In just a little over a week since Obama first claimed there would be “costs” if Putin pressed into Crimea, Russian forces have taken control of the region and a referendum has been scheduled to decide its future.
Obama first declared the March 16 referendum a violation of international law, but now, either hoping to save what little respect and reputation he has left with foreign governments, or more than likely paralyzed by world events he can’t grasp, he is pushing the idea that Russia’s takeover isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
Russia presents a problem not only to America but to all the former Soviet controlled countries surrounding it. Under Putin, Russia has an expansion impulse, one that does not stop with the Crimean Peninsula. He desires to regain what Russia lost when the Soviet Union was broken up and, to that end, he is more than willing to violate the agreement they signed with Ukraine in the 1990s to respect its territorial borders. Putin’s pretext of “rescuing ethnic Russians” is dangerous because there are ethnic “Russians” in surrounding democracies.
Obama’s lack of interest in anything not related to the Muslim Brotherhood will also bolster China as they wait to see how this all plays out, not that they don’t already know.
Obama’s weakness will accelerate our allies willingness to go it alone, especially in the Middle East. For them to depend on Obama would be irresponsible at this point. His cluelessness will encourage not only China, but Iran and North Korea to test America’s resolve.
Reducing Americas armed forces at a time when the world is exploding is not the best of ideas. Foreign affairs takes commitment, attention and a clear understanding of both our interests and those of our adversaries. The world cannot afford an unengaged and weakened U.S. Unfortunately that is what we are stuck with, an unengaged and weak leader.