President Obama and Vladimir Putin’s ‘80s view of the world

Putin and Obama/

SAN JOSE, March 12, 2014 — In late October of 2012, the United States was on the threshold of a presidential election, and President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney squared off in a final debate over their foreign policy perspectives. During the debate, which was held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, the two men were provided the opportunity to clarify their comprehension and views of international affairs. The President must have felt fairly confident and well prepared, and ripped into Romney over his alleged antiquated perception of the world according to the enlightened Democrats. The President had readied himself for the contest and had pre-packaged barbs ready-made to mock the Governor’s world view.

Governor Romney appeared to be more concerned about his image to a national audience, and was much less emphatic in his points even though he had a clear opportunity to expose Obama  as naïve on foreign policy. Although he challenged the President’s failure to deal adequately with a “rising tide of chaos,” it was lost amids Obama’s level of intensity and condescension toward his opponent.

The debate proved Obama is a good debater when he wants to be. It did not, however, expose the president’s agenda in the Middle East or elsewhere around the world. And despite the horrible attack in Benghazi in September, Romney let it slide.

On the national stage, Obama attempted to make Romney look silly as the president portrayed the governor as a politician stuck in the 1980s with an archaic view of the geopolitical reality of the world in 2012. Obama capably attacked his challenger over a remark Romney made about Vladimir Putin’s Russia being America’s number one geopolitical foe. At Romney’s expense, the president mocked him and joked, “The 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Obama aggressively drove home his point and it seemed that he had taken the wind from Romney’s sails, even though Romney distinguished a “geopolitical” rival from a more pressing national security threat like Iran, but said he would not be naïve about Moscow.

Although most celebrity commentators who portray themselves as up to speed on international affairs seemed to be swayed by Obama’s offensive jabs and quips during the debate, the truth is now coming to light that Obama has been naïve when it has come to foreign affairs. While less aggressive and forceful, Romney stated, “I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin.”

It appears that Obama is the one wearing rose-colored glasses with regard to America’s chief global nemesis. Less than two years after that debate, it is Obama’s policies which now are showing up as “wrong and reckless” and incoherent. Is it possible that Obama became so incompetent in such a short period of time?

Romney did not win that debate, nor the presidential election, and it remains to be seen how he would have handled recent affairs in the global arena.

The two candidates seemed to have a fair opportunity to explain their view of how to handle the situation in Syria due to the escalation of violence between the government and the people. Both men during the debate were capable of pointing out that the nation of Iran was (and still is) Syria’s best friend in the region. However, Russia, the former Soviet Union, is Syria’s best friend outside of the region. And, during that period of time, both China and Russia hindered efforts at the United Nations to solve the problems, and prevented progress by the Western nations to halt Syria’s oppression and murder of the nation’s people.

After President Obama had been re-elected, at the end of the summer in August of last year, he found himself sweating over a hotly debated decision about whether to bomb Syria as serious punishment for dictator Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people. In effect, when Obama drew the proverbial line in the sand, saying he would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, he painted himself into a corner with few exit options. The irony was that Vladimir Putin stepped into the vacuum of leadership declaring that he would take care of the problem without such violent measures proposed by Obama. Sadly, Obama appeared to be the fool.

Now, as trouble in the Ukraine currently unfolds, and as Russia has taken serious military action with the Kremlin’s troops invading a former friend and neighbor, and has strengthened their hold upon the Crimea, President Obama again appears to be the fool. He seems to be sweating over how to deal with his number one geopolitical nemesis, as he is busy drawing more proverbial lines in the sand. Putin now appears more and more to be showing his true colors as a dictator undeterred by encroaching into the territory of a sovereign nation without provocation. He no longer needs to limit himself to the supporting role for a dictator killing his own citizens.

Despite the posturing of the Obama Administration over Putin’s strong-arm actions, his “nineteenth century mentality,” the Russian leader has no real reason to listen. If one steps back  in time and examines the general turbulence in the world since Obama became president, there are a number of fundamental questions and disturbing curiosities. After Obama travelled to Cairo in June of 2009 and made a unique speech, which seemed to inspire elements of the Islamic world, waves of revolutionary fervor started sweeping through the region as early as December of 2010. President Obama sang praises of the Arab Spring and simply demanded that Mubarak step down from his dictatorship in Egypt.

The regime change game seemed to appeal to Obama. In Egypt, the situation seemed quite tidy as Obama only had to voice his intent that Mubarak leave and he stepped down. Yet, when the  same demands were voiced to the Libyan dictator, Gadhafi, it was not so neat and tidy. Gadhafi had a good thing going in Libya and vowed that it would only be over his dead body when he would relinquish his position of power. Obama was willing to oblige him, but orchestrated the attacks on Libya through NATO, essentially the U.S. proxy in the Obama administration’s efforts to oust the dictator. However, when the Syrian dictator Assad raised the ire of the Obama administration, Obama ran into Putin’s opposition, especially in the U.N. Security Council.

Also, Putin seized the initiative to undermine the president’s plans, even though Obama seemed quite determined at the time to attack Syria without NATO, even without other allies, and almost without the support of the majority of Democrats.

More recently during the Winter Olympics, Putin arranged an arms deal with Egypt which undermines U.S. influence in the region. Also, before Russian troops swept into the Crimea, the Kremlin arranged to control Russia’s social media through Kremlin-controlled surrogates in the business community.

Back in 2012, Romney made an intelligent assessment about Putin and Russia, but most on the Left and the State-manipulated Media were too busy laughing about Romney’s ‘80s view of the world.

No one considered whether Putin still has an ‘80s view of the world. However, if one considers the dynamic of exchange between these two world leaders, it is almost as if there is a major realignment in the global leadership roles. Putin is still at the forefront of the shift in the balance of power, and seems to be assuming the position of strength as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s as he stood up to the old Soviet Empire. Obama seems to be content in assuming the position of conciliator as Gorbachev did when he presided over the disintegration of the Soviet Union. And to be clear, Putin actually did say that “The breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.” Maybe Putin thinks he now can repair the tragedy.

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Dennis Jamison reinvented his life after working for a multi-billion dollar division of Johnson & Johnson for several years. Now semi-retired, he is an adjunct faculty member at West Valley College in California. He currently writes a column on US history and one on American freedom for the Communities Digital News, as well as writing for other online publications. During the 2016 presidential primaries, he worked as the leader of a network of writers, bloggers, and editors who promoted the candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. He founded the “We the People” Network of writers and the Citizen Sentinels Project to pro-actively promote the values and principles established at the founding of the United States, and to discover and support more morally centered citizen-candidates who sincerely seek election as public servants, not politicians.