How Much Are We to Blame for the Downing of MH-17?
If you put yourself in the shoes of a Russian dictator and you had witnessed the vacuum created by our country’s lack of leadership, what would you do differently if you were Vladimir Putin? Given Russian propensity to play fast and loose with the truth even when they hold no leverage, why should we expect him to be transparent when he now wields it? Putin’s leverage over President Obama has been easily gained. How? Let’s start with military cuts that are some of the largest in US history. In 2011, the defense budget represented 4.7% of GDP. In 2014, the cuts are predicted to be 2.7% of GDP or a 30% cut in spending from $705B to $496B. History has shown that large cuts in defense spending usually lead to US insecurity. From Pre-World War II cuts by FDR which left us with an army the size of Portugal’s allowing Nazi’s and Fascist’s to discount our will to Post World War II cuts which emboldened the Soviets and Chinese to overrun the Korean Peninsula.1
Signs of Obama foreign policy weakness were seen in his first term. While taking part in a global nuclear security summit in South Korea and believing the microphones were turned off, Mr. Obama leaned over to then Russian President and Putin puppet, Dmitry Medvedev and said, “This is my last election. After my election, I will have more flexibility.” Medvedev replied, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.2” Putin knew then that Obama was vulnerable and easily manipulated.
Unfortunately, the list of failed or even just outright indifferent foreign policy gives not only Putin, but other world sociopaths like Assad and Kim Jong-un free reign to commit crimes against humanity unfettered and unconstrained. Let’s look at our track record in Syria, Egypt, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela or Cuba. America has not challenged dictators nor has it defended human rights activists and journalists when repressive regimes jailed them. Last week, the Nigerian rebel group, Boko Harum, issued another video pledging to kidnap more children. It scoffed at Obama foreign policy by hash tag with their own #BringBackOurArmy instead of #BringBackOurGirls that the Obama Administration had so proudly used as their social media banner.3 I don’t think foreign policy by social media is working out too well.
Even in our own country, Obama can’t get it right. While southern border crossings by illegal alien children have become a crisis, he has yet to even visit the borders where this is happening. He did pay a visit to Texas recently. Instead of being a commander in chief, he did what he did best…be a fundraiser in chief. He attended two fundraisers in Dallas and Austin where tickets ranged from $5,000 to $32,000.4
Is it fair to put the blame of our president for the crime committed against MH-17 in the Ukraine? Absolutely not. However, Russia’s arming of “Separatists” is a direct result of a president with no stomach for foreign policy. The vacuum created by the world’s only remaining Super Power’s continued foreign policy ambiguity has opened the window wide for ICIS, Syrian slaughter, Crimean annexation and Ukrainian war while creating mistrust with our allies. The world is rife with instability because none of the good guys are carrying a big stick. Encroachment and incursion will continue until the bullies are punched in the nose.