Skip to comments.Putin Continues to Take Advantage of Obama's Weak Leadership
Posted on 01/02/2010 12:27:16 PM PST by American Dream 246
Last September, President Obama betrayed Poland and The Czech republic under the bus by reneging on a promised missile defense system in an effort to gain favor with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Poland and The Czech Republic have been two of our staunchest allies in the war on terror and Obamas decision was, to me, not qualitatively different from what Neville Chamberlain did at Munich in 1938 when he appeased Hitler, thus handing Czechoslovakia to Hitler on a silver platter. In a particularly appalling sense of timing, Obamas decision came on the 70th anniversary of Stalins invasion of Poland in 1939. Joe Biden, in yet another demonstration of his lack of foreign policy understanding, made the ridiculous claim that Iran was not a threat, and therefore missile defense wasn't necessary in Eastern Europe.
Even if true, which it isnt, Biden completely missed the point. The fledgling democracies in Eastern Europe have more to fear from a renewal of Russian antagonism than Iran. The missile defense, in addition to providing a real American military presence, also would have provided a psychological reminder to eastern and central Europe that America was not going to allow Russian dreams of reconstituting the Soviet Empire to encroach on the hard won freedom that eastern and central Europeans struggled for so long to achieve. In a post at the time of Obama's misguided decision, I wrote about the dangers inherent in such a policy:
Obamas flagrant appeasement of Putin, in yet another sign of his dangerously naïve world view, illustrates to our allies that American cannot be counted on to stand up to Russian belligerence. When push comes to shove, Obama will do whatever Putin wants in order to avoid uncomfortable decisions: decisions that the leader of the free world is expected to make. It is difficult to imagine how or why these countries will ever trust America's word as long as Obama is president.
As the Obama presidency continues to unfold, Americans who were around in the 1970s are feeling a sense of déjà vu as we increasingly appear to be following policies, both foreign and domestic, that characterized Jimmy Carter's disastrous presidency.
During the 2008 campaign, much was made by the media of Governor Palins supposed lack of foreign policy experience, despite the fact that she had at least as much, if not more, than Obama. Governor Palin would never travel the globe apologizing for America. She would never appease Putin and throw staunch allies like Poland and the Czech Republic under the bus. She would not allow Russian territorial claims in the oil-rich Arctic to go unanswered, as Obama is doing.
It turns out that my above concerns, expressed last fall, were entirely justified. Yesterday Kim Zigfeld, in an article at Pajamas Media, discusses some of what has ensued as a result of Obama's naiveté:
Those who feared that U.S. President Barack Obama had pulled a Chamberlain when he visited Moscow over the summer and offered unilateral concessions on the missile defense shield his predecessor had promised to Eastern Europe have seen their concerns disturbingly realized in recent days.
Obamas naked weakness did indeed reset American relations with Russia. The Russians became much more aggressive and dangerous.
Almost immediately after the event, Russia virtually invaded Poland in a pretend attack that included the use of nuclear missiles an eerie echo of the post-Chamberlain blitzkrieg disaster. And those who thought that the Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin, would stop with virtual missiles were very much mistaken.
On Tuesday, Putin stated:
In order to maintain balance, without developing the antimissile system just like the U.S. is doing, we have to develop an offensive combat power system. Since we are not developing our own missile defense, there is a threat that our partners would feel totally secure having created an umbrella against our offensive systems. Then our partners might do whatever they want; the aggressiveness in real politics and economics would increase because of the broken balance.
In other words, even though Obama had just shut down the antimissile system and was pushing for a major new nuclear arms reduction treaty to follow it, Putin declared that Russia would press forward to develop massive new nuclear missile arsenals.
It is clear from Zigfeld's analysis that Putin has no intention of reciprocating Obama's unilateral disarmament in Europe. Indeed, as many predicted, he sees it as a sign of weakness and is more than willing to fill the void. Zigfeld continues:
Russian defense policy expert Alexander Golts concluded: Our prime minister is moving those talks to total deadlock. Putin is also violating an agreement made by both sides not to reveal details of the negotiations. The Heritage Foundation is more blunt: Obama is playing right into Putins hands. Commentator Mark Whittington calls it the price of appeasement. He writes:
Putins reaction may have come as a surprise to the Obama administration, but not to anyone who has studied the history of appeasement of dictators. Unilateral concessions have a tendency to have the opposite of the intended effect, emboldening men like Putin by showing weakness, rather than inspiring concessions in turn.
