Here is liberal soft power diplomacy in all its tawdry glory. One side keeps saying, “We can compromise.” The other side just conquers things.
Obama has told a Dutch newspaper that the United States does not see the ongoing crisis in Crimea and Ukraine as a “zero-sum game” between Washington and Moscow as pro-Russian forces reportedly overran a third Ukrainian military base in the Black Sea peninsula Monday.
In the interview, published in Monday’s edition of de Volkskrant, Obama said, “The United States does not view Europe as a battleground between East and West, nor do we see the situation in Ukraine as a zero-sum game. That’s the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War.”
The president went on to say, “The Ukrainian people do not have to choose between East and West. On the contrary, it’s important that Ukraine have good relations with the United States, Russia, and Europe. As I’ve said, the future of Ukraine ought to be decided by the people of Ukraine.”
Lots of things ought to be, but they won’t be.
Now that Obama has taken the US from a world power to a world debtor, it will be decided between the Ukrainian military, which Obama helped disarm, and the Russian military, whose treaty violations he covered up.
I don’t expect Obama to have learned anything from history. He’s too “smart” for that. He’s also too smart to waste time with national security briefings. But some of Obama’s supporters do know better.
A zero sum game isn’t determined by both sides, but by one side. As long as one side is committed to a zero sum game, then there’s nothing the other side can do to change that. It’s why pacifism is an absurd suicidal joke.
It doesn’t matter if Obama thinks that Cold War thinking should have ended. It hasn’t. And his response to that is just to repeat that we should stop thinking in Cold War terms.