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Roger’s Rules

What Game of Chess?

March 6th, 2014 - 8:42 am

Last week, as the Obama administration scurried to remove the large quantities of egg that Vladimir Putin had deposited on its collective countenance, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers commented that Putin was playing chess while Obama was “playing marbles.”

I think that was unfair. Marbles are inherently attractive, and their deployment is an innocent pastime that has beguiled the innocent hours of many a boyhood. What’s more, playing marbles takes skill.  What is happening in Ukraine is anything but innocent, and the astonishing incompetence on display in Barack Obama’s hesitant but sullen maunderings has been the opposite of skillful.

Vladimir Putin is playing a dangerous game of chess, all right, but the only thing Obama can be said to be playing is the fool.

This morning, it was revealed that Crimea has just voted to “join” Russia. “Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia,” Reuters reported, “and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the the decision.” What do you suppose that means?

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, to give the history-marinated peninsula (Sevastopol, Yalta) its formal name, has been in but only partly of the Ukraine since the charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. Nearly 60% of the population of the peninsula are ethnic Russians; less than 25% are ethnic Ukrainians.

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All those Russian troops and tanks we’ve been seeing on the nightly news were not imported into  Crimea: they were already there in major military installations that Russia has maintained there before, during, and after the Soviet Union.

Everyone who sees the hand of Comrade Putin behind this prelude to the Russian Anschluss of Crimea is correct.  But here’s a question: what do you propose to do about it? Putin is in Moscow, arranging for his next bare-chested photo op. The Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea votes to “join” Russia, with a referendum scheduled March 16. Arseny Yatseniuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, says any such decree to make Crimea part of Russia would be “illegitimate.”  “Crimea is, was, and will be an integral part of Ukraine,” he declared. But what if the vote goes the other way? What then?

Nxf6+ i.e., say goodbye to that Knight, and, by the way, Check.

Not all things are possible at all times.  There was a long moment when nimble U.S. diplomacy, combined with the aura of U.S. power and prestige, might have significantly influenced what happened in Ukraine. What Glenn Reynolds has aptly dubbed Obama’s “Smart Diplomacy™” has broken the kneecaps of American diplomatic prowess.  If you doubt that, consider the current of comedy contained in this headline: “Secretary Kerry to meet with Russian counterpart to discuss Ukraine crisis.” Admit it: you tittered slightly. After all, what would a “Russian counterpart” of John Kerry look like? Something like Boris Badenov from the Rocky and His Friends. I doubt that Vladimir Putin maintains a court jester, so it is extremely unlikely that there is a “Russian counterpart” of John “reporting for duty” Kerry.

And what about American power and prestige?  “U.S. to increase military spending by more than 12% next year.” Oh, wait, not: that was China. In the U.S., the Hamas-loving secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has just unveiled a plan to cut the military to pre-World War II levels.

We’ve come a long way from those pseudo-Greek columns in Colorado, when the half-black, first-term senator with a background in anti-American radicalism (Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers) and a patina of affirmative-action, Ivy-League glibness gave guilt-ridden leftists from Chris Matthews on down a pleasurable little tingle. The epicene smugness, the brutal contempt of anything that seemed like manliness or even conventional decency (just try using the word “decency” in polite, i.e., politically correct company: go ahead, try it) — the spell Obama cast swept all before him, the little squeaks of critics all-but-drowned-out by the narcissist cataract of “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

The oddest thing about the whole Obama entertainment is the discrepancy between serious-sounding rhetoric, on the one hand, and embarrassing incompetence on the other.  Search YouTube for a clip of Obama speechifying. It doesn’t much matter what speech: so long as he has his teleprompter and a text he actually sounds like a reasonable adult (I am not talking about the substance of his speeches, only the tone, the oratorical payload).  But step back and contemplate Obama’s performance these last 5 years: just think about what he has done to this country: to its wealth, its prestige on the world stage, its sense of security, domestic as well as international.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Like many of my colleagues, I thought Obama’s appalling first term — the economy, Benghazi, Obamacare, Fast and Furious, Trayvon Martin, “Green” non-energy, etc., etc. — I thought for sure that the electorate, like Hamlet’s Denmark, would be contracted in one brow of woe and vote the mountebank out. I was wrong.  But all around us a morality play is working itself, and it is looking more and more like something from Kipling’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings.”

