- - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Unfortunately, we’ve just been welcomed to the new cold war. It’s apparent that the new strategy for White House operations and policymaking on international diplomacy has just changed from critical snickering and eye-rolling at the foolishness and incompetence to serious business in which innocent people’s lives are at stake.

The current situation in Ukraine was completely foreseeable, and it would have been avoidable if we’d had something more than an incompetent community organizer in the Oval Office.

President Obama has been told numerous times over the past five years of the looming dangers of Russia. He was told by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mitt Romney during the last election cycle, by Sarah Palin in 2008, and by former U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton for years.

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s certainly clear now: Barack Obama is a good hollow-rhetoric speaker, but a poor listener.

We’ve now let down another “allied nation” as a result of our schoolyard handling of international diplomacy and strategic global affairs. Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the weakness and has just played Texas Hold ‘Em and gone all in.

There is no bet to call here, because we’ve stretched and depleted our military resources to the breaking point and our opponents have calculated this.

If Ukraine is allowed to fall, we will have moved into fourth or fifth place as world power and relinquished our strategic political position in the world. This pushes us back about 40 years.

Unfortunately, the only move for us now may be to let Crimea go to Russia. Mr. Putin has called our bluff, and we may have to fold.

Let’s see if my fellow Americans remember this weak incompetence when they vote this year and in 2016. We must start placing conservatives with backbones into our legislatures and the White House.

WADE HALLETT

Janesville, Wis.