CHARLOTTE, NC, March 11, 2014 – Appearing on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace recently, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave a great example of why it is so difficult to get accurate information in the 24/7 news world in which we live.
Referring to the broad-ranging criticism the Obama administration has been getting regarding foreign policy in general and Ukraine in particular, Wallace directly asked Gates to respond.
“I thought in the middle of a major international crisis that some of the criticism, domestic criticism of the president ought to be toned down, while he’s trying to handle the crisis,” answered Gates. “My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W…Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force, so I think Putin is very opportunistic in these arenas.”
Such responses are precisely why the American people want to throw the kitchen sink at their television sets. In his first sentence Gates termed the events in Ukraine as an “international crisis” before adding that Barack Obama was “trying to handle” it.
If, indeed, the president believes Ukraine is a major international event, then the way he handled it was to play a round of golf. Does that mean Gates thinks Obama was dealing with Vladimir Putin while lining up a 25-foot putt? Either it is an international crisis or it is not. Gates stated clearly that it is, and Obama’s strategy was to get 18 holes under his belt instead.
It is that very reason that Obama is chastised for being weak and why Gates follow-up comment about George W. Bush was so asinine. The difference between Bush and Obama is that if Bush found himself in the midst of an “international crisis” he would not have casually made his way to the links. In that sense Gates’ observation about Bush is overwhelmingly unjustified.
Bush could not have prevented Putin from invading Georgia any more than Obama could have stopped him from taking over Crimea.
But that is not the point.
What IS the point was clarified by Laura Ingraham on FOX & Friends when she said “When you conduct yourself as a nation in decline, in declining influence, and where our nation’s not really any better than any other nation, then other nations take a cue from this.”
It is that perspective from which the impressions of weakness arise with the Obama administration. Golfing while Ukraine is in chaos hardly demonstrates concern for events occurring on the global stage even if there was little that Obama could do.
Vladimir Putin might have indeed invaded Crimea no matter who was living in the White House. What made the Russian president believe he could do it now without resistance is all the previous foreign policy snafus under the leadership of the Obama-Biden-Clinton-Kerry team. It was those earlier events that laid the groundwork for what was to follow.
Ingraham called Ukraine a “predictable” international crisis based upon President Obama’s “aversion the foreign matters.”
“I don’t think he ever cared all that much for foreign policy. His approach to governance was really to reform America from within,” Ingraham said.
Whether it is because Barack Obama does not understand the complexities of global politics or if it is because international affairs just keep getting in the way of his agenda to fundamentally change the United States from within or, more likely, because it a combination of both, the Commander in Chief is clearly being out-maneuvered by other world leaders.
And, while being overwhelmed internationally, Obama’s corrupt domestic strategies are not only being exposed but are also deteriorating as his house of cards begins to crumble.
So devious have Obama’s governing policies become that retired Col. Ralph Peters nailed it when he quipped, “I think he worries about the political implications of what he had for breakfast.”
George W. Bush made plenty of mistakes, as does any president. The complaint about Barack Obama is not his errors, but the arrogance with which he makes them and the indifference with which he handles them.
On the other hand, IF Obama was on top of every situation as he says he is, things might be considerably worse.
Perhaps the golf course is the best place for the president to be after all
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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