Let’s stipulate that the “everything” in the headline refers to both Vladimir Putin and ISIS, just to put some limits on the discussion.
ISIS is running amok in what used to be known as Iraq because the United States President decided he had to get all U.S. forces out of Iraq in order to be re-elected. “We’re out of Iraq” was a constant theme of the 2012 campaign. Of course, one cannot forget that he campaigned for the White House in 2008 telling Americans the Iraq war was a mistake and he would bring the troops home.
Into this vacuum of power came the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria… ISIS…which had been practicing its warfare skills in Syria, splitting off the eastern part of the country from areas controlled by Bashr Assad.
ISIS put the Iraqi army on the run, and captured massive quantities of American weapons left behind to make sure Iraq could defend itself from threats like… ISIS.
So we now have people from the Yazidi sect, and Christians, and even American personnel under fire from American armaments in the hands of the ISIS jihadis.
Is Obama sending American air power to destroy that equipment, to bomb every piece of captured American military gear into unusable shreds of steel? No. Why not? You tell me.
Then there is Putin. He’s massed twenty thousand troops and heavy equipment on the Ukraine border. The pro-Russian separatists he had been supplying with weapons and support are losing their war against Ukraine’s military. Donetsk, a rebel stronghold, is reported to be a ghost town, as the residents have fled. People are understandably rattled by the Ukraine forces, who are rather indiscriminately shelling the pro-Russian rebels.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, says he expects Putin to invade eastern Ukraine, likely under the excuse of a humanitarian mission to save Ukraine from itself.
President Obama has been laying on layers of sanctions as Putin has grown bolder and bolder in his ambition to reconstruct Russian greatness. But none of it has worked.
Obama’s news conference at the conclusion of the Africa Summit illustrated the problem. The sanctions are working as intended, he said, but added that it is obvious the sanctions are not stopping Putin.
Putin doesn’t care. He is far more interested in a greater Russia than he is interested in the Russian economy. Russians have suffered economically before, and it appears he is willing to let them suffer again.
These two crises underscore the same point. Obama’s passiveness has led to adventurers taking chances they probably would not have taken had they expected U.S. forces to intervene.
But as long as they know there will not be American intervention, they are free to do as they like.
Hence, Putin and ISIS.