Can Obama handle a foreign crisis?

Secretary of Defense Hagel announced recently that the U.S. Army personnel will be scaled back to pre-World War II levels. In totally unrelated events, Russia’s Putin invaded Ukraine and there is a Russian warship docked in Cuba.

If there was ever any question about it, our president is proving himself to be a dove in lamb’s wool. I know that mixes metaphors, but I don’t know how else to describe him that doesn’t involve chicken droppings. He has never had any military experience. That is not to be confused with militant experience obtained while organizing communities.

President Obama has made plain his disdain for anything military. He fired numerous generals, admirals, colonels, and other high ranking military people. I can understand that the military might be top-heavy and thinning commanding ranks might be necessary.

My problem with this is that he fired the warriors and kept the bureaucrats. Those possessing countless years of military action experience are being shown the door. Many of those exiting also have the most understanding of nuclear armaments and foreign threats.

In support of this premise, simply look at his political appointments. First we have U.N. Ambassador Samantha Powers, wife of ultra left-wing liberal Obama pal Cass Sunstein. Secretary of State John Kerry (Lurch to Rush Limbaugh) served in Vietnam. but if you will remember, came home equating his fellow soldiers to Genghis Khan. Secretary of Defense Hagel historically does not seem strong-willed. All of these people, along with the president, are definitely pacifist in nature.

Putin knows this. He has poked at Obama in the past. The Russian warship in Cuba is no doubt another jab. He is an old style Russian bully the likes of Khrushchev during the Cold War. He has Obama’s number and knows Obama doesn’t have the backbone for a confrontation.

While the Ukraine situation is developing, I can’t help but think back to some history. President Kennedy stared down Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile crisis by blockading Cuba. No doubt there were some tense moments. President Reagan dared Gorbachev over the Berlin Wall. Both Presidents were resolute and made plain that they would use military action if necessary, and the other side knew it. It seems Obama would rather the U.N. take care of military problems. I guess that is in keeping with the One World Order philosophy. He certainly doesn’t understand how to deal with a bully.

Some say the Russian escalation in Ukraine and Crimea could be the precursor to another world war. This makes me nervous on several fronts. First, I don’t trust the present leadership to handle the problem without missteps. They just don’t have the experience. Second, I don’t think they have the gumption to run an effective bluff if it comes to that.

Just listen to their speeches. Powers said she is gravely concerned. What does that mean? I can only infer that she has concerns and they are grave, basically a meaningless statement. Kerry said that there will be serious consequences to Putin if he doesn’t withdraw. Sure, but what? Putin knows we won’t use the military. The only things that can be implemented are economic sanctions. Since Russia’s major export is oil and we are not energy independent, all that will do is push up oil prices and make oil traders happy.

Finally, we can’t afford a major war. When World War II started, the U.S. debt was about 40 percent of GDP. We are now approaching 100 percent of GDP. Manufacturing capability was a huge factor in WWII. That now mostly resides in China. Finally, we were far more energy independent in 1940 than now.

There is an investment theory that says there are war cycles that influence markets. According to that theory we are due for another large-scale war. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that theory but I do know that history repeats itself. Interestingly, this occurs about every generation. I can only assume that is because the younger generation believes that history “can’t happen that way again because (fill in the blank).” Yet is always seems to.

The Ukraine and Crimea problem makes me nervous. I have less faith that the Obama administration can handle this correctly than with any President in recent history. That includes Carter. Obama hates everything about the military. He is a wimp surrounded by wimps all singing “Why Can’t We be Friends,” while the schoolyard bully acts without consequence. That scares me.

Tom Riggins is an LVN columnist.


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