Friday, April 11, 2014

Obama’s Rating as President

Will his current battle with Vladimir Putin be the measuring stick of Obama’s presidency?
by Charlie Leck
Barack Obama has been a reasonably good president. He was a better president while Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. In the arena of foreign affairs, Obama made very good decisions in Libya and Syria. That was, you will remember, while he had Mrs. Clinton blocking for him on every play. The situation with Russia in the Ukraine has been much more difficult for him and he gives the appearance of wandering and waffling – though, perhaps, that is only appearance.
Vladimir Putin, of Russia, appears to be out to prove something – and that is that the United States, under its current leadership, is chicken-shit. Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are, of course, not at all frightened off by Putin, but they are aware of instability in his background. If not for his deceptions, Putin would not even be the current President of Russia. Obama and Kerry are aware that they are dealing with an imbalanced international power. Behind every Putin decision there lurks danger.
I don’t think George W. Bush would have dealt with Putin much differently than President Obama is. With Ronald Reagan things may have gone differently and we may have been put out on a narrow ledge with no room to turn around.
Putin is acting as if he knows he has the United States in a particularly bad place. This is a nation that spent so much on a series of wars in the Middle East – nearly to the point of bankruptcy and economic depression – that it wants a rest from “all that stuff.”
Obama is counting on international diplomacy. The problem is that Vladimir Putin is not very diplomatic and is not charmed by discretion.
It very much appears that Putin wants to move against the Ukraine and make it, again, a part of the Russian sphere – but this time removing its national independence and rolling it into the bigger piece of pie that is Russia.
Russian military action is imminent.
Obama remains patient. His detractors are furious. Yet, Obama must continue to remember that we elected him in the belief that he would be a leader who would look toward peace and peaceful measures in dangerous situations just as long as peaceful reactions and measures remained at all possible.
This may be Obama’s Waterloo and this may forever be the measure of his presidency; yet, he must remain true to who he is and to the people who elected him because of who he is. Military action must be – must be – the very last reaction to the idiocy of Vladimir Putin.
Putin deserves a spanking – this is true – but it does not have to be one dispensed by the American military. We need to join with international allies who will, together, punish Putin economically and make his nation suffer so much that they will say goodbye forever to their current President. It begins with cutting off the importation of any Russian products into the United States and Canada (and, hopefully, Mexico). The next step might be to ban all travel to Russia during this period of disagreement.
If our allies are not willing to join us in acting against Russia, there is no way we should take up the battle alone.


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