Over the last two weeks the world has watched as Russian President Putin mass troops and move them across the Crimea to take control of that region FROM the Ukraine without a shot fired…..
While Americans really could be much bothered with the action….
Millions of people in the Balkans and the Pacific have to be a little worried when they go to sleep at night….America that great beacon of free will and democracy with all it’s military might is tired of sending its sons and daughters in harms way these days….
Ten seconds after the British Parliament voted to NOT David Cameron on supporting his friend Barack Obama in raising an iron fist against Syria for using chemical weapons it was over….
President Obama isn’t ready to stand up for any direct confrontation it would appear…
Sure he sent American Navy SEALS to take over a cargo ship for Libya, and sure he’s likely to get 10,000 American troops in Afghanistan…..And yes there are American ‘trainers’ in Africa….
But the President just dropped a budget that includes cuts in foot soldiers…..
And the guy in the top ranks of the 2016 GOP Presidential sweepstakes is a confirmed isolationist….
All of this ‘pullback’ IS gonna be noticed by the other’s out there….
Russia President Putin surely gambled on the fact that Americans’ don’t have the will power now to stand for much of a fight if he starts grabbing land…..
And the Chinese are flexing in the Pacific….
The best weapon the US has had seems to be an economic one….
And it HAS brought good results….
But American is try to climb out of an economic hole right now…
The Republican budget cuts aren’t helping the economy either not that they care it seems…
All of this adds up to a President who pledged to undo the George Bush years of ‘I don’t give shit’ of what they think of us….To the now worries of …..’will the American’s back ANYBODY?’
Of course it isn’t THAT simple….
We gave up American men and women in Iraq and the place has worst violence than it did before we rolled into the country….Afghanistan is , for all we’ve done there just Kabul, while the war lords continue to run the place…Pakistan has its own troubles and despite the noise probably is happy to have US drones going after the guys in the hills….
So , while the US does still conduct limited actions around the globe…..
It appears that it’s reluctance to increase its military and to use force in a large way may provide opening for others to take aggressive moves in their interests without worrying about the Americans to come to rescue of those they’ve vanquished…
The White House was taken by surprise by Vladimir V. Putin’s decisions to invade Crimea, but also by China’s increasingly assertive declaration of exclusive rights to airspace and barren islands. Neither the economic pressure nor the cyberattacks that forced Iran to reconsider its approach have prevented North Korea’s stealthy revitalization of its nuclear and missile programs.
In short, America’s adversaries are testing the limits of America’s post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan moment.
“We’re seeing the ‘light footprint’ run out of gas,” said one of Mr. Obama’s former senior national security aides, who would not speak on the record about his ex-boss.
“No one is arguing for military action, for bringing back George Bush’s chest-thumping,” the former aide said. At the same time, he said, the president’s oft-repeated lines that those who violate international norms will be “isolated” and “pay a heavy price” over the long term have sounded “more like predictions over time, and less like imminent threats.”
Mr. Obama acknowledges, at least in private, that he is managing an era of American retrenchment. History suggests that such eras — akin to what the United States went through after the two world wars and Vietnam — often look like weakness to the rest of the world. His former national security adviser Thomas Donilon seemed to acknowledge the critical nature of the moment on Sunday when he said on “Face the Nation” that what Mr. Obama was facing was “a challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe, an order that we have a lot to do with.”
But while Mr. Donilon expressed confidence that over time the United States holds powerful tools against Russia and other nations, in the short term challengers like Mr. Putin have the advantage on the ground.
Not surprisingly, the testing of administration policy at a time the president is politically weakened at home has sparked a critical question.
Is it Mr. Obama’s deliberative, pick-your-battles approach that is encouraging adversaries to press the limits?
Or is this simply a time when exercising leverage over countries that defy American will or the international order is trickier than ever, and when the domestic pressure to stay out of international conflicts is obvious to overseas friends and foes alike?
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