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Monday, March 3, 2014

American Might and other Fairy Tales

  When newly elected President Barack Obama traveled the world in 2009 on what is now known to most Conservatives as "the apology tour", we knew there was trouble brewing. Feverishly bowing to Saudi Kings, and bemoaning America's arrogance, what could possibly go wrong there? In the wake of escalating violence in Ukraine, we are seeing just exactly, what could go wrong there.
  Roughly 2000 Russian troops entered Ukraine on Saturday in what amounts to an invasion of a sovereign nation. Despite pleas from the United States and other western nations, Russia's Parliament voted unanimously for the deployment of troops to Ukraine. Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke by phone for approximately ninety minutes. President Obama says he voiced deep concerns over Russia's clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and urged Putin to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing Russian troops back to bases in Crimea, and not to interfere elsewhere in Ukraine. Putin and the rest of the Russian leadership all had a good chuckle over that one.
  Ukraine is not the only place in the world where political tensions are on the rise. On Sunday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched through the streets of Caracas Venezuela. The protests stem from the arrest of a government opposition leader on February 18, and frustration over the lack of four things, justice, shortages, freedom and censorship. North Korea continues to sabre rattle, and today fired two short range missiles off its eastern coast. Iran continues to build up its nuclear arsenal. And what about those consequences and that red line drawn in the sand just for Syrian President Bashir al Assad?
  So why now, is all of this going on simultaneously? Maybe we have to go back to that long ago meeting between President Obama and Saudi King Abdullah. We could give President Obama the benefit of the doubt for a millisecond, and say perhaps he was just trying to show respect to another head of state. What he really showed was weakness. That bow, and subsequent bowing to other heads of state, and retreating to the golf course when it came time to do something about the crossing of that line in the sand, spoke volumes to the rest of the world. The message sent was, American might and muscle, at least for the time being is non-existent. All of you third world tin-pot dictators have nothing to fear from the United States until at least 2017. Oh we will speak loudly enough, but forget about that big stick.
  There have always been people on the right who have suspected that part of the "transformation" Obama spoke of five days before the election in 2008, was to bring America's position in the world down a peg or two, a possible dream of his father, embittered and angry about British imperialism in his native Kenya, and may have felt that America should get the same treatment.
  Is it fair to ask the question, if a Republican President were in the White House today, would this many rogue nations have the nerve to poke fingers in the eye of the United States all at the same time? That depends, is the President Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush? One would venture a guess that the answer to that question is, we want the response we got in 1981. Thirty minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President, American hostages were released by Iranian "students", a.k.a., terrorists, who had been held for 444 days under a similar president to Barack Obama. Bad actors the world over knew at that moment, there was a new sheriff in town, and that new sheriff was not going to toy with them.
  Unfortunately, it seems to be a pretty sure bet that America will suffer many more unanswered pokes in the eye before the next new sheriff comes a-ridin' into town. And with each new snicker by another guy like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un makes it that much harder to win back the muscle and the respect you lost.
  Might be a long ride until 2016 Buckaroos.       

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