Jerry Hendrix Discusses Rep. Randy Forbes' Assertion That the US Navy Has No Strategy

Jerry Hendrix, late of the Naval Historical Center and now a fellow at CNAS, addresses a letter from Randy Forbes (R-VA) to CNO Admiral Greenert.  Read it all on DefenseOne.com.

A response, but certainly not a rebuttal.  I think the good Captain (Retired) is spot on with his assertions of the victory of the “Technical Rickovers” over the “Humanities Mahans”.   And that the very lack of being able to verbalize the importance of seapower is a major factor in the dearth of strategic eloquence from our Navy leadership.

When senior admirals speak strategically, their message can be summarized as “we do what we do because we have always done what we have done. The oceans are peaceful, we created that environment, and there is no need to change the formula.”

Indeed.  We are saddled with senior Navy leadership that assiduously avoids meaningful discussion about why the US Navy is building a fleet so entirely contrary to the requirements of the Cooperative Strategy.  Inherent in that avoidance is the unwillingness to discuss true ship numbers, or anything approaching a proposition for a high-low mix.  We have ever-smaller numbers of very large and very expensive warships which bodes poorly for forward presence.  The result is an increasing tally of unmet requirements, and of capital ships being employed in very low-end missions, to the detriment of other missions more appropriate and important.

That shipbuilding is a colossal mess, with LCS being the poster-child, should be no surprise.  This is the Navy, after all, that has its senior leadership in critical c0mmand positions offering up such gems as the Navy’s mission not being war at sea, and the most dangerous threat to US interests in the Pacific is not China or North Korea, but global warming.  And, though less openly now, the rather curious assertion that forcible entry is no longer possible or required, that somehow the sea as strategic or operational maneuver space is an outmoded idea.

Have a read, folks, and let me know what YOU think of Hendrix’s assertion.

AG Holder Resigns

Attn. General Holder Testifies At Senate Judiciary Hearing On Justice Dept Oversight

The news broke a bit ago that Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation.  His six years as the senior law enforcement official in the United States has been particularly damaging to the civil liberties of American citizens.   Holder’s race-baiting tactics, which include refusing to investigate and prosecute cases which he believed reflected poorly on “his people”, was typical of his lack of integrity and character.  Appointed by the first black President as the first black AG, Holder more than anyone else made skin color an issue.

Holder also was in constant full-court press in executing his boss’s Alinsky-esque plans to treat political opposition as enemies, use the powers of government for extralegal persecution of those opponents, and curtailing individual freedoms in order to promote a politically-favored class, his own.  His conduct while in office has been blatantly dishonest, most notable being the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal which took the lives of a US Border Patrol agent, hundreds of Mexican civilians, and unknown US citizens at the hands of the criminal elements Holder was responsible for arming.  Worse, Fast and Furious was an effort to make a case for draconian gun control measures and the disarming law-abiding American citizens.  His testimony regarding the scandal was unadulterated lies and evasion, again typical of his lack of character and integrity.   Holder was made to recant some of his falsehoods when proof came to light that he had not only been briefed on the operation, but briefed on several occasions, and in detail.

There were other scandals.   There was the subpoena of phone records of AP reporters without cause, for which Holder was responsible but faced no consequences.  There was his leaking of Justice Department information to Media Matters so that they could dutifully spin the scandal stories.  There was Holder’s active role in ensuring that IRS officials would not be brought to trial during his tenure for their use of their government apparatus in persecuting political opposition.

Inexplicably, it is to a man like this that many Americans are willing to cede their Constitutional rights under due process in determining Federal Government actions to kill US citizens without conviction, or even trial.  Holder, and men like him, in the star chamber of “informed Government officials” making decisions on who presents a “threat” and who does not, with the winners being awarded a Hellfire for their troubles, is perhaps the worst of situations I can imagine.

Eric Holder is a malignant tumor to the liberties of a free people.  A race-baiting, gun-grabbing, lying, cheating, bullying Communist of the most corrosive ilk.  You can bet he is not going of his own accord, despite what his public proclamations might be.  Someone has something on him, big enough that Obama wants him under the bus, otherwise he would not be going anywhere.  No matter what it is, Holder can be guaranteed a Presidential pardon from Bath House Barry, or from Hillary Clinton, if we are faced with that particular catastrophe. Holder is an enemy of freedom, and of the Constitution.  He is without honor, without any redeeming value whatsoever.

