web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Roet, at a UNSC meeting held July 22, 2014 regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel Attempts to Insert Reason into UN Debate About Middle East
Latest Indepth Stories
Noah and his Family; mixed media collage by Nathan Hilu. Courtesy Hebrew Union College Museum

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

Sweden prefers to ignore its own problems and make trouble elsewhere.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

256px-Israel-Palestine_flags.svg

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

More Articles from Editorial Board

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

Given the vitality of Hamas, Israel can hardly rely on the commitments, even if sincere, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas for its security.

Is the president oblivious to polls saddling him with some of the lowest presidential popularity rankings in recent history?

The Jewish Press mourns the passing of Rose Lesser, a”h.

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: