Obama’s Facebook Strategy for Ukraine

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


48f009975b7d50cae54cd3f902e618a7It’s unfair to expect Obama to do anything about Ukraine when his biggest priority is convincing twenty-somethings to buy worthless health insurance policies by appearing on online comedy shows and deploying his March Madness bracket.

The Obama Twitter feeds are filled with desperate pleas to buy ObamaCare; harnessing every memeworthy bit of internet detritus from cat pictures to twerking in the hopes of convincing  healthy young people who don’t want health insurance to buy it anyway.

On March 17th, Obama’s Twitter linked to a statement on Ukraine and then it was back to “There’s only 14 days to get coverage.” It’s currently down to 12 days. It’s like holiday shopping, but with a $6,000 deductible.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) went to Ukraine, called Russia’s invasion a “weak” and “panicky” reaction to Obama’s strength, and then announced plans to speak about the “Between Two Ferns Effect.” The “effect” is the sheer awesomeness of Obama’s appearance on an internet comedy show to promote ObamaCare.

It’s that kind of 21st century thinking that sets Barack apart from Vladimir’s 19th century hunger for territory. While a former KGB agent wastes time conquering countries, a former community organizer focuses on selling nationalized health care to young invincibles through a website that works about as well as a Soviet Yugo.

Putin’s power rests on a shaky energy industry, but Obama’s power rests on ObamaCare. Kerry scoffed at Russia’s invasion as so 19th century. In the 21st century, power doesn’t come from land or armies, but from online popularity. Online popularity took a radical Illinois State Senator and turned him into a world leader. Online popularity is the WMD that the State Senator is convinced will save ObamaCare.

In the post-modern America, leaders claim absolute power while making self-deprecating jokes. They discard the rule of law and then hawk nationalized healthcare in infomercials for an effect more surreal than a crony capitalist KGB man with a law degree taking off his tailored suit and $500,000 Tourbograph watch to play Great White Hunter.

Putin poses on horseback, in a wetsuit, finding ancient urns in the sea or shooting tigers. Obama poses playing with a lightsaber, makes an unimpressed face with McKayla Maroney and unveils his March Madness picks. The Russian dictator strikes heroic poses straight out of the 19th century, while Obama struggles to hold the unstable attention span of 21st century millennials.

Putin is playing the part of the great leader, while Obama disguises the enormous power he wields by acting more like Ellen; a talk show host endlessly cracking jokes and posing for goofy selfies.

It’s easy to laugh at Putin’s posturing, but Obama’s public image is no less cynical. Both men are instinctive totalitarians with backgrounds in Marxism and little respect for the rule of law.

Obama is a creature of a more modern media age catering to a demographic which prides itself on skepticism, at least where Western religion or nationalism are concerned, while being as gullible as any of the old ladies clutching red portraits of Stalin in Simferopol when it comes to the progressive agenda.

Putin enhances the public perception of his power while Obama downplays it. Putin’s base likes their red meat raw while Obama’s base prefers a soy burger that looks and tastes exactly like meat so that they can have an ersatz imitation of the real thing that preserves their moral superiority.

Obama delivers Putin’s totalitarianism in soy form. It looks a lot like a burger, but it’s really just an Asian legume. It looks a lot like tyranny, but it falls apart when confronting an actual tyrant. It’s easy to raid guitar factories, lock up anti-Muslim filmmakers and send the IRS after political opponents, but that sort of pettiness is an ordinary day in Russia which just banned lacy underwear. The EPA, USDA and even the IRS are no match for Russian teenagers with assault rifles.

Obama’s Mean Girls strategy for Putin is to make him unpopular. The various White House responses talk of isolating Russia. But Obama needs Russia to isolate Iran. He needs China to isolate Russia which will become inconvenient when China starts a shooting war with Japan. Obama can’t isolate everyone or anyone. He has just now gotten around to kicking Syria out of the US after Russia and China prevented him from isolating Assad.

The Hills and Big Brother are poor models for international diplomacy. While Obama is figuring out how to convince Russia to stop talking to Iran and China to stop talking to Russia and everyone to stop talking to North Korea, these countries are moving their own agendas forward by doing things, instead of by tweeting them.

The social network strategy for Russia will work about as well as it did for Syria or for ObamaCare. Twitter mobs can destroy the lives of individuals who make racist jokes, but they’re no match for a conquering army. Progressive nerd bullies are as vicious online as they are impotent in real life.

