A National Embarrassment… and A Great Danger‏ pb


by Don Fredrick, ©2014, blogging at The Obama Timeline

What kind of “Commander-in-Chief” is Barack Hussein Obama?

(Sep. 2, 2014) — On August 28, as the world watched Russian troops invade Ukraine, and as the terrorist army known as ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State was rapidly increasing its troop head count (as well as its “behead count”), Barack Hussein Obama addressed the White House press corps “to say a few words on a number of topics and take a few questions before the long Labor Day weekend.” (That Obama even noted the holiday weekend suggested his mind was on a green, manicured location and electric carts, rather than national security issues. One can hardly imagine President Ronald Reagan, in his October 1983 national address on the situation in Grenada, saying, “As we all shop for candy and other treats in anticipation of the arrival of Halloween, let me take a moment to talk about our planned rescue operation…”)

After a few unconvincing words about how wonderful the economy was doing and how he will be “pushing Congress hard” to make it even more wonderful, Obama said, “As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland. Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment. In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back. …Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL.” (Obama does not provide the identities of “our partners,” and I don’t seem to recall any other nation raising its hand to volunteer its services.)

“Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners,” said Obama. “I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region… increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them.” (That some countries “recognize a threat” is probably better than nothing, but it still falls far short of, “We’re sending three battalions to help annihilate the bastards.”)

The world can rest easy, however, because Obama “asked Secretary [of State John] Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat.” (Exactly who is already a member of that coalition is not clear. What Kerry—whose foreign policy successes can be counted on the fingers of a goldfish—will accomplish remains to be seen. Obama did not mention that Kerry would be traveling to Turkey—an odd choice, inasmuch as Obama’s pal, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appears to be one of the biggest supporters of a Shari’ah-enforcing Islamic Caliphate.)

“Finally,” said Obama, “I just spoke with Chancellor [Angela] Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine. We agree—if there was ever any doubt—that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine.” (Perhaps Obama can also get Louisiana and Mississippi residents to agree that Hurricane Katrina was destructive.) Telling everyone more of what they already knew, Obama noted, “The violence is encouraged by Russia. The separatists are trained by Russia. They are armed by Russia. They are funded by Russia. Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.” (Despite what is “plain for the world to see,” Obama carefully avoided using the word “invasion.” Russia merely committed a “territorial incursion,” just as illegal immigrants are “undocumented workers,” Nidal Malik Hasan’s jihadist killing spree at Fort Hood was “workplace violence,” the war on terror is merely a temporary “overseas contingency operation,” a booby trap exploded by jihadists is a “man-caused disaster,” and a military operation is a “kinetic military action.”)

Obama continued, “As a result of the actions Russia has already taken, and the major sanctions we’ve imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War. …And this ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia.” (Of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin may not be too concerned about being isolated, and if “major sanctions” means he gets Crimea and Ukraine but can never get a visa allowing him to ride the new “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” at Disney World, Vlad probably won’t be losing much sleep. He can always visit real mines in Siberia and meet with its similarly stunted-growth workers if he has the desire.)

“Next week,” reassured Obama, “I’ll be in Europe to coordinate with our closest allies and partners. In Estonia, I will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of our NATO allies.” (Perhaps he will even unveil a new Twitter #hashtag! For the record, the number of “closest allies and partners” has fallen quite a bit since Obama advisor Valerie “Valsputin” Jarrett took over as the unelected leader of the free world. Also for the record, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so Vlad won’t be losing much sleep over possible NATO actions either.)

“At the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom, we’ll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge. Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine. And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month.” (Obama probably won’t even need a Teleprompter to tell Poroshenko, “Nice country you once had there, Petro.”)

