A Cold War reset

Russia's manipulation of Syria exposes America's lack of influence

  • Follow Editorials

Barack Obama’s plainly stated dim view of American leadership in the world has run up against a cold reality: what the world looks like without it.

The president may have thought his oratory, charm and often unbecoming deference, as well as his upbraiding his country for having been “arrogant” and “dismissive,” would’ve changed the behavior of people such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Surely it was Bush’s patriotic certitude that was the problem, right?

But a funny thing happened on the way to hitting the “reset” button with Moscow. After promising the Russians he’d have more “flexibility” in dealing with them following his re-election, perhaps even Mr. Obama now sees the depth of his naïveté. Putin is not one to be trusted or trifled with, and if he cares a whit about Mr. Obama’s charisma it’s only for the purposes of exploiting its own smug certainty.

Mr. Obama was never going to talk Mr. Putin out of Syria or his support of the despotic Assad regime, and until now – until too late – he hasn’t exhibited any stomach for using force.

Autocrats like Putin eat doubt for dinner and dithering for dessert, and Obama has served up a veritable buffet of it.

The United Nations is even more feckless, watching Russia and China veto a measure last year that would’ve tried to trim Bashar al-Assad’s sails. It was the last, best hope that Assad could be stopped by peaceful means from slaughtering his own people and throwing matches on a powder-keg region.

Some 90,000 people have died in the so-called Syrian Civil War, half of them civilians.

You might check Putin’s hands for signs of blood. Assad is Russia’s guy, but more importantly Putin will not let go of his only naval base in the Mediterranean. He has happily sacrificed 90,000 lives to keep it.

Reset button? Mr. Putin pushed it long ago. The Cold War is back on.

And at this point, Putin is having his way.

This is what arrogant and dismissive really look like. And what the world looks like with the United States at full ebb.

Comments (36) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 04:43 am
8
1
Lack of leadership

Leading people involves trust and creating an understanding for sacrifice. President Roosevelt during World War Two was great at this. Obama has no understanding of leadership or motivating people to pursue short term sacrifice for long term gain. Obama's government For the people from the producers is antithesis of this. Hence his wallowing and muddling along while Hezbollah, Russia and Iran carve up the Middle East and create instability for our allies like Turkey. Like Carter, Obama's indecisiveness is creating vacuums of power and instability while encouraging those that are not our friends. Even the German's aren't as enthralled with Obama as they were 5 years ago!

Rhetor
995
Points
Rhetor 06/19/13 - 06:34 am
3
11
not enough blood spilled?

We have seen under Presidents Johnson and Bush what happens when we jump head-first into a quagmire. I applaud Obama for his cautious approach. It is, to be quite blunt, not at all clear that the Syrian rebels would be better for American interests than the current regime. The President is correct to take a measured, mature approach to the situation.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 06/19/13 - 06:40 am
0
0
When Bush 2 took us into Iraq
Unpublished

When Bush 2 took us into Iraq and we finally realized there were no weapons of mass destruction they came back with Saddam Hussein was an evil man that hurt his people and needed to be removed anyway. Many years later we still have some troops in Iraq. If we go rushing into Syria we'll wind up having the same thing happen.

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 06:53 am
10
1
Rhetor, you are correct, but

Rhetor, you are correct, but why then did Obama open his alligator mouth and imply US intervention if chemical weapons were used? Obama's canary butt can't write the check he promised 6 months ago! Most of the dominant rebel groups have ties with terrorest groups! Obama says this is complex! Gee, no kidding, that is why you have a cabnet, Joint Chiefs of Staff and all these spy agencies! Oh never mind, off to Africa on a $100 million dollar vacation!

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 07:32 am
6
1
This is not a mature response

This is just diddling and hoping it will go away like his scandals. The situation is similar to Lybia. The amature perhaps learned something!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/19/13 - 07:18 am
2
1
"The Armature perhaps learner
Unpublished

"The Armature perhaps learner something!"

What does this mean, Carcraft?

