The president has just held a press conference announcing he will do nothing much to counter the crises unfolding in the Ukraine and Syria. The New York Times reports:  ’Obama Urges Calm in Face of Two Crises’.

WASHINGTON — President Obama confronted a pair of volatile international crises with restraint on Thursday as he said he was not close to authorizing airstrikes against Islamic extremists in Syria and played down the latest escalation of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

With tensions rising in Europe and the Middle East, Mr. Obama emphasized that a military response would not resolve either situation and pledged to build international coalitions to grapple with them. Despite pressure from within his own government for more assertive action, he tried to avoid inflaming passions as he sought new approaches.

The president’s right: it’s not time to panic. The time to panic was about six months ago. It’s essentially too late to halt the dynamic of events now. Timing matters. Once the batter misses the ball it doesn’t matter how hard he subsequently swings. Someone should tell the president the time to bat is over and the janitor can’t keep the stadium lights on much longer. Shakespeare once wrote:

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted…

No, no, no. Shakespeare’s too fancy for this. How about: maybe you’ve had the experience of some tough guy coming up and asking for something just to see if he can get away with it. You know if you give the thug what he wants, he’ll be back in about an hour for more. So you politely but firmly refuse because a little grief in the beginning is better than a lot of grief at the end. Because human predators like their animal counterparts never take on something that might injure them, because any ding, matter how small, reduces their ability to hunt.  Predators have always gone for the weak and defenseless prey from the beginning of time.

Perhaps president Obama didn’t know that. But he’ll find out all about it now.

The Washington Post reported that ” Russian soldiers, tanks and heavy artillery began rolling into southeastern Ukraine in earnest Thursday, the Ukrainian government said, as well-armed detachments captured key towns, burned buildings and sent the underequipped Ukrainian forces into full retreat — a show of military force that the United States now considers an invasion in all but name.”

U.S. officials began saying privately for the first time Thursday that they consider the escalation of recent days tantamount to a Russian invasion, but President Obama stopped short of using the term at a news conference late in the afternoon. He said the United States would continue to rely on sanctions in an effort to deter Russia.

The sanctions of course, have done nothing to stop Russia so far. It will now take a frightening amount of either military or economic pressure to rein in the Bear. So what’s the president going to do? The only thing he can do: keep going down the road he started. Obama’s time to stand came a long time ago and it’s receding rapidly in the rear view mirror. They’ve taken the reset ring off Obama’s finger already. Now watch him give them the shoes.

The wolves now know that the sheepdog isn’t coming. ABC News says that persons unknown have just kidnapped 43 UN Peacekeepers on the Golan Heights. They are exhibit B of why you can’t feed bread to wolves. If they’re lucky they’ll come back with their underwear.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the 43 detained peacekeepers are from Fiji and are thought to be in the southern part of the area of separation. The 81 troops from the Philippines had their movements restricted.

“The situation is extremely fluid. Obviously, we are very concerned,” Dujarric said.

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, who is a long-time critic of the administration has gone from disappointment to bitterness. She writes, “there is no better example of the ruinous Obama foreign policy than Ukraine. The president has issued empty threats, diminished sanctions and refused to allow Ukraine to protect itself. If you are the leader of a Baltic state, you’re probably and justifiably panicked.”

Panicked because the president needs to find something else to give away, and some Baltic state might be it. The amount of force — or bribery — the president now has to employ to slow this rout will exponentially grow. It’s just like cancer. Catch it early and it could be a minor operation. Leave it till later and it will be major. Yet if there is one rival for the fecklessness in Eastern Europe, it is probably Syria. Just recently ISIS shot 250 Syrian prisoners and posted the video on YouTube.  They’re advertising their brutality.

Only a couple of days ago ISIS demanded $6.6 million in ransom for the release of a 26 -year old American woman “who was kidnapped a year ago while doing humanitarian relief work in Syria.”

What a long road we have traveled from dark days when the cowboy Ronald Reagan stupidly sat in the White House to the bright sunny mornings of today. Yet the world didn’t get here all at once. The finest description of the journey was provided by Winston Churchill whose generation trod a path that looked very much like ours.  All we can hope for is it doesn’t lead to the same place.

It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your feet. Look back over the last five years. … historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory—gone with the wind!

How did we get here? Through vanity, my friend, vanity. In a fit of outrageous extravagance a vainglorious elite bought a fraud they couldn’t afford.


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