NBC’s Chuck Todd, who will be replacing the low-ratings and loathsome David Gregory on Meet the Press, asked if the United States can “defeat ISIL or ISIS without going after them in Syria” and whether doing so would help keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. Obama responded, “Well, first of all, I want to make sure everybody is clear on what we’re doing now, because it is limited.” (ISIS will no doubt be more than pleased to hear that.) “Our focus right now is to protect American personnel on the ground in Iraq; to protect our embassy, to protect our consulates [like he did in Benghazi?], to make sure that critical infrastructure that could adversely affect our personnel is protected. Where we see an opportunity that allows us with very modest risk to help the humanitarian situation there as we did in Sinjar Mountain, we will take those opportunities after having consulted with Congress. But our core priority right now is just to make sure that our folks are safe and to do an effective assessment of Iraqi and Kurdish capabilities.” (In other words, “We’re not doing much of anything because I promised to end the U.S. war in Iraq and I want to preserve that for my legacy regardless of how many non-Sunnis are massacred by ISIS. I will of course do something—but as little as possible—to protect the Americans still in Iraq because I can’t again use a YouTube video excuse if someone gets killed. I need to form a coalition, not because we are going to do much, but to have others to share in the blame if something does go wrong.”)

Barack “Modest Risk” Obama continued: “As I said I think in the last press conference, in order for us to be successful, we’ve got to have an Iraqi government that is unified and inclusive.” (Why? Would a more inclusive Iraqi government improve the accuracy of guided missiles dispatched to blast ISIS troops to smithereens?) “So we are continuing to push them to get that job done.” (What has Obama been doing in that regard since January 20, 2009? Did it take the beheading of an American journalist for him to recognize the threat of ISIS and the instability of the Iraqi government? “As soon as we have an Iraqi government in place, the likelihood of the Iraqi security forces being more effective in taking the fight to ISIL significantly increases. And the options that I’m asking for from the Joint Chiefs [of Staff] focuses [sic; focus] primarily on making sure that ISIL is not overrunning Iraq.” (Once again, Obama insists on an “inclusive” government in a Middle Eastern country. In Egypt, that meant Obama helping to oust U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak in order to let the radical Muslim Brotherhood be “included” in the governing process. Of course, once the MB was “included,” it immediately saw to it that everyone else was excluded. Obama’s fascination with “inclusion” should be studied by a psychologist. Yes, all civilized people believe that no one should be excluded from participation in government because of race, gender, religion, etc. But one would think an exception could be made for radical thugs who want to behead anyone who objects to the ideology of their cult. Obama wants to “make room for everybody.” No, Barack, some people deserve nothing more than a room behind bars—or a pine box.)

“What is true, though, is that the violence that’s been taking place in Syria has obviously given ISIL a safe haven there in ungoverned spaces. And in order for us to degrade ISIL over the long term, we’re going to have to build a regional strategy. (“Degrade” ISIS/ISIL? How about destroying it? Imagine General George S. Patton telling his troops, “Now go out there and degrade those Nazis!”) “Now, we’re not going to do that alone.” (Obama apparently needs help even to degrade.) “We’re going to have to do that with other partners, and particularly Sunni partners, because part of the goal here is to make sure that Sunnis both in Syria and in Iraq feel as if they’ve got an investment in a government that actually functions, a government that can protect them, a government that makes sure that their families are safe from the barbaric acts that we’ve seen in ISIL. And right now, those structures are not in place.” (In his determination to end the war in Iraq, Obama spent six years not bothering to do anything to ensure that Iraq had “a government that actually functions.” Now he notices that it does not. It is worth noting that Obama seemed overly focused on the inclusion and safety of Sunnis. It is not, however, Sunni Muslims who have been  the primary victims of ISIS. It has been Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Shi’ite Muslims. Most ISIS fighters are, in fact, Sunnis. Obama’s Kenyan family is Sunni Muslim, and, in most conflicts involving Muslims, Obama has sided with the Sunnis.)

“And so to cut to the chase in terms of what may be your specific concerns, Chuck, my priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back, and that Iraq has the opportunity to govern itself effectively and secure itself.” (Obama does not seek to eradicate ISIS/ISIL, he seeks only to roll back its gains. Why? During World War II, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt did not tell Hitler, “If you roll back your advances and limit your conquests to Poland and Austria we’ll leave you alone.” At least I don’t think Roosevelt made that offer; with FDR, one can’t be certain.)