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 07:33 am
3
1
Angela, it means my Kindle

Angela, it means my Kindle rewrote what I wrote, I think I corrected it! Thanks

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/19/13 - 07:38 am
3
1
Don't you just hate
Unpublished

Don't you just hate predictive text some times?

deestafford
26230
Points
deestafford 06/19/13 - 07:53 am
6
1
obama is weak and has consistently been on the side of

the Muslims.

He failed to back the demonstrators in Iran.

He supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

He supported the overthrow of Quadaffi when people hostile to the US wanted him gone.

He refuses to come out and support the anti-Muslim demonstrators in Turkey with words of encouragement.

He is now going to cut the legs out from the government in Afghanistan, where we have spent billions of dollars and hundreds of lives supporting the government, by opening up negotiations with the Taliban. Those are the people who sheltered Ben Laden and would gather people in the arenas and cut limbs off for violation of Islamic laws when they telling us they were not sheltering Ben Laden.

He left the doctor in Pakistan who identified UBL for us to be imprisoned and be tortured. So much for aiding American and thinking you will be protected for your service.

He has cut all military and commercial ties with Iraq by just getting out when the Iraqis wanted us to stay and help them. As a result, there are more people being killed in Iraq today than there has been in years.

Today, he is going to make a speech in Germany saying he will reduce by one-third the number of deployed US nuclear weapons.

This man is the worst president for American prestige we have ever had. The foreign countries do not trust us and have no respect for us.

Riverman1
82181
Points
Riverman1 06/19/13 - 07:53 am
6
1
Predictive text sounds like

Predictive text sounds like something Obama's teleprompter does when he's stumped.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/19/13 - 07:57 am
5
1
Deestaford...don't forget
Unpublished

Deestaford...don't forget that he is now planning on sitting down for negotiations with the Taliban.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 06/19/13 - 07:58 am
6
1
“I will stand with the
Unpublished

“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”

B. Obama

john
946
Points
john 06/19/13 - 08:57 am
4
2
Foriegn Policy

Isnt that important. There are evil conservatives to battle first. People who disagree with the left are a bigger threat than any foriegn threat.

Bizkit
30677
Points
Bizkit 06/19/13 - 09:05 am
3
1
Thanks to Barak we are not

Thanks to Barak we are not only fighting fundamentalist Muslim theocracies we are back to fighting communism-not just abroad either.

Jon Lester
2285
Points
Jon Lester 06/19/13 - 09:48 am
4
1
Russia is more democratic now than Afghanistan ever will be.

Sounds to me like Putin is the rational actor here, plainly telling us that Syrian rebels are a bunch of criminals, and that a post-Assad Sunni regime will be worse for everyone. As for his support of the Assad regime, that's just business, and they're getting paid for those weapon systems. How is that any different from our selling arms to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the rest of the decidedly undemocratic member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council?

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 09:52 am
1
0
Carcraft @ 4:43 AM

"Like Carter, Obama's indecisiveness is creating vacuums of power and instability while encouraging those that are not our friends. Even the German's aren't as enthralled with Obama as they were 5 years ago!"

One of Obama's indecisiveness is "How much and what kind of help to put into Syria" I believe that Obama SHOULD be very carefull with making this call. I do, however, lean toward your same take on Russia.

rmwhitley
5542
Points
rmwhitley 06/19/13 - 09:53 am
0
1
obama
Unpublished

and his hippie friends of the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's have taken their toll on a once great nation. Learn Chinese, Russian and Arabic as quickly as you can. By the way, you gay folk will really enjoy the way middle eastern cultures treat homosexuallity.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 10:11 am
1
2
Jon Lester @ 9:48 AM

"Sounds to me like Putin is the rational actor here, plainly telling us that Syrian rebels are a bunch of criminals, and that a post-Assad Sunni regime will be worse for everyone."

This is something that my father stated about what would probably happen in Iraq. His guess was that the different factions would start a civil war in Iraq. To my way of thinking, this has not happened. BUT, Syria may very well be different, which is why Obama must procede carefully in Syria !

itsanotherday1
41948
Points
itsanotherday1 06/19/13 - 10:13 am
1
0
Syria is a real conundrum

Mr. Bledsoe has a point. Al Qaeda are supporting and fighting alongside the rebels. I'm more inclined to just stay out of it and let them kill each other off. No real national scurity interests there worth one American life for sure.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 10:15 am
1
1
Rhetor @ 6:34 AM

We have seen under Presidents Johnson and Bush what happens when we jump head-first into a quagmire. I applaud Obama for his cautious approach. It is, to be quite blunt, not at all clear that the Syrian rebels would be better for American interests than the current regime. The President is correct to take a measured, mature approach to the situation."