Whomever replaces him should face extreme scrutiny in the confirmation process.  One hopes those who love freedom have the courage to apply that scrutiny.

…The More They Stay The Same.

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Brad’s excellent piece about the weak-minded simps on the far-left being anti-Israel, and openly sympathetic to Hamas, can be corroborated around most any college campus on either coast.  Leftist Progressive “intellectuals” of all ages rail against Israel and the Jews so vehemently that it would make Julius Streicher blush.  They are too dogmatic and stupid to figure out that Hamas would perpetrate on Israeli men, women, and children precisely what ISIS did this week, when it massacred some 1,500 young Iraqi men (filming much of it) in scenes reminiscent of SS Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front.  All Hamas lacks is the means.  Which leftists in this country (which include Mssrs Kerry and Obama) seem ever so willing to give them.  To those who would recoil at such a comparison, I would ask, just what do you think “destruction of the Zionist Jews” means?   Hamas is also supported wholeheartedly with weapons and money (so much the more since sanctions were lifted) by our old friend Iran.  (Whom we are told we should trust not to build a nuclear weapon.  They don’t mean what they say about annihilating Israel, either.)

This willful blindness is, however, not a new paradigm.  Obama’s, and the American media’s, pandering to Muslims and outright sympathy for Hamas and its soulless butchers in Gaza, have a familiar ring to them.  Who else but the incomparable Kipling tells us of such a precedent?

Boh Da Thone was a warrior bold:
His sword and his rifle were bossed with gold,

And the Peacock Banner his henchmen bore
Was stiff with bullion, but stiffer with gore.

He shot at the strong and he slashed at the weak
From the Salween scrub to the Chindwin teak:

He crucified noble, he scarified mean,
He filled old ladies with kerosene:

While over the water the papers cried,
“The patriot fights for his countryside!”

So there you have it.  That said, rather than seeing members of Hamas squashed by a fat railroad employee, I would be ever so happy to see some fuel-air explosive dropped on one of their parades.   Same with ISIS.   Too bad Obama, the media, and the far-left are so sympathetic to the former and indifferent about the latter.   T’ain’t much new under the sun.

President Takes Decisive Action in Iraq

In a stunning reversal of his previous equivocation regarding US involvement in the worsening security situation in Iraq, President Obama stated that the US is prepared to act with strength and decisiveness to help defeat the ISIS radical jihadist forces that have engulfed several major cities and killed many thousands of Iraqis.

MIchelle hashtag iraq

There.  That’ll show ’em.  Worked like a charm with Boko Haram in Nigeria, too.   They certainly have mended their ways.    Administration officials speculate that the Islamic Extremist fighters that have invaded Iraq have little chance of resisting the pressure of tweets and re-tweets that show support for the Iraqi people, and will be forced to withdraw.  On the outside chance that somehow ISIS can withstand such an onslaught of social media, the President is prepared to conjure his best “I’m not kidding” expression and talk about “consequences”, possibly even “dire consequences”.   No word yet on whether or not Secretary of State Kerry will scold ISIS for “behaving in a 7th Century fashion”.   New White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was quoted as saying, “The President is making the best of a situation left him by the previous Administration, which is responsible for declaring the war over and abandoning Iraq to its fate.  Wait, ….what?  That was us?  You sure?  No more questions!”

Gawd, we are so screwed.

Russians Claim US Drone Captured While Flying Over Crimea

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Stop me if you heard the one about anything with an uplink/downlink being vulnerable to MIJI and capture.  From Yahoo news, via Drudge.

“The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic” technology, said Rostec in a statement.

The drone fell “almost intact into the hands of self-defence forces” added Rostec, which said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

“Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria,” Rostec said on its website, which also carried a picture of what it said was the captured drone.

Super.   Perhaps President Obama will take the strong-arm stance he took when Iran did a similar thing.  Ask politely for them to return it.  Yeah, that’ll show ’em.   One has to wonder when this actually occurred, and if this information was released specifically to discredit Kerry on the day of his meeting with Lavrov in London.   But that would be strategic messaging, which is part of Information Dominance.   And WE have Information Dominance, dammit!

