On this day in 1946 in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill gave one of the most important speeches of the 20th century. Known as the "Iron Curtain" speech (which he himself had entitled "The Sinews of Peace"), Churchill spoke of the new division in Europe between the free West and the enslaved East, captured under the jackboot of communism and the Soviet Union. See the speech here: http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/anti-communism-group-sees-soviet-threat-in-putins-ukraine-grab/article/2545094 . And read it here: http://history1900s.about.com/od/churchillwinston/a/Iron-Curtain.htm
With World War II now over, the Great Game had turned into a new titanic global struggle: the Cold War.
Given Russian President Vladimir Putin's latest moves into Ukraine and the renewal of territorial expansion as part of how the Great Game is played by the Russians, it's more important than ever to recall Churchill's words. If only we had a visionary and wise leader such as Churchill...or a president such as Truman...or Kennedy....or Nixon....or Reagan...who understood how the Great Game is played and how to pre-empt the enemy's moves and how to respond once the move was made. Or maybe the current president DOES understand, and just doesn't care to play the Game and is content with having America lose it.
In light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there have been an increasing number of comparisons between President Obama and former president Jimmy Carter. In today's New York Post (www.NYPost.com), the editorial board writes, "Like Jimmy Carter, who boasted he was free of any “inordinate fear of communism,” Obama began his term as president vowing to “reset” relations with Russia. Like Jimmy Carter, who conveyed weakness when Iran took our embassy staff hostage, Obama confirmed his own weakness when he drew a red line in Syria and then backed down from enforcing it. Like Jimmy Carter, who was rewarded by Leonid Brezhnev with a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Putin has returned Obama’s favor with a Russian invasion of Ukraine. And just like Carter, who responded with what his staff called “a strong public statement,” Obama responded with his own statement saying he is “deeply concerned” by Russia’s military movement in Ukraine." The Washington Post, syndicated columnist George Will, and others have made similar comparisons. None is flattering to Obama.
We know what happens when the U.S. is weak in relative terms---or is perceived as weak. The bad guys advance, the good guys retreat, and the world falls into despair and conflict. This happened pre-WWII. It happened during Carter. And it's happening now.
Previously, Carter had the dubious distinction of being known as the world president ever. Obama is certainly giving him a run for his money---and may have already claimed the top spot. I actually think he's worse than Carter, who at least tried---incompetently---to defend America and her allies. Obama puts the fire to our friends (as he did with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office again yesterday) while supporting or dealing with our sworn enemies, like Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, etc. Like Carter, Obama sends a signal of weakness---and of a deep unwillingness to challenge the bad guys (i.e., not standing up for the Iranian people who were being slaughtered by their regime in 2009, same thing in Syria, and now the Russian invasion of Crimea and the lack of any kind of direct support for the Ukrainian people).
I've heard nobody encourage going to war, but there are a lot of things a U.S. president can do---with the whole range of military to economic to diplomatic to moral means---to support those looking for greater freedom and self-determination. When the American president does NOT provide ANY of those things in a meaningful way, the bad guys know they can get away with holy hell. And they do. Witness: the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the taking of U.S. hostages by Tehran under Carter, and Benghazi, Khamenei's and Assad's slaughters, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and now Putin's invasion of Ukraine under Obama.
This pattern doesn't end well---unless the sitting president wakes up, OR is replaced in the next election by a stronger president. We saw it in the transition to FDR, to Reagan, and now...we shall see.
The Cold War never ended.
I have said this repeatedly for years and wrote about it in my book, "What The (Bleep) Just Happened?"
Sure, it's been waged in different ways than it was during the second half of the 20th century, but the Russians have never stopped challenging U.S. interests, ruthlessly pursuing their own, and engaging in regional and global adventurism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is supporting Iran and its nuclear program, is propping up Syria and its brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad, is making sure China never strays too far from Russia's side, has invaded neighboring Georgia, engages in energy extortion in eastern Europe, and has now invaded Ukraine.
All of this is designed to restore Russia to its former Soviet glory, complete with its massive spheres of influence and the exercise of military and economic power. And with a supine American president and a cowardly, greedy European Union, Putin has been able to get whatever he wants.
The Cold War never ended. GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney understood this during the 2012 campaign, when he properly identified Russia as America's number one "geopolitical foe." For his accurate point, he was roundly mocked by Vice President Joe Biden, who reminded Romney that it "wasn't 1956." And by President Obama himself, most pointedly during one of the presidential debates. See it here: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-baker/2014/03/01/fnc-shows-flashback-obama-ridiculing-romney-1980s-are-calling-ask-their
Of course Romney was right. Now it's too late. We're stuck with Obama for another three years, during which time Putin---and the rest of America's enemies---know that they can come, invade, extort, and get whatever they want.
Although they may need to endure one of Obama's statements about being "deeply concerned" and nonsense chatter about "red lines." LOL.