Obama’s plan to make Putin unpopular while he gobbles up countries isn’t a brilliant show of strength; it’s a passive aggressive display from the twitterer-in-chief who excels at putdowns, not at takedowns.

The left has gotten its own way for so long that it has forgotten that the Colbert Report isn’t real life, that snide remarks are no substitute for strength and that there are some men who are not afraid of being mocked by Saturday Night Live.

The men and women in charge of our countries treat every problem like an online debate. They assemble allies, troll the opposition and then declare victory.

“The world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic behind those actions,” Joe Biden declared. That might be a winning line in a Facebook debate, but it doesn’t do anything to move Russian forces out of Ukrainian cities. Meanwhile the failure to stop Putin will make him more popular in the places that truly matter, where no one buys ObamaCare and no one is impressed by accusations of flawed logic.

Putin has demonstrated to Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and China that America is weak, that it has become a nation living inside its own imagination, and he has shown Eastern Europe and the rest of the world that America is a bad friend while Russia is a dangerous enemy.

Obama’s 21st century world is an imaginary place whose virtual territories depend on real infrastructure and energy. Underneath the glittering cities in the sky where everyone is part of a virtual community are the real roads and cities of stone and steel that can be taken by anyone with enough men and determination to capture them.

The left has confused the overlay, its commentaries and memes, for reality. It has come to believe that The Daily Show is real news, that Obama is a real leader and that a Twitter hashtag is real power.

The Russian soldiers in Crimea are a reminder that, as Mao said, “Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” The Western left has forgotten the simple truth that no Eastern leftist has ever become decadent enough to forget.

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  • paperboy

    Why bash Obama? When Putin made his move in Georgia, Bush and his Neocon warlords, together with Georgias main arms supplier Israel, took to the hills with their tails between their legs.

    The USA doesn’t need superpower Russia as a friend, but with superpower Russia as an enemy, arming the rebels, the US will be out of Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran will have state of the art missile and air defense systems before the end of the year.

    All this macho talk is ok when it comes to bullying some Arabs or Africans, but you just don’t mess around with a superpower because then you get your a++ kicked.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Russia hasn’t been a superpower in a while. And historically it has managed to get its ass kicked in every war in which America wasn’t on its side.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Russia hasn’t been a superpower in a while. And historically it has gotten kicked around in every war in which America wasn’t on
      its side.

      • bigjulie

        But, as you quoted Mao, Putin’s basic understanding is that “All political power grows from the barrel of a gun!” He has guns in spades, and teen-agers to carry and use them. Obama has staked his hopes on snarky tweets, and cries of, “Oh, that is SOOO 19th Century!” from the ever-so-clever John Kerry.
        Mao showed time and again that you can even cow basically decent people like the Chinese with massive, brutal force used quickly and in surprising places against a population that is not armed and was never allowed to arm, by an army whose main hope of survival was plundering the country they were in, or starving to death!
        This, IMO, is a goodly part of the push by Obama to disarm Americans and render the 2nd Amendment moot. Despite all the clever snark, he knows deep-down that it is infinitely easier to push around an unarmed populace than an armed one and that, in the final analysis, he will have to use “the barrel of a gun” to get his “fundamental change” in the manner and quality he desires. There are simply no persuasive arguments, no matter how smoothly delivered, that will talk an entire population out of freeom and liberty, and all that it allows. Obama knows this, as well!

        • Daniel Greenfield

          The Chinese were pushed around by armies. We’re pushed around by armies of bureaucrats

          • bigjulie

            Good point, Daniel. Well-fed bureaucrats, to boot!

    • CDM

      Still with the Bush bashing after five years? I wonder if you’ll still blame him for everything twenty years from now.

      Anyway, to your point: One thing Bush did do after Russian invasion of Georgia was to have the US military airlift humanitarian aid to Tbilisi. It was past the point where anything could be done to stop the initial invasion, but at least it would make Putin hesitate to proceed further if American troops were in the way. It wasn’t much but it was at least something. And infinitely more than Obama did vis-a-vis Ukraine.

      The key to foreign policy is to get ahead of things so that you are not faced with a fait accompli.

    • Erudite Mavin

      More revisionist history from the Libertarians.

