Arthur L. Herman:
The sound you’d be hearing this morning if you live in the devastated city of Homs in Syria, would be Russian jets doing bombing runs against your neighbors rebelling against dictator Bashar al-Assad.
And not just in Homs. The roar of those Russian jets is being heard around the world; it’s the sound of Vladimir Putin becoming the new alpha male and power broker of the Middle East.
What I dubbed in a recent NR article the Pax Putinica is rapidly taking shape. Just as the earlier Pax Americana was aimed at containing the Soviet Union, so Putin’s new world order is aimed at smashing the U.S.’s influence as a superpower, first in Europe and now in the eastern Mediterranean.
Our president, meanwhile, is letting it all happen. If Vladimir Putin is the dominant alpha male in the new international pecking order, Barack Obama has emerged as his highly submissive partner.
There are various reasons why we are being subjected to the humiliating spectacle of an American president, so-called leader of the free world, rolling over on the mat at Putin’s feet.
Of course, there have been signs for years that Obama is prone to submitting to males who act dominantly in his presence. Who can forget his frozen performance with Mitt Romney in the first presidential debate in 2012, where Romney ruled the stage while Obama seemed to shrink away (Romney then threw away his alpha-male advantage in the next debate). We’ve seen it in his interactions with China’s president Xi Jinping; his strange bowing and scraping with the Saudi king; and his various meetings with Putin, including the last at the United Nations on Monday where a tight-lipped Obama could barely bring himself to look at the Russian president while Putin looked cool and confident—as well as he should.
For every aggressive move Putin has made on the international stage, first in Crimea and Ukraine in Europe, and now in Syria, our president’s response has been largely verbal protestations followed by resolute inaction. Why should Putin not assume that when he orders the U.S. to stop its own air strikes against ISIS in Syria, and to leave the skies to the Russians, he won’t be obeyed?
But there’s more to Obama’s passivity than just pack behavior, and the real explanation is Iran.
Since gaining the presidency, Obama’s entire policy of constructive engagement with Iran, including the current nuclear deal, has been built on the premise that Russia will help, both with shutting down Iran’s nuclear program when a deal is finally struck, and re-imposing sanctions if Iran doesn’t.
This is probably what he was referring to when he made the hot mic comment about having more leverage after the election.
Obama has been striving to remove the evil and oppressive influence of the United States from the world. Apparently, just as he did not see the disaster a power vacuum of his own making in Iraq would create, he did not realize that some other power, not nearly as benevolent as ourselves, would step in and seize the initiative in the absence of US influence.
But, then again, this is a guy that thought removing the anti-ballistic missile shield from Europe would soften up Putin, the guy that thought the power of his personality would cause Assad to run away, the guy that thought his magnetic personality (even if filtered through the bland Kerry) would force the Iranians to be honest. He doesn’t realize how impotent and inconsequential he is without the corrupt US media propagandizing his greatness.
He is a threat to world peace and order and has assured that, very soon, another major conflict will erupt and involve the US.
“de-conflict” Obama and Kerry have the region and most of the world so totally screwed up that they have to invent new words to describe it.
I don’t think Obama really cares so long as he can diminish America’s importance and influence on the world.