Retreating to the '70s
To understand how the situation in the Ukraine has evolved, you don't have to be Mitch Miller to follow the swinging hammer and sickle. It began with Iran, North Korea, the Arab Spring, Bengahzi, Syria and now the Ukraine. Once the Olympic torch was extinguished at Sochi, it didn't take long for Putin to order Russian troops into the Ukraine's Crimea.
Belligerence, anarchy and war are exactly what the world can expect more of as the U.S. withdraws from it. If our allies and adversaries believe we won't take serious diplomatic or military action, any margin of security is dead. Like any rogue tyrant (is there any other kind?), both Bashar al-Assad, who Hillary Clinton once called a reformer, and now Vladimir Putin took the measure of Barack Obama and is confident enough to act out and rub our face in it. Besides Obama, Clinton and John Kerry, did the rest of us really expect anything different from a former Soviet KGB agent? It was Putin who claimed the collapse of the Soviet Union was, "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century."
Once you get past the fact there are some Americans who think the Ukraine is some Tonka toy, you can't help but marvel how Putin is systematically scraping the rust off the old iron curtain. Georgia was first and now the Ukraine. When it comes to foreign relations on the world stage, Putin is making Obama resemble the kid with the pipe-cleaner physique in the oversized hushpuppies trying to get on the court who is nothing but all talk and no game.
Remember the Obama administration's reset button? Whatever happened to that? Reset to the Russians means resume - the Cold War. Under Obama, American foreign policy with all its pivots and resets is an ad-hoc, wing-it kind of operation, as aimless as it is pretentious. Red lines drawn in shifting sands with disappearing ink is more board game than foreign policy. Obama, who promised Americans they could keep their physicians, is not going to promise Ukrainians they can keep their country.
This is not a call for military engagement, but to avoid any miscalculations that could lead to one while protecting our international interests. Constancy of purpose is a lost precept that runs like a bullet train throughout Obama's five years.
When Mitt Romney said Russia was our major geopolitical foe, Obama ridiculed him saying, "Gov. Romney, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years."
Well, Obama and his disciples, welcome to Cold War II.
Obama's boorish and insulting behavior toward two of our staunchest allies - Great Britain and Israel - was such a huge red flag it can take part in Moscow's May Day parade. Instead it was waved off as a nonevent by his enamored friends in the national media. Then there was Obama bowing before the king of Saudi Arabia and the emperor of Japan in a gesture of subservience that no other president had ever done that had to make a hardliner like Putin want to rip off his shirt and grab his AK-47 and hit the beachhead.
In early 2012, with Obama unaware he was on a live microphone, he informed then-Russian president and Putin lapdog Dmitry Medvedev to assure "Vladimir" that "after my election, I have more flexibility."
Putin has turned Obama into a contortionist.
It was Obama's own former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, that warned during the 2008 primaries of a 3 a.m. phone call to a White House that would be run by an inexperienced president that now seems profound. However, at the time, it was profoundly dismissed.
Hillary is no better, as Benghazi proved what many already knew, but where both Hillary and Obama get a pass on from the media.
None of this should come as any great revelation as Obama's two closest foreign policy advisers are his five-iron and putter.
As high an opinion as Obama has of himself, the world has lost respect for him, friend and foe alike. We are a weaker nation than when he took office, and the world is a much more dangerous place because of it.
Perhaps our best option at this point is to proclaim Russia a conservative political group and cut loose the IRS. Then again, Obama could have all Ukrainians sign up for a new federal program called ObamaKrane. Worst case scenario: Obama unfriends Putin on Facebook.
If you ever speculated what life would be like under a Jimmy Carter second term, well, wonder no more.
Someone please chill the Billy Beer and cue the Bee Gees.
(Maresca, a local freelance writer, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)