ShareThis Page

Foreign failures: The paper tiger meows

| Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Vladimir Putin surely is laughing off his sorry behind today in Moscow. And we'll bet Bashar Assad is laughing off his far sorrier rear end so much in Damascus that he has the dry heaves.

President Obama, whose particularly odoriferous brand of foreign policy deferentialism already has belittled, spayed and neutered the United States in the eyes of our foreign allies, was handed a pair of embarrassing, in-your-face rebukes last week by two of the world's current leading antagonists.

Five months after the Russians “brokered” a deal — on the off-the-cuff lips of Secretary of State John Kerry — in which Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons arsenal, Mr. Assad continues to hold 95 percent of his weapons of mass destruction. America's “official” response? We're “concerned,” the administration says, speaking ever more softly and carrying an even more flaccid stick.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Russians have been, for at least five years, testing a new ground-launched cruise missile. It's in direct violation of 1987's treaty banning medium-range missiles. Insiders tell The New York Times that despite pressure from members of Congress, who've received a classified briefing on the gross violation, to issue a firm denouncement, the administration only hems, haws and parses. As Washington Free Beacon pundit Matthew Continetti divines the illogic: “We cannot say the Russians broke the treaty because that would jeopardize our chances of signing more treaties with the Russians.”

Who can doubt that Messrs. Putin and Assad have on their desks origami paper tigers with a photo of Barack Obama pasted onto the heads?

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.