Monday, October 12, 2015

Obama Pushes Back against Green Lantern Theory

One of the things that drives me crazy is when critics say we need more leadership or that Putin is a better leader.  I get it that Obama is not always right, but on this, he gets it exactly right:
Steve Kroft: He's challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He's challenging your leadership--
President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we've got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we'll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we've got a 60-country coalition that isn't suddenly lining up around Russia's strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.

Indeed. The point on Ukraine in this transcript is key: that Putin is not magically leading Russia to superpower status by taking apart Ukraine, but that he lost his patsy there, and had to respond in an ad hoc manner.  Yes, he got a hunk of Ukraine in Crimea, but he has also alienated a country and a people that were ambivalent about the West.


Rob Chasen said...

Vox pretty much quoted your entire blog post:

Anonymous said...

Does Obama think that he would have got the Iran Nuclear deal, if Lavrov/Putin did not co-operate?

If Putin behaved like the likes of Obama Administration, [who cancelled G8 in Sochi] or specifically Samantha Power, Hillary Clinton, Ash Carter, he could have easily put stumbling blocks in the Vienna nuclear deal and make it very hard for Obama back in the US with his own party. [Ignore the republicans, who when Obama says up will bet it is down]. In one of the once in a blue moon occasions, for the first time I have noticed, AIPAC lost. Putin did this even if you look the normalization of Iran into the world oil market might lead to cheaper oil prices which will hurt Russia in the very much shorter term and possibly longer term

Similarly how Putin saved Obama's **se 2 years ago with the Syrian Chemical Weapons redline. He gave both Obama and Kerry a face saving way to come out of the verbal ***thole that they have dug themselves.

Great leadership when you see that your "moderate" friends who the CIA and military showering with money and weapons, join the likes of ISIS, Al-Queda, Al-Nusra front and kill the same civilians you accuse Assad of killing. And admitting that 500 MUSD has been used to train 5 active fighters is the a "leadership" moment, I suppose.

Now with Ukraine, Obama thinks he is winning and Putin is losing? eh!
Germany and France have clearly said "NO" to Ukraine being a member of NATO. Ukraine's economy is in shambles. Winter is coming and it needs gas from Russia. It has to now pay in advance for its gas [which it just paid by borrowing from EU 500M USD]. Porosh was summoned to has been warned by Hollande and Merkel to stick to Minsk 2 agreements giving federalization power to Donetsk and Lugansk.

Poroshenko's govt is now fighting internally with the maidan friends from the "Right sector" to amend the constitution to grant autonomy it promised in the Minsk 2 for eastern Ukraine. It has gone nowhere.

Cleverly, the Self-syled leaders of Lugansk and Donetsk postponed their own election timetable and agreed to work with Ukraine on the dates [Moscow's hand again] thus depriving Poroshenko of the last of excuses to stick to his end of the bargain. So he is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

BTW, I think Putin is not a great strategist and he is a narcissist. But he is a survivor and he is able to quickly react to the situation that was thrown to him. If the "West" throws hissy fit, he bypasses them.

He has done in 15 days more results that the grand western alliance was (un)able to do within the last 1.5 years. To add salt to the wound, Iraq has openly lent itself to the hands of Moscow in sharing intelligence ,
openly that it allowed its airspace available to Moscow so that Cruise missiles can be launched over its territory to attack the ISIS targets in eastern Syria.
Let me not even talk about how friggin surprised/deluded the "West" was when it found that the missiles travelled across for 1000s of Kilometers launched 100% from Caspian Sea with vessels less than 200 feet in length [the Tomohawk needs 500 Ft + ships to launch those].

Delegations from Saudi Arabia and Emirates [indirect/direct funders of ISIS, Al Nusra and destabiliser of Assad's regime] are visiting him to discuss next steps and concerns.

Yeah! Putin is failing allright! We are exceptional....