    • pfbonney

      “Bush and his Neocon warlords”

      After 5 years of Obama (Boy, is that really ALL it has been???), You’re still stuck on Bush? Most adults quit mentioning the previous administration after the first year of a new administration. And THAT includes the CARTER administration.

      I guess at least now if we decide to blame Obama at least the first 5 years of the nest (hopefully, conservative Republican administration for whenever the least little thing happens.

      Keep that screenname, “paperBOY”.

  • Infidel4Ever

    “The left has gotten its own way for so long that it has forgotten that the Colbert Report isn’t real life, that snide remarks are no substitute for strength and that there are some men who are not afraid of being mocked by Saturday Night Live.”

    I don’t think I’ve read a better or more fitting description of our “progressive” Millennial youth. The ones I know fit that description to a T. And it isn’t just the young ‘uns, I know a few progressive ladies my age who gave me a puzzled look when I told them The Colbert Report wasn’t real. Another great article by Daniel Greenfield.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The left has helped raise a generation of idiots.

      • Jerry G

        The Civil War was fought over geographic secession. Would a war over ideological secession be possible to separate the sane from the left?

        • bigjulie

          Of course it would! All we would have to fear is astounding phalanxes of Lefties with their weapon of choice…puffy cushions!

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Stop delivering food to the cities and some of the bedroom communities. That would do it.

      • bob smith

        …and the right is saddled with feeding the twits as well.

  • StopFundingNEDNeocons

    Nice try, pretending that we conservatives are, by nature, pathetic neocons who would somehow see too much of a problem with a socially conservative Russia or recoil in some kind of anger at a natural Russian reaction to a vicious neocon-backed neo-Nazi coup in Kiev. Most Americans understand that Ukraine is deep in the former Soviet Union and thus deep, deep into the Russian heartland (yes, their sphere of influence). Surveys show that the majority of Americans who know about the issue, feel that Crimea was always a part of Russia. If there is mainland fighting, it will be because the Right Sector is moving into eastern cities ready to kill those who don’t agree with the new unelected regime.

    Before this disaster, neocons respected Russia’s backyard more or less except for when McStain & Company provoked Russia’s 5 day incursion in 2008 in Georgia by getting his friends to kill a bunch of Russians in South Ossetia The old fool wanted to score points as a war leader but lost my vote and at least a million other votes because of his insane hatred for Russia and desire to get into a war with Russia. This attitude cost him the Presidency.

    I’m a veteran and I was a neocon most my life. I still see the Vietnam War as necessary to fight real communist expansionism and the Iraq War as necessary to divert the attention of the fanatical Sunni Muslims onto their age old rivals, the fanatical Shiite Muslims because the world’s economy depended on people being willing to fly on passenger airplanes.

    But this adventure could cost everyone their life (nuclear war). To the Russians, this is like a Nazi regime taking over Canada and vowing to destroy the USA. Don’t get in their way. Let the bellicose members of the new regime fight it out on their own. Where do we really agree with them? That they want “democracy”? That’s neocon naivete or just plain obtuse mendacity.

    We better hope that Obama isn’t supplying “indirect” military aid to western Ukrainians to fight in the streets of eastern Ukraine. That could be in the form of mercenaries or special ops. That would turn friendly Russian-speaking cities into bloody hellholes where tens of thousands of once-America-friendly white people will perish.

    Turning eastern Ukraine into Syria or Iraq will cause hatred toward Americans for more than a generation.

    This is all so wrong and the kicker is that, if we live to November, any Repubican candidates who supported war with Russia by wanting to draw real red lines in front of Russian speaking Ukrainians who want Russian protection, will lose at the polls.

    Neocons will thus, despite Obamacare, help bring the GOP defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Russia is socially conservative? That explains Putin’s “family life”.

    • reader

      How deep Ukraine is into the Russian heartland again? And what about Kenigsberg, Vyborg and Kuril Islands? Deep into the Russian heartland too? I assume, you’re not an Alaska resident – otherwise you’d be an occupier of the Russian heartland too. Good grief, those Ron Paul drones are real tools.

  • jemaasjr

    What we may be seeing is the end of the WWII era. Europe lacks the resources to get into a military fight and we lack the will. That leaves trade sanctions as the remaining punishment. If there is enough of the world left to trade with after Europe and the US cut off trade, than Russia can get through it and any patriotic Russian would consider it worth the sacrifice. And it is not even certain that effective sanctions will be put in place.

