9/1/14

I wrote my previous blog before President Obama came out for his now infamous and miserable press conference on Thursday. The entire media universe was waiting with baited breath, fantasizing about military action in Syria against IS, and the only question for the breathless correspondences waiting to hear the president was has it started already?

Unfortunately I was right in the overall assessment as per my previous blog that this president simply does not understand or care, and as such the whole conference was a flop, a big nothing.

A few observations:

  • Shame on me for forgetting to mention that the president will of course condition any action (or rather excuse all INACTION) on the illusive international, regional coalition and partners. How could I forget this mantra? Bad!
  • Kudos to the president for mentioning, however low key and unspecific, off-the-cuff the regional states that support Islamist extremists. The reference of course is to Qatar. The media unfortunately did not pick up on that. It was too subtle. I hope Qatar did take note and see that this administration will do more to berate them. After all it was Qatar who supported IS in Syria at the beginning. They are the nurse-maiden of this monster child.
  • With these two exceptions, it was all downhill.

I have to admit that even for someone like me who is so jaundiced about this president, it was hard to watch his performance.

Even Diane Feinstein, a veteran, loyal, VERY senior Democratic politician (as the senior senator from California and the chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee) could not resist stating on Meet the Press, no less, that maybe the president is “too cautious” in dealing with IS. The republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers said that this president’s foreign policy is in “freefall.”

I find Rep. Rogers to be one of the more intelligent and impressive Reps in the house but I totally disagree with him here. How can you be in freefall if you never were high? This president’s foreign policy was always one of appeasement and retreat. It was always at rock bottom; you cannot fall further. It is the enemies of the USA, having slowly taken the measure of this president, that are on an upswing.

A lot of people noticed the casualness and nonchalant attitude broadcasted by the color of the suit he was wearing. His supporters in the media tried to make this point look small-minded and too extreme. It is NOT. Colors have significance. We all know that blue indicates sadness; yellow—fright; red—aggressiveness, etc. It is well accepted in business circles that a dark suit projects somberness, while a blue suit is more open and friendly.

A tan suit indicates a president that is still on vacation and not seriously engaged while the world is on fire. It indicated it; the message was well received and intensified by the contents of what he had to say. We got it, the media got it, world leaders got it, and the evil players got it too. The president does not take this matter seriously.

The media made a huge deal out of his statement, honest for a change, that he still does not have a strategy. Duh! Was it not obvious beforehand? I think that was clear even if he did not use the actual words. That he does not have a strategy is obvious. The real question is why? Why not already? Was there not enough time? There sure was time for many golf rounds, fundraisers, social gatherings, and other non-essential activities. Why is it that if more hours were needed to achieve a strategy to deal with what even people in your administration consider to be a serious threat to the national security, you did not cancel some golf rounds to WORK on achieving a strategy? Why did you not spend 24/7 on it? Every student, business person, and most employees know that at times they need to burn the midnight oil to achieve something by a certain deadline. So why is it that the most important executive in the world has no sense of a deadline when it comes to saving people from dying?

Finally, to crown the conference, and again with very little attention from the press, was his repeated declaration that the U.S. has NO military option in Ukraine. While this is not the first time he has said it, I am going to bet that it is the first time a U.S. president has uttered such a cowardly and defeatist statement ever in terms of world affairs. Why say it? What do you gain by saying it repeatedly, other than making it clear to Putin that the door is open to demoralize your treaty partner (Ukraine via the Budapest Memorandum)?

Putin responded by threatening the West and reminding them not to get too aggressive with Russia, which is, in Putin’s words, a nuclear super power. That is how a leader speaks in public. Not like a coward. I do not know what Putin was wearing when he made his statement but I bet it was not a tan suit. Maybe he was bare-chested.