Obama Foreign Policy

“Trust but verify” vs. “Trust and concede”

Featured image Michael Rubin persuasively argues that President Obama’s misreading of Vladimir Putin was not idiosyncratic. Rather, it reflects the broad leftist consensus (fantasy, I would say) of how the world (outside of the domestic realm) works. That view, in essence, is that if we’re nice enough to our adversaries there’s a good chance they will stop being adversarial. Rubin identifies some of the government officials and academics who applauded the Obama-Clinton »

Barack Obama sings…

Featured image From the Obama songbook, The People’s Cube has rushed this timely greatest hits collection to market: Barack Obama Sings “Crimea River” and Other Greatest Hits. It’s hard to pick a favorite. As a student and fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival, however, I’m going with “Have You Ever Seen Ukraine?” I look forward to volume 2 and the collection of Obama’s Iran-inspired greatest hits with another nod to CCR: Barack Obama »

Obama’s settlement construction lie

Featured image Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly pushed back against President Obama’s Middle East narrative during the meeting of the two yesterday. According to this account, Netanyahu offered Obama a “history lesson” covering the last 20 years of conflict with the Palestinians. If so, the lesson was much needed. Perhaps it will spark a more general interest by Obama in the subject of history. It’s difficult to say which is more distressing, »

A unified theory of Obama’s domestic bullying and international fecklessness

Featured image Dana Milbank, the Clown Prince of the Washington Post, argues that conservatives are inconsistent when they accuse President Obama both of grabbing power domestically and being ineffectual on the international front. The argument is silly even by the Clown Prince’s standard. Milbank concedes that “in theory, it is possible for Obama to rule domestic politics with an iron fist and yet play the 95-pound weakling in foreign affairs.” He adds, »

What Putin said to Obama

Featured image In the course of its excellent editorial on Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula, the Wall Street Journal’s editorialists draw on the readout of Obama’s 90-minute telephone conversation with Barack Obama over the weekend. We posted the White House readout of Obama’s side of the conversation yesterday and linked to the Kremlin readout of its side of the conversation in Russian. The Kremlin readout is posted in English here. This »

How about a Russian reset in which we’re not the patsy?

Featured image The New Yorker’s David Remnick writes: Vladimir Putin, the Russian President and autocrat, had a plan for the winter of 2014: to reassert his country’s power a generation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He thought that he would achieve this by building an Olympic wonderland on the Black Sea for fifty-one billion dollars and putting on a dazzling television show. It turns out that he will finish the »

So When Will Obama Apologize to Mitt Romney?, Part 2

Featured image John noted before how the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney in 2012 for saying Russia was our most important adversary, but it’s also worth taking in Obama mocking Romney in their third debate, saying that “the 1980s want their foreign policy back.”  That’s actually starting to sound pretty good.  (Video about 1:40 long). Heh. Who’s the dumb guy now? And Stephen Knott notes that just as Europe erupted in protest »

Kerry’s Purple Haze

Featured image John Kerry bloviated in classic style about the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Meet the Press this morning. A word cloud of his appearance would show “pretext” to loom large in it, usually in a redundant formulation such as “phony pretext.” NBC has posted this account of Kerry’s appearance. Quotable quote, in response to the question whether the alleged Russian “reset” proclaimed by the Obama administration at its rosy dawn »

What Obama told Putin

Featured image The White House posted the readout of yesterday’s phone call with Vladimir Putin regarding Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The readout is limited to Obama’s side of the conversation. For an educated guess about what Putin had to say, check out Paul Mirengoff’s adjacent post. (David Remnick links to the Kremlin account of the conversation in Russian.) According to the White House, thus spake Obama: President Obama expressed his »

What was that Obama-Putin conversation like?

Featured image As John noted below, President Obama spent an hour and a half on the telephone with Vladimir Putin discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. What was the conversation like? We can probably get a good sense of it by considering the account of President Bush’s conversations with Putin set forth by Peter Baker in his excellent book about the Bush presidency, Days of Fire. It’s well known that Bush and »

A Bad Time For a Food Stamp President

Featured image Maybe Russia will be satisfied with annexing Crimea and will have no further imperial ambitions. Maybe China is just kidding about going to war with Japan. Maybe the Islamic terrorists have done their worst and will turn to peaceable pursuits. Then again, maybe not. The world continues to be a dangerous place, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us. The timing of President Obama’s announced intention to drastically downsize the »

“Condemnation is not enough”

Featured image That’s the title of the Washington Post’s editorial on Ukraine. The subtitle is “As Russian troops operate in Crimea, the West responds with phone calls.” This doesn’t match John’s memorable headline — “Russia invades Ukraine, Obama declares happy hour” — but it isn’t bad. The Post’s editors write: Missing from the president’s statement was a necessary first step: a demand that all Russian forces — regular and irregular — be »

So, When Will Barack Obama Be Apologizing to Mitt Romney? [Updated]

Featured image In October 2012, at the height of the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney sensibly observed that Russia is “our number one geopolitical foe.” The Obama campaign immediately pounced, releasing this attack ad featuring the slow-witted Madeline Albright, which accused Romney of being an out of touch cold warrior: Knowing what we know now, those smug comments can only provoke hollow laughter. One wonders: who did Obama think was our number one »

Some call it “political unrest”

Featured image Whoever he was, he was an exceedingly wise man who said that it is “[b]etter to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” President Obama proved the wisdom of the adage once again this afternoon in his statement “on political unrest in the Ukraine,” as the White House fittingly styles it. You can’t make this stuff up. This is the statement in »

Russia Invades Ukraine, Obama Declares Happy Hour

Featured image Russian troops are on the move in Crimea. Ukraine’s Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said that Russia is trying to seize the territory: Authorities closed airspace over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and at least five Russian transport planes landed at a military air strip near the regional capital late Friday, as the country’s acting president accused Moscow of trying to seize territory. A duty officer at the Simferopol airport said that »

The Russian Bear, On the Move

Featured image With the Olympics over, Vladimir Putin has Russia on the march. Former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych has surfaced in Russia, where he has been given asylum. In Crimea–a part of Ukraine–armed men have seized the Parliament building and hoisted the Russian flag: The buildings of the Crimean Council of Ministers and the Crimean parliament were seized by an unknown group of 120 armed men at around 4 a.m., according to »

“To Save Venezuela, Sanction Iran and Starve the Castros”

Featured image That is Ted Cruz’s formula, as delivered on the Senate floor today. Cruz is, obviously, a controversial figure. He is unquestionably one of the most brilliant men in Washington, but at times his judgment has been subject to legitimate criticism. Still–speaking for myself–I like brilliance, especially in the Senate. In his speech today, Cruz pointed to the critical connections among Venezuela, Iran and Cuba. He acknowledged, and elaborated upon, Marco »