Strategic Incoherence


I skipped watching the Obama-Merkel Variety Hour this morning because… well, does anyone need a reason to skip viewing it, beyond its mere existence? Anyway, I was counting on the papers to fill me in on just how bad it was, and I wasn’t disappointed:


Now a question from the German press, asking Mrs Merkel what would be her “red line” in order to decide to send weapons to Ukraine.

“What is important is that we stand closely together on a renewed diplomatic effort,” Mrs Merkel responds. “This would mean having a ceasefire in place and certain rules in place.”

She mentions the importance of holding local elections in eastern Ukraine as an example.

Mr Obama says there is no specific moment which will spark an agreement to send weapons to Ukraine. He hopes diplomatic means can stop Russia encroaching on Ukraine territory.

He says they do not want to “contain” and “weaken” Russia, they want a partnership with Russia, but costs have to be imposed for “bad decisions”.

I believe the current slang is “I want you to marinate on that.”

Done? OK, then let me try to walk you through the incoherence of our foreign policy.

To start with, our German friends are hoping for a ceasefire we can’t enforce in order to hold elections the Russians will steal in order to put unspecified rules into place for accomplishing… something.


If anything, Obama’s statements were even less coherent.

Sanctions for “bad decisions” will force improved behavior by destroying Russia’s economy, but Obama doesn’t wish to “weaken” Russia.

We aren’t going to “contain” Russia, but we don’t want them gobbling up any more of Ukraine.

We don’t want Ukraine split up, but we won’t arm the Ukrainians.

Not arming the Ukrainians is therefore one of our diplomatic means of stopping the Russian slo-mo invasion.

Merkel added, “No matter what we decide, the alliance between the United States and Europe will continue to stand.”

Stand for what?

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