This pretty much sums it up. It's not that Obama is willing to get involved, BUT what will serve Americans !

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 10:35 am
2
2
John @ 8:57 AM

"Isnt that important. There are evil conservatives to battle first. People who disagree with the left are a bigger threat than any foriegn threat."

I don't care for conservatives, BUT I think this has gone too far.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 11:01 am
3
0
Itsanotherday1 at 10:13

"Mr. Bledsoe has a point. Al Qaeda are supporting and fighting alongside the rebels. I'm more inclined to just stay out of it and let them kill each other off. No real national scurity interests there worth one American life for sure."

This statement sayes a lot ! The ONLY way this administration is going to feel good about helping is if our government can determine just who are the freedom fighters.

As an additional solution: Why in the world can't NATO and / or The UN be the ones that handle this ??!!

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 11:31 am
5
1
Well Obama shot off his mouth

Well Obama shot off his mouth is the point. He put his Presidency and the prestige of the US on line when he drew his line in the sand. Well Assad called his bluff, Putin is snickering and Obama looks foolish! Obama has had 6 months to come up with a plan. Nothing yet other than this is complex.. Well Duh! Obama is the one that drew the line in the sand. So Mr. big O put up or shut up, but for heavens sake don't Whine!!

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 11:35 am
2
1
Obama has had 6 months

Obama has had 6 months to come up with a measured mature response if Assad called his bluff. Clinton asked about the 3 am phone call, what about the phone call 6 months ago when Obama drew the line? A mature response 6 months ago would have been "we are calling on the UN and the nations of the world to stop Assad's killing of his people". "The US AND it's allies etc. etc. etc..." BUT NO ...Obama went ahead and inserted his foot in his mouth and his nose into Syria.

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 11:37 am
1
1
Thoughts about Syrian civil war:

For the Americans that want to go into Syria, I believe our country should start off with a no fly zone. Obama stated that only 10% of the deaths were due to killings by The Syrian air force. I tend to believe that this number is much higher and Obama should order a no fly zone.

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 11:56 am
2
2
t3bledsoe, jet fighters just

t3bledsoe, jet fighters just flying over at low altitude are a game changer, artillery, especially with the accuracy of the artillery today is a big game changer. Obama's problem is that 6 months ago "conventional wisdom" was that Assad would be gone so Obama thought he had a safe bet. The problem was that the Rebels had no aircraft or artillery. Russia saw an opportunity along with Hezbollah and Iran to pull that area of the middle east into it's camp. So what does Obama do now that his bluff has been called?

dichotomy
32020
Points
dichotomy 06/19/13 - 12:24 pm
4
1
It's not surprising that

It's not surprising that Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster (and it has). Look who he had for a Secretary of State.....miss "take two mortar rounds and call me in the morning" Clinton.

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 12:55 pm
3
1
dichotomy, the state

dichotomy, the state department is going to be in shambles in a few months if any of the scandals come out. Seems that an investigation into illicit sexual activity (procuring prostitutes) would have died a natural death if not for a law suit in which two big cheese State Department honchos lied under oath about the investigation...I think Hilary didn't leave quite quick enough, I pary Benghazi and this new scandal cooks her goose. "What difference does it make now" may have another head injury coming on limiting her ability to run for President!

t3bledsoe
14250
Points
t3bledsoe 06/19/13 - 01:42 pm
0
2
Carcraft @ 11:56 AM

"So what does Obama do now that his bluff has been called?"

Again; I think that he should, at the very least, order a no fly zone.

carcraft
25175
Points
carcraft 06/19/13 - 05:10 pm
3
1
t3bledsoe

Well I agree, BUT what do you do if Russia Violates the no fly zone?

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs