Oh yes, they’re the great pretenders! Though seemingly at odds, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have much more in common than it appears, both having become lost in a world of self-delusion.  Putin pretends he hasn’t alienated the entire civilized world with his barbaric aggression against smaller neighbors, and Obama pretends his failed policies haven’t been key in giving Putin the chance to do so.

A remarkable report in the New York Times reveals that Obama has now decided to “write off” America’s relationship with Russia and embark upon a new cold war, focusing on the time-honored principle of containment to guide it.

It states that the next U.S. ambassador to Russia will be John F. Tefft, who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania and who served as deputy head of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.

The Times reports:

When the search began months ago, administration officials were leery of sending Mr. Tefft because of concern that his experience in former Soviet republics that have flouted Moscow’s influence would irritate Russia. Now, officials said, there is no reluctance to offend the Kremlin.

Indeed, Tefft was given the 2012 Diplomacy in Human Rights Award for his work in standing up to the pro-Russia Yanukovich regime before it was toppled this year, including lobbying hard for the release of Yanukovich’s leading political foe, Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison. He’s directly linked to the pro-West movement in Ukraine which has caused Putin to panic.  Tefft’s appointment is a direct poke in the eye of Putin, and there’s no mistaking it.

The Times calls this a “remarkable turnaround” for Obama. That’s putting it mildly.

What’s actually happened is that circumstances have forced Obama to admit that the foreign policy he has pursued for the last six years towards Russia, a policy of appeasement, has crashed and burned. John McCain warned from the start that pursuing such a policy would give Putin the chance to consolidate his power and move aggressively against his neighbors, and that is exactly what has happened. It’s one of the most spectacular foreign policy debacles in U.S. history.

Obama promised us that in return for appeasement we’d get a reliable nuclear arms treaty with Russia. What we actually got was shameless Soviet-style cheating and treaty violations.

Obama promised us that in exchange for appeasement we’d get Russian help reining in Iran. What we actually got was Russian opposition to U.S. interests, not just in Iran but throughout the Middle East, from Libya to Syria.

And on top of it all, we got Russian tanks in Ukraine.  As a headline in Stars and Stripes declared,  Obama wrapped up a “terrific, triumphant, all good, totally awesome year” and delivered it to Putin with a big red bow on top.

As Senator Bob Corker told the Times:

They’re playing us. We continue to watch what they’re doing and try to respond to that. But it seems that in doing so, we create a policy that’s always a day late and a dollar short.

Indeed, Putin is far out ahead of Obama in weaponizing information surrounding the barbaric aggression against Ukraine, and Obama has consistently failed to implement the type of economic sanctions that might prevent Putin from moving deeper into Ukraine.

Alexander Dugin, Putin’s Goebbels, recently declared  that

the territorial integrity of Armenia and Karabakh will not be guaranteed to the extent that Russia is a proportional power and naturally countries adjoining Russia can preserve their territorial integrity exclusively by maintaining good relations with Russia.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, a leader of Putin’s party of power in parliament, echoed  Dugin, directly threatening Ukraine:  “There are very few things the Ukrainian government can do now to keep their country together.”

Russia is, in other words, boldly threatening every neighbor, not just Ukraine, and is far from content with Crimea where Ukraine is concerned.