Fareed Zakaria throwing softballs at soft power prez during interview.
CNN's liberal commentator, and apologist for the Obama administration, Fareed Zakaria posted an article on WAPO last week called "Obama's 21st Century Power Politics (see)" where he attempts to rescue from charges of fantasy, naïvety and ignorance Obama's lead from behind, world-wrecking foreign policy-while defending John Kerry's notion that Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea was behavior more befitting a leader in the 19th century, not the 21st.
Drawing on the writings of Mark Zacher and Harvard's Steven Pinker Zakaria points out that land grabbing military aggression (which was quite common in the 19th century) has sharply declined since World War I; and because there is less of it today than in the past (which is true), and there is growing economic interdependence between nations in a new global order where more nations are choosing "the fruits of economic development over war," leaders like Putin are men of the past mentally living in the 19th century and endangering the new evolving order; whereas men like Obama are models of 21st century leadership (Zakaria once likened him to Ike) wanting to develop and advance the new more peaceful order until it's universal. Worthy goals to be sure as economic development is always preferable to predatory war.
But the Barack Obama in Zakaria's head (a model of 21st century leadership) is itself a fantasy having nothing to do with the man regarded by most world leaders (friends and foes) as a blundering amateur on the world stage with a rudderless, incoherent and destructive foreign policy of appeasement and retreat that's emboldening aggression and undermining the new order he's trying to advance. Moreover, this new world order has America at its helm which Obama opposes and wants to radically change by downsizing its foreign commitments and global military presence in accord with an egalitarian notion of fairness and power sharing that's childish, utopian and insane.
But the question is what's "21st century" about a leader who used the 20th century MUNICH MODEL OF APPEASEMENT to reset relations with a "19th century" Russian imperialist? Where was the enlightened leadership in that? If, as Hillary Clinton said, it's the 1930s all over again; and that Putin's aggression against Ukraine is like Hitler's against Czechoslovakia and Poland then that would mean Barack Obama is the new Neville Chamberlain making the world a more dangerous place (less safe for democracy and the new world order) through weakness and appeasement in dealing with implacable land grabbing thugs. And this is what Obama's foolishly doing while he and Kerry distainfully look down their noses at Putin as he amasses troops on Ukraine's border and Russia rallies to his cause urging him on to greater exploits.
To be sure 21st century post-Soviet Russia resembles pre-Soviet authoritarian Russia (without the czar) and is closer to the 19th and 18th centuries' expansionist empire than to 21st century peace-loving Western democracies-some of whom (Britain, France, Spain, etc.) once headed vast colonial empires and are done with that. But dealing with rogue entities and Hitler-like leaders as Putin requires the strength, boldness and wisdom of 20th century leaders like FDR, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. "Peace through strength" and "preparing for war in peace time" are as valid and vital in today's more peaceful world as it was anytime in the past, and will be the wisest policy as far as the eye can see.
In sum, only a profoundly naïve and stupid man divorced from reality would have embarked on a 20th century Munich butt-kissing policy to win over a 19th century aggressor like Putin shortly after the invasion of Georgia-with plans to cut the US military to its smallest size since before World War II despite Crimea (what's 21st century about that?). It's not Putin who needs a lecture on 21st century behavior from Kerry but Obama who needs to study FDR, Churchill and Reagan and learn to use power and strength in dealing with land grabbing foes. Walk softly and carry a toothpick (aka soft power) is wrong in any age as evil men heading armies and nations will always be with us threatening woe.
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