Once again, President Obama thought he had a bailout that would be a “sure thing”–an “out” for his “red line”, calculus changing comments, in August 2012, which would just make all his problems and leadership woes slip quietly from the spotlight. The bailout was ‘graciously’ created and offered by the Russians and their leader, President Vladimir Putin.
After Putin road in on his white horse, (this time wearing a business suit) he skillfully wrote, an insulting Op-Ed in the New York Times. One would presume he was feeling the euphoria of “saving America from itself” by helping see diplomacy is better than “brute force”.
Putin has willingly filled the leadership vacuum created by Syria’s possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and now has assumed a role in America of molding our public opinion on the topic. He does this by using our own questions about America’s involvement in Syria, (i.e. “Is it in America’s long-term interest?”) to appear to be ‘one of us’, having the same concerns.
Many have taken offense to his criticism of American exceptionalism. As everyone should; this exceptionalism has been characterized by our country’s past successes, some over Russia.
This point wasn’t as much of a problem with my reading of his Op-Ed, nearly as much as the way Putin swaggered in and might be interpreted as proselytizing Americans who may not have a firm idea of how America should handle Syria. For those who are weary of our leadership, Putin has now had an opportunity to present himself as a confident leader, who is now sitting in the chair America once occupied in these circumstances.
If you are an American who truly believes in the foundation of our country and the values, which it was built upon, encountering a political bully who says “it is dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional”, shouldn’t cause anyone to waver in their support and understanding of the United States. Bullies lie. A prominent goal of a bully is to cause an individual (or in this case, an entire nation) to begin to doubt their decisions and beliefs in themselves. A bully wants to control a situation, with the sole intent to gain the higher ground.
America should consider herself exceptional. When we begin to entertain the idea our way of life and the freedoms and privileges afforded by the Constitution, are no longer unique and exceptional, we fulfill the prophecy made by Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” If a Russian control freak can get us to think we are less than what we truly were intended to be, we are lost. Our country already thinks less of itself and is struggling with our “self-confidence” due to the circumstances of recent years.
Certainly, these aren’t America’s finest days, after nearly 5 years of our President traveling the world, apologizing for us being a dominant and intelligent force in political and economic issues. That doesn’t mean we should surrender that position because a man who has never liked us, says we shouldn’t believe we are exceptional.
If America becomes weak, others will seek to overtake our position in the world.
Obama backers are already reeling at the downturn the President’s popularity has taken in recent weeks and I would presume are looking for a place to turn. Certainly the dyed in the wool Democrats and Obama supporters would never see things in a light more closely aligned with Conservatives. But they are in the deep end of the swimming pool and need a lifeline, something to hang on to, especially to further their Socialist beliefs. So where do they go now?
Putin isn’t stupid. He sees not only a leadership vacuum in the case of Syria, but he sees a leadership vacuum inside our own borders and is taking advantage of the opportunity to create even more doubt in the minds of Americans, as to what the proper actions and reactions should be in this time of political confusion. In the absence of Obama standing up and making the tough decisions, Putin will gladly present arguments for diplomacy, in a somewhat coherent manner. In a format, where people with similar viewpoints and weariness of war, might see a peaceful solution.
By taking advantage of our open policy of free speech, Putin is able to plant seeds of doubt regarding the way America handles situations and manages conflicts between and with other countries. In turn, you almost have a brainwashing effect, especially for those who won’t consider the repercussions of Putin’s possible plans.
Certainly there is concern for the decisions that need to be made regarding Syria and the handing over of their WMD’s. When the discussions of bombing Syria began, Russia wasn’t stepping up to convict Syria, yet when the opportunity began to increase for in-roads for creating solutions seemed ripe, Putin so flawlessly moved in to “save the day”.
What does all this do for Putin? It is proving himself to be a magnificent Public Relations mogul.
For all the Americans who voted for Obama and his diplomatic plans, but are now disappointed and discouraged, it seems an easy move to begin agreeing with the Russian leader, on international topics and thus the pressure to follow his suggestions will be pressed upon American diplomats.
His Op-Ed sounded similar to speeches Obama has made lamenting everyone is equal, whether “big or small countries, rich and poor”.
Putin is not America’s chosen leader, yet he is constructing a platform from which to wield significant influence, on citizens who are easily persuaded.
Americans now lean more toward socialist ideas, than in the recent past. With this type of thinking, Putin’s influence within our own borders doesn’t seem like a far-fetched possibility.
Certainly America was bullied and insulted, in a very public manner by Vladimir Putin. We will get over it.
What we may not get over, is Putin feeling so comfortable in expressing his ideas in our free society, while sounding eerily similar to American Liberals and possibly becoming a strong influence on our political home front.