by Dr. Robin McFee

“All warfare is based on deception” – Sun Tzu

THE “CSTO”

Can this messiah stand up to this devil?  This messiah is an amateur!

Can this messiah stand up to this devil? This messiah is an amateur!

Last week, Russia and six ex-satellite nations – former Soviet States – agreed to jointly (translation – Mother Russia rules) create a special military force designed to challenge the influence of NATO. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) members Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have also pledged to deploy their “special forces” units as well as collaboratively contribute to this new military alliance. According to several sources, the scope of the military presence will be significant – the name “rapid reaction unit” notwithstanding. In typical Russia-speak, language designed to deceive, this will not be a SWAT team or even a SEAL team in the U.S. definition of “rapid reaction” force, to handle small insurgent attacks, but a force to be reckoned with. Russia, increasingly sensitive of .U.S and Western influences with their border nations, has expended significant effort and various forms of persuasion – economic, military, energy and political – to rein in or reestablish relations with the “Stan” nations and others critical to creating a buffer zone. Moreover, the members of the CSTO have valuable transit routes for United States interests – supply lines and military bases to support the war effort in Afghanistan, and Russia – pipeline routes for oil and gas.  

Though publicly billed to be able to suppress “terrorist” aggression, Dmitry Medvedev let there be no room to miss the Sicilian message “the military alliance would allow operational reaction to threats and would not be less powerful than NATO forces.” The Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian tried to put a more temporizing tone – “the rapid reaction force is aimed at strengthening the military capacity of our organization.” Uh huh – sounds good, but Medvedev (here to fore considered “Putin lite”) was letting the world know….”we’re baaaaack!”

The “Stan” nations are critical to US interests. Russia is turning the screws on us at every opportunity. Putin has a map; where is global AAA when we need them? U.S. foreign policy is lost and leaderless, if you exclude the military. Consider we have just lost a key military supply base in Uzbekistan; Putin may, repeatmay allow us to use it for non military supplies. Big deal! That base was important for our Afghanistan (MILITARY) efforts. But “Putin, Inc” has been tossing money, military and probably a few babes towards the “Stans” and wooing them back, much more than the CSTO of the past would have revealed. These nations are important for our war on terrorists. But, they are essential in Russia’s romp to the sea – giving a virtually uninterrupted region of states from the Motherland to Iran, Iraq and surrounding Turkey.

Which brings me to the question – how many “friends” can we afford to lose? You don’t have military bases in countries without some friendship developing. We are letting Uzbekistan slip through our fingers.

Turkey is perhaps one of the most critically important nations to U.S. interests abroad, and we are losing hold on and influence with it. Last week, the president of Turkey and his Russian counterpart (dare I name him again?) met. I don’t think it was over the price of beluga caviar or sturgeon fishing rights… do you? Hold your friends close and your enemies closer. Historically, the U.S. and Turkey have had reason for common ground and cooperation. Our military bases have been there for years and are strategically a key to our influence in the region. Turkey is geographic cross roads for commerce, military operations and another key energy transit nation. They are a moderate voice in a volatile Islamic region. Turkey is one of the few Muslim nations – secular or not – to recognize Israel.

We cannot afford to lose our closeness with such an important friend. Mr. Obama – make nice to Istanbul. Don’t take Turkey for granted.

Russia is reestablishing an umbilical relationship with Syria. Missiles, a navy presence, commercial ties in technology and energy, and the realization that such an alliance can significantly alter the balance in the Middle East. In the process of sending the Russian Navy to the Mediterranean, docking several ships at the Syrian port of Tartus – Putin visibly demonstrated his rejection of the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) which sought to limit Russian military presence along its European borders. It is likely Iranian Kilo class submarines could join the party. It is well known much of Iran’s armaments are Russian made. And Obama thinks Russia will be an ally? There are too many reasons to discount that likelihood without some “audacity” and courage that doesn’t include “hope” (it isn’t a strategy).

Russia has also gauged the mood of Europe very well. Putin understands his nation remains an important and reliable source of energy, an attractive investment proposition, and a feared adversary. European concern over Russia is all but nonexistent; merely a distant recollection of a cold war that most don’t have an interest in revisiting. Russia has a strong leader. He may be a totalitarian or ruthless pragmatist but nevertheless, he is also a strong, charismatic strategic and, yes, brilliant leader.

Then there is the U.S. At least with President Bush we had a resolute, America first leader. There’s nothing worse than a rudderless ship. Sailors often quip that a captain is movable ballast. One hopes such cynicism won’t be applicable to the leader of our “ship of state” but current performance isn’t giving much inspiration.

While the United States Congress remains bogged down with the economy and the president is preoccupied with launching his administration, one has to wonder who is watching what is going on in the world. By proclamation if not expectation, POTUS is the leader of the free world…didn’t he get the memo? Given the looks of the road trips and press conferences, the Obama Doctrine seems to be a glitzier version of the old DNC “great government giveaway” to buy future votes, with foreign policy in the Jimmy Carter model of talk, yield and sing kumbaya – in short, appease the left, appease the unions, appease the peaceniks.  Change we can believe in?

Get the feeling our inexperienced “commander in chief” is learning through ‘on the job training (OJT)? With the stakes high – Russia rising, a lack of energy policy, the floundering economy, global terrorism, domestic threats, extremists in our midst, porous borders, an anxious military/intelligence community, increasingly well-armed criminal aliens, rampant government and corporate corruption, and a partisan and largely ineffective Congress, we cannot afford to have our president spending more time answering softball and inane press corps or citizen questions about “A –Rod juicing” and why unemployment doesn’t pay the same as a full time job. Mr. President – where is the vision, the strategy, the leadership?

Mr. Obama…may I humbly suggest while you are climbing a steep learning curve that you read the Putin Playbook. Take note: Russia has a strategy. 

Russia is building relationships faster than the U.S. is going into debt, which is bad news for the home team. They understand all is fair in love and war. Putin has made no secret of his ambitions to restore Mother Russia to global leadership (read: dominance) as a vaunted adversary (to the U.S.) and desirable ally (to other nations). Vlad (I’m sure we’re tight and he’s okay with the informality) is also unabashed in his ability to stalk and acquire his prey. He knows global dominance is predicated upon the hard realities of lights working, heat in winter, food on the table, politicians paid off, the media controlled or co-opted and a military to keep adversaries at bay and dissidents under control. Basic human needs on a national scale. Translation: Eastern –  heck, most of – Europe will always cave in when it is freezing out and Russia is the only energy game in town. And the U.S. still being outflanked and outplayed in the region.

Iran may have little more in common with Moscow than Manhattan except for the former’s eagerness to share nuclear, aeronautical, military and energy technology. Meanwhile Obama wants to chat it up with Ahmadinejad instead of promoting relations with the real, pro-American Iranian people.

Syria has no more in common with the Bear than with Uncle Sam except in their antipathy towards the U.S. and desire to have a powerful military/naval presence. Hmmm – who could provide such assistance?  It should be the U.S, but it is not.

And when a nation and a new ally critical to U.S. interests in the Middle East (Iraq) is handed to Obama tied with a bow – recent peaceful elections, greater security: by all impartial accounts a clearly improved situation – he blows off the fledgling democracy foolishly and for the most with venal partisan reasons: his predecessor might get the credit! This borders on the irresponsible. He should be cheering for any success in Iraq – efforts paid for by American servicemen and women. “Change we can believe in?” Is it a surprise that our allies and adversaries alike don’t trust us? While the world may watch in rapt attention and some admiration our peaceful turnover of power every four years, the ensuing partisan politics create a dizzying array of policy changes and stranded initiatives. Where once stood an image of U.S. resolve and consistent messaging in the projection of our power and commitments, now all that remains is the concern of those we again will leave behind awash in unfinished projects and unfulfilled promises – a monument to new leaders all too easily swayed by the vagaries (vulgarity) of political expedience. At least when you deal with Putin, Inc., you know what you are getting. Obama may be as good an orator as Reagan but clearly is not the statesmen. You knew where Reagan stood – USA # 1.

One has to ask – have President Obama or Congress looked at the map lately? There must be one in the situation room; maybe copies should be handed out during study hall. Clearly foreign policy wasn’t taught to our leaders – had it been, they might be somewhat concerned about global energy cartels (newsflash, we’re not heading any), or space buddies (Iran and Russia), or missile buddies (Iran and Russia) or navy buddies (Syria and Russia) or new military buddies (Central Asia and Russia). Notice a pattern here? While we’re mired in rampant political corruption, Obama cabinet and senior level appointees not paying taxes, CEOs enjoying ourbailout monies and the “best minds” on The Hill trying to sell us on the notion that Frisbee parks and condom giveaways will create jobs, you can hear the laughter from Beijing and Moscow. Russia and China are doing their best to fill the vacuum of global leadership left behind with this new administration. Popular to be sure; but applause is no substitute for alliance. Putin knows this. Earth to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The China – Russia Alliance is Patton-esque, and politics certainly makes for strange bedfellows.

THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (SCO)

In the aftermath of the Cold War Russia and China created the SCO – primarily serving as a security cooperative arrangement and provider for the Central Asian region. It has since evolved to become a framework for strategic partnerships. The original members of SCO – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Consider this alliance represents 25% of the world’s population, a significant supply of oil, gas and other natural resources, as well as significant economic growth potential. Is it surprising that Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia have expressed great interest in joining?  Terrorism, separatism and extremism are designated the focus areas for which the SCO was formed. Though not specifically stated in their organizing documents, it is clear the group aims to reduce U.S. influence in resource (energy) rich Central Asia. Not surprisingly, the United States was rejected for membership. The SCO is a challenge to Western interests; an alliance created to counter U.S. influence. Some observers have viewed it as a Warsaw-Pact like organization. Fortunately for the West, not all is pure harmony in the organization. While Russia would like India to join, China wants Pakistan. Good for us, for the moment.

One of the strategies of the SCO is to create an oil and gas club similar to OPEC, as well as technology and other entities. Being wooed for membership is Turkmenistan, a nation trying to dip a toe in both giants’ camps – the U.S. and the SCO. Recognizing the friendship with Washington on the one hand while realizing regional affiliations may be beneficial. Russia (Putin – Gazprom) wants an energy cartel in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – naturally under its guidance. Turkmenistan could be an important producer. If Putin wants something, it is worth it for the U.S. to take note.

It should concern the U.S. that China and Russia are increasingly getting closer. They share a mutual dislike of the West’s (U.S.) international influence. Fortunately for us, global economic indicators notwithstanding, the SCO members recognize the importance of their relationships with the United States, tenuous though these are. Historic mistrust, competing interests and strategic rivalries may also strain the relationship. Never the less, in the foreseeable future, the SCO is a formidable counterbalance to our interests and a growing enterprise likely to include or envelope nations we once called friends. That must be stopped. Starting with Turkey, a nation with growing energy, commercial and security ties with SCO nations.

China also has a strategy.

In the report “Unrestricted Warfare” by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, two officers in the Chinese military who outline a strategy to undermine a vastly superior super power – the U.S. – they offer the following thoughts:

 When we suddenly realize that all these non-war actions (using the media, exploiting society trends, economics, cyber threats, political persuasion, financial instruments) may be the new factors constituting future warfare, we have to come up with a new name for this new form of war:  warfare which transcends all boundaries and limits, in short: unrestricted warfare. If this name becomes established, this kind of war means that all means will be in readiness – information will be omnipresent, and the battlefield will be everywhere. It means that all weapons and technology can be superimposed at will, it means that all the boundaries lying between the two worlds of war and non-war, of military and non-military, will be totally destroyed, and it also means that many of the current principles of combat will be modified, and even that the rules of war may need to be rewritten.

 Some might think of it as death by a thousand cuts or attacking on a variety of targets, soft and hard. Beijing is following the playbook extremely well. They have a map and are using it.

 And what is the U.S. doing to counter this?

 Straight out of their playbook – financial attack – China has artificially devalued their currency to provide a competitive advantage, which has created an avalanche sized trade deficit to our detriment. China holds a sizable mortgage on the US, owning much of our treasuries and other instruments. They are likely to increase their influence as we print up more funny money to pay for the trillion dollar bailouts – and they play creditor.  

 Technologically they are supplying missile and other military know how to such fine friendly folks as North Korea, Venezuela, Iran and others.

 Economically they are eating our lunch as Chinese manufacturing has all but supplanted most of our production. China (the Wal Mart effect) has undermined the U.S. industry. Only about 10% of our employment base is manufacturing and it will get worse.  

The U.S. sells lots of weapons, but so do Russia and China. It’s one of the few areas of manufacturing left in the U.S. yet competitors are nibbling away at our market share by bundling products – energy, money and munitions. Since the U.S. is one of the leading energy consumers, clearly in excess of our value as producers, while Russia is a global leader in oil and gas sales, as any marketing or sales professional will tell you – bundle products and make it easier on the client.

China and Russia are also bundling their wares to become a formidable force. While neither China or Russia are in the purest sense partners, each reserving a bit of rivalry and self interest, they are savvy enough to recognize leveraging their respective resources, the resulting synergy from partnership provides a clear advantage over U.S. interests. Each has significant reach and a powerful network. We do, too, but no one is minding the store. And the clock is ticking.

Politically Russia and to a lesser extent China are making liaisons and partnerships with countries vital to our interests. Knowing our PC culture, China is not above pulling the xenophobe/race card when the U.S. cries “foul” at China’s actions.

China and Russia own a significant amount of our financial instruments directly and, one has to wonder, how many straw entities – fronts for Beijing and Moscow, own sizable portions of selected industries, notes and equities. Clearly at a time when the U.S. economy is facing serious challenges, it is not unrealistic to expect China and Russia to exert political pressure, especially when they are one of our leading creditors. But then, there is enough internal political pressure among the voters to focus on entitlements at the expense of security or even visionary approaches to rebuild our nation. Our leaders cannot see the forest for the trees and as a result, our adversaries are stealthily taking a walk in the woods, right up to our doorstep!

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”

Consider how Russia is implementing unrestricted warfare strategy in the broad strokes –

Cyber threats

Russia is reenergizing its eavesdropping capabilities. They support a cyber school in Cuba. It’s no secret that Putin considers cyber control a critical component of a broad strategy of economic, military and intelligence dominance. In a short time, they will end up running the International Space Station. Russia’s ability to disrupt communications, as seen when they invaded Georgia, is both impressive and worrisome. It is a Putin focus area. The former KGB agent knows all too well the value of intercepts and surveillance. Historically much of Russia’s technology advances were in fact the result of industrial espionage – a practice that has been elevated to an art form today. China is not very far behind.

Militarily

The CSTO Military accord is another example of Putin surveying the map and looking for opportunities to increase his position and undermine ours. Whether building military alliances, projecting force through moving his navy or army around either in joint exercises with Venezuela, Cuba or stand alone as an image of power, he uses all the chess pieces deftly.

Does it worry anyone but those of us here at FSM that only a few months ago Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky announced plans to build up to six aircraft carrier battle groups? While that may be more hubris than reality, in terms of magnitude, the intent and capability even on a smaller scale, should be worrisome.

