A big hat-tip this morning to Wall Street Journal writer Dan Henninger for his piece entitled “Putin Carterizes Obama, Totally.”
He reminds us that ” ‘Carterization’ has a specific meaning in American politics. In 1980, Ronald Reagan delivered an August speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Chicago just as he was starting his campaign to unseat Jimmy Carter, trapped then in the Iranian hostage crisis.
” ‘The response from the administration in Washington’ to foreign threats, said Reagan, ‘has been one of weakness, inconsistency, vacillation and bluff.’
” ‘Our allies are losing confidence in us, and our adversaries no longer respect us,’ he said. Our partners ‘are confused by the lack of a coherent, principled policy from the Carter administration.’
“The characterization stuck, helped by Mr. Carter’s foreign adventures after his presidency. And in truth, Mr. Carter’s team included sterner ballast in Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Nothing similar exists today in the Obama administration.”
After this morning’s announcement that Team Obama issued travel and economic sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, it’s impossible not to make the Carter leap.
First, travel sanctions? C’mon, man! That’s not going to do it.
Second, economic sanctions might work, if they are strong enough and supported by the world community.
But this morning’s sanctions are vague and so far don’t identify anyone for punishment.
On top of that, no one is on board, including our strongest allies in Europe. If Obama can’t lead Germany, et al, into supporting the sanctions, it’s not going to mean much. Let’s hope he gets 100 percent support and it does cause Russia to reconsider.
I am not holding my breath. What we are witnessing once again is another example in a long line of international events that catch President Obama flat-footed. He’s simply been a follower in events in Egypt, Iran or Ukraine.
In Syria, where he actually tried to do something, he failed to follow through and now Russia is driving the bus in talks of disarming Syria of chemical weapons. How embarrassing is that given what’s happening now in Ukraine.
If things keep going like this (and I don’t see any hope for change), President Obama will rescue Jimmy Carter from the title of worst president in modern history — hands down.
This president and his administration of second-tier national security advisers (Susan Rice, really?) are ill-prepared and out of their depth.