The Ditherer

Bill Neinast

Blame President Obama if you have problems reading this column.  My computer  keyboard is shaking so much that it is difficult to keep my fingers in position.

You must have noticed it too.  The earth is shaking hard enough to jiggle every thing on it.  The President is the cause.

He has drawn another red line in the sand against Iran and warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that there will be consequences if he interferes in Ukraine.

The new threats from this man, just like the earlier ones from him, have the leaders of every nation in the world shaking in their boots.  The shivers are so hard that the whole earth is quivering.  That is the shaking you are feeling in your chairs.

Wait a minute, however.  There is really another cause for that shaking.  That is the rumble of the Russian tanks and other heavy military equipment rolling into Crimea.  Putin must not have heard Obama say there “would be costs” if he moved into Ukraine.

Those vehicles are all waving Russian flags.  Actually, those are not the national flags of Russia.  They are new caricature flags of Putin thumbing his nose at Obama.

This would be laughable if it were not so serious.  This is not a civil war or civil uprising like those in Egypt, Syria, Turkey and other countries in that area.  This is a threat of international war--one country invading another.

In response, Obama is showing his typical ineptness in foreign affairs.  There is, of course, no option for a direct military intervention by the U.S.  An experienced manager of international affairs or even one with a modicum of knowledge of history would react to this situation with something other than warnings of “cost.”

Instead of a 90 minute telephone conversation between Obama and Putin there should have been a highly publicized conversation between Obama and Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.  In this conversation, Obama could have committed the U.S. to strong and continuing support of the new democratic regime in Ukraine.

As proof of that support, a page from WWII history books could have been resurrected.  Obama could have suggested a renewal of the Lend-Lease Program under which the U.S. provided much needed military materiel to Russia and other allies in the war with Germany.  Now, of course, the support would go to Ukraine.

Obama could have made a show of promising Yatsenyuk things like some of our super effective fighter planes, drones, etc.  If there were no Ukrainian pilots capable of handling those modern fighters, a modern day Claire Chennault probably could be found to organize a replica of the Flying Tigers that helped the Chinese battle the Japanese air force before the U.S. entered WWII.

He could have added that he was also ordering the largest U.S. Navy fleet that could navigate the narrow, treacherous Bosporus or Istanbul Straits into the Black Sea.  This fleet was not to threaten direct military action, but would be the symbolic “big stick” of Theodore Roosevelt.  It would also be available for logistical support for the Lend-Lease material, hospital and medical assistance, safe haven under the U.S. flag for Ukrainian officials, etc.

Finally, instead of saying that the U.S. was suspending "upcoming participation in preparatory meetings" for the G8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia, Obama should have said that the U.S. would not participate in the June meeting if Putin invaded Ukraine.  He should have noted that, instead of such a meeting, he would be meeting with our NATO and EURO allies to plan financial aid to replace the Ukrainian treasury looted by Putin’s friend Viktor F. Yanukovych, Ukraine’s humiliated fugitive president now in Russia.

These actions probably would not have any more effect on Putin than Obama’s 90 minute plea with him or the threat of “costs.”  It would, however, have shown a president with the backbone of his predecessors.

Several years ago, pundits and comics humiliated and made fun of President George W. Bush as the Decider.  This was based on Bush’s own statement that he was the Decider, meaning he was the one who made the decisions in the White House.

When will those pundits and comics begin doing the same with Obama by calling him what he is, the Ditherer.  The only decisions he is known to make with speed and finality are the locations and times of his next golf games and which sycophants are to stand behind him while he makes a televised campaign appearance.

His relations with Putin since “hitting the reset button” on Russian relations shortly after taking office and agreeing not to place defense missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic are aptly described by Michigan’s Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  He says, “Putin is playing chess; Obama is laying marbles.” 

So here’s the perspective.

President Obama’s foreign policy was summarized in a cartoon last week.  The drawing by Gorrell at 1014 is entitled “Major Foreign Policy Triumphs of the Obama Administration.”  It is simply a blank sheet of paper.


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