In the spring of 2011 one of President Obama’s advisers introduced a catchphrase that summed up our Commander in Chief’s approach to foreign affairs. Ryan Lizza identified Barack’s means to achieving an international end as “leading from behind”. In retrospect, given his horrifying ineffectiveness, indecision, procrastination and grovelling, there’s no surprise it’s this slogan, rather than any substantive doctrine, marking Obama’s tenure as a world leader.
But while the “leader of the free world” has either taken a back seat or steered our ship of state very badly, Barry’s opposite number in Russia, Vladimir Putin, has been throwing his global weight around.
It could be argued Obama put Vlad in the driver’s seat after boldly drawing and then feebly erasing that infamous “red line” regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Remember fall, 2013? “The One” and his infinitely gullible Secretary of State, John Kerry had blustered and bungled their way into a confrontation with mass murderer Bashar al-Assad. Apparently unable to stop sawing off the limb upon which they were perched, it was left to that master of diplomacy Vladimir Putin to intervene, giving Barry and John a thinly veiled “out”, while providing his buddy Bashar the Butcher an enormous victory.
Buoyed with that terrifically easy win, it should have been no surprise when Putin became more aggressive. Yet, Obama stood mostly in stunned silence as Vladimir made an audacious land grab in Eastern Europe. After invading Crimea, Vlad signed a bill in March of 2014, that finalized his country’s annexation of that Ukrainian territory. Unchecked by Obama, unmoved by feckless diplomatic pleas, and undeterred by sanctions, the Russian leader has become increasingly emboldened.
And now Vladimir Putin, despite frantic Kerry phone calls, and Barack’s “strong objections”, has moved armaments and military personnel into Syria. If that wasn’t enough, the former KGB strongman added insult to injury by quickly forming alliances with Syria, Iran, and Iraq, while announcing his own war on terror. Spiking the football at our president’s feet, Putin pretty much correctly claimed, “We should finally acknowledge that no one but….Assad’s armed forces and Kurdish militia are truly fighting” ISIS. Ouch.
After his “60 Minutes” interview, UN speech, and one-on-one with Barack, it’s becoming painfully clear our guy’s game of diplomatic, rhetorical checkers is no match Vlad’s ruthless game of geopolitical, three dimensional chess.
Vladimir Putin has happily filled the worldwide power vacuum that nature and politics abhors, while Barack Obama, having abandoned that field, impotently prattles on with useless platitudes at an increasingly irrelevant United Nations.
We guess it could be said, Putin has grabbed the opportunity to lead from in front, while at the same time, kicking Obama’s behind. What a God awful, bloody mess.