“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is about as accurate a description of what America’s “golfer-in-chief” has going for him at the moment; albeit it is the metaphor of “shaft, chip, burn, and putt” on fairway and green that holds his intense interest at the moment and not the fact that “Vlad the Bad from Leningrad” is definitely on the prowl in the Middle East. As another illustration, Obama has been the little kid peeking over the table while the adults play the game, too restless and naive to even ask the right questions. Even if Obama’s only objective was to undermine the U.S. in every way possible, this strategy by Putin has drawn him out to be exposed as a colossal fool. Remember back in March of 2012 and the open mic with Medvedev just before the election: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility” to which the lackey Medvedev responded “I understand, I will transmit this information to Vladimir”: everything about this unqualified, sorry excuse for a president, has come back to haunt us.
Commentator VonMises, Jr., has a habit of always putting complicated situations into clear perspective, as with this current situation: The Russians and Chinese are outflanking Obama, Hillary, Kerry and the corporatist McConnell and the drunk Boehner and surrounding the castle while DC is playing palace intrigue inside the gates. The irony is that as the Marxist Democrats and fascists GOP Establishment engineer the submission of “We the People” to their ruling class cabal, our ruling class cabal just got subsumed by real, effective “One World Government” totalitarians. The irony is that as Obama and the GOP Congress play Agenda21 central planning of American natural resources, the Chinese and Russians are monopolizing the world resources. Obama and his ilk shut down our coal energy and cripple our oil and natural gas production while seasoned totalitarian statists expand their power by strategically manipulating the world oil and natural gas supplies.
The EU is no better acting as junior, novice socialists, since Russia already controls the Eastern Natural Gas Pipelines that keep the lights on in Western Europe, but now will control the Pipelines and shipping lanes that run from the Middle East to Western Europe. Western Civilization citizens and subjects should be very afraid with such neophyte leaders carrying so narrow a vision.
In yet another brilliant metaphorical illustration, the question was posed as to whether Obama has the IQ to in fact, play the kind of chess enjoyed by seasoned pragmatists, to which the reponse was: Obama HAS in fact played chess, and he has won nearly every time he has played. He is an exceptional player. He always plays as black, and his pieces can ignore the rules when it is convenient for them. No white chess piece has ever seriously threatened his king, and any piece that even advanced toward his end of the board was voluntarily withdrawn by the white player himself. There has even been some talk of re-naming a certain opening position as the “Obama Gambit.” The Obama Gambit occurs when both players sit down, and before the first move, the black player says “Checkmate.” It has been quite a successful opening in the past, with several players conceding before their first move. Boehner in fact got so sick and tired of chess with Obama, that he quit to go work as a lobbyist with all his friends on K Street.
As regards reality, OBO the Clown has absolutely no chance against the steely-eyed RasPUTIN as one can readily detect from yesterday’s 60-minute advance warning delivered to the White House as Vlad the Bad was saddling up on his white steed to go teach the “JV ISIS” a stern lesson; no red lines in the sand required. In the hot climate of the overall scheme of things, it would appear to be patently obvious that Vlad the Bad is one cool dude, while OBO the Clown goes looking for a new costume, one that is somewhat lighter in tone that has caused him so much pain and grief in the last few skirmishes. The Clown Prince and his nursemaid Valerie Jarret are happy to hand over the Middle East to Iran and the Muslims, but they don’t like being shown the door by a white man from Russia.
Jonathan F. Keiler expounds more on his piece in today’s American Thinker, “Putin Plays Mideast Chess as Obama Looks On” …
It is sometimes said that in negotiations with foreigners, American leaders play checkers, while their wilier opponents play chess. There is perhaps some truth to this, as American leaders sometimes chase short-term political results, a consequence of democratic governance and constantly changing leadership. By contrast, despotic Persians are credited with inventing chess, and in modern times autocratic Russians have been its master, and so it is tempting to say of President Obama’s dealings with those two countries that the analogy holds.
But that is way too charitable. As Vladimir Putin skillfully reasserts Russian power and influence in the Middle East with Islamic Persian Iran as a willing partner, a more apt analogy might be that while the Russians and Iranians move their chessmen, isolating and threatening opposing pieces, Obama is not even at the table, but rather childishly looking on, as he pushes diplomatic dirt around the Middle East sandbox.
For over 150 years, a primary objective of Western diplomatic and military strategy was to keep the Russians out of the Middle East and Southwest Asia. In the 1850s, the British and French went to war in Crimea to protect the Ottomans from Russian predation and to preserve the balance of power. Later, the so-called “Great Game” centered on similar British efforts to frustrate Russian domination of Iran and Afghanistan. A century later, the United States took up the task, offsetting Russian influence in newly socialist Arab dictatorships by backing Israel and more traditional Arab monarchies in the Middle East, while openly and successfully opposing the Soviet incursion into Afghanistan.