 Russia is investing heavily in new weapons – the T 95 tank, upgrading the T 80 tank, and more. It is one of the key focuses for Putin’s Russia. Those who think the Kremlin is sporting rusty relics should study the history of the German military and munitions industry prior to WWII. Verboten was not followed – Treaty of Versailles notwithstanding.  Just as “experts” said the Germany military was weak prior to WWII and as the saying goes “never saw it coming” when the blitzkrieg of modern weapons smashed through Europe, so, too with today’s “experts” claiming Russia is still a rust bucket from the early 1990s. Nothing could be further from the truth – their military is coming back, and the Kremlin vows to rebuild, rearm and reclaim.

Russia has already announced scheduling building new submarines, an overhaul of existing ships, including a northern fleet for the Arctic region that they lay claim to. Russia has the largest number of, as well as biggest ice ship, one of which is nuclear powered. Our two ships are well worn and need replacement.

Advances in fighters, missiles, and directed energy weapons are all underway. Any claim by the left that Moscow is abandoning such efforts should be taken with a ton of salt. Even when the Russians publicly delay the use of weapons – more often than not it is a political or media ploy to appeal to the left in the U.S. and aid them in gaining greater influence. China is one of Russia’s biggest arms customers. And what China doesn’t purchase, it is developing.

Introduced in previous articles are the Russian and Chinese alliances with South American nations such as Venezuela – sharing nuclear, military and energy technology in the hope that such efforts will undermine U.S. efforts in the region, while enhancing their stature in a strategically important area.

In the wake of our downward spiral – distractions for our leaders that we cannot afford – China and Russia are reemerging as super powers.  Granted they are not “super” on as many fronts as the U.S. was in its heyday – military, economy, an educated population and commitment to a common ideal and global influence. But the times, they are a changing.

What’s the net result? Our adversaries are using newly found powers skillfully to exert influence across the globe, And with it, undermining ours. That is never good, but especially when you are a super power where your economy, national security and future are intertwined with global affairs and your ability to manipulate them. Whether tapping into the politics of jealousy, directing those negative feelings against our interests, fomenting unrest among pliable terror and protest organizations, using their newly found wealth, energy resources or buying power to gain consensus, build coalitions or supplant us at the negotiating table, Russia and China are formidable adversaries.

Clearly these adversaries have a plan. If that term, truthful though it is, offends you, think competitors. But consider in all things competitive especially with warrior states, winner takes all – the Japanese so well put it – all business is war. And we are at war. With or without bombs, bullets and ballistic missiles, the good guys –that’s us – are at war, ideologically, economically and industrially with Russia and China. Knowing that, they are encircling the .U.S in a well executed pincer maneuver General Patton himself would have admired.

Does the US have a global policy or are we “winging it,” bumbling along much like the giant in Gulliver’s travels? Let’s compare and contrast the strategic moves of Obama’s .U.S and Putin’s Russia.

FEBRUARY 2009

Over the last two weeks President Obama has been doing his Oliver Twist impression. “Please Congress, more votes.” While trying to persuade America to support a “stimulus package” (misnomer of epic proportions) working the audience to sell the Pelosi-Reid boondoggle – a pathetic and thinly veiled foray into social engineering at a level never before seen in US history – he has seemed to ignore his primary Constitutional responsibility, which is to protect us from foreign threats. In a mere fortnight, our global influence has taken a dramatic hit on several fronts. Not that you would learn about it in the mainstream media. While the media helped get Obama elected, to their chagrin they cannot conduct his presidency. But they can do damage control when he makes mistakes, as evidenced by the continuous failure to ask tough questions – what are we building with the bailout, how many jobs will be created and why are we paying two dollars for 12 cents worth of benefit? Leave it to Congress to turn gold into lead. The media should ask about exploring the Arctic (editor’s note: see Dr. McFee’s two-part series on the Arctic here and here), are we going to gut the military or continue funding it, what is our strategy on energy, global alliances, radicalization of the West, terror cells in the U.S.? And the sad reality is that the leaders of our once great nation cannot seem to do one thing correctly, let alone juggle several critical issues at the same time, yet our adversaries are hammering at us – our interests and allies – from all fronts, much like a Muhammad Ali-style boxer.  

Consider the reality that we have been outplayed literally across the globe from the North Pole and Arctic, to Central Asia, the Pacific Rim, the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. Since Obama took office, a variety of disquieting events have taken place and should give us clear pause to revisit the questions – can he lead the United States amidst a world of global threats, and will his true liberal, “one world” ideologies compromise the sovereignty of our national interests worldwide?

Russia learned well from the OPEC and Saudi model – oil is the global equivalent of a “get out of jail card” – and the nation with the most energy exports holds the key to the city. Thus it should be no secret the importance of global oil and gas dominance to Russia; it is a primer driver for their economy, a powerful weapon to keep Eastern Europe and by extension the rest of the world in check, and provides the funding for new weapons, new alliances and new influence geoglobally. The Arctic is their latest prize. Unfettered by environmentalism, the only limitations to Russia energy exploration are financial and technical ability.

Given energy is and should be a primary concern for the United States – and within our reach is the ability within five to 10 years to rival OPEC, if we would only reach out and take it – having a president and Congress that has greater allegiance to their political party and leftist ideology instead of the real and tangible good of the country, we face a daunting challenge. While no one thinks that identifying a major source of oil or gas is the same as being able to pump it into our cars the next day, demonstrating the resolve to go after it can have a chilling effect on our adversaries and challengers never the less. It makes them play cleaner and can be a powerful wake up call. It can stimulate a growth industry. But the current aversion to moving polar bears and frozen fish from one ice flow to another, while significant energy sources remain untapped is irresponsible, especially given our economy. The Kremlin understands this. Congress might want to take some pointers from their counterparts in the Workers Paradise. At least energy jobs are real jobs, as opposed to the fantasy economy of midnight Frisbee and the great condom giveaways in the Pelosi-Reid bill.

As if losing our footing on terra firma isn’t challenging enough, we are lost in space, too. NASA’s space capabilities steadily are rusting; it should not be lost on our nation or the world that Iran has satellite launch capacity, having just launched one. It’s no coincidence, it’s a visible warning that their missile capabilities have also improved. China and Iran are growing their ability to enter into and operate in the celestial frontier.  Does anyone but the village idiot think their interests are non military? Space-based weapons, cyber, espionage, longer range warhead delivery and other applications are in the queue.

The media as well as our leaders would be foolish and naïve to take Putin Lite (Medvedev) at his word when he offers a proposal for Russian, European Union and U.S. security relationships. Had we followed such a suggestion in the summer of 2008, wouldn’t we feel foolish in the aftermath of the recent unveiling of the CSTO military alliance? Medvedev is using virtuous words to belie less than virtuous intent. Peace in the Russian mindset means absence of rival. Peace in our mindset suggests non violent coexistence between rivals.  While it is important that we try to find common ground with Russia to address the growing threat of radical Islam and the global Jihad movement, let’s not be stupid about it. Let’s not give away the store to get concessions or assistance that a more modest trade would have done the trick.

As worrisome is the notion widely held by the left (domestic and abroad) that keeping NATO was a provocation for Russian reemergence. It’s typical Russia-speak with the expected left supporting such idiocy. Their claims that Russia would have disarmed their nuclear arsenal had we just dismantled NATO and turned our weapons into plow shares flies in the face of history. Lowering one’s guard to an untrustworthy adversary guarantees disaster. If Russia was so peace loving, they would not have felt the need to create a rival force to NATO, nor invaded Georgia – a peaceful nation that has neither invaded nor fomented terror raids into their neighbor.  Funny the left doesn’t seem to worry about Russia’s claim over much of the Arctic, major plans to rearm, willingness to invade a sovereign nation, or shut off heat to Eastern Europe, let alone sanction the murder of a British citizen. And lucky us: the left runs the House, Senate and 1600.

