Liberals are running out of ways to criticize President-Elect Donald Trump already. The economy didn’t collapse; the world didn’t break into war; and domestic violence is not on an epidemic rise. Since none of their predictions of doom have come to fruition, they’ll fall back on the excessive criticism of every word he says.
The favorite rhetoric of the moment is to insinuate that Trump is Putin’s puppet. While they are busy being revolted by Trump and Putin’s relationship, they fail to realize that it might be the only hope in undoing the significant damage caused by Obama.
We’ve talked about Obama’s legacy many times and in many contexts, but his dealings with Russia are really something special. When Obama came into power, Russia was a minor threat and reduced world power at worst.
More accurately, they were still struggling to recover from the long-term economic devastation they brought on themselves during the Cold War. It was Obama, and not any other president, who enabled that situation to change quickly and dramatically.
The Middle East
Against the warnings of every military leader in NATO, Obama rushed the U.S. exit from Iraq and decreased our overall presence too quickly. Regardless of your belief on why we were there in the first place, it was the botched exit that set the stage for a chain of events that gave Russia a massive international presence.
You’ll likely recall much of this recent history, but we’ll still review the main points. When the U.S. left Iraq, there was a power vacuum. Shortly after, a revolution in Egypt threatened one of our strongest allies in the Middle East.
Obama, always the president of hesitation and inaction, allowed the government to fall and reduce our presence further. Russia responded almost immediately and swooped up a new ally. Today, Russia is funding and essentially building Egypt’s nuclear presence.
At roughly the same time, the Syrian civil war began. The U.S. and Russia had opposite views on the war from the start, but it was Obama’s hesitation that enabled the Russians to back Assad, despite his war crimes. While the Russian military backed a sovereign leader, the U.S. trained and equipped rebels, almost all of whom fled the war and joined ISIS.
While Obama supporters aren’t technically wrong when they say he didn’t create ISIS, he did train and equip the man who eventually became ISIS. This whole mess put us in the current state where Assad has all but won the civil war, and Russia has gained another strong presence in the Middle East.
The increased presence gave Russia leverage throughout negotiations with Iran, and they were able to ensure that Iran would be able to maintain a nuclear presence in the world. Like with Egypt, Iranian nuclear programs are now essentially an extension of Russia.
Even while all of that was happening, several crises unfolded in Europe. The most famous was the sudden, aggressive annexation of Crimea. Putin, noticing the trend in Obama’s refusal to ever take real action, seized the region, knowing full well that he would only receive an international slap on the wrist.
Even while Putin was attempting to rebuild the Iron Curtain, Obama was reducing the U.S. presence in Eastern Europe. He defaulted on agreements to install missile defense tools and expanded early warning instruments in both Poland and the Czech Republic.
He also made it clear that Ukraine was on their own. The culmination of these actions emboldened Putin, and he continued to seize ally after ally, even as the U.S. continued to lose theirs. All of this has culminated in an empowered Russia that has substantially more international bargaining potential than before Obama entered office.
Trump is a master of making deals, and negotiating power does not escape his notice. He, like everyone else in the world, is painfully aware of how Obama has enabled a modern USSR to arise. As Putin grows bolder, it only becomes more important to be able to deal with him in ways that don’t escalate the situation. While Obama defaulted to insults and bluffs, Trump, so far, has found a more effective approach.
Trump’s relationship with Putin is a bright light in an otherwise terrifyingly dark situation. The idea of an amicable relationship between the U.S. and Russia is something that has always been out of reach. While it is still far too early to call, the presence of hope is real.
Trump has made it clear that he is willing to treat Putin and Russia as human beings, and his openness to real negotiation is the first sign of hope Russia has seen in many decades. That’s the hook. If Trump can use flattery, a personal relationship with Putin, or anything else to get them to the negotiating table, then he has a real chance to use his talents and fix yet another of Obama’s many, disastrous mistakes.
~ Conservative Zone