CHARLOTTE, February 20, 2014 – The global implications surrounding the chaos in Kiev are enormous despite comments by former presidential candidate, Ron Paul, that the protests are purely an internal conflict.
Barack Obama has weighed in on the situation saying, “There will be consequences if people step over the line.” There’s that line again. We heard about it before in Syria. Somehow, thanks to our diminished credibility and increasing international weakness, the president’s words have little clout.
Former Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, summed it up in three words, “Nobody believes that.”
While Ukraine burns, the events are so fresh and fluid that Obama hasn’t even had an opportunity to fully analyze the situation. Yet, the president’s foreign policy record is so poor and so inept, that there are already strong perceptions that he will be impotent in whatever decisions he does make. That does not represent an American attitude with which we are either familiar or comfortable.
Columnist Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard had a powerful analysis in that regard saying, “We are watching in real time the decline of American power, and the person who’s most afraid of American power these days is Barack Obama.”
As John Bolton sees it, “The likes of Vladimir Putin see that statement (Obama’s) and they say, ‘The field is open.’”
While Ron Paul and Barack Obama may have different approaches to Ukraine, their conclusions eventually wind up in the same place with both highlighting the weakness of current American policies. Much of what is happening in the former Russian satellite nation has such deep global ramifications that they could have a domino effect to such an extent that the United States has no other choice but to intervene. Therein lies the problem because President Obama has no inclination toward intervention regardless of the rhetoric he uses.
Why is Ukraine so important? In the simplest terms because it is a conflict between East and West where the country could become a major economic player in Europe if given a Western allegiance. On the other hand, Ukrains represents a potential return to the old Soviet alliance for Vladimir Putin, as well as easy access to the Black Sea through the Strait of Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey.
For the moment, Putin has the upper hand; a strength which has intensified thanks to the Obama administration’s foreign policy fiasco in dealing with Syria and Iran.
Thanks to previous international policy failures by the U.S. under Barack Obama, our words have little impact. Says former ambassador Bolton, “Other countries are watching the inability or unwillingness of the United States to do anything about this. You can bet in Beijing they’re paying very close attention to it. They’re breaking out the orange juice in Tehran for what this means on the nuclear negotiations. This is just a terrible display of American withdrawal.
“The president lives in an unreal world when it comes to international affairs. He lives in a world of rhetoric and talk. He does not live in the real world of power.”
There is never any certainty about the implications of any negotiation on any given day when dealing with such diversity on an international scale. However, whether our actions have ultimately been right or wrong, the United States has always been perceived by the global community as a world leader that represents the highest ideals of human rights, individual freedoms and self-determination.
No matter how well-intentioned team Obama/Clinton/Kerry may have been, their policies of appeasement combined with unrealistic diplomatic efforts with Islamist factions throughout the Middle East have eroded America’s power in the eyes of the world and made it considerably more dangerous.
Superman has been crippled by Kryptonite. Sampson has been given a crew cut. The question is whether we can regain our credibility before it is too late to do anything about it.
In and of itself Ukraine may appear to be a regional conflict, but its implications could be far reaching and Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy does not offer an encouraging outcome for the United States.
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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