    Going by recent remarks, Merkel in Germany has finally given up on US
    leadership, but I doubt Germany has the resources to do anything effective.

    Given the soft response so far, if I were Putin I would be sorely tempted to take, say, the Ukraine east of the Volga river before Obama leaves office. But then, maybe he is more ambitious than I would be. Lacking military intervention sanctions can only be imposed once, so why not go for more?

    John

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Effective sanctions can’t be put into place. So they won’t be.

    • CDM

      Europe is also lacking in will. Fifty years of comfort, having the Pax Americana to protect them from existential threats, has left the Europeans to believe that there are no existential threats. Maybe having them come to realize that they are more or less on their own might be the best thing for them.

      Economic sanctions are not realistic with a country like Russia. Too many countries are dependent on Russian energy and it really didn’t work in the Cold War against the USSR, so why would it work now?

      Not to nit-pick, but I think you mean Dnieper, not Volga which is much further to the east.

      • Johnny

        My bad. I was thinking of the Dnieper. There are enough Russians and Russian language speakers in the eastern Ukraine that Russia could reasonably adsorb the territory into the empire. On balance I would see it as a mistake for them to take the entire country even if they could. The Ukrainians have some excellent reasons for hating the Russians and that sort of thing does not just go away.

        • Ellsworth Toohey

          Ukrainians were nazi Germany allies and were the worst of the worst concentration camp guards, SS, fighters etc…

          • William Magoffin

            Some Ukrainians fought for the Nazis, some fought for the Soviets, some fought the Nazis and Soviets at the same time (some Ukrainians continued to fight the Soviets till 1956).

  • Jeff Ludwig

    “It looks a lot like a burger, but it’s really just an Asian legume.” Great title for a new book by Mr. Greenfield that I’ll be first in line to read. At least two chapters on the U.S. living inside its imagination. The Bible includes a warning against “vain imaginings.” It’s a virtual dimension of American consciousness or experience that cries out to be described in depth. When I talk to liberals, I have a strong sense of living within a different “sense of reality” or an “alternate [mental] universe.” This article buttresses my belief that I am not merely putting words to personal frustration and helplessness. In actuality, I’m looking at and listening to “an Asian legume.”

    • Daniel Greenfield

      What’s ironic is they consider themselves part of the reality based community.

      • bigjulie

        And they will continue to do so…until their stomachs are perennially empty. That condition, more than any other, has been historically used to visit TRUE reality on populations.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Or until they get mugged hard enough.

          • Jeff Ludwig

            I said to my liberal office mate, “You and your wife are paying off the mortgage of your nice condo in Queens, NY. How will you feel if and when a law is passed that a certain number of condos in your complex need to be set aside for the homeless, with some kind of subsidy paid by the city…or even at the cost of the existing owners?” His silence communicated everything. I had hit home. He had enough sense to realize that payment for socialist programs is not always an impersonal requirement imposed only upon “the government” (imagined as an abstraction) or that heinous group known as “the top one percent.”

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Under Bill de Blasio, it’s not even a theoretical q. But libs like to tithe someone else’s money through sweeping mandates.

      • Yasha7

        Ironic and alarming.

  • Jeff Ludwig

    If you liked this article, I think you’ll enjoy my article “Is Israel Thwarting Peace – Or
    Is Obama Failing…Again?” appearing tomorrow at http://www.americanthinker.com It’s not as lively and creative as Mr. Greenfield’s article, but is, I believe, a harmonious complement to this article.

  • rbskillin

    Good Lord! Those stupid things really do cost half a million.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Think of it as 500 bribes instead.

  • carpe diem 36

    you mention Obamacare, do not forget that he is also busy raising the minimum wage while letting Putin march all over Eastern Europe.

    • Ellsworth Toohey

      If Putin could march to Western Europe and kick out the muslims and third world scum littering it, I would be delighted.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        He would be more likely to march through Western Europe at the head of a Muslim army

        http://www.danielpipes.org/13531/muslim-russia

        “Within a few years, Muslims will make up half the conscripts in the Russian army.”

        • Ellsworth Toohey

          I trust Putin more than obama in these matters ! Putin dares label “muslim” terrorism while obama doesn’t !

