Plain Speaking, Please
by Deacon Blues
Yes, the world is an ugly place, both here and overseas. Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine shoot down a civilian airliner with Russian assistance, and Vladimir Putin rides his domestic poll numbers to double down and ready for war against a sovereign neighbor, unworried about any economic sanctions that might come.
Israel asserts that it is attacking Hamas’s tunnels and ability to fire rockets into the country, yet is attacking hospitals and power plants. I wasn’t aware that Hamas was firing rockets from the hospital and tunneling from the downtown power plant.
And with all this going on, Barack Obama continues to talk like a man more worried about conveying an image instead of just speaking like the rest of us. For example, in announcing the newest round of sanctions against Russia today, we heard this:
"Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says," Mr. Obama said in a statement at the White House. "The sanctions we're announcing today will have an even bigger bite," because they are matched by sanctions from the Europeans.
"The issue is how to prevent bloodshed in eastern Ukraine…and the main tool we have to influence Russian behavior is influence over its economy," he said.
The "United States means what it says?" What kind of juvenile talk is that? And it's not convincing to openly confirm your impotetence with a reminder that sanctions are all you've got. Sometimes, Obama talks too much like a cowed college professor trying to impress the faculty and not enough like, well, like Ronald Reagan, the man he aspired to be like during the 2008 campaign. Yet Obama doesn't have to run for office anymore, and frankly doesn't have to worry about sounding too angry.
When it comes to Putin, there's nothing wrong with saying:
"If Mr. Putin is determined to escalate his threats and intimidation, then he and his country will be treated accordingly by the world community, and especially the United States. There is no reason for America, or any of its allies to reward Russia's war-like behavior with any appearance of 'business as usual'."
"That means the United States reserves the right to undertake additional measures that are warranted in responding to a criminal state, such as reconsidering our participation in the 2018 World Cup in Russia."
And as for responding to the IDF's attacks against Gaza hospitals and its lone power station, please just come out and say
"While the United States supports Israel's rights to deal with threats from Hamas, we fail to see what is gained by destroying critical infrastructure like hospitals and power stations. Unless Israel can show the world that these facilities pose a direct threat to the country, we can only conclude that the intent was to cause misery not just on Hamas but on the Palestinian people as a whole, which the United States cannot support."
Who the f*ck cares if AIPAC is pissed off, or if John McCain and little Lindsey Graham go ape-sh*t crazy over these remarks? Simply say "My friends John and Lindsey haven't had anything constructive to offer on this issue, and they aren't likely to while I am in office."
Mr. President, as I said weeks ago, speak with more humor and derision when necessary against your political opponents. Likewise, when it comes to bullies overseas, call them out on it and act like the man with the biggest stick.
And once again, please re-establish the 12th Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean. It would send the right message to so many people.