President Ronald Reagan faced the same problem during a summit meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, when then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev demanded that the United States abandon plans for strategic missile defense in return for an arms control agreement. Reagan walked out of the talks in a move criticized at the time. But the move made Gorbachev realize that Reagan, who was an experienced negotiator dating from his days as a union leader, was not a man to be pushed around. Eventually the Soviet Union and the United States signed the original START treaty which mandated reductions in nuclear arms.
Russia can build offensive weapons, but the technology necessary to build an umbrella shield is far beyond Russias grasp. Having, at no cost, wiped out Eastern Europes shield, Putin is now moving to eradicate all U.S. defensive capability, giving Russia the ability to threaten offensive action at any time for political leverage.
Putin believes he can manipulate Obama into abandoning the possibility to expand shield technology and thus save Russia from the disastrous Star Wars arms race instigated by Reagan that ultimately brought down the USSR without a shot being fired.
Zigfeld correctly identifies Putin's most important policy goal is to manipulate Obama into giving up on America's missile defense program, an area in which Russia can't possibly compete. If Obama allows this to happen, largely due to his unjustified narcissism, Putin will have effectively returned the world to the pre-Reagan cold war era in which Russia is free to do what they want in central and eastern Europe. In other words, Obama's policies will essentially forfeit the hard fought victory Reagan achieved in the cold war.
Putin's plans are not limited to the overtly military. As Governor Palin has repeatedly warned, he wants to use Russia's vast energy reserves as a weapon with which to exert control over Europe. Zigfeld continues:
Russia is building a natural gas pipeline called Nord Stream whose purpose, according to Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, a former foreign minister of Denmark, is to enable Russia to interrupt gas supplies to EU member countries like Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine, while keeping its German and other West European customers snug and warm. Once this maneuver has been completed, Russia will have a choke hold on the entire former Soviet space, from Georgia to Lithuania, and will be able to combine military and energy threats to force this territory back under the Russian jackboot.
What will stop Putin from pursuing his chosen course? Certainly not Obama, as Zigfeld argues:
Putin has no reason to believe Obama will ever take a stand on any issue. He has no reason to believe he has anything but a free hand to lay waste in former Soviet space while imposing a final crackdown on civil society within Russia itself (Putin is moving aggressively to cut his nation off from Internet access and will likely soon return to formal power as some type of president for life). And once Putin has consolidated his malignant regime in a neo-Soviet state, assuming oil prices remain high he will be able to fund a new cold war against the democracies of the West.
Read the rest of the Zigfeld piece here. It is difficult to argue with Zigfeld's logic. Obama has shown no ability or inclination to stand up to Putin (or anyone else) and this is not lost on the rest of the world. They are watching with eyes wide open. In the real world, a leader is judged not on his or her ability to use a teleprompter, but on actions. Obama is proving to have the backbone of Neville Chamberlain and is nothing more than a community organizer who, through some historical fluke, is in way over his head. This does not bode well for the daunting challenges America is facing and will continue to face. Indeed, such weak and naive leadership will only exacerbate the myriad problems that need to by addressed.
We've seen what happens when America leads from a position of weakness before. See Jimmy Carter. Obama is determined, through some misplaced sense of guilt perhaps, to lead America down the path to mediocrity. We see it in his cap and tax plans, ObamaCare, foreign policy, and his entire agenda. Over the next few years, we will all be reminded of the utter futility of appeasement. By the time Obama stands for re-election, America will be ready to embrace the common sense policies as espoused by Governor Palin and Ronald Reagan before her. The 2010 midterms will be but a preview of what will happen in 2012.
At least Putin is a Christian, sort of. He also owns a dog because he appears to be a dog lover.
The other one is a Muslim.
Democrats = The Party of Islam
...Obama betrayed Poland and The Czech republic under the bus....
Can’t read the remainder of a piece that starts with that kind of writing, sorry.
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