Alexander's Column

Obama v Putin -- The Russian Spring

Ukraine, and the Perils of Paper Tiger Foreign Policy

By Mark Alexander · Mar. 5, 2014

“[I]t is a maxim, founded upon the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest; and no prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it.” –George Washington (1778)

Barack Hussein Obama is out stumping for his $3.9 trillion budget, which raises taxes on individual and corporate incomes (of course) and diverts Defense funds to his welfare constituency.

“Even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead,” claimed Obama. “And too many still are not working at all.” And that is the net result of the Obama “recovery strategy,” five years in.

That notwithstanding, Obama has been preoccupied with his National Security Council trying to look presidential in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. (Remember when Obama, before his un-vetted rise from “community organizer” to president, declared, “Wouldn’t it be great for the world with our president”?) Just two weeks after the Ukrainian people ejected corrupt Russian-puppet president Viktor Yanukovych, Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea and took control of its warm water ports in preparation for annexing the region. The occupation was a booming shot across the bow of the newly elected leader, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The message: We will shut off your gas supplies if you step out of line, just as we did in 2009.

Recall that, as Russian troops were amassing on the Ukrainian border, Obama insisted that the emerging Cold War chess competition with Russia is not “some Cold War chessboard in which we’re in competition with Russia.” Then, as the Russians lined up to invade Crimea, Obama warned, “There will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, the best Obama could do is make a lame reference to Putin’s violation of international law: “Putin, uh, seems to have, uh, uh, a different set of, uh, lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but, uh, I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.” (This logic is akin to Obama’s domestic gun-control notion that criminals will obey laws.) Obama phoned Putin and expressed his “deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and telling Putin that if they did not withdraw, “there will be consequences.” (Now that Obama has used his “phone” option, maybe now he can use his “pen” to send Putin a tough-love note.) Obama next reassured the world: “We’ve taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to the security and democracy of our allies in Eastern Europe and to support the people of Ukraine.” (Collective sighs of relief, I mean, rolls of eyes here.)

Putin has Obama in check.

In a mock Berlin Airlift effort to sustain Ukraine, Obama sent his Secretary of State John Kerry to Kiev with a briefcase full of $1 billion in unmarked American loan guarantees, while the EU and the International Monetary Fund pieced together an emergency aid package. They also canceled a G8 meeting scheduled in Sochi and threatened to boot Russia from the group altogether. On arrival, Kerry warned, “We are prepared to take further steps if Russia does not return its forces to the barracks.” I suspect Putin and company had a good laugh over that one.

Clearly, Obama’s recent claim that his Russian relations “reset button has worked” was another case of wishful thinking.

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You remember when former SecState Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a giant “reset button” prop with “Peregruzka” stamped on the front. “We worked hard to get the right Russian word,” said Clinton. “Do you think we got it?” Lavrov replied, “No,” and informed her that “Peregruzka” didn’t translate “reset” but “overcharged.” That faux pas was a fitting metaphor for Obama’s reset.

Perhaps “overcharged” was the correct word, because this administration has short circuited every crisis foreign policy decision it has issued in the last five years. Fact is, Of course, some astute observers suggest that the reemergence of Russian authoritarianism is precisely the socialist reset Obama wanted.

For certain, Obama and his Leftist cadres, as with previous Democratic administrations of Clinton and Carter, refuse to accept that power doesn’t tolerate a vacuum, neither intrastate nor interstate. When a sovereign state like Ukraine has no protection from the expansionist ambitions of another more powerful state like Russia, because the latter is not constrained by concerns of reprisal and justice, the former is an easy mark.

Vladimir Putin, a hardened Communist KGB aggressor, who said famously that the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century was the disintegration of Russia’s Soviet empire, loses no sleep over empty words from the former “community organizer.” He knows that Obama is milquetoast putty, which he can shape into whatever he wants.

Recall if you will, Obama’s 2012 assurance to then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would surrender NATO’s plans for anti-ballistic missile defenses in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria. Obama was caught on an open mike whispering to Medvedev, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for [incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin] to give me space. This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev replied, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” He added, “I stand with you.”

This was conclusive evidence that the most significant national security threat we face is Obama himself, because he has ceded our security and interest to Russia as if he was Putin’s pocket puppy.