They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.

John Bolton is right: “Our Biggest National Security Problem is Barack Obama.” What’s happening in Crimea is only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Obama doesn’t even know there’s a game being played.  He certainly has no idea of the stakes involved. Meanwhile, Putin is just about to make another move: Qh5# — that’s  checkmate, mate.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
It's plain as the nose on your face that Barack doesn't care much about all this foreign policy crapola and finds it a distraction.

His mission first, last and always is that fundamental transformation thing.

(if things go the least bit the way they should in November, his frustration will grow by orders of magnitude)

Ukraine happened just on the cusp of his black youth initiative, how inopportune. And whatever happened to that other initiative, "5 enterprise zones" ?

That's all community organizers know how to do, propose serial BS "initiatives".

Rush Limbaugh had an apt characterization yesterday of the Ukraine fiasco...

"The KGB versus ACORN"
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Obama can be said to be playing is the fool."

Only if he is honestly in over his head. Is it not more likely that he is playing the Turncoat? His appearance of foolishness is by design, for the rubes.

Kerry now, THERE'S a fool who really rates the full harlequin costume.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Will this humiliation motivate President Obama to put in the time and effort expected of the POTUS or will he be playing cards as he did the night OBL was killed, flying to Las Vegas rather than saving Americans in Bengazi?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US has long had a weakness in international relations, probably stemming from its Puritan heritage through the Ivy League through the Foreign Policy establishment. The US is used to dealing with Rule-of-Law nations and behaves that way with Trader Nations. In Trader Nations, law conforms to the rulers and their view of international relations is like a Wild West saloon poker game. One sits down, putting the money and the six-gun on the table, if one cannot just steal.

Another weakness: Used to dealing in the Rule-of-Law milieu, possible threats are dealt with easily by using Deductive reasoning to put them in the category of “Wouldn’t Happen” or “No Problem.”

When France fell in 1940, this weakened cover of the Strait of Malacca. British troops at Singapore had been replaced by green Australians. The Philippines was basically nude, and Vietnam was now uncovered. Japan, a Trader Nation, was in Theft Mode. Instead of having an old US battleship visit Haiphong and Saigon for shore leave, nothing was done. When later Japan occupied Vietnam and expanded the air bases, FDR immediately rolled out his demand for them to leave as they shall not be allowed to stay there. The format was vigorous, forthright, table-pounding negotiation. No US six-gun was put on the table. Japan grossly underestimated what they were getting into. Had FDR mentioned to the Japanese ambassador something about “having their guts for garters,” Japan may have questioned the basis of their threat analysis.

Currently, the US is doing forthright negotiation while reducing the six-gun and using a lot of Deductive reasoning.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
He really played the fool yesterday, pontificating before some chanteuses in the East Room.

(Where's Alex Trebek when you need him ?)

(hey Barack RSPECT is earned, independently of what you look like or who you love or whatever. Putin ain't showing any right now.)

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/03/07/obama-misspells-respect-while-praising-franklin-before-white-house-concert/
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Given his political tendencies, we ought to be thankful that Obama is often disengaged, distracted and incompetent. All the mega-vacations on our dime may be worth it to keep his policy activity to a minimum. Unfortunately, he has some effective operatives working 24/7 to make his perverse dreams a reality.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Damn, "the Ukraine" might interfere with a planned jaunt to Key Largo with the fam this weekend.

Michelle is taking "the girls" and her mom to China later this month.

AF1 used to cost "only" $180,000/hour to operate. That's up under Obama to $228,288/hour.

Facts, revealed reluctantly under the Freedom of Information Act:

— The outbound flight to Honolulu for the Obama 2012-2013 Christmas vacation cost taxpayers $2,214,393.60. The return flight to Washington was $1,871,961.60. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $4,086,355.20.