Our foreign policy is being dictated by nincompoops and imbeciles.  We are screwed.

Hidden Treasure

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It can be found in the most unlikely of places.  This haul of pure naval gold came from the little book library that I found next to the gift shop aboard USS Midway in my sojourn to San Diego for the West Conference.  I saw a sign for “book sale”, which, except for “free ammo”, is most likely to make me stop every time.  I was allowed to go into the spaces that had the books for sale, and found this’n.  I decided to have a little fun with the docent who was running the sale.  When I asked “How much?”, he told me “Ten dollars.”  I worked up my most indignant expression, and said “TEN DOLLARS!  That’s highway robbery!  I won’t pay it!” at the same time I slipped a twenty to his elderly assistant, and gave him a wink.   He was a bit flummoxed, but the old fella gave me a smile.  I asked that they keep the change as a donation, which they were truly grateful for.

Anyway, inside the large, musty-smelling book that had likely not been opened in decades, there is to be found a veritable treasure of naval history.  From the advertisements at the beginning pages from famous firms such as Thornycroft, Hawker-Siddeley, Vickers-Amstrong Ship Repair and Shipbuilding, Bofors, Decca Radars, Edo Sonar, etc, to the line drawings of nearly every class of major combatant in commission in 1964, the book is simply fascinating.

What is first noticeable is that a great percentage of the world’s warships in 1964 still consisted of American and British-built vessels from the Second World War and the years immediately preceding.   Former Royal Navy aircraft carriers were the centerpieces of the navies of India, Canada, France, Holland, Australia (star-crossed Melbourne was a Colossus-class CV) and even Argentina and Brazil.   US-built ships comprise major units of almost every Western Bloc navy in 1964.  The ubiquitous Fletchers, of which nearly one hundred were transferred,  served worldwide, and remained the most powerful units of many Western navies into the 1990s.   But there were other classes, destroyer escorts, patrol frigates, minesweepers, and an untold number of LSTs, LCTs, LCIs, Liberty and Victory ships, tankers, and auxiliaries of all descriptions, under the flags of their new owners.   Half a dozen Brooklyn-class light cruisers went south in the 1950s, to the South American navies of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.  (General Belgrano, sunk by a British torpedo in the Falklands War, was ex-USS Phoenix CL-46).  A surprising number of the pre-war Benson and Gleaves-class destroyers remained in naval inventories, including that of the United States Navy (35).   A large contingent of Balao and Gato-class diesel fleet subs also remained in service around the world, with images showing streamlined conning towers, and almost always sans the deck guns.

Nowhere is there a ship profile of a battleship.  By 1964, Britain had scrapped the King George Vs, and beautiful HMS Vanguard.   France had decommissioned Jean Bart, and though Richelieu was supposedly not decommissioned until 1967, she is not included.  The United States had disposed of the North Carolinas and the South Dakotas some years before, and only the four Iowas remained.  They are listed in the front of the US Navy section, but not as commissioned warships, and they are also not featured.   Turkey’s ancient Yavuz, the ex-German World War I battlecruiser Goeben, had not yet been scrapped (it would be in 1971), but apparently was awaiting disposal and not in commission.

The 1964-65 edition of Jane’s contains some really interesting pictures and facts. And definitely some oddities.

There is a launching photo for USS America (CV-66), and “artist’s conceptions” of the Brooke and Knox-class frigates, which were then rated as destroyer escorts.  In 1964, the largest warship in the Taiwanese Navy (Republic of China) was an ex-Japanese destroyer that had been re-armed with US 5″/38 open single mounts in the late 1950s.  The People’s Republic of China also had at least one ex-Japanese destroyer in service, along with the half-sisters to the ill-fated USS Panay, formerly USS Guam and USS Tutulia, which had been captured by the Japanese in 1941 and turned over to China at the end of the war.  The PRC also retained at least one river gunboat which had been built at the turn of the century.

Italy’s navy included two wartime-construction (1943) destroyers that had been badly damaged, repaired, and commissioned in the late 1940s.  The eye-catching feature of the photos of the San Giorgios is the Mk 38 5″/38 twin mountings of the type mounted on the US Sumners and Gearings.

