President Obama’s dreamy dreams
The “world on fire” is reminiscent of the Cold War years. Mr. Putin tosses out the “n” word, brandishing his nuclear arsenal to defend his conquest of Crimea. He argues that abuse of ethnic Russians prompted him to invade eastern Ukraine, and there’s a similar threat in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Mr. Putin is not subtle. Neither is history. Hitler employed similar not-so-subtle threats to justify his occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938.
Russia directs similar nuclear threats against NATO neighbors. The Russian ambassador to Denmark warns that Danish warships “will be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons” if Denmark participates in a NATO plan for a European missile defense radar system, and Russia violates Norwegian air space with increasing frequency and even crosses the English Channel with identifying transponders switched off in stealth fashion, disrupting air traffic. In word and deed, the Russians have not forgotten how to behave with Cold War malevolence.
Mr. Obama has almost two years left to further damage the interests of the nation he swore to protect and defend. He can finish his deal with Iran by June, pocket his legacy, such as it will be, and leave troubles and dilemmas to his successor. He could, of course, pursue his crusade from a new platform to prevent Iran from restarting its nuclear program when such an agreement expires in 10 years. We won’t hold our breath. Beyond “fundamentally transforming” the United States, there’s the rest of the world to save. Mr. Putin, for his part, is establishing a legacy of his own, the restoration of the Soviet empire behind the threat of nuclear might.
The lovers of peace and goodness can rail against nuclear weapons from now ‘til doomsday, but before they can dissuade rogues in Moscow and Tehran from evil and establish a peaceable kingdom on Earth, they must deal with the malice that defiles the human heart. Entreaties for brotherhood are nice, but the only effective deterrent is the strength of arms. Peace through flaccid weakness is folly.