Free Markets, Free People

Obama’s weakness is Russia’s strength

One of the many lowlights of this administration has been its many foreign policy failures.  Many, if not most, are attributable to a lack of leadership and an abdication of the US’s role in world politics.  As most observers of international politics have understood for centuries, when one power withdraws or becomes weak, other powers will both test it and fill the vacuum their withdrawal creates.

The NY Post editorial board provides a perfect example of this administration’s poor “policy” concerning Syria:

Secretary of State John Kerry says Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad has got to go. Where have we heard that one before?

Of course, it’s been a regular refrain of President Obama and both of his secretaries of state — Hillary Clinton even more than Kerry — for years now.

Kerry repeated the demand after talks with the British foreign secretary last week — but with one new wrinkle: Assad must step aside, said Kerry — but there’ s no rush. He added: “We’re not being doctrinaire about the specific date or time; we’re open.”

Not only is he not being “doctrinaire” he’s broadcasting weakness like a clear channel radio station.  “We’re open” tells the world they haven’t a plan, a demand, or frankly, a clue.  He’s telling Syria, and specifically Assad, that there is nothing to fear from the US.  Nothing.

Remember those red lines we drew?  Disappearing ink.  Once they were crossed, it was like they never existed.

Cue the power vacuum.  And, who moves in?

And the situation just got infinitely more complicated by Russia’s active military involvement in Syria. As Kerry said, the Russians “are bringing in more equipment to shore up Assad at the same time they say they are going after” ISIS.

That position, he said, has “a lack of logic.”

No: It makes perfect sense when Washington has abdicated leadership. Nature abhors a vacuum — especially on the world stage.

Exactly.  What, you may ask, is in it for Russia?  Well, for one it can put a thumb in the eye of the US (and it is).   But it also helps reestablish old “client links” that the former USSR had in the area.  And, as Russia works with Iran to defeat ISIS, it establishes links there and it is in a position to have a big say in Iraq.  And it certainly makes sense that should Russia help Assad hang on and retake the country, Putin would have a solid client state in the middle east from which to base Russia’s influence operation.

So what has the US done?  Well, according to testimony given last week before Congress, we’ve spent half a billion dollars training up 4 or 5 soldiers in an anti-ISIS effort.  In fact, the effort has been so poor and haphazard that the chief anti-ISIS coordinator, ex-Gen. John Allen, is leaving out of frustration with the lack of a strategy or results.

Meanwhile our Secretary of State is left weakly complaining:

Meanwhile, Kerry complains that “Assad has refused to have a serious discussion and Russia has refused to help bring him to the table in order to do that. So that’s why we are where we are.”

Why in the world should Assad have a serious discussion with a paper tiger?  Or Russia for that matter?  What in the world is the downside for either if they don’t cooperate?

More disappearing red lines?


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20 Responses to Obama’s weakness is Russia’s strength

  • When the US isn’t picking “winners and losers,” the Russians will do it for the US

    • It’s wonderful that the US won the Cold War, so that those in Washington protect free markets and individualism. Imagine if the Soviets won. Why, you’d have some KGB types in Moscow pushing big government and collectivism on the American people.

  • Just after 9/11, the Bush Administration was scrambling to put together a plan to “get in the game” in Afghanistan.
    When US officials started to approach the surrounding countries for air rights and bases, the first question out of there mouths was “are you in this for the long haul or will you run off in a few years and leave us a mess.”

    Barack Obama is that “run off in a few years and leave us a mess” President.

  • Russia has a whole NEW inventory of weapons systems.

    Syria makes a WONDERFUL proving-ground for their new toys, which LOOK really good!

  • “What in the world is the downside for either if they don’t cooperate?”

    Kerry is planning on receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for his Iran treaty, and then going to Moscow and throwing a (Obama’s) Nobel medal over the Kremlin wall to protest Putin’s failure to produce any peace.
    That’ll fix em, just like it did back in the good old days when John was just as big an idiot as he is now.

