Courtesy of a cursory reading of 1984 and several sharp blows to the head, the media has gathered up the tattered remnants of its dignity and has a new meme out to explain everything.
“Strength is weakness, Weakness is strength.”
Think Progress, CAP’s little spin factory, deployed the meme, “an act of weakness, not strength — an act, as Kerry aptly characterized it, anachronistic in both moral and strategic terms… fundamentally mismatched to 21st century realities.”
That’s right. Invading countries is an act of weakness. Being unable to do anything about it is an inaction of strength.
Kerry, the epitome of political weakness, picked up on the meme,
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country,” Kerry said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “That’s not the act of somebody who’s strong, “ Kerry added, saying Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”
And the White House went on pushing it...
A senior administration official took issue with a reporter’s suggestion Sunday that the Ukraine crisis has left President Obama with “a credibility problem around the world with other foreign leaders, and particularly very strong ones like [Russian President] Vladimir Putin.”
The official, one of three speaking during a background teleconference briefing, said on the contrary, Putin was the one looking weak after Obama rallied support to condemn his takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
“The premise of your question is that [Putin] is strong and the president of the United States is weak, when, in fact, he is not acting from a position of strength right now,” the official told the reporter, Fox News’ James Rosen.
“He is acting from a position of having lost the government that they backed in Kiev and made a play to move in to Crimea, a piece of Ukraine, and being met with international condemnation.”
The Washington Post’s David Ignatius develops CAP’s “Strength is weakness” meme further.
“Kerry called on Putin to “undo this act of invasion.” The Russian leader would save himself immense grief by following Kerry’s advice, but that seems unlikely. His mistake in Sevastopol may lead to others elsewhere, though hopefully Putin will avoid reckless actions. But the more Putin seeks to assert Russia’s strength, he will actually underline its weakness.”
Just think, if Putin invades the headquarters of the Washington Post and renames it the Moscow Post, he’ll show how truly weak and helpless he is.
“Perhaps inevitably, given Washington’s political monomania, the big subject over the weekend wasn’t Putin’s criminal attack on Crimea but whether Obama had encouraged it by being insufficiently muscular. There are many valid criticisms to be made of Obama’s foreign policy, especially in Syria, but the notion that Putin’s attack is somehow the United States’ fault is perverse.”
Almost as perverse as insisting that helplessness is strength.
“Putin’s Russia may well make more mistakes: We may see a cascading chain of error that brings Russian troops deeper into Ukraine and sets the stage for civil war. Those are the kind of miscalculations that lead to catastrophic consequences, and Obama would be wise to seek to deter Russian aggression without specifying too clearly what the U.S. ladder of escalation might be.”
Yes, it’s wise not to specify the details of threats that you have no intention of carrying out anyway. That way there can at least be some confusion as to whether you’ve carried them out.
Saner heads at the Washington Post editorial desk gently reminded Obama that he can’t just run an imaginary world that only exists inside the heads of liberal foreign policy experts.
Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”…
…as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether.
The trouble though is that we have an extensive consensus inside the establishment that the new arena is the only one that exists.
Marc Thiessen spoke much more bluntly in an op-ed that isn’t getting the kind of play that Ignatius’ drivel is because it’s much less comforting to liberals.
When President Obama declared Friday that “there will be costs” for any Russian intervention in Ukraine, you could hear the laughter emanating from the Kremlin — followed by the sound of Russian military vehicles roaring into Crimea and seizing control of the peninsula.
“Costs?” Vladimir Putin must have thought. Just like the “costs” Obama imposed on the Assad regime in Syria?
Kerry fumed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” this weekend: “Russia is in violation of its obligations under the U.N. charter, under the Helsinki Final Act. It’s in violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest agreement.” But KGB thugs like Putin are not deterred by pieces of parchment. They are deterred when the United States projects strength and resolve.
Weakness is still weakness and strength is strength.