Mona Charen

Obama invokes the goal of "ridding the world of nuclear weapons." Sorry, but this is sophomoric. You might as well favor outlawing fire. He does, alas, have the power to weaken our nuclear deterrent. That's what we get for reelecting him despite overhearing the whisper to Dmitri Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" after the election. But the idea of setting a good example for the other nuclear powers is sheer childishness. Will Pakistan, India or, God help us, North Korea, be moved by our example? Were they in 2010, the last time Obama reduced our arsenal? This kind of thinking is unworthy of the leader of a great nation and frankly, a little frightening.

It's also worrying that Obama has proved such a terrible judge of character. Bad enough that he alienated Netanyahu and embraced Erdogan. He continues to portray the thuggish Vladimir Putin as a worthy partner.

In the space of the last year, Putin has signaled that he may withdraw Russia from the post-Cold War treaty governing conventional forces in Europe and from the 1987 IMF treaty. He has threatened that if the U.S. gives even 10 missile interceptors to our ally Poland, Russia will have to "get new targets in Europe."

For the first time since the Cold War, Russia has resumed heavy bomber sorties.

Since achieving power, the former KGB colonel has poisoned British citizen Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London, and Ukrainian leader Victor Yushchenko, who was maimed but survived. At least 14 journalists who challenged Putin have been assassinated. One in suburban Maryland was shot in the groin. Business leaders have been exiled and jailed. Ukraine, Estonia and Georgia have been bullied. Press freedoms have been radically curtailed. Russia has agreed to build two new nuclear reactors in Iran.

Putin has shown contempt for the naive Obama. Last month, Putin kept Secretary of State John Kerry waiting for three hours when Kerry visited to ask his cooperation on Syria. After the meeting, Russia announced that it was sending Assad the S-300 air defense missile system.

World leadership is not for beginners. It requires something beyond tabloid celebrity and dorm room musings.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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