WASHINGTON, March 6, 2014 – The international quagmire resulting from the crisis in Ukraine is Barack Obama’s fault. No, it is not his fault that Russia acted strongly in the face of his weakness to resolve some geo-political issues that have been lingering for a few decades. But it is his fault that the United States is singularly unable to answer Russia, and if Obama does anything, it will have catastrophic effects on the United States.
It is Obama’s fault because he has created a position of weakness.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is not afraid of Barack Obama. Why should he be? Obama exudes weakness. Obama’s only real interests in the military, the way America projects force in the world, were Air Force One and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Obama’s latest military effort that has drag queens putting on shows at American military bases surely has Putin quivering on his horse.
Putin has two sticks he can hit Obama with.
One is mostly symbolic though very significant. In 2011, Obama retired the Space Shuttle, making America the first nation to lose space faring capacity. Since then, for several hundred million dollars a ride, the Russians have allowed American astronauts seats on their rockets going to the International Space Station.
The International Space Station is a multi billion dollar investment, mostly paid for by America.
When Obama thought it was more important for NASA to reach out to Muslim nations to make them feel good about their contributions to science, instead of putting men and women into space, he gave the Russians a trump card. All Vladimir Putin has to say is no more Americans on our rockets.
Sure the Space Shuttles were getting old and needed to be retired but you create the replacement before you retire them. Those Space Shuttles are not sitting some place, mothballed in case they were needed for a national emergency. No, they have all been gutted and are tourist destinations now.
One word from Putin and the International Space Station suddenly becomes the Russian Space Station.
That threat is only symbolic.
The other threat could be devastating.
If Obama screws up because of his incompetence, and there is a real possibility he could do that, all Russia has to do is start dumping American debt. Most people think of China when discussing ownership of American debt. The Chinese hold a lot of it. But they are not alone. Russia holds some American debt too. According to Treasury.gov, at the end of 2013 Russian held 138.6 billion dollars in American debt – a debt that has skyrocketed under Obama.
Conversely, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency:
Presidential aide Sergei Glazyev told RIA Novosti.
“Economic sanctions are a double-edged sword, and if the US will freeze our assets, that means our companies’ dollar assets will be frozen too. That means Russian banks and organizations won’t be able to pay off loans to our American partners,” Glazyev said.
According to US Treasury data from the end of 2013, Russian investments in US government bonds total around $139 billion out of a total of $5.8 trillion of US debt held in foreign hands.
Officials in the United States and Europe have told Russia that its actions in Ukraine could lead to economic sanctions and asset freezes.”
America has been able to borrow over the last decade because of unnaturally low interest rates. Sooner or later those rates have to rise, and when they do, America’s interest payments will balloon to a point where America cannot pay its bills. Russia can help that along if it wants to by both failing to repay their debt and dumping the American debt they own. That would throw America’s banking industry into a cataclysmic dive and since many of these loans are guaranteed by our government, guess who would be on the hook for the payment?
In this game of international poker, Vladimir Putin is holding the winning hand because Barack Obama has given him all the cards.