Obama: Putin has “Different set of Lawyers”
by W.F. PRICE on MARCH 4, 2014 The Spearhead
In what must rank high amongst the most clueless diplomatic statements any American president has made in decades, Barack Obama criticized Vladimir Putin’s interpretation of international law in an effort to gain the upper hand in the Ukraine crisis.
When I heard that I made a joke to my wife:
Obama: Vlad, your lawyers are making a lousy case. You should concede and withdraw from Ukraine.
Putin: Barack, if you please, I can arrange so that your lawyers may argue with my tanks. Can we agree to settle the issue in that manner?
We Americans live in a culturally isolated place. Vladimir Putin cannot send his tanks across the ocean to confront us. But he can certainly use those tanks in Ukraine. This is, as they say, where the rubber (or steel tread) meets the road. American power has come to be seen as something of a paper tiger, to quote Mao, and that’s something that may well have direct consequences for us, whether we like it or not.
We should be realistic about Russia, which will never be our good buddy. It is not a pushover any longer. We can’t buy influence like we used to, and we’ve squandered our real power on the ground in Europe. This leads to what is known as a power vacuum, and as anyone who can think knows, vacuums draw in what they lack.
Our country has become known worldwide for the opportunities it has squandered. We have squandered our children’s birthright, our international power, our patrimony, and our cultural integrity. All that remains is to squander what remains of our wealth, and I’m afraid that’s next.
In huge countries like the US or China (or Russia, for that matter), it’s very easy to imagine that one is at the center of the universe, and the rest of the world is irrelevant. But cruel reality has a way of throwing a wrench in the gears. We Americans will soon pay for our hubris, and it won’t be a pleasant experience.
In Beijing, I got the first taste of what could await us. I looked around at all the deprived, hard-working Chinese. There they were, breaking their backs for a few dollars a day, while back home stay-at-home soccer moms were driving SUVs around like some breed of contemporary mammoths. It was horrifying to me as a young man. I wondered to myself what we might face when this fundamental imbalance finally started to even out. Unfortunately, I worry that we may soon find out.