Obama and Putin

As you tuck your children and grandchildren into bed tonight, take a long hard look at them and consider what they may have to face tomorrow, next week, and in the years ahead.  And think for a minute or two about who it is that holds their lives, and yours, in their unsteady hands.

Then picture, if you will, a scene in the White House Situation Room, far beneath the Oval Office, where those who hold our lives in their hands… Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama, the entire “brain trust” of the Obama administration… are seated around a long table.  They are discussing the ramifications of sending U.S. military might against the butchers of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), balanced against the impact such actions would have on Obama’s legacy, and the impact they might have on Democratic prospects in the November General Election.

One of the items on the table in front of them is the transcript of a September 11, 2013 New York Times op-ed by none other than Vladimir V. Putin, the president of Russia, who has no qualms about thumbing his nose at Barack Obama as he invades and occupies the Crimean Peninsula and large portions of eastern Ukraine.  His decision to communicate directly with the American people through the editorial pages of the Times is a clear indication of how little respect he has for the former “community organizer” from Chicago.

As an indication of the extent to which Obama has fallen out of favor with the leftist editors and publishers who helped elect him, the Times editorial board chose not to waste a single column-inch of newsprint defending Obama against Putin’s well-crafted attack (one popular female comic has quipped that Obama’s approval ratings are now so low that the Secret Service has assigned him a new code name.  His new Secret Service code name is Ebola).

Referring to Obama’s plan to wage an “unbelievably small” attack on Syrian forces… as in poking at a hornets’ nest with a very long stick… Putin set a very clever trap for Obama.  He wrote, “The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders… will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders.  A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism (emphasis added)…”  Frightened off by those cautions, Obama decided not to attack and yet everything Putin predicted came to pass.

Now that we’ve come to know the bloodthirsty nature of the Islamic State a bit better, Putin appears to be the voice of reason, while Obama dithers, plays golf, and attends fundraisers.  And while tens of thousands of men, women, and children are slaughtered by ISIS, a major force in the Syrian conflict, no one in the Obama administration seems to know what to do about it.  Given more recent events in Syria and Iraq with the emergence of ISIS, now known as the Islamic State, one would think that Obama might lie awake at night regretting that, instead of drawing pointless red lines in the sand, he’d made some sort of accommodation, either with the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, or with the moderates who opposed him.

What Obama and his “brain trust” apparently failed to comprehend in failing to arm Islamic moderates in Syria, was that the “new wave of terrorism” of which Putin spoke is not likely to be limited to the suburbs of Damascus, the northern provinces of Syria, the north and west of Iraq, or the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  The “new wave of terrorism” that Putin predicted will likely find its way to the streets of New York, Chicago, Washington, and other U.S. cities.

Providing us with a classic example of “do as I say, not as I do,” further proof of why Obama is no intellectual match for the Russian leader, Putin wrote, “We (Russians) are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law.  We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.  The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not.  Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council.  Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”

All of this as Russia sends tanks across the border into Ukraine and provides moral and material support for the pro-Russian rebels of eastern Ukraine.  Clearly, his remarks were intended for consumption by the low-information voters who make up much of Obama’s base… at least those who are literate enough to read the editorial pages of the New York Times.

Then Putin played to the uncertainty expressed by Obama, Kerry, and other senior officials, who were always careful to hedge their public statements on the source of nerve gas attacks against Syrian civilians.  In each instance, they suggested that they were “pretty sure,” or “almost certain,” that it was the Assad regime that was responsible for launching chemical weapons attacks against innocent women and children.

Putin wrote, “No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria.  But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons (the Obama administration), who would be siding with the fundamentalists…”

Of course, as Obama told us in his September 10, 2014 address to the nation, “ISIS (the Islamic State in Syria) is not Islamic.  No religion condones the killing of innocents.”  Does he think we’re a nation of fools?  Would he have us believe that the butchers who sliced off the heads of two American journalists are just a bunch of disgruntled postal workers?

But not all Russians and not all Russian news media treat Obama with the same diplomatic equanimity expressed by Putin.  Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and former NATO ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, has been quoted as referring to the United States under Barack Obama as “a monkey with a hand grenade.”  Rogozin’s characterization is indicative of the total lack of respect for Obama that is regularly found in the pages of Pravda.

When I worked in Russia during the early to mid ‘90s, some of my Russian friends joked that, during the Soviet era, “There was no Pravda in Isvestia, and no Isvestia in Pravda (where Pravda means “truth,” in English, and Isvestia means “news).”  But Pravda has gained new credibility in the West since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In a September 2013 Pravda article by Xavier Lerma, the writer suggests that “Obama’s buffoonery selling the war against Syria has hit a wall, thanks to President Putin’s firm stance and leadership…  Russia, who has slain its Red Dragon long ago, is now facing Puff the Magic Dragon… blowing smoke in his people’s eyes and spreading democracy with bombs…

“Puff must face reality and will try to save face.  He will blame the Republicans who stand in his way and his worshipers will pity and love him.  Playing the race card once again, (he) will bring more power to his throne.  The Saudi King, whom Obama bowed to and Bush kissed, will try again and again, demanding Obama attack Syria, trying to bribe Putin, or threatening Russia with terrorists.”

The Pravda article mocked Obama, saying, “Conservative Americans and those in the world are seeing Barry falling apart at the seams when he goes against Putin…  President Putin can stand alone and speak without a teleprompter or notes and argue reasonably.  He can give interviews anytime without worry because he does not have to try to remember a lie or wonder what to say.  He only has to give facts, which are easy to remember.”

In summarizing Pravda’s critique of Obama, Vietnam veteran Leon Puissegur suggests that Americans should “take Pravda’s condemnation of Obama as a ‘lesson learned,’ and that we should never vote another person into the office of President who only has experience as a ‘community organizer…’ ”  Sadly, this great nation, once the envy of the world, is now forced to suffer the humiliation of having our national leader insulted by friend and foe alike.

Yes, Pravda speaks the truth.  We have sent a “community organizer” to represent us in an epic struggle against a tough KGB Colonel.  It’s as if we’d sent PeeWee Herman to fight for us, while the Russians sent Mike Tyson.

We should not forget the scene at the South Korean summit in which Obama leaned over toward outgoing Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, reassuring him and asking that the Russians give him a bit more time to liberalize the American position on missile defense systems.  He said, “This is my last election.  After my election I have more flexibility.”

Yes, Obama’s now has the “flexibility” he coveted and he has used it to set the United States on a downward spiral from which we may never recover.  As Jodie Miller of the Media Research Center quipped in a September 2 comedy sketch, “In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Obama is threatening to hit back.  He threatened to impose the same economic sanctions on Russia that he imposed on America back in 2009.”  Like the late Rodney Dangerfield, Obama gets no respect.  But then, Dangerfield had a few redeeming qualities.


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