A couple other oddities that I never would have known but for this book.  In the 1950s, West Germany salvaged one Type XXI and two Type XXIII U-boats, sunk in the Baltic in 1945, reconditioned them, and commissioned them.  While the Type XXI was an experimentation platform, apparently the two Type XXIII boats (ex-U-2365 and U-2367) became operational boats.    The Israeli frigate Haifa had been a British wartime Hunt-class frigate, sold to the Egyptian Navy, and captured by Israeli forces in Haifa in the 1956 war.

The Indian Navy was made up largely of ex-Royal Navy warships, understandably enough.  But one in 1964 was particularly significant.  The Indian light cruiser Delhi had been HMS Achilles, famous for its role as a unit of Commodore Harwood’s squadron in chasing the German panzerschiff KMS Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate in December, 1939.

There is much more contained in the pages of this old and forgotten edition.  This book is an absolute treasure trove of naval history.   And was a most unexpected find.    I have unleashed my inner geek!

MORE Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

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This little tidbit managed to elude the American press.  The SAME American press that can tell you nothing about Benghazi, but everything about the George Washington Bridge scandal, nothing about Barack Obama’s college transcripts, but everything about George W. Bush’s military service (even if they have to make it up.)

From Iran’s Fars News Agency, via Drudge, these statements from Brigadier General Hossein Salami of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps:

“Today, we can destroy every spot which is under the Zionist regime’s control with any volume of fire power (that we want) right from here,” Salami said, addressing a conference in Tehran on Tuesday dubbed ‘the Islamic World’s Role in the Geometry of the World Power’.

“Islam has given us this wish, capacity and power to destroy the Zionist regime so that our hands will remain on the trigger from 1,400km away for the day when such an incident (confrontation with Israel) takes place,” he added.

Well, given by Islam and Barack Obama.  I am sure the General doesn’t MEAN anything by it.   It isn’t like he has the ear of the Supreme Leader or anything.   And I am certain that Iran is bargaining for uranium enrichment in good faith.  The Israelis?  They’re just paranoid.

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”

An Iranian graduate student at Georgia Tech has an apartment with a bunch of Molotov Cocktails in it.  He manages to explode one, burning himself, and dies of his burns.   What’s the FBI’s take?  The same FBI that identified white males who are Veterans who believe in God and the Second Amendment as likely terrorists?   From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Creeping Sharia:

“The FBI has relayed that, to date, they have not developed any information or evidence indicating criminal intent in this investigation.”

Some damned fine law enforcement work there, boys.  Didn’t you fellas handle the Benghazi Consulate “crime scene”, too?

Investigators determined that Akhshabi was not a threat to the Georgia Tech community, Connolly said.

Well, not after he burned himself so badly, no.  And especially not after he died.  But before that?  I dunno, Chief.  I think you need to get your money back from that on-line detective course.

Any theories about why an Iranian military-age man would be building bombs in his apartment?   I may be somewhat obtuse, but I would also require an explanation as to how that does not really constitute evidence indicating criminal intent.   Especially when the State of Connecticut is making newly minted felons of legal firearms owners by passing unconstitutional laws against AR-15s and other rifles.

As the folks at Creeping Sharia point out, Iranians with no terror ties show up in the darnedest of places.  

It is Difficult to Overstate Our Diplomatic Incompetence

Head in Hands

A resurgent Russia, under a ruthless and savvy autocrat, is flexing its muscles in Eastern Europe.  Communist China is threatening our allies and our interests in the Pacific.  That same Russia and China appear headed for closer relations.  Iran, thanks to the feckless naivete of Obama and Kerry, are poised to have nuclear weapons, with which they have vowed to destroy Israel.  North Korea, in league with that very same Iran, continues to act provocatively, with full approval of the PRC, despite public protestations to the contrary.  The “Arab Spring” has unleashed radical Islamists throughout the region.  Russian influence throughout the Middle East has been exponentially enhanced by America’s “leading from behind” fiasco.  We are without a viable grand strategy, and are slicing our Armed Forces to well below the levels at which we can defend our interests and deter our adversaries.

So what is Secretary of State John Kerry’s “critical mission” in his message to his diplomatic corps?

“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.

