March 26, 2014

So Mitt has been trying to rehabilitate his career by writing op-eds and going on TV attacking Obama over Russia. Now conservatives are trying to say that Romney was right and Russia is indeed our number one geopolitical foe. I thought Al-Qaeda, Iran and China were the main players for conservatives to fear, but they change like the wind.

At a press conference at The Hague on Tuesday, Obama echoed this exact point. Asked if Romney had been right all along, he responded:

With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has got a whole lot of challenges. Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors not out of strength but out of weakness. Ukraine has been a country, [over] which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the breakup of the Soviet Union. We have considerable influence on our neighbors; we generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates [that they have] less influence, not more.

And so my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is Russia's actions are a problem. They don't pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned, when it comes to our security, with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan, which is part of the reason why the United States, showing its continued international leadership, has organized a forum over the last several years that has been able to help eliminate that threat in a consistent way.

Calling Russia a "regional power" was, in all likelihood, a well-intentioned slight. As for the other part of the response, this wasn't the president simply declining to say that his 2012 opponent had it right. This was him saying that Romney missed the point and continues to do so.

The president "actually said [Romney] was wrong [because] he was," tweeted top Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer.

I got a kick out of Noah Rothman's silly article for Mediaite about the Hague presser. Here are a few of his observations:

After making an arguable case that the president’s approach to America’s foreign adversaries was naïve and that his chief rival, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, may have been correct in his clear-eyed assessment of the threat Moscow posed to the post-Cold War global order, President Obama did the only thing he could do — answer the question he wish he was asked.
Faced with this searing indictment in the form of a question, Obama proceeded to erect and slay a straw man of his choosing: American military interventionism.

How convenient. Even when Russia directly threatens to topple the international order, of which America is the chief guarantor, they are not threatening the international order because the threat itself is an implicit admission of inadequacy.

President Obama’s core supporters in the United States may still eat this nonsense up, but the actions of America’s geopolitical adversaries abroad suggest that they have long ago pegged the president as a pushover.

This was an embarrassing display in Holland, one that will almost certainly invite more testing of the America’s willingness to defend the post-Cold War order.

How did Obama erect a straw man when it comes to military intervention in Mother Russia? Sorry, I shouldn't bother refuting this gibberish. Russia is really turning their already SillyPutty-like minds into a putrefied mush.

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