Uh-oh, another “red line.”
Although he did not color it “red” speaking about Ukraine yesterday, President Obama warned that there would be consequences for those who “step over the line.”
The United States condemns in strongest terms the violence that’s taking place there. And we have been deeply engaged with our European partners as well as both the Ukranian government and the opposition to try to assure that that violence ends. But we hold the Ukranian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protestors in an appropriate way, that the Ukranian people able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of repression. And I want to be very clear that as we work though these next several days in Ukraine that we are going to be watching very carefully, and we expect the Ukranian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protestors. We’ve said that we also expect peaceful protestors to remain peaceful. And we’ll be monitoring very carefully the situation, recognizing that along with our European partners and the international community, there will be consequences is people step over the line. [Emphasis added]
What exactly did he mean by “step over the line?”
In August 2012 the President said this about Syria:
We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.
That threat ended up being empty and thus an embarrassment to the country, because when that line was crossed the President did nothing.
If there is a Russian version of Saturday Night Live, there will be a funny skit about Obama and red lines this week. In five short years, Barack Obama has done considerable damage to the standing of the United States as a world-changing super power.
Yesterday Victor Davis Hanson was on the Hugh Hewitt Show and he put it perfectly:
Russia’s a second-rate power that’s become a first-rate power by bluff and intimidation. And we’re a first-rate power that’s become a second by timidity and appeasement.
The role of the American President as a leader of the world has been is gone. This President is seen as naïve, inconsistent, and unsure of himself. Fringe allies, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are being pushed into the arms of Russia’s Putin because of Obama’s amateur policy.
Putin is reasserting Russian dominance in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, while Barack Obama is creating an America that is weak and essentially powerless because no one foreign leader believes he will follow through on his threats.
While America should not be sending our heroes into every volatile situation in the world, nothing makes a leader look weaker than setting red lines and not following through. Obama should not make a threat he cannot keep.
Perhaps we should take away his red paint.