web analytics
March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Emergent Mr. Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s startling Sept. 11 op-ed article in The New York Times was sobering evidence that President Obama’s self-created Syrian debacle has fostered the appearance of a sea change in international affairs – a sea change to America’s detriment.

Mr. Putin, heretofore known as a ruthless KGB thug, was enabled by President Obama’s ineptness to deliver in the Times a statesmanlike plea for the rule of law in international affairs as well as a stinging rebuke of what he described as the American self-image of “exceptionalism” that has led it to act unilaterally when it felt like it.

Would anyone have cared what Mr. Putin thought about these things had President Obama not laid down his Syrian “red line” and then folded when Syria seemingly ignored it? But this was not all, by any means.

We are not saying Mr. Obama should have resorted to military action simply to boost U.S. credibility in international affairs. Yet it is hard to imagine at this point that other countries – Iran, for example – view American blandishments as having the ring of truth to them. The same holds true for Israel and other U.S. allies that have been urged to forgo taking action on their own in defense of their national interests and instead rely on the U.S.

And then there was the president’s about-face in deciding to seek Congressional approval before he would act on his “red line” promise. Actually, it is not difficult to understand why Mr. Obama decided to go to Congress for authorization regarding the use of force against Syria. While presidents, including President Obama, have taken military action against other countries without Congressional pre-approval, each of those situations was recognized as justifiable under international law.

President Reagan sent Marines into Grenada on the grounds that he had to act to protect American citizens there. President Clinton bombed Kosovo in order to stop the massacre of civilians there. And the bombing of Libya by Mr. Obama was authorized by the UN Security Council.

But an attack on Syria over its use of chemical weapons has not been explained as a preventative measure designed to stymie any further use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. From the start, President Obama cited the need to punish Mr. Assad’s government if it resorted to chemical weapons. Prevention was not part of his initial formulation.

Indeed, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said, “The president believed that it was important to enhance the legitimacy of any action that would be taken by the executive to seek Congressional approval of that action and have it be seen, again as a matter of legitimacy both domestically and internationally, that there was a unified American response to the horrendous violation of the international norm against chemical weapons use.”

Mr. Obama himself said the U.S. should “get out of the habit” of having American presidents “stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as he can,” while members of Congress “snipe” from the sidelines.

But no matter the level of the president’s concern over possibly facing war-crime accusations, he risked, by turning to Congress without knowing beforehand whether there was domestic support for still another war, telegraphing to the world that the U.S. had no stomach to live up to its promises. And not only did he meet a wall of Congressional resistance, his dithering allowed popular revulsion to grow against any military action.

Recognizing the damage he had done to his personal – and the country’s – credibility, President Obama said last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that while his administration’s diplomatic approach to Syria’s chemical weapons showed Iran that diplomacy was still possible, the mullahs shouldn’t assume that military action was off the table. The Iranians, he said, understand that their nuclear pursuit is “a far larger issue for us” than Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

But the damage had already been done. Vladimir Putin is now the go-to guy for foreign leaders seeking to circumvent their international responsibilities. Why, even the president of the United States turned to him when a fast foot-from-mouth extraction was needed.

Despite the vast disparity in military and economic strength between their respective countries, the Russian president is now viewed as Mr. Obama’s equal on the international scene.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Emergent Mr. Putin”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Netanyahu Warns Iran-Yemen-Nuclear Deal Axis ‘Dangerous to Humanity’ [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Father Gabriel Naddaf with soldiers

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

Islamic Relief Worldwide Logo

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Safran-032715

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

There is something quite distinctive about the biblical approach to time.

The Waqf kept control of the Temple Mount due to Dayan’s “magnanimity in victory” after 6 Day war

The event promotes “1 state” solution (end of Israel as a Jewish State), BDS, lawfare against Israel

I rescued you?! You’re doing me a favor letting me help you!

More Articles from Editorial Board

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

If nothing really changes in the hearts and minds of the Palestinians, is Israel obligated to provide them and its other adversaries launching pads for attacks?

The United States placed enormous pressure on Israel to relinquish its gains, which Prime Minister Ben-Gurion did with great reluctance.

The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.

Former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, provided one of the clearest and most compelling analyses we’ve seen of the importance of the prime minister’s speech.

Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.

President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-emergent-mr-putin/2013/09/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: