By New York Post Editorial Board
March 3, 2014 | 8:49pm
Vladimir Putin has taken the measure of Barack Obama. He’s found Jimmy Carter.
Like Jimmy Carter, who boasted he was free of any “inordinate fear of communism,” Obama began his term as president vowing to “reset” relations with Russia.
Like Jimmy Carter, who conveyed weakness when Iran took our embassy staff hostage, Obama confirmed his own weakness when he drew a red line in Syria and then backed down from enforcing it.
Like Jimmy Carter, who was rewarded by Leonid Brezhnev with a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Putin has returned Obama’s favor with a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
And just like Carter, who responded with what his staff called “a strong public statement,” Obama responded with his own statement saying he is “deeply concerned” by Russia’s military movement in Ukraine.
As in the Carter era, Obama-era defenders of inaction suggest there is little they can now do to get Russia out of Crimea. They are likely right.
Even so, Russia’s invasion was invited by manifold acts of American weakness — from our failure in Benghazi to the dubious deal we’re pursuing with Iran to denying our Eastern European friends missile defense to Obama’s failure to enforce the red line he himself drew in Syria. When you don’t resist aggression, you can’t be surprised aggressors raise the stakes.
At the same time, it’s simply not true that the United States has no options. Obama’s Republican rival in 2008, Sen. John McCain, has noted some of them: boot Russia out of the G-8; reverse the Obama defense cuts; restore missile defense for Eastern Europe; sanction individual Russian officials, etc.
In a memo to Jimmy Carter three days after that Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, his national security adviser summed up well the problem of words bereft of action: “Since we have not always followed these verbal protests up with tangible responses, [the Russians] may be getting into the habit of disregarding our concern.”
Memo to President Obama: Putin is disregarding you in Crimea for the same reason.
Krauthammer: paraphrasing – “you’ve got to wonder what cosmos Obama and Kerry are living in when they say Putin is acting out of weakness.” – “I think he’s (Obama) delusional”….