The Eve of Destruction

In protest to the war in Vietnam, singer songwriter Barry McGuire recorded a song called The Eve of Destruction in 1965.  But with the advantage of hindsight the song is far more apropos today then it was then.

As tumultuous as the Viet Nam War era was and for that matter the Cold War itself, people could take solace that only the United States and the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons and an ability to deliver them.  As hot as things had gotten at times, rational leadership and the dictum of mutually assured destruction prevented their usage.  Not so today.

With a brief respite during the Reagan Administration the United States has been led by arguably the worst leadership in its history.  Under the nose of successive Administrations nuclear exclusivity has been breached by some really bad actors: China, Pakistan, and North Korea.  Equally as bad as their nefarious ambitions is their ability to sell nuclear technology to rogue states and terrorist organizations for either monetary or political gain.

As we look out at the geo-political World today, the 60’s and 70’s do seem like the good old days.  Mistakes notwithstanding, the United States at that time never embraced an apologetic policy of leading from behind as the current Administration does.  Both friend and foe recognized there were certain lines in the sand that could not be crossed; if they were, American power, political and/or military would be applied.  During this brief period of pax Americana, the Soviet Union was destroyed, China was looking inward, terrorist groups and their rogue state patrons were flying under the radar waiting for their moment.  It arrived on 9/11 and has blossomed to the point of no return during the past past 7 years of this present Administration.

From Putin and Assad to Khamenei in Iran, to Xi Jinping of China to Kim Jong-un of North Korea, the bullies of the world realize who they’re dealing with in Washington and they smell blood in the water.  As a consequence, like the bully in the schoolyard, gestures of peace and goodwill are not recognized as such but are interpreted as weakness.  And why wouldn’t they be?

Momentarily forgetting the Iran deal recently rammed down our throats, the President has once again been outwitted by his contemptuous counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a man he’s tried to cultivate with little success throughout both his terms in office.

Just days after the leader of the Free World is seen extending his hand to a disdainful Vladimir Putin at the United Nations this past week, the Russian leader wasted no time making good on his promise to bolster mass murderer Bashar al-Assad under the facade of fighting Isis.  

Adding chutzpah on top of chutzpah, according to a Wall Street Journal report in Thursday’s paper, without as much as a curt hello, a Russian 3 star general walked into the American Embassy in Bagdad and told the Americans to get their planes out of Syrian air space because they were going to start bombing targets in that country.  Mind you, the targets they were bombing turned out not to be ISIS but the enemies of Assad that we are backing.  Our response:

 (Go to hell and get out of the embassy?  Nah, no way.)   One defense official called it “unprofessional.” Another called it “unproductive.”  Such talk must have really shaken Putin to his boots.  Instead of kickback to this obvious slap in the face with a Reganesque rejoinder, U.S. officials were quoted saying that they are still trying to set up meetings with their Russian counterparts to discuss ways to prevent a direct conflict between the two global military powers.

Looking at the bigger picture, Andrew Weiss, vice president of international studies at the Carnegie Institute for International Studies had this to say about Putin:

“He deliberately tries to do things to throw opponents off balance and he’s always trying to get some sort of element of surprise and tactical advantage over people, that’s sort of what keeps him going is this constant springing surprises and flipping events in his favor.”

Does he ever.  Correctly believing there are no discernible consequences to his actions, with impunity, while Obama talks he acts.

It seems like 2009 was just yesterday when presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Clinton fumbled translating a Russian word proclaiming to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a “reset” in American/Russian relations.  

Fast forward 3 years to March 2012 at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul when our president and chief hand shaker reached over a table and unaware that microphones were recording him, placed his hand on his counterpart’s knee and had the following exchange with outgoing Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev regarding missile defense in Europe:

President Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him (Putin) to give me space.”

President Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand.  I understand your message about space. Space for you.”

President Obama: “This is my last election.  After my election I have more flexibility.”

President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Think about this for a moment: an American President was requesting “space” from a former KGB agent and then, stating in a clandestine manner to this enemy of our country:  “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”  During normal times in the United States, and this certainly is not, he might have been charged with treason, not elected to a second term in office.

Knowing what we know today and what the world recognizes as well about this Administration, is it any wonder:

ISIS with all its barbaric depredations grows stronger daily; the butcher of Damascus is now firmly entrenched with Putin’s support; in the wake of American troops being hastily withdrawn from Afghanistan, the first major city since 2001, Kunduz, has fallen to the Taliban; the Baltic states warily look on, as the Ukraine is ripe for the taking by a re-emergent Russia; China in the East is remilitarizing at an alarming rate as our military is being shrunk.

With a failed American foreign policy unable to meet the aforementioned crises and Europe in perpetual disarray, bogged down by the Trojan Horse of Islamic immigration, a war of catastrophic proportions seems inevitable, sooner than later.

As the World perilously spirals in that direction, the words of McGuire’s prophetic song keep resonating in my mind….”And you tell me, over and over, and over again my friend, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”