Obama calls Russia a 'regional power' but Putin has different ideas
Barack Obama’s arrogant dismissal and mockery (“the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”) of Mitt Romney’s warning about Russia in the 2012 presidential debate probably already ranks second to his “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” political lie of the decade as an embarrassment. But as the ongoing crisis in Russia’s western frontier unfolds, Obama is doubling down, forced to defend his foolish blindness, and in the process digging a deeper hole for himself and creating greater peril for the West.
Yesterday, in response to a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the president offered this ludicrous formulation on Russia:
With respect to Mr. Romney’s assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges.
Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness.
Ukraine has been a country in which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the breakup of the Soviet Union. And we have considerable influence on our neighbors. We generally don’t need to invade them in order to have a strong, cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more.
Scott Johnson of Powerline exposes the head-under-the-blanket nature of this fabtasy:
You have to wonder just how weak Russia is, in Obama’s calculation. Is it so weak that it will invade the rest of Ukraine? Moldova? Estonia? Latvia? Maybe!
Obama might wish to delve into the sources of Putin’s thinking. Colin Freeman of the UK Telegraph, drawing on a Washington Post article written by Maria Snegovaya, a Columbia University doctoral candidate in political science.
To find out where Mr Putin thinks Russia has gone wrong in the past, read the works of Ivan Ilyin, a long-dead Russian nationalist who believed the West was bent on dismantling the Russian empire.
More worryingly, to find out where he may think Russia should now be going, pick up a copy of The Third Imperium, a futuristic potboiler by the oligarch and novelist Mikhail Yuriev, the Kremlin's answer to Robert Harris.
Said to be highly popular with members of his inner circle, its front cover alone is enough to frighten Mr Putin's neighbours, showing a map with Russia dominating not just Ukraine, but much of Europe too. All that's missing are a few Dad's Army style arrows pointing toward Britain.
Meanwhile, “regional power” Russia abuts (and vexes or allies with, depending on circumstances) Japan, China, Iran, North Korea, and a variety of other countries beyond the region of Ukraine.
Remember when Obama was regarded as a highly educated and intelligent man?