The 'Obama is weak' message is coming from our allies

Paul Waldman's Wednesday morning post is challenging the GOP to come up with more than criticism about President Obama's Ukraine policy.   Read this:

"There’s a curious contradiction that keeps coming up with the situation in Ukraine, and how both Republicans and some in the press are criticizing President Obama. On one hand, there’s agreement in some quarters that Obama is just too weak; depending on your perspective, that’s either because he’s naturally cautious and the country doesn’t have much appetite for foreign adventurism after 12-plus years of pointless, frustrating war or because he’s bent on destroying the United States’ place in the world.

The contradiction comes when the same people are asked what sorts of strong, muscular, testosterone-fueled approach might be an alternative, and the displays of toughness they propose sound awfully, well, weak. And even the nostalgic prospect of a new Cold War won’t satisfy."

Mr Waldman is right to a point. We always see this kind of "opportunistic" and partisan game of politics when a president is down in the polls.

For example, did any liberal really suggest an alternative to Iraq during the 2006 campaign?  In fact, the Democrats won the Senate and House and nothing changed in Iraq.  The left exploited Iraq but never cut the funding or make any meaningful changes to President Bush's approach.

So politics is politics.  We expect the party out of power to play politics.  It's not nice but it is the way it is!

Mr Waldman misses a more important point.

President Obama does not have a "GOP thinks he is weak" problem.  His real problem is that our allies think that he is weak, especially Poland, Romania and others looking out the window and seeing Russian troops on the move.

This is why VP Biden was sent to Poland rather than the GOP headquarters. 

VP Biden is desperately trying to reassure our allies that President Obama is concerned about developments on their borders with Ukraine.

This is the story:

"Vice President Biden’s we’re-all-in-this-together tour of Eastern Europe, a two-country stop that concluded here Wednesday, highlighted not only the growing regional anxieties over Russia’s designs on Ukraine — but also how much work the Obama administration has to do to convince allies of its support.   

At its core, Biden’s message here and in Poland was a simple reaffirmation of what one senior administration official called a “bedrock commitment”: The United States would honor NATO’s basic premise that if one member nation is attacked, all would come to its defense.  

“President Obama and I view Article 5 of the NATO Treaty as an absolutely solemn commitment which we will honor,” Biden said in an appearance with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, referring to the collective self-defense clause in the agreement. “We will honor.”  

Russia, he said, was on a “dark path” that would lead to its isolation."

Our allies are looking at the 1994 Budapest Memo signed by the US, UK and Russia.  It called for Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for respect of its boundaries.  

This "memo" has been violated by Russia without consequences.  Do you understand now why the allies think that President Obama is weak?


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