The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


During the presidential debates of 2012, Mitt Romney was asked which nation represented the greatest strategic threat to the United States. He suggested that Russia was a prime candidate. Barack Obama smirked and suggested that "the 1980s were calling" [to laughter by the audience] and that Romney was living in the past as a cold warrior. Obama's trained hamsters in the media picked up on that meme and used it to suggest that Mitt Romney really, really didn't understand the geopolitical scheme and was out of date and out of touch. Hmmm.

Of course, Barack Obama had distinguished himself in foreign policy during his first four years as president, with success after foreign policy success. For example, Egypt as free, Libya was liberated, North Korea had given up its nukes, the Syrian civil was had stopped, Iran had given up its Uranium enrichment, Iraq ended so very well, Afganistan was going swimmingly, and we had a friendly relationship with Russia.

Oh, wait, none of that happened! Obama had failed in virtually every foreign policy endeavor he attempted. His then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had traveled the globe but accomplished virtually nothing. So ... yeah ... he was entitled to arrogantly criticize Romney, wasn't he?

Fast forward to 2014. The media this morning can talk of nothing else but Russia's military moves in Crimea and it broader threat to the sovereignty of the Ukraine. Conveniently forgetting its criticism of Romney position on Russia, the trained hamsters are now ringing their hands and asking how this all could have happened. On those same Sunday morning shows, Obama's current Secretary of State, John Kerry, blathers on about all that Russia will lose. Does he have the brains to ask himself why on earth Vladimir Putin is making these moves if all he do is loose. Kerry is another in a long line of incompetents that have been nominated by this president.

Walter Russell Mead comments:
A Politico report calls it “a crisis that no one anticipated.” The Daily Beast, reporting on Friday’s US intelligence assessment that “Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine,” quotes a Senate aide claiming that “no one really saw this kind of thing coming.”

Op-eds from all over the legacy press this week helped explained why. Through the rose tinted lenses of a media community deeply convinced that President Obama and his dovish team are the masters of foreign relations, nothing poor Putin did could possibly derail the stately progress of our genius president. There were, we were told, lots of reasons not to worry about Ukraine. War is too costly for Russia’s weak economy. Trade would suffer, the ruble would take a hit. The 2008 war with Georgia is a bad historical comparison, as Ukraine’s territory, population and military are much larger. Invasion would harm Russia’s international standing. Putin doesn’t want to spoil his upcoming G8 summit, or his good press from Sochi. Putin would rather let the new government in Kiev humiliate itself with incompetence than give it an enemy to rally against. Crimea’s Tartars and other anti-Russian ethnic minorities wouldn’t stand for it. Headlines like “Why Russia Won’t Invade Ukraine,” “No, Russia Will Not Intervene in Ukraine,” and “5 Reasons for Everyone to Calm Down About Crimea” weren’t hard to find in our most eminent publications.

Nobody, including us, is infallible about the future. Giving the public your best thoughts about where things are headed is all a poor pundit (or government analyst) can do. But this massive intellectual breakdown has a lot to do with a common American mindset that is especially built into our intellectual and chattering classes. Well educated, successful and reasonably liberal minded Americans find it very hard to believe that other people actually see the world in different ways. They can see that Vladimir Putin is not a stupid man and that many of his Russian officials are sophisticated and seasoned observers of the world scene. American experts and academics assume that smart people everywhere must want the same things and reach the same conclusions about the way the world works.
It's a fantasy world view, and as in all things, when fantasy collides with reality, reality wins very time.

I wonder if Obama would repeat his well planned rejoinder to Romney, if the debate were held today. The frightening thing is that he very well might. After all, fantasy tells us that Russia will act as we want it to, that it represents no strategic threat, that any other view is a "cold war" view.

After all, no one anticipated this ... except maybe Mitt Romney in 2012.

Update (3 March 2014) :
It's interesting that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Sarah Palin, of all people, predicted that the Russian invasion of Georgia was a harbinger of an invasion of the Ukraine. The Obama-Media complex leaped at her prediction as still another example of her lack of understanding of geopolitics , her general stupidity, and her unsophisticated world view.

Hmmm. Too bad she was right.