This President has changed America’s view of the world and the world’s view of America. Wouldn’t be nice if his view of things could prevail … everyone just mind his own business, accommodate the bullies and let someone else do the hard and costly job of leading and standing up for what is right?
The trouble is the world is not a nice place. There are always powerful people wanting more power and leaders seeking security in distracting their populace. This Op-Ed from the New York Times is well worth the read. We are sending the wrong message and signals to the Putins of the world, to the Chinese and others looking for an opening on the world scene. Should America step back and let others take the lead, others who surely do not have our best interests at heart?
One way to define Barack Obama’s foreign policy is as a Doctrine of Restraint. It is clear, not least to the Kremlin, that this president is skeptical of the efficacy of military force, wary of foreign interventions that may become long-term commitments, convinced the era of American-imposed solutions is over, and inclined to see the United States as less an indispensable power than an indispensable partner. He has, in effect, been talking down American power.
President Vladimir Putin has seized on this profound foreign policy shift in the White House. He has probed where he could, most conspicuously in Ukraine, and now in Syria. Obama may call this a form of Russian weakness. He may mock Putin’s forays as distractions from a plummeting Russian economy. But the fact remains that Putin has reasserted Russian power in the vacuum created by American retrenchment and appears determined to shape the outcome in Syria using means that Obama has chosen never to deploy. For Putin, it’s clear where the weakness lies: in the White House.