[Ed. – OK, but how about ennui?]
This moment is not about Barack Obama. By now we know about him. This is about Vladimir Putin and the self-delusions of Western nations and their famous “fatigue.” Vladimir Putin is teaching the West and especially the United States that fatigue is not an option.
Sometimes world affairs go off the grid. Diplomats may give reasons why it is not in the interests of Mr. Putin or Russia to take this course. Vice President Biden told the Poles in Warsaw Monday that Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea was “flawed logic.” It is difficult for men embedded in a world of rational affairs to come to grips with Mr. Putin’s point of view: He doesn’t care what they think.
The solitary but thrilling world of Vladimir Putin’s mind is the one inhabited by the Assads, Saddams, bin Ladens, Kims, Gadhafis and Khomeinis of the world, and when it really runs out of control, or is allowed to, by a Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Whether one man’s grandiosity will burst across borders is not about normal logic. It is about personal power and forcing the obeisance of other nations.
Vladimir Putin re-proves that sometimes a bad person gains control of the instruments of national power. Their populations do nothing or can’t, because they are disarmed by thugs with overwhelming firepower. Or, as on Russian TV now, they are marinated in anti-U.S. propaganda. Today even second-rate megalomaniacs gain access to high-tech weaponry, including missiles and nuclear bombs.
Running alongside these old realities is a new phenomenon, surely noticed by Mr. Putin: The nations of the civilized world have decided their most pressing concern is income inequality. Barack Obama says so, as does the International Monetary Fund. Western Europe amid the Ukraine crisis is a case study of nations redistributing themselves and perhaps NATO into impotence.
Because no modern Democrat can be credible on this, some Republican presidential candidate will have to explain the high price of America’s fatigue.