Thursday, April 24, 2014

President All "Teed-Up"

The beat goes on with respect to the Obama administration's mishandling of foreign policy. The commander-in-chief has now dispatched 600 troops to four east-European countries, two of which share borders with Russia – Estonia and Latvia. Neither of the other two – Lithuania and Poland – shares a border with Russia. So...what do 150 troops apiece in these countries have to do with anything since all four are members of NATO and are – by treaty – firmly entitled to defense against any nation that attacks them, especially Russia?

Perhaps the president has in mind the use of U.S. troops as sort of guinea pigs – like in South Korea – the attack upon which would precipitate all-out war. If so, that's comparing apples with oranges since the situations are nowhere near the same. In any case, NATO, including virtually all of Europe as well as Canada, would mobilize immediately, whether or not there were any U.S. troops in those countries. In short, the troops are totally unnecessary.

The usual bit about having them deployed to carry out training, etc., is laughable, as is the claim that they represent some sort of support from the U.S., which is already obligated. In short, the American people are not gullible enough to believe that 600 troops make any kind of difference in the situation, especially since Obama has already made it crystal clear that the U.S. will not intervene militarily in Ukraine, no matter what Putin does.

The president continues to embarrass this country on his Asian swing now in progress. He delivered himself of the proclamation in Japan that his further sanctions against Putin are “teed up.” Maybe one out of 100 million folks in this world know what “teed up” means, but the president chose that golf-term when he might have just said “prepared,” something understood in most any language. The sanctions will mean nothing if they are inculcated, especially since Europe is so dependent on Russia for its oil.

The Geneva clambake – Kerry's 15 minutes of fame the other day – has now proven to be a debacle since Putin has made it clear that whatever was signed there is not worth the paper and ink used. He's outfoxed NATO and the UN since he can make it appear that Ukraine is oppressing Russians in its East, just as he claimed regarding Crimea. Actually, according to the media, the majority of people in east-Ukraine would rather be part of Russia anyway, so what's the beef? This was the case in Crimea, as well.

It is abundantly apparent that Obama should have said nothing about the happenings in Ukraine. It all started with dissident Ukrainians (probably justifiably) declaring a Slavic Spring, i.e., taking to the streets to foment unrest and violence to unseat a lousy president. They were successful but merely produced a governmental vacuum with new officials somehow chosen by the people trying to fill it – unsuccessfully, not least because the country is bankrupt and has only a weak military, far inferior to that of Russia.

The U.S. has no treaty obligation to defend Ukraine so, unless he was prepared to do something substantive about the problem, Obama should have kept the lid on comments, especially any that indicated armed conflict. He didn't need to say that the U.S. would not fight for Ukraine. He didn't need to say anything, just as he didn't need to say anything about Syria. He and the whole world know that getting into these regional wars is a futile exercise.

Nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria will have their civil wars notwithstanding what others think is right or wrong. Action may be necessary, however, when a sovereign nation attacks another sovereign nation such as was the case when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1991 and Bush 41 put a stop to that grab, saving all the Arabian Peninsula, if not the entire Middle East. Even that may not have happened if oil (a worldwide concern) had not been a predominant factor.

Bush 41 had the advantage of a great economy and a military so powerful that no nation could compare. The U.S. has a miserable economy now and the military is being drastically down-sized. Obama needs to keep his mouth closed about any type of intervention and should also tell State Secretary Kerry that competing with Hillary for the number of miles-flown on hopeless enterprises is as silly as it gets.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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