The simple reality, an “inconvenient truth” the left either ignores, accepts or embraces – the U.S. is being edged out and outmaneuvered. 

DISCUSSION

President Obama and his liberal supporters – Hollywood, San Francisco and the salons of New York and Chicago – foreign policy experts of great renown, no doubt – fail to appreciate the fundamental reality of global politics: this is not Chicago. Moscow, Istanbul, and Damascus are not Berlin or Paris. The former are the grownups who play hard ball, and don’t drink the Kool Aid. Kumbaya is not a persuasive motivator, entertaining though it may be. We need some vision in Washington.

Little by little our influence is being eroded worldwide. What will President Obama do to preserve or increase our global presence? Will he enhance or diminish the strength of the United States? Mired in the Pelosi-Reid (un)stimulus boondoggle – sausage, if not pure pork – the rookie president seems to be more oratorical figurehead and eloquent spokesperson than a leader of the free world. Given George Soros is likely a main power broker behind the DNC and a one world, anti military activist, is it any wonder the media and our leaders are letting global events weaken our hand? While Obama’s speeches – inspirational to be sure, especially when he has had time to rehearse the teleprompter – have been attended with the fervor reminiscent of fans to a Bon Jovi concert at international venues, they are more theatre than educational. Will his ardent words belie a lack of ardor towards regaining the supremacy of United States – the sole democratic superpower? It should have been a cautionary moment when the international community was rooting for Obama to win the election. Does anyone think the world had our best interest in terms of a leader who would keep our nations preeminence? I think not. There is a big difference between global acceptance and global influence; neither mutually exclusive, but clearly the latter more desirable than the former if you are a patriot, the former if you aren’t. Clearly the jury is out on l’enfant roy!

CONCLUSION

In the last couple weeks Russia just created a stronger military alliance in Central Asia, on top of efforts to expand the SCO, succeeded in getting the U.S. military tossed out of a valuable base.  Iran has just launched a satellite. We can’t even trust a peanut butter company, and Congress is so disrespected company execs don’t even fear it. The President of Turkey meets with Putin, Turkemistan also gets wooed, and the list goes on and on. Putin is a chess master.

They have Putin and we have what? What do our leaders accomplish geoglobally or domestically by comparison? A stimulus package that has little hope of stimulating anything except multigenerational angst as we saddle the next generation with untold debt, and the likelihood that our military, intelligence and homeland security budgets will be cut at the worst possible time. Our leaders (I use this term loosely) using Silly Putty, a Ouija board, and tea leaves cobble a trillion dollar give a way, instead of reaching out to our allies, creating new alliances, or funding bold initiatives. Where is the vision? Where is the leadership? Where is the change?

It is not too late. We are still a powerful and respected nation. We remain a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for people the world over. Our nation is looked upon as a rescuer to the oppressed. We are generous and compassionate, and are the first on scene in times of global crisis. But the clock is ticking. We cannot apologize for who we are, nor should we. Greatness is not a flaw. Let’s display some global leadership – which is not the same as global appeasement or to go Biblical, putting ones light under a bushel. The U.S. needs to build new bridges, repair old ones, and use our collective strengths to embark upon important endeavors. Instead we are reverting to tired old strategies – throw money at a problem, cut defense spending, promote social entitlements and weaken the nation.

As such, Obama is acting more like Jimmy Carter than the promised “second coming.” If his domestic policies – the self proclaimed strong suit of liberals – cannot inspire, and continue to elicit widespread criticism (except of course in the media where it is conspicuously absent), what can be expected from their foreign policy? Will it be the typical Carter-esque appeasement, diplomacy and summits ad nauseam, even downright withdrawal (surrender)? So far we’re losing the chess game, and have seen numerous challenges to the West, and it’s only just a month past the inauguration. The shelf life to blame President Bush has expired.  POTUS 44 is on his own, like it or not. Can President Obama cut it against Putin, Inc.?