Remember back in 2008 when Barack Obama said that by his Prostration & Groveling World Tour bowing to every tinpot and dictator on the planet, he would restore "respect" and "good will" for the United States from the "international community"?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, here it is:
Vladimir Putin on Tuesday slammed Washington for refusing to share intelligence with Russia on Syria, and accusing it of muddled thinking.
Senate Foreign Relation Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) concurs, by the way.
"I believe some of our partners simply have mush for brains," Putin said, expressing some of his strongest criticism yet of Washington's handling of the Syrian crisis.
All together, now: "All hail 'Smart Power'!"
Late last month Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria, saying it needed to target Islamic State jihadists before they cross into Russia, which has a large Muslim population.
A perfectly plausible cover justification, apart from the fact that ISIS does not yet have a contiguous border with the Russian Federation.
But Washington and its allies slammed Russia's intervention in the conflict, saying Moscow was also targeting Western-backed moderate rebels....
That do not actually exist. Which is much of the "muddle".
....and sought to prop up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Which is the openly avowed purpose of the Russo-Iranian military operation in Syria. Put another way, there's nothing remotely muddled about THEIR thinking.
Or perhaps it's more a matter of the fact that they're willing to back up their words with actions, while O insists that words are an end unto themselves.
"Now, we often hear that our pilots are striking the wrong targets, not IS," Putin said at an investment forum in Moscow explaining that Russia had asked Washington to provide a list of targets.
But Washington declined.
"'No, we are not ready for this' was the answer," Putin quoted them as saying.
"Then we thought again and asked another question: then tell us where we should not strike. No answer too," he said, adding: "That is not a joke. I did not make this up."
"How is it possible to work together?" he asked.
"I think some of our partners simply have mush for brains, they do not have a clear understanding of what really happens in the country and what goals they are seeking to achieve."
In short, the fact that the Russians are bombing mythical "moderate rebels" in Syria is Obama's fault for not sharing the targeting intel that would tell Russian pilots where they need to go. Which, of course, would have had no bearing on Russian air operations, but it's a brilliant bit of propaganda and public relations, turning Obama's "multilateralism/international cooperation" pablum against him and making Czar Vlad sound like the reasonable statesman. And, again, it's at least superficially plausible, as The One has been pretending to bomb ISIS in Iraq AND Syria for over a year now.
Remember way back in George W. Bush's first term when he said that he knew Vladimir Putin because he had "looked into his heart"? That metaphysical peek turned out to be less than entirely successful, but Vlad has certainly taken the full measure of Red Barry, and didn't have to "look into his heart" to learn all he needed to know. And now he's acting upon it in full and justified confidence that he can do anything he wants, wherever and whenever he wants, and the anti-American president will do absolutely nothing to stop or deter him.
But he will scold Putin for not joining him in his anti-"climate change" crusade. He is obligated to keep Vlad entertained, after all.
UPDATE: Even O's national security team is openly displaying its frustration:
Current and former Obama officials say the president’s reluctance to respond more assertively against Putin is signaling U.S. weakness and indecision. “We’re just so reactive,” said one senior administration official. “There’s just this tendency to wait” and see what steps other actors take…
Sources familiar with administration deliberations said that Obama’s West Wing inner circle serves as a brick wall against dissenting views. The president’s most senior advisers — including National Security Adviser Susan Rice and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough — reflect the president’s wariness of escalated U.S. action related to Syria or Russia and, officials fear, fail to push Obama to question his own deeply rooted assumptions…
A former Cold War nuclear deterrence expert, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has fretted that the U.S. isn’t standing up firmly to Putin’s provocations. And CIA Director John Brennan has complained that Putin is bombing Syrian "rebel" fighters covertly backed by his agency with seeming impunity.
“The optics are that we’re backing off,” said a former Obama official who handled foreign policy issues. “It’s not like we can’t exert pressure on these guys, but we act like we’re totally impotent.”
Of course we act like we're totally impotent. That's because we are impotent. Barack Obama has deliberately made us impotent. That was the whole point of the Obama Doctrine: to render it impossible for the United States to either project power anywhere in the world or influence foreign affairs anywhere for any reason, because he has believed and continues to believe that America is the focus of evil in the modern world and is the source of all the world's problems, and must be removed from the world stage as even a regional power. And he has now accomplished that goal. "We are Luxembourg now".
Or, as Mr. Putin likes to put it, "Hey, Barry, how does my ass taste?"
If "current and former Obama netsec officials" suddenly don't like it, well....