As for Obama’s Ukraine “options,” he has none.

Russia, having been provided a preview of all the cards we are holding by that traiterous darling-of-the-Left, Edward Snowden, has already taken measure of every U.S. response scenario. As former VP and SecDef Dick Cheney surmised, “When you’re Vladimir Putin and you decide your gonna send troops into Crimea you have to anticipate what the US will or won’t do. [The U.S. has] withdrawn from the Middle East and we are dramatically reducing our military capability. He’s raised doubts in the minds of our allies, they no longer trust us, and in the minds of our adversaries, the no longer fear us.” Of those defense cuts, Obama’s former SecDef Robert Gates notes, “It certainly sends the signal that we are not interested in protecting our global interests.”

In other words, Putin is free to do what he wants in Ukraine.

One primary reason Obama has no recourse is because Europe depends on Russian energy exports for 34% of its natural gas supply, and half of Russia’s NG exports flow through Ukrainian pipelines. Notably, Russia collects 52% of its government revenues from gas and oil sales.

Additionally, the Ukrainian economy has deep ties to Russia, and Ukrainians remember well that in 1933, Joseph Stalin turned off the Ukrainian supplies to engineer a famine, which starved more than 3.3 million Ukrainians to death in the first year alone.

Of course, the U.S. has enormous NG reserves and despite the fact our European allies have pleaded with Obama to approve exports so they would be less dependent on Russia, only six of 30 export requests have been approved. In order to appease his “global warming alarmist” base, Obama is putting up obstacles to fracking for NG, and is still stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline, thus keeping Russia’s market very profitable – undermining our national security in order to appease a political constituency. (For the record, one of the things Ronald Reagan did to collapse the Soviet economy was to convince OPEC to increase oil production and drive down the price of Russia’s oil exports.)

Putin and company are at least five moves ahead of Obama, as they were with the “deals” Putin brokered for him in Syria and Iran.

Putin’s hostile maneuvers in Crimea are a test, a probe of U.S. resolve – and will clearly cement Obama’s impotence by demonstrating he can do nothing to defend the 1994 treaty the U.S. and Russia signed affirming Ukraine’s sovereignty. His ineptitude will be in plain view of our adversaries – and allies – worldwide.

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) put it, “Putin is playing chess and we’re playing marbles. As you move down the list in Syria and the Ukraine and other areas, they’ve been running circles around us.”

In an editorial entitled “Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy,” The Washington Post’s editors, not known for their criticism of Obama, wrote: “For five years, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality.”

Notably, the same could be said of his domestic policies – Obama, the consummate narcissist, believes that because he thinks it, it must be reality for all.

The Post editors describe Obama’s fantasy foreign policy as “a world in which ‘the tide of war is receding’ and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances – these were things of the past.”

The editors conclude, “Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan – these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.”

Sen. John McCain, a hardened freedom fighter who served our country with honor and dignity, was more to the point: “This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

And speaking of McCain, in the 2008 presidential campaign, his running mate, Sarah Palin, criticized then-Senator Obama’s irresolute foreign policy just days ahead of the election, noting, “After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s [Vladimir] Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

The former Alaska governor had a few words this week for those who scoffed at her back then: “Yes, I could see this one from Alaska.”

And it was in the final 2012 presidential debate when Obama ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for suggesting that Russia was a “geo-political” threat: “You said Russia. … You said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because … the cold war’s been over for 20 years.” Romney rebutted Obama: “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe … and I said Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. … I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin…”

Of Romney’s assertion, John Kerry said, “I think that candidate Romney has been breathtakingly off target, and naive and in fact wrong in his judgment about Russia when he said Russia is our number one [geopolitical] foe. I cannot think of any statement that frankly is more inappropriately threatening and simply wrong by any calculus than that.”

In fact, the foreign policy of Obama and Kerry has been “breathtakingly off target … and simply wrong by any calculus.” Even Hillary Clinton now gets it: “Putin sits as the absolute authority now in Russia and it’s quite reminiscent of the kind of authority exercised in the past by Russian leaders, by the Czars and their successor communist leaders.”

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Like The Washington Post, even the Leftist editors of the New Republic admitted that Romney was right and Obama dangerously wrong.

Obama said this week, “I think the world is largely united in recognizing that the steps Russia has taken are in violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, that they’re in violation of international law, they’re in violation of previous agreements Russia has made.”

What the world is “united in recognizing” is Obama’s chronic foreign policy ineptitude. And his latest spin on Russia/Ukraine is that we have to show “some humility” in order to reach a resolution. For the record, Neville Chamberlain tried that approach with another tyrant back in 1938. It didn’t work then either. And, Hitler used the same “protection of our people” rationale for invading Poland that Putin used to invade Ukraine. Perhaps the similarities will end there.

Tragically, in just five years, Obama has effectively reversed most of the worldwide gains in peace and liberty that President Ronald Reagan seeded. Recall that President Reagan faced a far more dangerous national security threat in the Soviet Union than we face now in Russia, and he framed his foreign policy on peace through strength. In his first five years in office, he set the stage to bring the Soviets to their knees.

The cost of Obama’s foreign policy malfeasance, however, will be much greater than defense spending deficits, and will be paid in the blood of young Patriots. For those of us with family members who are active-duty military, that would be our blood.

P.S. Obama would like to get the Ukraine dustup out of the headlines so he can resume his perpetual campaign stumping around the nation unabated. Notably, among other campaign junkets this week, Friday, while our foreign and domestic policies are falling apart at the seams, he will be mixing it up with the wealthiest of liberal one-percenters at Key Largo’s exclusive Ocean Reef Club – where he is scheduled to play golf all day Saturday and Sunday – an excursion that will cost taxpayers far more than the few million Obama will raise for Democrats' 2014 re-election bids.

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis

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MAJ USA Ret in Saint Louis said:

The jeopardy our POTUS has placed our national security, and that of the world, should be grounds for impeachment. But I do not believe he did this by accident, nor by foolishness or naivete; I believe our POTUS anticipated these risks, and continued in his plans to take from conservative wealthy and give to dependent Democrat constituencies regardless of national security risks.
If our Constitution survives this threat to our national sovereignty, it will be because we the people awoke from the slumber of too much material acquired too easily for too long a time and at too little cost. The cost of awakening will be severe, and it increases exponentially in proportion of the length of time until our awakening.
Arise and take back our freedom!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 1:47 PM

JtC in TX said:

"Perhaps “overloaded” was the correct word, because this administration is in way over its head (though some astute observers suggest that the reemergence of Russian authoritarianism is precisely the socialist reset Obama wanted)."

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Hop in NY said:

When the Republicans take over the Senate in the next election cycle, the FIRST order of business should be to IMPEACH this bastard.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

It's up to the House to impeach, not the Senate.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Korea Vet in Bedford, NH replied:

The Senate does the adjudicating.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 5:12 PM

JtC in TX replied:

Either way, none of those spineless yahoos have the balls . . .

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Ed Watts in Near Palm Springs replied:

The cities will burn.

So what?

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Kurt.S in Missouri said:

It's amazing to see what the o'man can do once he has a little "flexability".

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Bud in The D-ivided States of America said:

The continued series of Daymares are giving me Nightmares. I feel like someone who has just been injected with curare. Paralyzed head to toe, forced to watch and endure, as this macabre puppet master continues to jerk constituent strings.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:30 PM

ConstSthnLady in Tennessee replied:

You have certainly summed up the feelings of much of America - paralyzed, forced to watch and endure. I just want to run into their midst and shake sense into these crazies, throw them out on their ears, and put sensible, reliable, conservative patriots in their place. Would that be a coup? But what can we do? "Watch and endure." One thing which I have come to understand is that the citizens of other countries are just like us. Many of them do not support the actions of their government and are simply watching in despair and trying to endure in hopes that better days are coming. We should not hate all Germans because of Hitler, or all Russians because of Putin, or whomever, just as, I hope, people in other countries do not hate all Americans because of the idiocracy over which Obama presides.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:00 PM in Sparks, NV said:

Obama is competing with Putin for control of the most subjects.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:47 PM


Apparently RazzPutin knows the the phrase "Lead from behind" is from WWI and identified you as a coward.....this was the Fakers own words for his style of leadership and sure enough the russkie Bear in the woods ate his lunch and took his money....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Stan Spolski in Smithtown, NY said:

