Obama Could Learn a Few Lessons in Leadership From Vladimir Putin

Assad and Putin Mikhail KlimentyevAP
Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

Everyone is fixated on the “climate change” part of Barack Obama’s ridiculous thoughts on the nature of “leadership” during his bizarre 60 Minutes interview on Sunday night, but the really terrifying part of his answer is what he thinks does not qualify as leadership. He’s exactly wrong, and it’s the reason Vladimir Putin has been able to hoist this lightweight President up by his trousers and throw him face-first out of the Middle East.

“Steve, I gotta tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in, in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership,” Obama told Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. “My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris.”

Rest assured that every hostile global competitor of the United States is salivating at the thought of Obama crippling his national economy over junk science. They’ll take everything he gives them in Paris and then some. Climate-change mythology is the ultimate example of a parasitic ruling class bleeding its population dry to enhance its own wealth and power. It’s the feral crouch of a political religion that is primarily interested in subduing its own dissenting citizens, and that’s good news for aggressive foreign powers on the move.

It’s not surprising, or even interesting, to hear Obama natter on about global warming. He’s a talking-points robot who can twist the discussion of any topic to fit whatever he really wants to talk about. The interesting bit was in the first sentence, when the President dismissed Putin sending in troops to prop up his regional ally as the definition of leadership.

That’s exactly what leadership means, and everyone around the world who depends on American protection will be scared half to death by the spectacle of Obama dismissing it. Say what you will about Putin, but he’s been consistent in his support of the Assad regime in Syria, he has a very clear idea of his nation’s strategic interests in the region, and he’s been dismissing Obama’s “moderate” allies in Syria as either unwitting facilitators of terrorism, or active collaborators with ISIS and al-Qaeda, since Day One.

Obama, meanwhile, spent years farting around with a $500 million program to train “moderate” rebels that produced two tiny squads of strategically irrelevant fighters. One of them was promptly torn to pieces by al-Qaeda, while the other handed over weapons and equipment to the terrorists to buy safe passage, hooked up with a commander who didn’t pass the U.S. smell test, and disappeared. The Russians are making a great deal of hay about how Obama’s strategy was obviously foolish and disastrous.

The Russians are also currently engaged in bombing Obama’s erstwhile Syrian allies… while the President does nothing but cluck his tongue, mutter something about “deconfliction,” and retire to the golf course. Yes, Mr. Obama, the world is getting a very clear message that you don’t think “leadership” has anything to do with standing behind your allies or holding to clear and consistent principles, while Putin does. The best and worst members of the global community are recalibrating their strategies accordingly.

The Russians have said all along that the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis was to secure the Assad regime and end the rebellion. Years of pursuing a different course led to the rise of ISIS, the wholesale destruction of religious minorities such as the Assyrian Christians and Yazidis, and Europe going down under a tidal wave of “refugees.”

Think about that: Obama’s Syria strategy was such a bust that he lost Europe. It’s like he sat down to a game of penny-ante poker and somehow managed to lose his car, his house, and his life savings. Except, of course, that Barack Obama has never in his life gambled with his own money, or taken responsibility for anything he’s done.

The Europeans are starting to talk about the importance of improving relations with Russia. Just last week, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker declared, “Russia must be treated decently. We can’t let our relationship with Russia be dictated by Washington.”

Let’s have another round of applause for Barack Obama’s brilliant “leadership,” folks! The next time Obama declares the Western world will draw a “red line” against Russian aggression with crippling sanctions, Putin might just smile and call his bluff.

The sheer, breathtaking ignorance of Obama’s take on the Middle Eastern situation is also cause for alarm. Contrary to the President’s rhetoric, Syria is not Russia’s “only ally” in the region – they’re working with Iran and making overtures to the Iraqis, including a joint Russian-Iranian-Iraqi information-sharing agreement that has Pentagon planners nervous about Baghdad becoming even more of a intel leak than Hillary Clinton’s email server. Even if Assad was Russia’s only ally, it wouldn’t be a mistake for the Russians to prop him up – that would be Strategy 101.

Furthermore, Russia’s interest in Syria goes well beyond the desire to have someone in the neighborhood who talks nicely about them. The Russians have a port in Syria they consider an essential strategic asset, and if they can complete the process of running Obama and his hapless crew out of the Middle East, they can gain a degree of leverage over world oil prices that will do wonders for their economy. While Obama chases American businessmen around and screams “HERETIC!” at them for doubting global-warming theology, Russia and China are putting together a new world economy that will be very good for themselves and their partners.

Obama thinks “leadership” means beating his own country into the dirt to win applause from people who think the American Century was a horrible mistake. Putin’s definition of leadership, on the other hand, involves playing hard for his own team, including his allies.