May 28 2014
President Obama at West Point: We're Succeeding around the World
Perhaps the oddest moment in President Obama’s speech just now completed at West Point came when POTUS bragged about the success of U.S. policy in dealing with Russia over Ukraine.
“In Ukraine,” the president said, “Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away.”
These words were spoken against a backdrop of a fierce battle at the Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine yesterday. Forty people died. CNN called this “the deadliest outbreak of violence yet in the flashpoint city.”
In a segment of the speech that Vladimir Putin probably put on his iPAD, the president continued, “Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions. … This mobilization of world opinion and institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda, Russian troops on the border, and armed militias.”
Sorry, Mr. President, I’m betting on the armed militias and the deplorable KGB man, who doesn’t care a fig for “world opinion.”
The speech revealed the essence of President Obama’s foreign policy: he will talk at the world and its tyrants. As an American citizen who has had her fill of being lectured by the president, I realize this can be tedious. But it is not quite a foreign policy. Note: No sane person wants to go to war over the Ukraine, though President Obama seems to assume, if you oppose any part of his policies, you want to send in the troops.
Indeed, as usual, the president was ungenerous to those who disagree with him.
“Skeptics” believe that working through international institutions is a “sign of weakness.” No, but many do want to talk about the proper role of international institutions. Those who worry about America’s withdrawal from the world stage as a sign of decline are “either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics.” How nasty and condescending.
This is an intellectually insular man who is not capable of engaging in give and take. He is not open to new ideas. I am beginning to think that he is also not open to geopolitical reality.
If he thinks his actions regarding Ukraine were successful, I’d hate to see what he regards as failure. My guess that in President Obama's view President Obama is always right. The president even seems to think we’re making progress on negotiations with Iran, which began with lifting some of the very sanctions that were proving so effective. Golly, maybe POTUS missed the Supreme Leader saying negotiations are over and vowing that Iran will wage jihad until the United States is destroyed.
President Obama’s West Point speech would have alarming even if I had not begun my day reading Rachel’s post on Robert Kaplan’s “Why the World Needs American Power.” In the light of the Kaplan article, however, President Obama’s failure to appreciate the vast benefit of American leadership to the world and to us is especially disheartening.