We now see the crisis in Ukraine. A couple of days ago, Obama boldly told us that the invasion of Ukraine had put Putin "on the wrong side of history." Says who? And who writes the history of an era? The winners or the losers? These are the kind of maddening, empty-calorie phrases that sound good and tough and gutsy and erudite coming off of some speechwriter's printer, but sound pathetic and laughable uttered when confronting a guy at the head of a tank column.
Time to face facts. None of Obama's supposed "talents" works when dealing with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the Shining Shooting Tsar of Eurasia--arguably the smartest national leader in the world. Let me back up. "Smartest" might be the wrong word. Yes, it definitely is the wrong one. That word is too loosely defined and too easily pinned on too many. What makes Putin successful and such a formidable geopolitical foe (thank you, Mitt Romney) is not that he is just "smart," but that he is a throw-back to a different era. He hunts and fishes, and doesn't care about the political fashion and sensitivities of the day; pajama boy has no place in Putin's cage fighter universe. Despite his upbringing as a Communist, he is now devoutly religious and wants to see religion restored to Russian life. As the jihadis have discovered, they have in Putin a rival as ruthless and religiously committed as they, and not bound by the conventions of political correctness.
Putin is a man of hard-work, careful preparation, an avid student of potential opponents, willing to exploit opportunities, and, above all, driven by a vision on his mission: restoring Russia to the top ranks of the world hierarchy. He is determined to end what he sees as the world's mistreatment of and disregard for Russia. He saw the condescending manner in which Clinton and other world leaders treated the amiable sclerotic alcoholic Boris Yeltsin, who named Putin Prime Minister in 1999. Putin will not allow that again. He wants his legacy to be the man who restored Russia's greatness and made the world recognize it.
Let's sum up this part of the post:
Putin is a patriot; Obama is not.
Putin has a deep understanding of his country's history and people; Obama does not.
Putin wants his country to be number one; Obama could not care less.
Putin knows that words have meaning; Barack "Red Line" Obama hasn't a clue.
Putin has Lavrov; Obama has Kerry.
There is an old Spanish saying, "Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos." It very roughly translates to "Misery loves company," but more dramatic and evocative, more along the lines of "The misery of the many is the consolation of the foolish." Given that we have a foolish misadministration in DC, perhaps Mr. Obama can draw solace from the fact that he is not the only fantasy player "confronting" Putin. More bluntly put, what's the best place to hide a fool? In a herd of fools. A needle in a stack of needles.