“The government should know that if it crosses the line, there will be consequences.”
—President Obama, in Mexico, in the course of extemporaneous remarks condemning the Ukrianian government’s harsh and violent response to protesters.
I am embarrassed; our country is embarrassed; I hope you’re embarrassed—why isn’t the President embarrassed to use this rhetoric, which has been proven again and again to be absolutely meaningless when it issues from his lips? This sham is worse than “the check is in the mail” or “I’ll still love you in the morning,” as Syrian casualties rise and the United States’ credibility as a nation that really gives a damn about anything but its own entitlements has crumbled into dust. Remember the Syrian “red line”? Here are two recent columns from the right and the left on how well Obama’s empty threats of “consequences” have worked in Syria, but nobody needs persuading at this point, do they? President Obama is willing to give insincere lip service to the tradition of the United States still being the champion of democracy and the foe of oppression, but people under attack from their own governments can’t defend themselves with his lips. In Afghanistan, in Iran, in Egypt, in Syria, President Obama has made it abundantly clear that he is under the mistaken impression that Teddy Roosevelt said “Speak incessantly but never actually do what your words imply you’re going to do.”
That’s not exactly what Roosevelt said.
After Obama’s pattern of fecklessness and fraudulent bravado, I picture the Ukrainian government chuckling madly like Tim Burton’s vicious Martians in “Mars Attacks!”, as the aliens listen to solemn pronouncements from U.S. officials that they are certain the visitors from the Red Planet only want peace despite all evidence to the contrary. Such patently dishonest posturing by the President is worse than saying nothing. It cruelly raises the hopes of desperate people that the President of the United States cares about them or is willing to act, and that today’s American leadership possesses the values and the fortitude that once made our nation a champion in deed rather than pretense.
Obama’s words in Mexico are disgraceful and humiliating, and equally mysterious. Does he really not see how ridiculous he appears? How untrustworthy such words make the U.S. appear?