Let’s be clear: The villain in Ukraine is the odious Vladimir Putin. This ruthless apparatchik has taken a page out of Hitler’s playbook, justifying his incursion into Crimea by citing the need to defend his allegedly embattled fellow countrymen.
But it is fair to wonder if he would have taken these actions were he convinced that there was steel in the backbone of the president of the United States.
America’s allies, and antagonists, have reason for doubt.
Washington is left with very few options today, because President Barack Obama’s foreign policy has been such a muddle. He has drawn lines in the sand, only to redraw them after they’ve been crossed. He has sought to appease the mad mullahs in Tehran, those good-hearted people who dream of seeing Tel Aviv in ashes. And let’s face it, China can pretty much do whatever it wants, both within and beyond its borders.
When Mr. Obama emerged as the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2008, skeptics took note of his lack of foreign policy experience. Mr. Obama sought to ease those concerns when he named Joe Biden as his running mate. We will pause here to allow for an appropriate reaction.
The fears expressed all those years ago have been realized, time and again. Mr. Obama has never articulated a clear, coherent foreign policy, and now we know why. He simply doesn’t have one.
Other nations have been watching and acting accordingly. Perhaps Mr. Putin would have sent troops to Crimea anyway. Perhaps Iran would have gunned down college students, and perhaps Syria would have committed mass murder even if their leaders feared American reprisals.
We’ll never know. But we certainly do know that Washington’s listless leadership is not helping keep bad actors in check.