Today, one can’t even say there remains any Western strategy regarding Russia. Western Europe has mostly forfeited its military and political influence overseas to support decadent welfare states, even as it is being progressively and deliberately overwhelmed by millions of Islamist migrants. Under Obama, who supports and admires Europe’s demise, the United States has increasingly joined in the decline. The laughable Libyan campaign, “fought” by Europeans while the U.S. led from behind, set an example of pursuing a feckless, feel-good military campaign without regard for consequences or traditional strategic concerns. Obama’s encouragement of the so-called Arab Spring and its Islamist provocateurs almost lost Egypt and did lose Syria, with catastrophic humanitarian and geopolitical results.
Putin is taking advantage of American weakness and inaction. A half-century of successful American effort to keep the Russians out of the Middle East has been forfeit in a few months of breathtaking American diplomatic and military incompetence. Obama’s capitulation in the Iran deal effectively completed the groundwork for the Russian move, Putin having carefully monitored America’s year-long and ineffectual air campaign against ISIS. Putin now claims that Russia’s push into Syria is to redeem the campaign against ISIS with Russian troops fighting with Syria and Hezb’allah. Embarrassed by Putin at the U.N., Obama gave up any pretense of strength, effectively welcoming the Russian “intervention” against ISIS. Unexplained is why a large percentage of Russian anti-ISIS forces are heavily equipped with anti-aircraft weapons, something that even a flaccid NATO command cannot ignore, inasmuch as ISIS have an air force. Those weapons are useful only against NATO or Israeli aircraft.
So lost was Obama before his meeting with Putin at the U.N. that his stated strategy for dealing with the Russian strongman was to ask him what he was doing. From the stiff and awkward body language of the president following the meeting (a painful handshake and awkward smile) it is clear that Putin told Obama at least some of the story, whether Obama liked it or not. Most particularly, his client Bashar Assad will remain in power with Russian backing, regardless of Obama’s view on the matter. But likely Obama had known what he was in for, and just going through the motions. The day before, Secretary of State of State John Kerry responded to a question about how long the U.S. could tolerate the survival of Assad, saying, “… it doesn’t have to be on day one or month one or whatever.” Right, dude, whatever. Between Obama and Kerry, it is now fair to assume that our much muddled and irresolute Syrian policy is “whatever,” which means we just don’t care. We take our toys and go home.
If Obama was hoping, as he and his supporters implied, that the Iranian deal would produce a more moderate, cooperative Iran, Putin and the mullahs are doing all they can to demonstrate how wrong he was. If he was hoping that “international pressure” and the conflict in Ukraine would moderate Putin’s aggressive strategies, he was wrong again. And if he thinks that by quitting, he has left Putin an unwinnable game, the Russian leader aims to prove him wrong again. And since Obama is almost always wrong when it comes to foreign policy, it’s a fool’s errand to bet against Putin.
In chess, before going for the opponent’s king, typical strategy calls for supporting one’s important pieces, while threatening and isolating opposing pieces. The Russians and Iranians are now going about this with a vengeance, without the United States or the West making any noticeably effective counter-moves. Russia is backing and protecting Assad and has closely allied itself with a newly empowered (thanks largely to Obama) Iran. Meanwhile, traditional American allies in the region, Israel, Egypt, and the Arab monarchies are indeed increasingly threatened and isolated. The stage is being set for a Russo-Iranian endgame that could prove disastrous to America’s traditional allies and the West in general.
Some of Obama’s liberal supporters dismiss such analysis as over the top, and insist that Putin’s moves have more to do with domestic politics than a long-term Middle Eastern power play. They point out Putin’s problems at home, and the relative weakness of the Russian military. However, relative Russian weakness means little when moving into a power vacuum created by Obama’s flight from international responsibilities and, to a large extent, reality. And besides, this has been the basic way liberals have sought to excuse Obama whenever he is pushed around by a foreign leader (which is almost always). Putin’s got problems, so he invades Ukraine, threatens the Baltic States, and moves into Syria. The Chinese have problems, so they push naval vessels into American waters and fortify disputed Western Pacific archipelagos. Korea’s got problems, Iran’s got problems, and none of their aggressive actions has anything to do with the dilettante in the White House. It’s all about solving problems at home with international temper tantrums.
Obama has made a lot of foreign policy mistakes in office, but his capitulation on the Iranian nuclear talks followed by Russia’s move into Syria is impossible to explain away as anything but a stupendous strategic fiasco. Incompetence is too nice a word. Obama was never even in the game.
See also Putin The Indispensable Man?