Obama: An American Chamberlain
President Barack Obama has just experienced his "Mush From the Wimp" moment.
That infamous March, 1980, Boston Globe headline signaled the imminent political demise of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. It followed upon the equally infamous Killer Rabbit episode and came in the midst of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the birth of ABC's NIghtline program and at the mid-point of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy's primary challenge to a sitting Democrat president. As Mr. Carter found, when your own media symcophants and political allies are mocking you, you're not in a good place.
So, now, with the Archangel Barack.
What has precipitated this perfect storm is, of course, the President's Syrian debacle of last week and, even more to the point, the US-Russia deal announced on Saturday. Mr. Obama has been neutered. This is dangerous.
Accepting Secretary of State John Kerry's resignation "to spend more time with Teresa" (whom God heal and bless) wouldn't fix it, either.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and its empire, the greatest achievement of American diplomacy and arms in the last 40 years was the ejection of Russia from the Near East and Middle East. This was accomplished by Republican presidents. And Democrat presidents have largely reaped the benefits.
After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Presidents Nixon and Ford, aided by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, successfully persuaded Egypt's President Anwar Sadat to expel his Soviet military advisors. This enabled President Jimmy Carter to win the Nobel Peace Prize for achieving the Camp David accords.
The two Bush presidencies successfully curtailed the remaining Russian influence in the Middle East by (a) harrying the Russians out of Central and South Asia and the Middle East after the Soviet collapse and (b) liquidating several Arab dictatorships, including Iraq.
President Obama just threw all these geo-strategic gains away. The Russians are back in the Middle East. And Israel is more isolated than at any time since 1948.
The only good news is that the Soviet Union is gone and that the Russian military and the Russian economy are mere husks of their former selves. So, they cannot immediately exploit this opportunity the way, say, Leonid Breznev could. The bad news is: we are stuck with the Obama Administration for another 40 months.
So, look for the following consequences:
- a free hand for Syria's murderous dictator, Assad, to crush the rebels in the next nine months, shielded by UN inspectors;
- the possible introduction of Russian ground troops and weaponry and the absolutely certain introduction of more Iranian agents, weaponry and troops into Syria;
- a possible Russian-Iranian condominium in the Middle East;
- an increased likelihood that Israel will strike the Iranian nuclear sites unilaterally (or, in the alternative, nuclear proliferation in the Middle East); and
- an enhanced Russian and Iranian naval presence in the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Russian naval base in Syria.
As the above disaster played out, it was notable there was not one U.S. supercarrier strike group in the Med. Not one.
It is, in short, not too much to speak of the week just past as another Munich. In particular, one could fairly quote Winston Churchill's bitter speech to the House of Commons after that false peace:
"We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat...We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude...[O]ur loyal, brave people...should know the truth. They...should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences ofwhich will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history; ..and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies:
"'Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting.'"
In this wicked world, the American President must be feared. Except possibly in Droneland, Mr. Obama is not feared. And maybe, after last week, not even there.
It is going to be a very long three-and-a-half years. The required Clawback -- both domestic and foreign - if Republicans retake the White House in 2016 is going to be fierce.