Yep.  Climate change.  America’s foreign policy team is being pushed around and laughed at for the pathetically weak milquetoasts they are.  Our credibility in the world is sinking alarmingly.   Our adversaries and rivals are acting with impunity, virtually without fear of repercussion from what remains (for the time being) the most powerful nation on earth.  Our allies are frantically scrambling to fill the security gap where America once stood.  What strategic leverage we might have, abundant sources of fossil fuel energy, is being deliberately suppressed by these same far-left “environmentalists” in the name of “saving the planet”.

An editorial this Friday in the leftist rag that passes for the local paper here in Upper Valley of Vermont tried to make the argument that somehow Republicans were being disingenuous in claiming Obama to be a strong-arm quasi-dictator on the one hand, while accusing him of being pathetically weak on the other.   Of course, the columnist assiduously avoided the fact that Vladimir Putin (and Rouhani in Iran, Assad in Syria, etc.) is immune to intimidation by Eric Holder, or Lois Lerner, or Kathleen Sibelius.  Foreign policy means dealing with people whom cannot be silenced by Obama being able to sic the apparatus of government upon those who defy him.   Alinsky’s “rules for radicals” work for domestic politics, when opponents are not willing to kill and starve and imprison on a massive scale to achieve their goals.   But ideologues like Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, and Barack Obama are way out of their element in dealing with foreign leaders who understand REAL power.  Leaders who call their bluffs regarding “red lines” and “severe consequences”, and such.  Which results in President Obama “prancing around swinging his purse at Moscow”, as SKK so eloquently expressed.  Putin and Lavrov have shown utter contempt for Obama and Kerry, and it is not difficult to understand why.

So in place of actual statesmanship, John Kerry injects tripe about “climate change”.  (Which used to be “global warming”, if you are keeping score, until far-left environmentalists could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting warmer.  Not to be confused with “global cooling”, which 40 years ago was the “settled science”, until they could no longer obscure the fact that the world was not, in fact, getting cooler.)  It is not at all clear how a diplomat in an embassy or a consulate can quite go about “elevat(ing) the environment in everything we do”, or how that got to be the job of a diplomat in the first place.  Oh, wait.  Because it was one of John Kerry’s “causes”.

“The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”

Right.  Along with claiming America was “the world’s monster”, advocating for wealth-redistribution statist socialism, collaborating with our nation’s enemies (worthy of a drone strike?), and fomenting anti-American sentiment wherever he went.    Oh, and avoiding taxes due on his yacht (where he spent significant time during the recent Egypt crisis and then lied about it, by the way).   And jet-setting to any of several multimillion-dollar homes.   No word on whether advancing America’s strategic interests appears anywhere in there.

And it ain’t like his boss drove a Prius to his Florida golf vacation.  Which comes just weeks after his Hawaii golf vacation.

The United States will pay a terrible price for the mind-boggling incompetence resident in the people entrusted with our foreign policy.  They, themselves, the Kerrys and Obamas, the Hillarys, they won’t.  But we will.  It is difficult to overstate that incompetence.  Though, between last week’s appearance on Meet the Press, and this inane memo to our diplomats this week, Kerry seems as if he is sure giving it a try.

Disastrously Delusional- Kerry on “Meet the Press”

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The events of this week in the Ukraine, particularly Russia’s de facto occupation of the Crimea, have highlighted the shambles that is US foreign policy.  Aside from revealing the complete impotence of NATO, the situation which has evolved in the last 72 hours has brought to the fore the contrast between the Machiavellian power-broker realism of Putin/Lavrov and the naive and feckless bumbling of Obama and SecState John Kerry.

To the list of foreign policy disasters that include the Cairo speech, the West Point speech, cut and run in Iraq, a stunted “surge” in AFG, the “Arab Spring” debacle, leading “from behind” in Libya, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, supporting Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, being caught bluffing with the “red line” nonsense in Syria, selling out our Israeli allies to make a deal virtually guaranteeing a nuclear Iran, we have the crowning fiasco, and likely the most dangerous in long-term impact for the United States and the world.

Kerry’s appearance on “Meet the Press” today reveals just how misguided and dangerously naive the arrogant amateur buffoons are who are careening our ship of state onto the shoals at flank speed.

This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext. It’s really 19th-century behavior in the 21st century, and there’s no way to start with that if Russia persists in this, that the G8 countries are going to reassemble in Sochi. That’s a starter. But there’s much more than that.