“But when we look at a broader strategy that is consistent with what I said at West Point, that’s consistent with what I said at the National Defense College, clearly ISIL has come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively.” (Obama’s insistence that he has been consistent demonstrates his thin-skinned reaction to the criticism that he has not been consistent. If anything, he ignored the threat of ISIS until he had to be kicked dragging and screaming into the real world.) “And that’s going to be a long-term project. It’s going to require us to stabilize Syria in some fashion, and stabilizing Syria in some fashion means that we’ve got to get moderate Sunnis who are able to govern and offer a real alternative and competition to what ISIL has been doing in some of these spaces.” (Again, Obama seeks not to destroy the radical jihadist enemy, he seeks only to “stabilize” the situation—as if good and evil can exist side by side if only the good can accommodate a little evil from time to time. He has no specific goal beyond stabilization “in some fashion.” It is as if he is a checkers fan forced to play chess who hopes for a stalemate, rather than trying to checkmate his opponent. Again, he worries about “moderate Sunnis,” as if his goal as commander-in-chief is to promote Sunni Muslims around the world, rather than protect Americans. Some have argued that a “moderate” Muslim is merely a Muslim who lacks a weapon. Why Obama—as well as John Kerry and Senator John McCain—believe they can so readily identify the “moderates” is not clear.)

Barack “Seeking Cover” Obama continued, “Now, the last point with respect to Assad—it’s not just my opinion, I think it would be international opinion, that Assad has lost legitimacy in terms of dropping barrel bombs on innocent families and killing tens of thousands of people.” (Arguably, after Assad crossed the “red line” Obama said he dare not cross, it was Obama who lost a substantial amount of legitimacy.) “And right now, what we’re seeing is [that] the areas that ISIL is occupying are not controlled by Assad anyway. And, frankly, Assad doesn’t seem to have the capability or reach to get into those areas. So I don’t think this is a situation where we have to choose between Assad or the kinds of people who carry on the incredible violence that we’ve been seeing there. We will continue to support a moderate opposition inside of Syria, in part because we have to give people inside of Syria a choice other than ISIL or Assad.” (Obama claimed the ISIL/ISIS forces in Syria are isolated. If that is the case, there is no argument for not bombing them. Even if Assad cannot “reach into” those areas, the U.S. Air Force can. Obama said we do not have to choose between fighting Assad or the evil of ISIS, immediately after claiming it is logistically easy to choose. Further, Obama is once again concerned with “choice” and inclusion. If Assad and ISIS represent evil, why even support the right of Syrians to “choose” between full evil and moderate evil?)

“And I don’t see any scenario in which Assad somehow is able to bring peace and stability to a region that is majority Sunni and [where he] has not so far shown any willingness to share power with them or in any kind of significant way deal with the longstanding grievances that they have there.” (Obama returns to the Sunni power-sharing argument again. Coming from Obama, who has spent six years thumbing his nose at Republicans in Congress who also won their elections, that is certainly an audacious demand. Obama essentially wants to “use his pen and his phone” and ignore the GOP, but insists that Assad has to share power with any group simply because it happens to be a group.)

Asked if he needs permission to order military actions in Syria, Obama replied, “I have consulted with Congress throughout this process. I am confident that as Commander-in-Chief I have the authorities to engage in the acts that we are conducting currently. As our strategy develops, we will continue to consult with Congress. And I do think that it will be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate. But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet. I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are. And I think that’s not just my assessment, but the assessment of our military as well.” (Obama may not have a strategy, but the military likely has multiple scenarios laid out, with 10 different horses hitched to 10 different wagons.)

 “We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them. At that point, I will consult with Congress and make sure that their voices are heard. But there’s no point in me asking for action on the part of Congress before I know exactly what it is that is going to be required for us to get the job done.” (Not surprisingly, Obama’s “We don’t have a strategy yet” comment resulted in immediate and intense criticism. Granted, he may have been referring to a lack of a strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria, rather than an overall strategy for dealing with ISIS, but most people probably assume he has neither. The danger of Obama going “off Teleprompter” is well-known, and this was another example. One problem is that the topic did not involve domestic policy; it involved foreign policy. It matters little if ISIS—or Russia, North Korea, Iran, or any other nation—believes Obama’s domestic policies are bad for Americans, but it matters very much if the thugs of the world believe Obama will do little or nothing to stop their brutish actions. Obama has essentially given ISIS a green light by announcing that he has yet to develop a strategy for dealing with them. That not only helps ISIS engage in additional terrorist activities and the capture of more territory, it helps ISIS attract more jihadist soldiers. Obama’s remark puts people at risk—including Americans.)