  • Why on earth would Assad negotiate his own ouster? Usually a negotiation involves some sort of plus for both sides. What is in it for Assad? Without the protective structure of even a mess like Syria he is just one more criminal on the run for the rest of his probably short life. And now that we have an International Criminal Court and various other national prosecutors ( AKA the Good Guys) in addition to the Bad Guys trying to bring thugs like him to justice he has pretty much nowhere to hide and few resources to protect himself and his family.

    Where’s the carrot? So far, the stick isn’t big enough.

    • What – you mean you wonder why he’d give up being in charge to live a life in some country in Exile until some Syrian killed him or some other group of hard leaning hand wringers convinced the World Court to try him for human rights violations and had him extradited to a suitable location for trial and jail?


      No, the assumption is that this guy who’s probably no one’s fool will won’t see the trick.
      In any event if Lurch and Big Ears really think that once Assad is gone Democracy is going to break out in Syria – well – you know, based on their clueless foreign policies, they just might I guess.
      But what it’s really going to look like instead of organized hell (Syrian civil war), is disorganized hell (day to day Libya).

      • “In any event if Lurch and Big Ears really think that once Assad is gone Democracy is going to break out in Syria”

        LOL. Why not? it worked so well in Libya.

  • Good…{snappp} necessary… {sproing} Obama… one of the greats… {spitttz} old way of thinking…you’ll be left behind…. {boing} degree from advanced place…. {crackle} expert in German foreign policy… {griiiind} laughing at you…. {bang! psssssssssssss}

    • I’ve been curious about what’s going down at Erp’s blog. No. Not SO curious I’d give him the click.

      It has to be grim, what with the “phony scandals” essentially taking out Ol’ Walleyes and all. On the other hand, he could be all cheery about Bernie Sanders, so he might not be outright suicidal.


      • Grim -nah – he’s probably over there blithely ignoring reality.

        • Maybe on extended sabbatical to do some of that deep. thorough, satisfying research he always claims to have done.

        • Ignoring reality? No, he’s delving deeply into the very essence of reality by imagining how quantum stuff can quantum every quantum from quantum to quantum-prime.

  • “Meanwhile our Secretary of State is left weakly complaining:”.. I believe a more fitting term is: mewling.
    Putin goes bare-chested bear wrestling, while 0bama goes golfing in his mom jeans.
    Heh! Change. As in: contracting cancer is a form of change.
    But wait! Don’t look at what that hand is (not) doing! Climate Change! Climate Change! Climate Change!

  • “A lack of logic?” Puuuullllleeeeezzzzz!!!!! Assad has been Russia’t man in Syria for years. ISIS is a threat to Assad. It makes 100% for Russia to back the man they’ve invested so much in.

  • Ok, ok. I know I shouldn’t ever ever ever go to Erb’s blog (just for the sake of my own sanity). However, since some of you raised the question, I couldn’t resist.

    His last three posts have these titles (and no I didn’t read the content):

    Boehner Deserves Better
    It Was 20 Years Ago Today – apparently an entire post about it’s been 20 years since he started “teaching” in Mooseville.
    Celebrate the Iran Deal

    Reality is still very absent in his universe.

    • Oy…!!!

    • Oh poor Boehner – he deserved better.

      He deserved a rail and a ride out of town on it, that’s he’s walking out on his own two feet should be considered an act of great kindness and restraint.

      But I guess this is a sort of recognition for why 62% of the party (Erb isn’t part of) feel they’ve been betrayed, and why 66% blame the leadership for not stopping Obama.
      Scott would think Boehner helping Obama by not stopping him is a mark of a great man who ‘deserves better’.

      • Alan, if you wanted to immediately dismiss what someone outside your party says, you should have been a Democrat.

        Republicans are supposed to care deeply what non-Republicans tell them they should think/feel and be willing to pivot on a dime to accommodate such benevolent advice from outsiders. Obviously, those who spend decades trashing the Republicans should be the ones who have the GOP’s best interests at heart!

  • And we still have a year and 1 mo. to grapple w/ Obama’s policies, whether internationally or domestically…