Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A More Dangerous World

Vladimir Putin knows precisely how to poke his thumb in Mr. Obama's eye. He knows that the U.S. is not going to contest his move into Crimea militarily, and he also knows that whatever economic consequences ensue, they won't last long. Mr. Obama has shown himself to have little appetite for economic sanctions or punishments, as has been made clear in Iran. Nor does he have a taste, nor should he, for enforcing ill-conceived red lines, as was evident in Syria.

There are economic punishments at Mr. Obama's disposal should he choose to use them. One which might be especially effective would be to open the spigots of our petroleum resources to sell oil to Europe. This would undercut a vast Russian market and weaken the Russian economy to the extent that Putin, perhaps, would be forced to temper his aggression. But this would involve increasing our oil production and Mr. Obama has demonstrated a decided aversion to doing anything which would increase the amount of carbon in the world.

Crimea was pretty much low hanging fruit for the Russians. Mr. Putin has taken the measure of Mr. Obama and is evidently unimpressed. Mr. Obama's sundry vacillations, appeasements, and unseriousness in the past have given Putin no reason to expect serious opposition from him now. Men like Putin spend their time pondering how to acquire more power and how to reassert Russian influence in the world. They're not apt to feel particularly intimidated by a president who spends his time reflecting upon how to promote gay marriage, reduce the size of our military, improve his golf game, and defeat Republicans.

One question the recent actions by Russia raises is whether China will be emboldened by Putin's demarche to seize some territory of its own. If Mr. Obama fails to respond to the Russian move with anything other than lassitude and a reluctance to make aggressors pay for their aggression will the Chinese gamble that they can seize Taiwan with impunity? Will they calculate that the U.S., despite being treaty-bound to come to the aid of the island nation, will find reasons not to?

Indeed, how many Americans would be willing to go to war with China over Taiwan anyway? Most Americans have scarcely heard of it and probably couldn't find it on a map. There'd be as little stomach for war with China over Taiwan as there is for war with Russia over the Crimea.

Mr. Obama faces very serious problems - in Ukraine, in Asia, and in the Middle East - and has decided nevertheless to cut the size of our army to pre-WWII levels. This will surely embolden various actors on the world stage to take advantage of our inability to project force or to sustain extended military operations.

By presiding over a flaccid economy and the downsizing and weakening of the American military, Mr. Obama is making the world less stable, not more, and more volatile, not less. For sixty years the United States was a force for stability in the world, and as the U.S. fades as an economic and military power the world is going to become a much more dangerous place.

War on Humans: The Documentary

A post the other day focused on Wesley J. Smith's book The War on Humans. The book is an indictment of radical environmentalism and its goal of granting to nature the same legal status as humans. The book is actually a companion to a thirty-one minute documentary by the same name which can be viewed below. If you don't have thirty-one minutes to give to it just watch the first five. They afford a pretty good insight into where the radical left wishes to take us:
It's ironic that the left, or at least this segment of it, is eager to grant personhood and the rights that go with it to plants, but they deny personhood and its attendant rights to unborn human beings and consider it a good thing that the unborn human being has almost no legal protection at all.

There's something very strange and very disturbing about people who consider the lives of plants to be more sacred than the lives of humans.