Shifting back to eastern Europe, a reporter asked Obama if he considers “today’s escalation in Ukraine an invasion.” Obama avoided using the word invasion, even though it most certainly was, saying, “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now. …I think in part because of the progress that you had seen by the Ukrainians around Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia determined that it had to be a little more overt in what it had already been doing. But it’s not really a shift.” (From Obama’s perspective, it’s not an invasion; Russia is simply “shifting” its borders. The uninformed voters—if they were even listening—heard, “Donetsk and Luhansk” and probably thought, “Wow, that Obama is a smart guy—I’ve never even heard of those places.” What the informed voters heard was, “Vlad just ate Barry’s lunch.”)

“What we have seen, though, is that President Putin and Russia have repeatedly passed by potential off-ramps to resolve this diplomatically. And so in our consultations with our European allies and partners, my expectation is, is [sic] that we will take additional steps primarily because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to actually try to resolve this in diplomatic fashion.” (Why Obama thought Putin would take an “off ramp” and engage in “meaningful diplomatic action” when his tanks’ tanks were full of gas and the road was unobstructed is not clear. The few sanctions that have been imposed on Russia are mere speed bumps—not road blocks. Putin won’t slow down to read clever Burma Shave signs along the side of the road, let alone “#Not Nice To Invade” hashtags on Twitter.)

“And I think that the sanctions that we’ve already applied have been effective. Our intelligence shows that the Russians know they’ve been effective, even though it may not appear on Russian television. And I think there are ways for us to deepen or expand the scope of some of that work.” (If the sanctions were effective Putin would not have pushed into Ukraine. “Yeah, the burglar took all my jewelry and electronics, but the insults I yelled at him as he ran away from my house were quite effective …and he stepped in some gum on my sidewalk, so that’ll make him think twice next time!”)

“But ultimately, I think what’s important to recognize is the degree to which Russian decision-making is isolating Russia. They’re doing this to themselves. And what I’ve been encouraged by is the degree to which our European partners recognize [that] even though they are bearing a cost in implementing these sanctions, they understand that a broader principle is at stake. And so I look forward to the consultations that we’ll have when I see them next week.” (At the end of the day, some countries will have principles—but Putin will have Ukraine.)

Asked about conferring with Congress more and whether he has overstepped his authorities, Obama responds, “No, and here’s why. It is not just part of my responsibility, but it is a sacred duty for me as Commander-in-Chief to protect the American people. And that requires me to act fast, based on information I receive, if an embassy of ours or a consulate of ours is being threatened. The decisions I made were based on very concrete assessments about the possibility that Erbil might be overrun in the Kurdish region and that our consulate could be in danger. And I can’t afford to wait in order to make sure that those folks are protected.” (Regrettably, Obama did not feel the same way on September 11, 2012.)

“But throughout this process, we’ve consulted closely with Congress, and the feedback I’ve gotten from Congress is, is [sic] that we’re doing the right thing. Now, as we go forward… and look at a broader regional strategy with an international coalition and partners to systematically degrade ISIL’s capacity to engage in the terrible violence and disruptions that they’ve been engaging in not just in Syria, not just in Iraq, but potentially elsewhere if we don’t nip this at the bud, then those consultations with Congress for something that is longer term I think become more relevant.” (Being decapitated is a mere “disruption.” As far as “nipping” is concerned, the ISIS “buds” emerged several years ago. It is now time to chop down the entire trunk and feed it through a shredder.)