Is he kidding?  Power politics was centuries old when Machiavelli defined it in his works in the 1530s.  Power politics has dominated every century since, including the 20th.  In fact, there is virtually no reason to suddenly embrace some notion of “21st Century” statecraft that is any different from that of the previous five centuries, since the emergence of modern nation-states.  That Kerry and Obama think otherwise, and think the rest of the world behaves accordingly, is the height of hubris.  Treating the world as you wish it to be rather than how it exists is simply bankrupt intellectual foolishness.  But there’s more.

And we hope, President Obama hopes that President Putin will turn in the direction that is available to him to work with all of us in a way that creates stability in Ukraine. This does not have to be, and should not be, an East/West struggle.

There is no excuse whatever, other than a willful ignorance of history, to utter such a decidedly stupid and ill-informed comment publicly.  The central theme to the existence of European Russia is an eight-century long existential struggle between East and West.  The tragicomic foolishness of Hillary Clinton’s “reset button”, so contemptuously ridiculed by Foreign Minister Lavrov, was indicative of just how amateurish and incompetent the Obama Administration’s foreign policy and national security players were, and just how precious little they understood the art of statecraft.  Statements like the above reveal how little those players know about the history of the nations and peoples with which that statecraft requires them to interact.

There is worse to come later in the interview with David Gregory.   These two positively head-scratching pronouncements can rightfully make one wonder how tenuous this Administration’s grip on reality truly is:

David, the last thing anybody wants is a military option in this kind of a situation. We want a peaceful resolution through the normal processes of international relations.

President Putin is not operating from a place of strength here. Yanukovych was his supported president… President Putin is using force in a completely inappropriate manner that will invite the opprobrium of the world.

Such a bizarre pair of assertions is difficult to explain.  The several thousand Russian forces, which include mechanized infantry, attack aviation, and self-propelled artillery certainly seem to point to the notion that Vladimir Putin believed some semblance of a military solution was desired to ensure Russia maintained a friendly buffer between Russia and what Putin believes is a hostile West.   A buffer that incidentally includes the strategically vital naval base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and has a population demographic of approximately 60% ethnic Russians.

As for understanding a position of strength, one might also wonder just how Kerry would go about defining strength.  There is virtually nothing NATO can do militarily, should they even be willing; the United States, with shrinking defense budgets, is in the midst of gutting its military to pre-World War II levels.   The leverage the EU has over Russia is limited, despite Russia’s very significant economic problems.   Any “opprobrium”, or threats by the US, France, Canada, and the UK to suspend the G-8 Summit, is positively pittance to the Russians in comparison to the security of their strategically essential western neighbors, regions that have countless times stood between Russia and destruction at the hands of a conquering West. Russia has acted virtually unchallenged, presenting a fait accompli to the West that, despite assertions to the contrary, will not be undone.  If ever there was a position of power, Russia holds it right now in the Crimea, and will be asserting it anywhere and everywhere in the “near abroad” that Putin has long promised to secure.

The United States never has had all that much leverage to prevent Russia and a talented autocrat like Putin from leaning on their western border states, despite the fitful attempts by the US to draw some of those states into the Western sphere.  The invasions of Georgia and South Ossetia in 2008 proved that beyond a doubt.  But what is most disturbing about the current crisis is watching the US Secretary of State and the US President misread, misstep, and attempt to bluster their way through another confrontation with a geopolitical rival that is acting without restraint and without regard for the empty rhetoric from the Obama Administration.   The most fundamental lesson of statecraft is that of understanding power.  To that end, we have another object lesson in the use of that power.  There is no such thing as hard power, soft power, or “smart” power.  There is just power.  As it has since antiquity, power consists of the capability to enforce one’s will upon an adversary mixed with the willingness to use that capability.

Putin and Lavrov know that lesson well.  They are hard-bitten professionals who act as they believe necessary to promote Russian interests and improve economic and physical security.  Obama and Kerry are rank amateurs, blinded by an ideology that begets a naive and woefully unrealistic understanding of how the world works.  They have been outfoxed and outplayed yet again, seemingly willingly forfeiting US influence and credibility in pursuit of a badly-flawed world view in which influence is based upon hollow threats and ill-conceived public statements.  Any doubts regarding that assertion should be erased when one listens to the cognitive dissonance emanating from our Secretary of State as he describes the Crimean crisis in terms which have little to do with reality.   It is to weep.