|"My mom says that bullies act the way that they do, because deep down inside they're scared-- and they're also only a regional power with oil. And now I'm taking my ball and going straight home."|
That's the laughable quote of the year.
From the Mediaite piece by Noah Rothman:
During a joint press conference in the Netherlands alongside the Dutch prime minster, President Barack Obama fielded questions from the American press corps regarding Russia’s destabilizing invasion of neighboring Ukraine. With tens of thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of machines of war poised on the Ukrainian border ready at a moment’s notice to inflame the crisis further, ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked a series of probing and uncomfortable questions of the president regarding his approach to foreign affairs.
After making an arguable case that the president’s approach to America’s foreign adversaries was naïve and that his chief rival, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, may have been correct in his clear-eyed assessment of the threat Moscow posed to the post-Cold War global order, President Obama did the only thing he could do — answer the question he wish he was asked.
“In China, in Syria, in Egypt, and now in Russia, we’ve seen you make strong statements, issue warnings that have been ignored,” Karl began. “Are you concerned that America’s influence in the world, your influence in the world, is on the decline?”
“In light of recent developments, do you think that Mitt Romney had a point when he said Russia is America’s biggest geopolitical foe?” Karl continued.
Faced with this searing indictment in the form of a question, Obama proceeded to erect and slay a straw man of his choosing: American military interventionism.
“If the premise of the question is whenever the United States objects to an action, and other countries don’t immediately do exactly what we want, that that’s been the norm, that would pretty much erase most of 20th Century history,” Obama replied.
No matter how much anyone would like to “erase most of 20th Century history,” this supposed attempt at clarification could not even be described as occupying the same universe as “the premise of the question.”
“Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness,” Obama asserted, as though he was talking about the psychological insecurities that plague the average playground bully.
“The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more,” Obama insisted. [WTF?]
How convenient. Even when Russia directly threatens to topple the international order, of which America is the chief guarantor, they are not threatening the international order because the threat itself is an implicit admission of inadequacy.
President Obama’s core supporters in the United States may still eat this nonsense up, but the actions of America’s geopolitical adversaries abroad suggest that they have long ago pegged the president as a pushover. [emphasis mine]
President Pushover... That's exactly the problem. And to make things even more
The only time Obama talks tough is when he believes that his enemies are in a position where they are wither unwilling or unable to fight back. Who's the playground bully in that situation?