“And it is my intention that Congress has to have some buy-in as representatives of the American people. (How generous of Obama to relinquish a few of the powers he believes belong solely to him.) “And, by the way, the American people need to hear what that strategy is.” (“By the way?” The American people are an afterthought? Obama can’t fill us in on his strategy until Valerie Jarrett explains it to him.) “But as I said… I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.” (Obama has not even taken the horse out of the corral, let alone hitched it to a wagon. One can hope that the cart will ultimately be led by an entire horse—rather than a horse’s ass.) “And in some of the media reports the suggestion seems to have been that we’re about to go full scale on an elaborate strategy for defeating ISIL, and the suggestion, I guess, has been that we’ll start moving forward imminently and somehow Congress—still out of town—is going to be left in the dark. That’s not what’s going to happen.” (In other words, “Not to worry, jihadists, I have no elaborate strategy—heck, I don’t even have a rudimentary strategy—and I will not act against you any time soon. I certainly  won’t do anything requiring tough decisions until I get others—especially Republicans—to share the responsibility and risk for making them.” It took some chutzpah for Obama to add the “still out of town” remark, considering that he has been playing golf for two weeks.)

Asked if he regretted “not moving on ISIS earlier,” Obama replies, “Well, once ISIL got into Mosul that posed a big problem, because there’s no doubt that they were able to capture some weapons and resources that they then used to finance additional operations.” (Had some U.S. troops been left behind, ISIS may not have been able to capture Mosul or its weaponry. A leader anticipates problems; all Obama seems capable of doing is reacting.) “And at that stage, we immediately contacted the Iraqi government.” (Didn’t the Iraqi government knew of the fall of Mosul before the Obama administration?) “Keep in mind we had been in communications with the Iraqi government for more than a year indicating that we saw significant problems in the Sunni areas. Prime Minister Maliki was not as responsive perhaps as we would have liked to some of the underlying political grievances that existed at the time.” (Obama did not mean he was warning the Iraqi government about ISIS. In fact, the Iraqi government was warning him about ISIS. Obama was advising the Iraqi government to give the Sunnis more representation in the government.)

“There is no doubt that in order for Iraq security forces to be successful, they’re going to need help. They’re going to need help from us. They’re going to need help from our international partners. They’re going to need additional training. They’re going to need additional equipment. And we are going to be prepared to offer that support.” (If it is so obvious to Obama that the Iraqis need help and additional training and equipment, why did he insist on withdrawing that support at the end of 2011?)

“There may be a role for an international coalition providing additional air support for their operations. But the reason it’s so important that an Iraqi government be in place is this is not simply a military problem. The problem we have had consistently is a Sunni population that feels alienated from Baghdad and does not feel invested in what’s happening, and does not feel as if anybody is looking out for them.” (Once again, Obama worries about the inclusion of alienated Sunni Muslims in the Iraqi government. He never seems to express any concerns about “alienated Republicans” in Massachusetts or Chicago. Obama apparently believes that if the Iraqi government had been nicer to Sunnis, there never would have been an ISIS. That is absurd. ISIS fighters are not killing Christians, Yazidis, Syrians, Iraqi troops, and American journalists because there are not enough Sunni members of the Iraqi parliament. They seek to establish an Islamist state and caliphate that spreads across the Middle East, at first, and eventually around the globe. Yet Obama acts as though ISIS is a small, local gang of thugs that the Iraqi Army can keep in check if we provide a few more weapons and if a few more Sunnis get high positions in the Iraqi government. Governments should not include political factions based on threats of beheadings. If scimitar wielding does not help one get elected, so be it. But Obama believes that is not being “inclusive” enough.)

“If we can get a government in place that provides Sunnis some hope that a national government serves their interest, if they can regain some confidence and trust that it will follow through on commitments that were made way back in 2006 and 2007 and 2008 and earlier about how you arrive at, for example, de-Baathification laws and give people opportunities so they’re not locked out of government positions—if those things are followed through on, and we are able to combine it with a sound military strategy, then I think we can be successful. If we can’t, then the idea that the United States or any outside power would perpetually defeat ISIS I think is unrealistic.” (Obama’s statement is alarming. Is the United States so weak that it cannot eradicate ISIS? If the Iraqis are unable to rise to the occasion and do the heavy lifting, should the United States just shrugs its shoulders, give up, and accept the existence of an ever-growing ISIS army of radical jihadists? While Obama whined that defeating ISIS is “unrealistic,” British Prime Minister David Cameron stated, “It won’t be quick, but we will defeat them,” and “I believe we will be fighting for years, and perhaps decades. Perhaps Cameron should follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and offer Obama some advice: “This is not the time to go wobbly.” Obama warned that defeating ISIS “I think is unrealistic,” while Cameron affirmed, “we will defeat them.”)

