As the hours ticked down at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, President Barrack Obama was furiously rewriting his speech for Tuesday night where he would unceremoniously hand over America’s foreign policy to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Not since the waning days of World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt and then Russian Premier of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin were fighting Nazi Germany, did an American president underestimate the resolve of Russia’s leader.
Stalin met with then President Roosevelt and Britain Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Yalta Conference to determine final plans in dealing with Adolph Hitler on February 4, 1945. In many ways, America learned a valuable lesson in downplaying the diplomatic skills of Russian leader Stalin as he was handed much of Eastern Europe by the allies after the deposing of Hitler.
Fast forward sixty eight years and welcome a new American leader to the stage in the form of President Barack Obama, who’s well-honed community organizing skills is no match for Vladimir Putin. Obama, earlier in his presidency, whined and threatened and even made fun of Putin when Putin would not respond to Obama’s wishes or demands.
Then there was the red line challenge that Obama had to first take ownership of; kind of’; and then disown in a matter of weeks. He then sent his Secretary of State John Kerry overseas to explain the ever changing America/Syrian military attack policy that Kerry seemed to articulate better than Obama.
Yet, with the slip of the lip from U.S. Secretary John Kerry, early in the week, Putin and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria jumped on it like a rat on fresh cheese. Vladimir went on the air about a Russian proposal that he would broker to “supervise” the dismantling of Assad’s chemical weapon stockpile with, of course, the United Nation’s approval.
Suddenly, Putin was calling the shots, he was the newly anointed super power world leader, and Obama was dismissed to the woodshed. What could Obama do? He had a vote lingering in the congress on permitting him military action in Syria that he requested. Unfortunately for him that proposal was headed for defeat and he, the world and, most importantly, Putin knew it.
Suddenly, with that disappearing redline that Obama drew, it is becoming more and more clear in the eye of world leaders that the American president was a rank amateur.
Now, the world and America was clearly seeing that Obama never really meant to utter those words about a red line or any other line. Instead, with the willing acquiescence of Putin, Obama has managed to draw a bright yellow line which he has painted on America’s leadership as a world power, right up his back.
Now comes Vladimir, the former key KGB official who is known more for riding bare-chested on horses and wrestling animals. He is dictating what will happen in Syria and what will not. He has neutralized America’s tatters of a foreign policy in Syria. He has also forced Obama to say “Father may I” before Obama can go forward on any possible future congressional vote on military action.
What Americans who were hero worshiping Obama in 2008 and 2009 failed to understand, is that Putin was not listening or believing the Hollywood mainstream media manufactured hype. Putin has made no apologies for the tyrants, dictators or despots he supports. So when Obama came to office in 2009 and went on a worldwide charm offensive, he was handed instead a pumpkin by Putin.
Putin, like Stalin before him, can be a dangerous man who is clear about his goals, about the path on which he wants to take his nation and the means by which he will exercise that power to achieve it. He does not sugar coat his comments, and when he called Secretary John Kerry a liar recently, he did not stutter or adorn it with politically correct words.
In other words, he is a leader and force to be reckoned with. Americans do not need to fall in love or even trust the Russian leader, but at this moment in time, it is Putin who is on the world stage calling the Syrian shots on whether America will go to war or stand down.
How important is that for America’s national security?
To put it plainly, America has been placed in a box of his own creation by Obama. Now the nation’s president has been sent to the little kid’s table to sit and play with his red crayons and wait for the adults at the big table like Putin, China, and even the Arab League and the United Nations to give him permission to stand and speak about possibilities and declarations and veiled threats that are tepid at best.
So, while America and its beleaguered president wait in the wings for Putin to give Obama a speaking part at the United Nation’s discussion table on Syria, the nation has to be wondering what the heck just happened to Ronald Reagan’s America.
Remember when President Reagan issued a stern challenge June 12th, 1987 to Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev? He said firmly, “Tear down this wall,” as he stood near the Berlin Wall at the famous Brandenburg Gate. The wall and communism fell soon after.
Now there is a Russian leader who is issuing a challenge to Obama and Obama exited stage left. Even though the wall of communism is down, it is now Putin’s turn to tell an American president what walls he is willing to let Obama build or take down with his Lego blocks. How unfortunate.
Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin; source: http://georgewbushwhitehouse.archives.gov
/news/releases/2007/07/ images/20070701_p070107jb148-834v.html; author: White House press service; public domain