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48 Frames Per Second

How much do world leaders respect president Obama?

"Over the past few years, NATO countries have helped Russia revolutionize its armed forces," writes the Daily Beast.  "Now questions are arising about a German defense contractor that trained the Russian military" .

“This wasn’t just about implementing lessons learned from [the 2008 invasion of] Georgia, it was about giving them a basis for a different kind of operations,” said Fiona Hill, a former top intelligence official on Russia, now with the Brookings Institution. “We should have been paying more attention to this. There have been these signals for a long time, but we have been misreading them.”

But it's hard to misread this: "the State Department said Monday that it is investigating allegations that the Syrian government used a toxic chemical in an attack on a rebel-controlled area, raising questions about whether President Bashar al-Assad is violating an international agreement to destroy his most lethal chemical stockpiles," writes the Washington Post.

That would be a violation of the landmark deal between president Obama and Assad announcing the destruction of his chemical weapons arsenal. If true, not only has Assad not forsworn chemical weapons, he using them again. Kinda like promising not to hit Obama and then hitting him again.

The Washington Post has this again to add to the tale of injury: "pro-Russian separatists block monitors from buildings in east Ukraine, diplomats say." They were promised access under the Geneva agreement forged only last week.

Free passage of the monitors and the disarming of separatists were key elements of the agreement reached in Geneva on Thursday among the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union, and the very terms that U.S. officials said would be the primary test of whether Russia intended to comply with the accord.

The successes of the Obama administration, even in PR terms, are now measured in days. Not that the LIVs would notice. It has a record of delivering public policy vaporware that evaporates even as you watch. Slate Magazine asked: "Did the Obama Administration Ever Actually Pivot to Asia?"

The short answer is "no".

The military component of the pivot was always a bit less that met the eye. The plan to have 60 percent of the Navy’s fleet based in the Pacific by 2020 isn’t all that impressive considering it was already 55 percent before the policy was announced, and given that plans to boost the forces in the Pacific come at a time of overall Pentagon cutbacks, it’s unlikely that U.S. forces in the Pacific will actually grow to any significant extent in terms of raw numbers. ...

Since taking over, Kerry’s made an average of 1.14 visits to Asian countries per month, though he also spends a lot more time on the road in general. Out of 10 foreign trips made this year, only one included a stop in Asia. Last year, four out of 20 did.

So it is with some optimism that German journalist Clements Wergin advocates in the New York Times for a pivot to Europe.  Even he remembers the Asian Pivot. "Remember America’s pivot to Asia? Just over three years ago, President Obama announced that Washington would rebalance its resources to a part of the world where, it was believed, the decisive battles of the 21st century would be fought."

Today, though, the pivot to Asia appears to have been largely called off. The Middle East, with its revolutions and power vacuums, is sucking America back in. Meanwhile, the European Union’s failure to stop the Russian invasion of Crimea means that the United States has again been drawn into continental politics, with the looming possibility of another Cold War. And both Europe and the United States are now making a quietly revolutionary attempt to rewrite the rules of trans-Atlantic trade.

As pointed out in an earlier post, Obama has pivoted to the Pacific, the Middle East and Europe depending on the month. Wergin wants Obama to re-write the transatlantic trade. Good call. Obama rewriting words on paper is about all you can hope for. They can rewrite the Pivot to Asia, the Budapest Agreement, the Geneva Agreement, the Syrian Agreement. Why they can even rewrite the Iran agreement, now while there's time, before it's passed, repudiated and mocked. Then they can rewrite it again.

Caroline Glick observed that "American will" seems to have vanished. But maybe that's not true. It's been replaced by a flickering image. As Obama said when in his book, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

But if president Obama is only an illusion the very speed of the images is its own defense. Benghazi, Arms control violations, IRS, Snowden, NSA -- even the Ukraine -- will all be forgotten. They're forgotten already, buried by other debacles that arrive at a breathtaking pace. Nothing can be addressed because disasters replace each other in such a quick succession that not even the resentment can last.  Obama is the 48 frame per second .0004K video resolution president.  Now you thought you saw him, now you don't.

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