“As I’ve said before—I think I said in the previous press conference—our military is the best in the world.” (Apparently he needed to say it twice in order to convince himself that it is true.) “We can rout ISIS on the ground and keep a lid on things temporarily. But then as soon as we leave, the same problems come back again.” (Why did Obama not realize that when he pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011?) “So we’ve got to make sure that Iraqis understand in the end they’re going to be responsible for their own security. And part of that is going to be the capacity for them to make compromises. It also means that states in the region stop being ambivalent about these extremist groups. The truth is that we’ve had state actors who at times have thought that the way to advance their interests is, well, financing some of these groups as proxies is not such a bad strategy. And part of our message to the entire region is this should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia—to everybody—that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people. And as a consequence, we’ve got to all join together—even if we have differences on a range of political issues—to make sure that they’re rooted out.” (Obama believes “our military is the best in the world,” yet he also believes it can do nothing more than “rout ISIS on the ground and keep a lid on things temporarily.” Of course, the U.S. military is certainly capable of defeating ISIS. Obama’s statement, “but then as soon as we leave, the same problems come back again,” is defeatism. What Obama should have said is, “ISIS is evil—as are all radical Islamists whose goal is to kill anyone who does not submit to their ideology—but ISIS can and will be defeated. Yes, even if we kill every ISIS fighter, some other radical jihadist group may take its place. If necessary, we will annihilate them as well. We will do whatever it takes to protect the United States, Western civilization, and humanity—no matter what it takes or how long it takes.” It is shameful that Obama could not say that, and instead chose to shrug his shoulders and imply, “Well, that’s life. If radical jihadists take over one-third of the world, so be it.” Every American should be ashamed of his statements. If Obama’s words reflect ignorance and naiveté, every American should be outraged. If Obama’s words reflect indifference, every American should be frightened to death.)

Asked, “At what point do sanctions [against Russia] no longer work?” Obama replied, “We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize [sic; mobilizing] the international community to apply pressure on Russia. But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming. Now, the fact that Russia has taken these actions in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainians has resulted, I believe, in a weakening of Russia, not a strengthening of Russia. That may not be apparent immediately, but I think it will become increasingly apparent.” (In other words, “Help yourself to Ukraine, Putin!” Obama’s words are as alarming as they are stupefying. If the United States takes no military action to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, no other nation will. That is not to suggest that the United States should or must do so, but why should we telegraph that to the world? It is either in the best interests of the United States to stop Putin or it is not. But to essentially state, “We’re not going to stop Russia, but it will be a weaker country after it has absorbed Ukraine” is absurd.)

“What it’s [sanctions have] also done is isolated [sic; isolate] Russia from its trading partners, its commercial partners, [and] international business in ways that I think are going to be very difficult to recover from. And we will continue to stand firm with our allies and partners [who know] that what is happening is wrong, that there is a solution that allows Ukraine and Russia to live peacefully. But it is not in the cards for us to see a military confrontation between Russia and the United States in this region.” (In other words, “Help yourself to Moldavia as well.”)

“Keep in mind, however, that I’m about to go to a NATO conference.” (What difference that makes is anyone’s guess, inasmuch as Obama already said that military actions to protect Ukraine are off the table.) “Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but a number of those states that are close by are. And we take our Article 5 commitments to defend each other very seriously, and that includes the smallest NATO member, as well as the largest NATO member. And so part of the reason I think this NATO meeting is going to be so important is to [sic; that it will] refocus attention on the critical function that NATO plays to make sure that every country is contributing in order to deliver on the promise of our Article 5 assurances.” (If Vladimir Putin is not laughing and eastern Europeans are not shaking in their boots, they should be.)