— The outbound flight to California in August 2013 for Obama to dine with fundraiser and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and appear on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” cost taxpayers $1,209,926.40. The return flight to Washington was $935,980.80. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $2,145,907.20.

— The outbound flight to Martha’s Vineyard for the Obama family August vacation cost taxpayers $890,323.20. The return flight to Washington was $273,945.60. The total price for flight expenditures alone came to $1,164,268.80.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's plain as the nose on your face that Barack doesn't care much about all this foreign policy crapola and finds it a distraction.

His mission first, last and always is that fundamental transformation thing.

(if things go the least bit the way they should in November, his frustration will grow by orders of magnitude)

Ukraine happened just on the cusp of his black youth initiative, how inopportune. And whatever happened to that other initiative, "5 enterprise zones" ?

That's all community organizers know how to do, propose serial BS "initiatives".

Rush Limbaugh had an apt characterization yesterday of the Ukraine fiasco...

"The KGB versus ACORN"
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
You said "serial BS initiatives". I love it, brief-concise-true and just a bit coarse.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But what if the vote goes the other way? What then?"

All indications are that "the vote" will be at least 80% to rejoin Russia. But by the Constitution as written, any such vote in Crimea would not be legitimate, not that Putin cares much about piffling formalities like Constitutions. (So he has at least THAT in common with our waffler in chief... and yesterday said waffler reserved the right through executive order to freeze some oligarchs assets in the US. or something)

"(just try using the word “decency” in polite, i.e., politically correct company: go ahead, try it)"

They're not even vaguely familiar with the concept, so I wouldn't try it.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Obama plays the fool"

Just to show us all, and even those who adore him, that "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do">
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
As evidenced by his presidency, Obama's function has little to do with foreign affairs or policy- his purpose is completely domestic- akin to the main charge placed near a major support structure of a building slated for controlled demolition. The metaphorical building is of course the United States economy... so to quote the heavily media engineered front runner for his seat in 2016, "What difference at this point does it make?"

Obama cannot possibly act within a complete vacuum and every act and statement he makes gets passed through the increasingly complete filter of his past words and actions. Unfettered by the protective cocoon of propagandist domestic media, the world gets to see who and what he really is as defined by his demagoguery and divisiveness at home- all of which affects his credibility in issuing threats in response to what other leaders are doing.

Like a gigantic, hundred thousand piece jigsaw puzzle that we're forced to put together in order to get a picture of what his administration really is, we're finding that his policies not only do not accomplish what we're told, but also that there was no intention for them to. World leaders like Putin got the box that the puzzle was packaged in- with the full picture and not only do they know pretty much what Obama is all about but they see us for what we are- a willfully duped herd of pathetic sheep who have outsourced critical thinking responsibility to propagandist enablers.

Denigrate Obama all we want, but we're pissing into a stiff headwind when we do and much of what we say comes right back onto us- and while our president may appear weak and waffling in his foreign affairs- we elected him... not once but twice. The world did not elect him but has been subject to the direction he has chosen to take the country- acts which have affected the strength behind his actions with regard to real leaders like Putin who not only see the deliberately decimated domestic foundation but of an increasingly disloyal policies toward our strongest allies- like Israel while we strive to forge alliances with entities who do not respect us... and will not respect us for having thrown our strongest allies under the proverbial bus.

This cannot be lost on Putin- who likely sees strong statements coming forth from our own State Department as comic relief at best since we have engineered our own irrelevance with regard to world affairs after that very same State department showed depraved indifference to four Americans being killed in Benghazi- insisting on holding the producer of an obscure anti-Muslim YouTube video for the uprising that resulted in the deaths. In matters of world affairs, our country has become a circus side show- and I'm convinced that it has been to some extent deliberate.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you put Obama on the first square of a chessboard, and for each square you doubled his intelligence, after 64 squares it would still be zero.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is not playing the fool. He IS a fool.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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