Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus has fallen. America's leadership is functionally impaired in the face of a thrusting, fast-moving, and possibly brilliant opponent. Of course, the fact that Putin was up against a broken reed made it easier for him. Yet however one may admire Putin's skills, it must be an admiration tempered by fear, of the kind felt by the British 8th Army in the face of Rommel, of the sort with which Gamelin regarded Guderian. Nothing can disguise the fact that Putin is the enemy and America is less-than-competently led in its contest against him. Something must be done to stem the tide. But what?
As Lee Smith put it in the Weekly Standard: "Putin didn't save Obama. He beat him. The United States is being escorted out of the Middle East." Assad may have just won the civil war against the rebels. And the Iranian nuclear weapon is now probably unstoppable. Alan Dershowitz, that most loyal of Obama's supporters, now understands the truth -- Israel is alone:
I think the Israelis have basically lost trust in the Americans when it comes to Iran. I think this increases the likelihood that Israel will have to go to it alone. What it says to the Israelis is that the president can’t declare red lines and can’t respond to the crossing of red lines.
He might have added that America is everywhere wide open. Unless people are prepared to see everything go over the cliff, then some means of recovery must be found. In 1940, very few people -- including Winston Churchill -- understood how Blitzkrieg worked. Churchill, watching in disbelief as France literally fell apart, broadcast this reassuring speech:
It would be foolish, however, to disguise the gravity of the hour. It would be still more foolish to lose heart and courage or to suppose that well-trained, well-equipped armies numbering three or four millions of men can be overcome in the space of a few weeks, or even months, by a scoop, or raid of mechanized vehicles, however formidable. We may look with confidence to the stabilization of the Front in France.
Not long after, the armies "of three and four millions" capitulated. But France was not being defeated in the flesh, it was being wiped out in the mind. The Germans were moving faster than the sclerotic French high command could comprehend. Their responses were outdated before they were begun. The Blitzkrieg was inside their OODA loop. And thus France fell faster than even Churchill could imagine.
And Obama is no Winston. Obama even sent back his bust to England as one of his first acts in office.
Putin has taken Barack Obama's Narrative apart and handed him the smoking pieces in a bucket. Barry doesn't even know how it happened, nor are his advisers any the wiser. Maybe it was a video. And anyway, "what difference does it make?" Obama may emerge from time to time, blinking in the unaccustomed light, seeking to respond in the only ways he knows how: with a speech; as a guest on Leno; firing a few desultory cruise missiles here or there at targets chosen not to matter; or to offer increasingly unaffordable amounts of money for "deals" that won't last. And none of it will work.
It remains to be seen whether Washington has the institutional depth to reconstitute itself in a crisis. But reconstitute it must. The current team in the White House is broken. Change must come if there is to be hope.
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