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Ed Driscoll

‘A Piers Morgan Foreign Policy’

March 3rd, 2014 - 1:47 pm

“The foundations of Obama’s foreign policy have taken a serious beating over the weekend, with his desire to see a nuclear-free world perhaps one of the biggest casualties,” Walter Russell Mead writes today:

Behind the scenes, we are told, the White House spin machine is telling friendly reporters (of which there are many, though perhaps not so many as in 2009) that, in essence, Vladimir Putin has fallen into a trap. “I’ve got him where I want him,” as the hunter said when the bear chased him up a tree.

There is a sense in which this is actually true; Putin is leading Russia down a dead end and the creation of a corrupt, authoritarian and brutal state resting on the exploitation of hydrocarbons will over time weaken and marginalize Russia in world affairs. As a further step down that dark road, the Ukrainian invasion deepens the historical crisis of modern Russia and makes positive progress both more difficult and less likely. There are two kinds of state-building autocrats. Some throttle freedom and succeed in building a strong and modernizing state; names like Kemal Ataturk, Augusto Pinochet and Lee Kwan Yew come to mind. Others throttle freedom and have nothing to show for it—people like Juan Peron, Benito Mussolini, and Slobodan Milosevic. Putin is increasingly likely to go down in history as a failed state builder, a man who took Russia down the wrong path and who added to the burden of Russian history.

But those are long term considerations that, unfortunately for the diligent White House staffers working to spin the next news cycle, won’t help the President now.  In the short term President Putin has put President Obama in an ugly spot. President Obama’s foreign policy depends on three big ideas: that a working relationship with Russia can help the United States stabilize the Middle East, that a number of American adversaries are willing to settle their differences with us on the basis of compromises that we can accept, and that President Obama has the smarts to know who we can trust.

Well, so much for that idea. When you’ve lost TNR


On the other hand, CNN, which tut-tuts about Vladimir Putin “bullying” Obama should be pretty happy with the current state of affairs, as Dave Carter notes at Ricochet:

What we are seeing is a sort of Piers Morgan foreign policy, which finds virtue where good people are defenseless, where weakness is confused with strength, vulnerability is confused with courage, and mediocrity is confused with exceptionalism. At home, this approach leaves the American citizen helpless in something called a “gun-free zone,” which in reality becomes a shooting gallery where deranged savages, who remain invincibly indifferent to the law, prey on the innocent.  In the international arena, it whets the appetite of ruthless men and invites aggression.

And NBC’s David Gregory hopes that Obama continues to be “bullied,” as he’d much rather see a weak America than a confident one:

On Sunday’s NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory appeared to caution President Obama against aggressively confronting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Teeing up left-wing Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, Gregory declared: “Look, part of the Bush era that a lot of people recoiled against was the idea of talking tough and projecting American power as if some how feeling better about that makes the world better.”

On Saturday, my fellow PJM colleague Rick Moran noted that “It’s Beginning to Smell Like the 1970s.” But on the left, when did the blinkers of the Malaise era, which ran from 1968 until the election of President Reagan ever actually come off?

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Others throttle freedom and have nothing to show for it—people like Juan Peron, Benito Mussolini, and Slobodan Milosevic.

Hugo Chavez would be pissed, he would fit that list just fine.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Look, part of the Bush era that a lot of people recoiled against was the idea of talking tough and projecting American power as if some how feeling better about that makes the world better.”

I took the painful step of actually perusing the NYT over the weekend, just to see how they were reporting on Crimea -- and the White House's impotent response. *Every ... single ... comment* I read on the articles mentioned something along the lines of "well, what can we do? That bumbling cowboy Bush screwed up so royally that we can't intervene anywhere anymore ..."

So even Putin's invasions are Bush's fault. I mean, Obama is so brilliant and he's doing effectively nothing so there *must* be a reason ...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"There are two kinds of state-building autocrats."

Which kind is Obama? That's a rhetorical question, of course, we already know which kind he is.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The current kerfuffle with Russia is more perplexing/angering to some liberals, such as the writer at The New Republic or the Washington Post's editorial page than the same situation 35 years ago. Back then, they didn't like Jimmy Carter all that much to begin with (because it wasn't as liberal as Teddy) and after Vietnam and in the middle of the Cold War era, could simply blame everything on the Soviet response to U.S. aggression.

The more simple-minded reflexive liberals like David Gregory are trying to do that here, but others are actually concerned that five-plus years into Obama's term, all his courting of Putin and his other Not George W. Bush moves in the Middle East have produced a situation that's worse than it was before. There's no question that TNR or the WaPo in 2016 will come to the conclusion that the answer to the U.S. weakness in foreign policy will be to elect the person who was overseeing it between 2009 and 2012, but short-term they don't appear as ready as Gregory to look at red skies and say their blue just to keep the guy in the White House from looking weak and indecisive.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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