Saturday, September 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

U.S. is hurt by lax attention to foreign affairs

thomasson column sig

By
March 04, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — As he faces the perhaps the most significant foreign policy crisis of his presidency, it has become abundantly clear that Barack Obama’s lack of attention to the nation’s overseas interests has seriously damaged America’s global position.

Is that too harsh an assessment of a president who likes to draw lines in the sand but is seldom willing to step over them? The 90-minute warning issued to Russia’s Vladimir Putin not to send troops to the Crimea when ignored produced an “OK, now what do we do?” moment, leaving Obama to scramble for a solution that would contain if not end the threat.

Perhaps the best assessment of the causes of the current mess comes from David J. Kramer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Russia and Ukraine in the George W. Bush administration. Writing in the Washington Post on Sunday, Kramer said:

“Like his overall approach to foreign policy, Obama has been much too removed from the deteriorating situation in Ukraine the past few months and spoke out for the first time only 10 days ago after Ukrainian authorities used gruesome force against protesters in Kiev. Obama warned Ukrainian officials not to ‘step over the line,’ a phrase that lost meaning when he warned Assad not to cross a ‘red line’ at the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing about it.”

It is a disturbing pattern about this chief executive with the limited overseas knowledge that has plagued too many of his predecessors of late. Community organizing in Chicago and two years in the Senate doesn’t make good on-the-job training for dealing with the Putins of the world. Of course that has been the weakness with this president from the beginning – a lack of preparedness on not only overseas matters but domestic ones as well.

His almost obsessive focus on health-care reform during his first term has not served the national interest in maintaining world leadership. He has failed to assert his influence in Syria, watched benignly the crumbling of the Arab Spring, done little to change the Israeli/Palestinian picture. More important, it has taken most of his two terms to do what he promised to do quickly when campaigning in 2008 – end the Iraq and Afghanistan involvements that already have claimed too many American lives.

He doesn’t even seem to be able to get Hamid Karzai to sign off on the retention of a small security force in Afghanistan when the bulk of U.S. troops come home later this year.

What now can he do to pressure an end to the Russian incursion into Crimea? The task becomes difficult when as one analyst put it there is no longer a “big stick” available as an option. Saber rattling threats seem to me to be an impotent approach unless one is willing to start World War III. When the threat of military intervention is removed from the equation, sanctions and isolation from the international community become the only weapons.

Yet NATO with the United States in the lead can hardly stand still in this matter. In addition to banking sanctions, terminating all negotiations with Russia on promoting business or trade agreements, expelling Russia from the Group of Eight and cancelling the Sochi meeting, Kramer and others suggest NATO should call an emergency meeting to reassure allies that border Ukraine and to initiate mobilization of forces to be ready for any development.

There is absolutely no doubt that the next days will be the most difficult this administration has faced. Putin clearly has little or no respect for Obama as the long telephone conversation to try to resolve this made clear. Strengthening the Russian position, of course, is the huge number of ethnic Russians who occupy Crimea and consider themselves still to be a part of “the mother country.”

Whether or not Obama is up to meeting this challenge with the help of State Secretary John Kerry, who is being dispatched to Kiev, is problematic. Kerry’s predecessor, Hillary Clinton, was given high marks for trying to keep the complexities of international affairs on an even keel and did a more than reasonable job until the Benghazi incident tarnished her reputation.

These are dangerous times.

Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: thomassondan@aol.com.

Dan K. Thomasson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano jobless rate drops, jobs rise

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
 
Memorial focuses on hope, healing from addiction

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Vacaville High graduate shines at tech event

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Highway 37 detours in place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
New law aimed at urban water district reports

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Travis celebrates KC-10′s 20 years at base

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Maintenance begins on Rio Vista Bridge Sunday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Mother gives late daughter a voice by helping others

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B8, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Record-setting retardant used on California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown vetoes diaper changing-station bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Oakland mother charged in cocaine death of son, 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Feds approve California’s immigrant license words

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
California man accused of killing fellow gym-goer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California school gender equity ruling upheld

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
State to ban smoking at home day cares

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Driver of stolen van that hit dog gets prison time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
License plate scanner networks capture movements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fence-jumper makes it into the White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
After vote to stay in UK, Scots must heal divide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Florida town knew shooter had troubled past

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Daughter calls Utah doctor a monster at sentencing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

3 guilty in Ga. salmonella-tainted peanut trial

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Fierce fighting in Yemeni capital kills 120

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ambush suspect could be aided by dense woods

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
.

Opinion

Fairfield Ford boosts animal adoption efforts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Lots of services available for Solano veterans

By Ted Puntillo | From Page: A8

Cheers, jeers for the week of Sept. 14-20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Editorial cartoons for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
Make sure you get educated during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

 
Fallon to pay up, broadcast show in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

 
A’s Lester holds Phillies to 5 hits in 7 innings in 3-1 victory

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Big plays in second half lift Vanden past Center

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Legs power Mustangs in win over Falcons

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers’ Davis, McDonald questionable for Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stewart slogs through tough day at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rio Vista gets easy football win over Delta

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Keselowski wins pole at New Hampshire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After NFL, baseball addresses domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodell: ‘Same mistakes can never be repeated’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kershaw gets 20th win as Dodgers pound Cubs 14-5

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders could be down 2 starters on defense

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks open with new vibe after playoff collapse

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

The Kuro taste: Peppery tang and hint of squid ink

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Pabst Brewing to be sold to Russian company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

China fines GlaxoSmithKline $492M for bribery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Procter & Gamble cancels on-field NFL promotion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

California adopts olive-oil labeling standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Yahoo rakes in another jackpot from Alibaba’s IPO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Alibaba stock soars in jubilant trading debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Charles Randolph Orr

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Corazon Libunao Thompson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Allie M. Zell-Jones

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 09/20/14

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.23 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Sept. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

New Standard Pacific models in Vacaville

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3