Vladimir Putin, Bashir Assad and Ali Hosseini Khamenei have got a working entente going.
Kim Jong Un is a distant fourth partner.
Xi Jinping, the president of China, isn't a fifth shareholder in this union of very bad men, but neither is he a disinterested outsider working to cabin their collective ambitions. For him and his colleagues, the rogues serve a wonderful purpose of keeping the Western eye off the Pacific and places like the Senkaku islands where tensions between the PRC and Japan are peaking.
Five years of President Obama's "leadership" have left the world with no enforcer of the international order, and America's stock has fallen so low that the U.S. cannot even persuade its European allies to get tough beyond token slaps on the wrist with an avaricious, aggressor Russia.
This is the Obama Effect: The inability to name much less deal with evil.
MSNBC's Joy Reid was my guest Monday. Joy has been welcome guest in the past and I hope will come back often in the future. She is an amiable lefty, a smart, thorough-going partner in the media arm of Tam Obama, and she could not bring herself to brand either Putin or Assad as evil:
Try number one:
H: Now but do you agree that what Russia is doing is evil?
JR: I think what Russia is doing is troubling and a problem in the world.
Try number two:
HH: But Joy Reid, simple question. Is he evil?
JR: You know what? I’m not inside anybody’s mind. I don’t need to characterize anybody as evil. I don’t know Vladimir Putin from a hole in the wall. I know what he’s doing is risky to his own country’s, I mean, it’s risky, obviously, to what the Ukrainians need in terms of security. I think he’s a bad actor. I don’t need to call him evil. He’s a bad actor.
Try number three:
HH: Joy, is Assad evil?
JR: Bashar Assad?
JR: Oh, well, you know, like I said, I’m not characterizing people. Bashar Assad is an even worse actor and an awful human being.
I gave up and moved to my standard effort with lefties to get them to list Hillary's accomplishments as Secretary of State which is always good for the audience to hear, but the inability of Joy Reid to use the "E" word left me troubled. She is a smart and classy journalist. There is no reason not to call the obvious by its name …except that we are uncertain about using any moral language that suggests absolutes.
My friend Fritz sent me an email last night. Fritz retired as a colonel from the United States Army after long and honorable service, much of it in the legendary "Fulda Gap" where we expected the Soviet tanks to flow in the event the Cold War ever went hot. Here is what Fritz wrote in part:
And I am appalled that Ukrainians face the Russia Bear alone, unaided by America, formerly a beacon of liberty to the entire world now reduced to a smoldering ember in the fireplace of history, no longer giving warmth and light to others who seek to be free.
Elections have consequences. The American people have chosen: to be safe, to be oblivious, to be comfortable. Like the Brits, we appreciate form over substance. Forty million watch the Oscars, but we can’t support a half million troops in our army. Our president stands at the center of the G-20 group photo, but stands behind when it comes to involvement in Libya, or Syria, or the Ukraine. We glory in our place in history not understanding that we have given that place over to someone else: the Russians, the Chinese. Today, the Ukrainians understand Thomas Jefferson better than we.
Mankind thus loses a great opportunity to liberate the human spirit. It’s sad.
No one from left to right has suggested the use of military force by the U.S,. or any of its allies, but to not even summon the courage to immediately exile Russia from the G-8 and G-20 while draining the bank accounts of its oligarchs is astonishing. President Obama has roused himself to make two tepid statements, as ambiguous as they have been ineffective, and John Kerry arrives with a paltry promise of a paltry billion in loan guarantees and "technical assistance" for a country in the process of dismemberment, the geopolitical equivalent of a last cigarette before execution.
What a shameful time to be an American, and to accede to the loss of freedom that Ronal Reagan, Margaret Tatcher and John Paul II helped win for the people of Ukraine. A few Republicans are speaking up, and a few analysts have begun the work of laying out the cost of rebuilding what President Obama has allowed to decline into dangerously provocative weakness.
It will get worse before it gets better, and people in Tel Aviv, Taipei and Tallinn all know the score. They are are on their own.