“Part of the reason I’ll be going to Estonia is to let the Estonians know that we mean what we say with respect to our treaty obligations. We don’t have those treaty obligations with Ukraine. We do, however, stand shoulder to shoulder with them, and we’re doing not just a lot of work diplomatically but also financially in order to make sure that they have the best chance at dealing with what is admittedly a very difficult situation.” (These are also ludicrous statements. We won’t come to the defense of Ukraine because it is not a member of NATO and we have no treaty requiring that we come to its aid, but we will “stand shoulder to shoulder with them.” Except that Obama won’t. He will only be tweeting messages of support, or asking the United Nations to send a “strongly-worded letter of condemnation” to Putin.)

Obama was then asked if “external events” would force him to delay his expected actions on immigration. Obama said, “Let me just say this: I’ve been very clear about the fact that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed.” (The system is not broken; the existing laws are simply not being enforced.) “And my preference continues to be that Congress act. I don’t think anybody thinks that Congress is going to act in the short term, but hope springs eternal that after the midterm elections they may act. In the meantime, what I’ve asked [DHS Secretary] Jeh Johnson to do is to look at what kinds of executive authorities we have in order to make the system work better. And we’ve had a lot of stakeholder discussions; that set of proposals is being worked up.” (By “stakeholders,” Obama means he has met with people who support amnesty and who have suggested actions he should take.)

“And the one thing that I think has happened was the issue with unaccompanied children that got so much attention a couple of months back. And part of the reason that was important was not because that represented a huge unprecedented surge in overall immigration at the border, but I do think that it changed the perception of the American people about what’s happening at the borders.” (The perception—and the reality—now is that just about anyone who wants to enter the United States can simply stroll across the border.)

“And so one of the things we’ve had… to do is to work through systematically to make sure that that specific problem in a fairly defined area of the border, that we’re starting to deal with that in a serious way. And the good news is we’ve started to make some progress. I mean, what we’ve seen so far is that throughout the summer the number of apprehensions have been decreasing—maybe that’s counterintuitive, but that’s a good thing because that means that fewer folks are coming across. The number of apprehensions in August are down from July, and they’re actually lower than they were August of last year. Apprehensions in July were half of what they were in June. So we’re seeing a significant downward trend in terms of these unaccompanied children.” (There are “fewer apprehension” only because Obama has ordered ICE not to do much “apprehending.”)

“And what that, I think, allows us to do is to make sure that those kids are being taken care of properly, with due process.” (To Obama, “due process” means get a judge to grant asylum, not order deportation.) “At the same time, it’s allowed us to then engage in a broader conversation about what we need to do to get more resources down at the border.” (By “more resources” Obama does not mean additional border guards to prevent illegal entry, he means giving the illegal immigrants taxpayer-funded access to attorneys, food, clothing, medical care, and free transportation to a U.S. city.) “It would have been helped along if Congress had voted for the supplemental that I asked for; they did not. That means we’ve got to make some administrative choices and executive choices about, for example, getting more immigration judges down there.” (The House of Representatives did offer more funding, but it came with restrictions—restrictions that Obama rejected.)

“So that has kept us busy, but it has not stopped the process of looking more broadly about how do we get a smarter immigration system in place while we’re waiting for Congress to act. And it continues to be my belief that if I can’t see congressional action, that I need to do at least what I can in order to make the system work better. But some of these things do affect timelines, and we’re just going to be working through as systematically as possible in order to get this done. But have no doubt, in the absence of congressional action, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better.” (In other words, “If I don’t get my way, I will do whatever I want—after November4 —and then I’ll dare Congress to impeach me. Just don’t expect me to enforce existing immigration laws.”)

Millions of Americans have probably now come to expect so little of Obama that even this disaster of a press conference may not have bothered them too much. But they not only should be bothered, they should be embarrassed, angered, worried, and even frightened to death. Barack “Barry” Hussein Obama Soetoro Obama Soebarkah (or whatever his real name is), is both an embarrassment and a threat to the nation. The more one listens to or reads his words, the worse they seem. He is incompetent and unable to comprehend reality, and his very presence in the White House places the United States—and the rest of the world—at great risk.

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