Thursday, April 17, 2014
Obama's Greatest Achievement - Re-Establishing the Soviet Union
People who see the world through the lens of domestic politics label ObamaCare as Barack Obama’s signature achievement. They are wrong. Obama has had a much greater, and more ominous achievement in the geopolitical arena. What did Obama really have in mind when he told Medvedev that after his re-election he would have greater flexibility?
As he assumed office, the world was uni-polar and the US was the sole superpower. Five years into his Presidency, Iraq is reverting to sectarian warfare and becoming an Iranian client state. Afghanistan is slipping away as fast as American troops are leaving. Egypt was taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and is now a military dictatorship making eyes at Moscow. Libya is a movie set in which it’s dictator is overthrown, Americans are murdered, armed al Qaida bands rule the streets and there is no a functioning government. Iran is developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Al Qaida has a mass meeting in Yemen and has to release a video to let the CIA know. Israel, having decided that American guarantees under Obama are worse than worthless, has decided to go its own way, exhibiting a healthy example of clear-sightedness.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is as busy as a boy with Legos, reassembling the Soviet Union to the cheers of his fellow countrymen who felt humiliated by the dissolution of the Evil Empire under Reagan and Bush.
From the Financial Times:
But Moscow’s annexation of Crimea has set off rapid and drastic changes that threaten to submerge such outposts of dissent. In a speech marking the consummation of Russia’s union with the Black Sea peninsula on March 18, Mr Putin lashed out against a “fifth column” of “national traitors” enlisted by the west to subvert Russia. He vowed to respond forcefully.His warning – especially his choice of phrases widely used by nationalist dictatorships as well as Russia’s own former Communist regime – has resonated strongly with Russians. They have been taken as a rallying cry among those aggrieved by Russia’s diminished power to build a prouder, stronger and more authoritarian state. For Mr Putin’s liberal critics, it is a worrying sign that the rest of the country’s imperfect democratic institutions are under severe threat.In a column that set the tone for both commentaries and blogposts, the conservative journalist Ulyana Skoibeda raved two weeks ago that after the return of Crimea “I no longer live in a conquered country”. In a long lament that reflects the feelings frequently expressed by ordinary Russians, she described the past 23 years as humiliating. Ms Skoibeda said her life had been dominated by western norms, and she had had to suffer through the chaos and deprivation unleashed by the democratic and economic experiments of the 1990s.Standing proudly against the entire world had revived the essence of the Soviet Union, she wrote. “It is not Crimea that has returned. We have returned. Home. To the USSR.”Since the Crimea annexation, there have been frequent moves that symbolise a Soviet revival.
The American health care system can be fixed and improved as soon as the ideologues who demand that the government run everything are removed from office. The real problem, one that may have mass death and war as one of its possible outcomes, is the deliberate destruction of the Pax Americana that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Whether that is by accident or design is uncertain, but the fact is indisputable.
That is Obama’s real legacy.