FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Vox.com’s Max Fisher: Obama’s Ukraine policy is a solid B+
One of the few bright spots in the perpetual darkness (can I say that anymore? or does this doom me to a reeducation camp) that has descended on America under the kleptocratic regime of Barack Obama is watching his defenders tie themselves into knots justifying each and every boneheaded move that he makes. Benghazi, Syria, Obamacare, the IRS, the VA have all produced great examples but Ukraine tends to be the location of the Q source for lefty journalists beclowning themselves.
Let’s turn to that grand experiment in “explanatory journalism,” which should be known as “left wing talking points for the mentally deficient,” Vox.com for an exemplar. A guy named Max Fisher, who became an authority of foreign policy by blogging on foreign policy, writes a story called Obama’s strategy of letting Putin hang himself is working. The opening graf is destined to be a classic:
Let me be the first to admit it: President Obama’s strategy for handling Russia and its incursions into Ukraine had seemed to me, as it did to many others, pretty unlikely to succeed.
It sounded silly, a shrug of a policy. And maybe it even was. But it also turns out to be working surprisingly well. Russian President Vladimir Putin has over-reached in Ukraine, creating problems for himself so bad that they may force him down as or more effectively than plausible American actions alone might have (although they helped). Putin is hanging himself by his own rope.
Of course, this is patently not true. The interesting charts accompanying the story build a narrative built in equal parts of a very superficial analysis and wishful thinking. Fisher’s previous employer, the Washington Post, offers a much better analysis of both Putin’s intentions and strategy:
Vowing to defend ethnic Russians wherever they live, President Vladimir Putin has embarked on an aggressive campaign to rebuild the pride and assertiveness of the Russian people, which he says was lost in the breakup of the Soviet Union.
A week ahead of a presidential vote in Ukraine that will help determine that nation’s relationship with Russia, Putin has been devoting new power to redressing what he has called the historical tragedy that shattered the Soviet Union into 15 nations.
From annexing Crimea to collecting separatist petitions in Moldova to handing out passports to compatriots in the Baltics, Putin has spent recent weeks focused on neighboring countries, many of which have substantial ethnic Russian minorities.
The strategy puts Russia on a collision course with the NATO defense alliance, because two of its members — Estonia and Latvia — have significant Russian-speaking minorities that have long complained of discrimination. NATO has boosted air patrols over the Baltic states and sent troops to do exercises on the ground. Russia this month unleashed missile tests and massive war exercises, including along the border with Latvia and Estonia.
The new efforts have helped rocket Putin’s domestic approval ratings to multiyear heights, and they have also inspired some ethnic Russians and Russian speakers abroad. Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine this past week asked to join their region to Russia. Days earlier, a top Russian official traveled to the breakaway Transnistria region of Moldova, where he collected what he said were more than 30,000 signatures in favor of unity with Russia.
I would paste the whole article except for fear of the Fair Use gods. It is a must read for anyone following developments in Russia.
Indeed, Fisher would have been on much sounder footing if he had followed his instincts rather than acting as a stenographer for whatever babysh** the White House is passing out in the guise of butterscotch.
Slavishness is amusing, but it is also humiliating to everyone involved. What makes Fisher’s trip into bizarro dimension to explain Obama’s failed Russian policy and declare it to be successful is that it gives flashbacks to the last couple of years of the Bush Administration. One prominent conservative radio personality defended each move made by President Bush as being successful (here I will admit to being at the time, and still, a fan of George W. Bush).
His reflexive defense of the sometimes indefensible led to an epic blog post that I was too lackwit to write called Shit Sandwich Surprisingly Tasty; I Give It A B+.
I know what you’re thinking: “Why should I try a shit sandwich?” I might have felt the same way a few days ago, but now I’m a believer.
I was chatting with an administration insider over the weekend. During a sidebar in the conversation, it was intimated to me that President Bush’s favorite late-night snack was a “shit sandwich” with tartar sauce on the side. That encouraged me to give it a shot with an open mind…
So I tried it. The verdict? Earthy, no-nonsense flavor. … It’s easily a B+ snack.
UPDATE: My insider friend just called me again; apparently I misheard his end of the conversation, it was a fishsandwich. Well, that shouldn’t surprise me. In addition to introducing bold new ideas, Bush has always shown an appreciation for the traditional eating values that made this country great in the first place.
This is exactly the position in which Fisher and most of his fellow travelers find themselves. Their choice is simple, retain their integrity or sacrifice that horrifyingly skimpy virtue to protect a lame duck president. To date, all of them have sampled the earthy goodness of Obama’s policies and pronounced it a solid B+ snack.