        • Drakken

          Sorry Daniel, not to defend Putin, but, the western narrative that Putin is aiding muslims is misleading, the reason you don’t hear about what Putin is doing to the muslims is that the FSB has gotten extremely good at keeping its counter insurgency operations very quiet. Dead muslims tell no tales.

  • Ellsworth Toohey

    All right regarding Nobama, all wrong regarding Russia ! Russia DIDN’T invade Ukraine ! Crimea went back to mother Russia according to the WILL of its people ! Ukraine is lucky Romania doesn’t ask it territory given to Ukraine by the Soviets, back ! Besides, Europe is closer to Russia then to obama’s US of A.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      “Nor can it be demanded of the Soviet Government that it remain indifferent to the fate of its Blood Brothers, the Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland, who even formerly were nations without rights and who now have been utterly abandoned to their fate. The Soviet Government deems it its sacred duty to extend the hand of assistance to its brother Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland.”

      Extracts from Molotov’s broadcast speech on the Soviet invasion of Poland (17 September 1939)

    • Jerry G

      One dumb question. Of what matter is it to this country whether Crimea be attached to the Ukraine or to Russia? It’s not as if Putin sent troops into New York City to aid Comrade Deblasio.

      • Ellsworth Toohey

        Indeed ! And if the people of California, New Mexico, Texas ask to be reunited with Mexico, for sure, Russian will not interfere ! Of course, will not happen as long as the welfare is good -:)

  • Berceuse

    Brilliant essay. The Conquerer of Crimea has completely outplayed, outmaneuvered, outgunned the Provider of Free Birth Control. Our next move: back to “Between Two Ferns” to yuk it up some more…that’ll teach Putin!

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Obama can roll out more jokes about horses and bayonets.

  • Habbgun

    He prostituted you on a webcam??? Your own uncle?? That’s disgusting.

  • Habbgun

    Machine politicians can’t fight crime, will be co-opted by organized crime and when you make a cheap machine pol into a national level politician he will be outed by foreign opposition. A president needs to be more than a pol. Obama is even less than a pol. He’s a set of postures masking a white Communist legacy.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Exactly

  • Alphamail

    Obama…..um…..m…..m…

    …meshugeh media messager & momjeans moscow mollifier meming march madness, mouthing mideast mendacity, & mandating malignant marxism…..

    …..m…..m…..m…
    Alphamail

    • iluvisrael

      and metrosexual

  • UCSPanther

    I think that if the old KGB saw Facebook, they would love and loathe it at the same time, as it would make a potentially useful tool for gathering intel and spreading propaganda, but it would also allow the free exchange of info which is just as deadly to totalitarian regimes.

  • Gee

    My only correction would be the Yugo was not Soviet – but from Yugoslavia, which was never part of the Warsaw Pact

  • Erudite Mavin

    Thanks Daniel for the facts on Obama’s weakness, Putin – Russia and his agenda
    to invade and take what is not his and knowing Obama’s weakness.
    Putin will eye more and take over countries that the Soviets invaded and took over or were handed to Stalin at Yalta by FDR., and decades later freed by Reagan and the others who were allied to his belief and vision.
    Now it is 1938 all over again.
    Also appreciate exposing Putin and his tie in to Islamic agenda
    and we are hearing in the past day of Putin’s words of leaning to Iran

  • AlgorithmicAnalyst

    How true …

  • W.C. Taqiyya

    It will be interesting to see if Putin continues to increase his military buildup on the Ukrainian border regions in the coming days. Particularly if the troops come with more fuel and supplies than they need for temporary maneuvers. If they do, Putin probably intends to cut another slice of Ukraine for himself and maybe some portions of the Baltic nations. At that point, only a robust counter move by the western powers might dissuade the lunatic Putin. He is playing a very dangerous game. Even if both Obama and Merkel were KGB spies, the western nations would still defeat Russia on the battlefield and no western leader could prevent it. Poland, Hungary and the rest are not going to sit still for more nonsense. They just won’t, the memories of soviet domination are still too fresh. We can speak of western weakness all day long but when it comes to blows, there would be a huge surge of enthusiasm. I would not be surprised if the leaders of Greece and Spain and Italy are dreaming it comes true. They have little to lose and much to gain by joining a war against Putin. Add the pieces together in a thousand ways, it always comes up snake eyes for Putin.