In a hundred ways, this administration has been telegraphing, not just to Putin but to every would-be aggressor and opportunist in the world, that the United States is not to be feared, respected or considered. Because human nature has not changed in 10,000 years, the world’s bad actors are throwing elbows.
From China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea and increasing military budget, to Syria’s dismissal of U.S. threats and stepped-up murder of tens of thousands, to al-Qaida’s resurgence in Maghreb, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to Russia’s insouciant acquisition of Crimea and perhaps more, the world is becoming more dangerous. Most ominously, the administration continues to indulge the greatest sham of our time — the fiction that we are engaged in negotiations to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Nor were matters better in hand when Clinton was in charge at State. She shared Obama’s belief that American influence is malign. When hundreds of thousands of Iranians attempted to unseat the illegitimate regime in Tehran, Obama refused to offer even rhetorical support. Instead, he said, “I’ve made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.”
Yet when similar-sized crowds assembled to unseat an American ally, Hosni Mubarak, Obama and Clinton didn’t show the same hesitation to support the protesters. The Obama administration tacitly supported the mullahs in Iran when they were in danger and explicitly opposed Mubarak when he was.
Obama's apologists remind us that Putin made aggressive moves against two provinces in Georgia while George W. Bush was president. That's true, but Obama made his conciliatory gestures toward Putin — the infamous reset — after that. It's as if nothing that happened before Obama's election mattered.
This administration is drastically cutting the defense budget and gorging on negotiations — with Iran, with Syria (with Russia as handmaiden), between Israel and the Palestinians, with Russia and with North Korea. What have they to show for it? Syria’s mass-murdering leader is safer than ever and has failed to turn over more than a small fraction of his chemical weapons. He has missed the deadlines we imposed; Jay Carney has expressed severe disappointment. After years of meetings, the Palestinians have refused even to recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish state. Kerry’s response has been to tell Israel to stop asking for that. Sergey Lavrov dismissed Kerry’s pleas to withdraw from Crimea. Kerry warned of “very serious consequences.” No record of whether Lavrov smiled.
Nothing seems to penetrate Obama’s ideological lead helmet. Israel captures a huge cache of Iranian weapons headed for Gaza, and the administration denies that this undermines the notion that Iran is negotiating in good faith. “It’s entirely appropriate to continue to pursue the possibility of reaching a resolution on the nuclear program,” the spokesman insists.
There is one Obama accomplishment that cannot be denied: supplanting Jimmy Carter as the worst foreign policy leader of our time.