this time on Russia's part. Obama isn't going to be ambarrased by making an irresponsible move on the chest board especially if Russia were bluffing the whole time.