The sudden military action in the Ukraine has made some recall the mocking words of the President in the last election. When Mitt Romney declared Russia the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, Obama scoffed and said, “the 80s called, they want their foreign policy back.” Obama went on to win the election, but his cute dismissal of the Russian threat in 2012, coupled with his soft response Friday afternoon to Russian provocation, indicate an ugly refusal of the President to lead which has dangerous consequences.
Instead of recognizing the difference between geopolitical threats, and national security threats, President Obama wanted a clever catch phrase. He did this a great deal during the election. In justifying the need for few naval ships for example, Obama partroninngzly said that things change, such as America not needing horses and bayonets. But the Marine Corps uses horses and mules for transport and supply in Afghanistan, and the bayonet is still issued as an integral part of close combat. (I trained on the bayonet in boot camp.) So Obama’s political statements are cute, but don’t accurately recognize the threat from other nations and the needed capabilities of our armed forces in repelling them.
This unpreparedness is obvious in Obama's approach to Russia. Russian relations had frozen after the Russian invasion of Georgia during the 2008 Bejing Olympics. Instead Obama wished to "reset" them. Russian relations had frozen after the Russian invasion of George during the 2008 Bejing Olympics. With Putin’s puppet expelled from the Ukraine, and the 2014 Olympics concluded, Putin has now sent forces into the Crimean peninsula. This is a pivotal territory lost by Russia at the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The naval base at Sevastopol contained the Black Sea fleet and (after a split of the fleet) is currently leased by the Russian government, and Russian minorities there often protest Ukrainian rule. So the Russian actions repeat a pattern of aggression that Putin has done before. (And that Hitler did before that.) In response to Putin’s aggression Obama condemned “destabilization” and stated that he will “stand with the world community.” But a vague statement about destabilization and the world community comes across as weak, and combined with Obama’s equivocation about his “red line” in Syria, it becomes even softer.
As a result, Putin feels he can operate with relative impunity. He can veto any condemnation from the U.N. He already knows he can act with little consequence. He did so with Georgia in 2008, and now apparently in the Crimean Peninsula on behalf of its Russian separatists. The naked use of force is the ugly consequence of being cute and soft. President Obama seemed more interested in scoring cheap political points, and while that didn’t seem to have consequences, it indicated he would be soft in response to aggression, which then invited that aggression from Putin. So in return to Obama, I say, the 30s called and they want their weak and passive foreign policy back.