- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2014

Well, this can’t be good. Mainstream media allies of the White House appear to be suffering from fatigue; the soaring rhetoric just isn’t enough any more in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A USA Today editorial gripes, “Perhaps the most surprising thing about Russia’s weekend invasion of Crimea is that the U.S. and its allies were caught so flat-footed, groping for a response that didn’t look weak and ineffectual.”

Then there is The Washington Post.

President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy,” the news organization’s editorial board declared, even as Secretary of State John Kerry took to the airwaves to cobble a proper response to unfolding events.

“For five years, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which ‘the tide of war is receding’ and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past,” the Post board said.

Unfortunately, the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad did not get the memo.

“Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too,” the Post ultimately concluded.


Amid all the Ukraine-centric media coverage, statements, photo-ops and editorials have come the bare-fisted warnings from those who are more interested in a reality check than fancy prose. There is an emphasis on the contrasts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama.

“Putin has been salivating over reassembling the Soviet Union, and if it weren’t so serious, it would be laughably pathetic,” Rush Limbaugh told his audience on Monday. “Because, as I remind you: In any conflict — I don’t care if it’s a bully on the schoolyard. I don’t care if it’s the National Football League, Major League Baseball, or anywhere. The aggressor sets the rules. Whatever the aggressor does are the rules, and you throw the rulebook out.”

And talk — even fancy talk — can be cheap. Financial Times analyst Edward Luce advises Mr. Obama to ignore “the chicken hawks of Washington” and get on with something productive.

“Diplomacy is Mr. Obama’s preferred weapon. Now he must prove that he knows how to wield it. The Washington debate in the past 48 hours has posed a false choice between setting a red line and doing nothing. But there is plenty Mr. Obama can do in between,” Mr. Luce says.

“Rallying America’s allies to the side of Ukraine’s shaky government is obviously one. That must include large pledges of cash. Reassuring America’s Eastern European allies that their sovereignty will be protected is another. This could include restoring the missile defense systems Mr. Obama scrapped in the days of the ‘reset’. He could also accelerate plans to export US natural gas and oil to Europe to counter Moscow’s energy stranglehold,” Mr. Luce says, adding, “Above all, Mr. Obama needs to convince Mr. Putin that he will not be outfoxed.”


Talk of “big tent” thinking has switched to action. The Republican National Committee has launched a trio of national advisory councils meant to shore up ties with black, Asian and Hispanic communities — framed as an “unprecedented commitment” to engage voter interest.

State lawmakers, local officials and community leaders are among the 68 new council members, along with such heavy hitters as Sen. Marco Rubio, of Florida, and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, of Florida, and Raul Labrador, of Idaho. It’s a good start, but competition is tough.

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