“Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al-Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al-Qaeda. You said Russia … the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
“I believe the U.S. already understands and will understand more and more that only a strong Russia will respond to the genuine interests of the United States.”
When Secretary of State John Kerry shoved his elegantly cobbled foot into his mouth saying that Syria could avoid an American military air strike by giving up their chemical weapons, Russia jumped in to fill the gaping leadership vacuum left by the Obama administration. President Vladimir Putin graciously offered his services as a peace broker. Never mind that Russia has been providing Syria with weapons – both conventional and chemical for years, and is currently in violation of the chemical weapons treaty. From his op-ed in the New York Times:
“The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria’s borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism. It could undermine multilateral efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and further destabilize the Middle East and North Africa. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance.
Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government. The United States State Department has designated Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations. This internal conflict, fueled by foreign weapons supplied to the opposition, is one of the bloodiest in the world.”
…My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.
Despite the distaste and discomfort most Americans feel upon reading Putin’s words, the fact remains that the concerns expressed by numerous leaders about the administration’s ineptitude, incompetence, and ineffectiveness on the global stage have come to full fruition, and President Obama has been out-flanked, out-maneuvered, and out-classed by an opponent whose grasp of the realities of global political power far exceeds his own.
We are, as Marc Thiessen puts it so eloquently, “running foreign policy by faux pas” – and America is the lesser for it.