Saying we are where we are in foreign affairs by design is giving the tag team of inept bumblers Obama, Clinton, Kerry credit where none is due. Between them they are incapable of spelling Strategic Foreign Policy let alone implementing it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:01 PM

billy396 in ohio said:

The "foreign policy" of Obama and Kerry is nothing more or less than a plan to fail. The plan is for a massive failure of cascading mistakes, one after another, that, taken as a whole will place the U.S. at the mercy of all of the Commies, radical Muslims, and insane dictators the world over. This will be their most cherished asset - an America at the whim of every banana republic and madman on the planet, an America without the power to defend even it's least important policies. These leftists should ALL have been aborted, thus saving the United States from what will be the largest disaster that this world has ever seen - namely the failure of what was the one and only experiment in true liberty, personal freedom and the rule of law. Obama has dreamt of this for most of his life, ever since he enjoyed cocaine with his homosexual lover and Communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis. May they all burn in hell forever, exactly where they belong. That is as
civil as I can be towards the worst traitors that this nation has ever known.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

It makes you wonder if this had happened in Nov of 2016 would Odumbo have invoked the NDAA. Then he could declare a National emergency and take over ever aspect of the country. I am convinced he will find some excuse to do it anyway rather than leave office. The only foreign policy Odumbo and his sycophants have is talk tough and do nothing. What kind of idiot thinks you can keep crying wolf and not be ignored after awhile. Those strongly worded protests just makes Odumbo and Kerry look like some kid on the playground telling you he is going to tell the teacher on you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Ed in Boulder City said:

Wow, Eric Holder might shut down the Washington Post for its "unfriendly" comments.
Obama has proven that he has no ability beyond a community organizer; not city councilman, not senator, not president.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:41 PM

RK Sprau in L.C. N.M. said:

What we forgotten is all of us are Americans. This is irrespective of party, religious affiliation. We say look at what Obama did. it was G.W. Bush who said, "I saw the sincerity in his eyes." When he invaded Georgia what did Bush do?

It doesn't matter who's in power, we have to do what's right for this country. to take potshots during a time of cries...

What do we do, and I'm serious, Fox News says he invaded for we had Benghazi. we had to tie a crazy man (Probably as cray as Hitler and just as dangerous) to his actions. If that's the case we can say The Soviets were poses to take over Poland for we pulled out of Lebanon for 300 dead marines in Lebanon gave us a bloody nose.

Disagree with the man, disagree with the policies, vote your peace but stop the insaneness. What does this nation has to do with us? Is it another Syria?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:41 PM


Trust but every time and Sarah Palin was right and should be given a standing applause for her courage and foresight...The Faker in the WH is a disaster in every way to this country and it's future....Remove Him Now....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:43 PM

RK Sprau in L.C. N.M. replied:

I am not a Palin fan but Reagen, he had it right when he said trust but verify.
As far as removing him, the voters spoke. Now we have to live with it. Vote in the mid terms.
I once said, study the enemy, observe the tactics. I was told to shut up, we don't have to. FOX news said we'll win. How did that turn out for us? Now study and vote midterm.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM

ConstSthnLady in Tennessee replied:

Until Jehovah God looks me in the eye and tells me that Obama won the election (both of them) fair and square, you will never make me believe he did so. Massive voter fraud, dead people voting, one county in Ohio which had more votes for Obama than registered voters, people voting twice ... we know without a doubt that Obama did not receive a fair majority of votes. When it comes right down to it, it's not for whom you cast your vote that matters ... it is for whom your vote is *counted* that matters. There is no guarantee that your vote is counted for the candidate you choose. The vote counters can simply falsify the vote, and how is the citizenry to know? No, I don't believe Obama won the election even though the Republican party had a weak candidate. He stole it. My big fear is that we will not be offered a strong, viable candidate for the next election. What is an American to do?!

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:11 PM

RK Sprau in L.C. N.M. said:

Never give up our right to defend ourselves. To give up up anti missile tech is, well let's play Prussian roulette

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:45 PM

jmcgarry2011 in Winona, MN said:

The only reason Putin didn't act earlier was to avoid any distraction during the Olympics. He wasn't about to let anything interfere with that. We do have to be somewhat careful, though. Russia still has nuclear weapons. They may have destroyed a token amount to say they complied with past treaties, but make no mistake, they're still out there. If push came to shove, I don't think they would have any qualms about using them.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM