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What if President Obama was not a progressive ideologue using every issue he can find to destroy his political opposition and transform America into a socialist state run by a progressive elite? What could he do if he really wanted to solve national and international problems to protect the citizens of America?

veteransFirst, the biggest danger is on the Ukrainian border.  President Putin is determined to rebuild all or part of the old Soviet Empire. First a piece of Georgia, then the Crimea area of the Ukraine, and now threatening a huge piece of the eastern Ukraine. He has troops massed on the border. The Ukrainian army is no match for the Russian army. He is only waiting until he has the  perfect excuse to cross the border to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians. He’s looked around the geo-political map and sees no real opposition, certainly not from America or Europe. Putin deals in power. America and NATO deal in sanctions. Not necessarily the same thing.

Freeing Europe from dependence on Russian natural gas and oil by an all-out effort to increase American production and exports of gas and oil would have an immediate effect on Putin. His economy is dependent on the sale of Russian energy. But more is necessary. President Obama should announce the world situation has made him rethink the down sizing of our troop strength to pre-WWII levels and ask Congress to allocate more funds to modernize our Air Force and Navy.

He also needs to re-establish the anti missile radar deployments in Eastern Europe. Announce NATO maneuvers, with at least one division of American troops, in Europe. Moving aircraft carriers closer so the possibility of  air support to Ukrainian forces is real. Sending lethal military aid to the Ukraine by an airlift would give Putin more reasons for keeping his troops in Russia. Sending MREs (meals ready to eat) to a country begging for defensive weapons is both dumb and insulting. No one wants a war between Russia and the West, least of all President Putin. A show of strength and resolve is needed to prevent war. The president and Congress should continue to impose sanctions that impact the Russian economy.

Next in line for the attention of a traditional president is the Middle East. First the president has to see the world as it is and not as he thinks it is or wants it to be. His tendency to favor Muslim Sunni positions won’t handicap his policy in what used to be Iraq.

First, throw your maps and mental images of yesterday’s Iraq and Syria away. Radical Muslim military power backed by Sunni nations has changed the landscape. It would take a sizable American force augmented by our allies to put Iraq and Syria temporarily back together. That is not going to happen, and it shouldn’t. Radical muslim regimes, like Iran and now the ISIS are nearly impossible to negotiate with. Our options are to back the Kurds with real military and economic support. The Kurds deserve their own nation and they will defend it. They are the last hope of Christians caught up in the dramatic advance of ISSI.

Sharia Law is now dealing harshly with Christians. The Kurds will take them in. America should help and immediately recognize the Kurdish nation. Forget trying to strengthen the Shiite government in Baghdad. Without U.S. troops on the ground to prevent abuse of the Sunni and Kurdish minorities by the al-Maliki Administration that plan could never work. Maliki and his government are openly a tool of Iran, another Shiite nation. Baghdad will probably be part of the ISIS Sunni group while the Shiites hold on to the part of Iraq south of Bagdad. With U.S. support, Jordan should be able to remain a sovereign nation, depending on its relations with its radical ISIS Sunni neighbor.

I’ll leave the Israel-Hamas conflict for another blog soon.

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Are Putin’s action in the Ukraine a surprise? I hope not, but for the group of amateurs in this administration, they probably were. Is there a foreign policy expert in the stack of dead wood the president depends on? Certainly not Secretary of State Kerry or Vice President Biden or the departed Mrs. Clinton. Reminds me of the surprise of the Carter White House when the Ayatollah was allowed to enter Iran from Europe. When have deeply committed religious radicals ever established a true democracy with regular free elections? I think the Carter administration was shocked when his followers took over the U.S. Embassy in Teheran and established an Islamic theocracy. When the Russians moved into Afghanistan, he was again surprised.

For centuries, the czars had tried to establish a geo-political foothold in South Asia. Through Afghanistan was the most direct route to a warm-water port and the riches of the sub-continent. Only the power of the British Empire thwarted the Russian plan. The Russians, seeing a weak U.S. president, made their move and thousands of lives were lost to add to the total killed by the Muslim aristocracy in Iran. History holds many keys to the future and weakness invites aggression. It has always been so. Now what about Ukraine?

The Ukraine was part of the great Russian Empire that President Putin wants to restore. Ukraine looks both east and west. To the west are its hopes for a close relationship with Europe to balance the threat from Russia. To the east it has a long border with a powerful nation that has shown its willingness to use its military power to achieve political goals, such as the forcible annexation of a part of the Georgia nation in the era of the Bush presidency. Ukraine’s current leadership knows it cannot afford a conflict with Russia without strong political support from the west.

What are President Putin’s plans? Well, even the Obama administration should understand that the recent upheaval in the Ukraine threatens Russia’s strategic interests. The only warm-water port in the entire Russian nation is in the Ukraine. This port is part of a settlement between Ukraine and Russia. Russia’s entire Black Sea Naval Force calls Sevastopol home. A large portion of the people in the area of Sevastopol are Russian ethnics. President Putin probably felt he had to move to protect his naval forces. The question is will he push to acquire Ukrainian territory beyond the strategic area of Sevastopol? He knows his history. There is not great love between the people of Ukraine and the Russians to the east. When the German panzers pushed into the Ukraine in World War II, many Ukrainians welcomed them as liberators. Some even took up arms and supported the Germans. Unfortunately, for those Ukrainians and the German Army, the German leadership treated the Ukrainians like the other people they had conquered. German cruelty knew no ethnic bounds in their drive to occupy Moscow.

President Obama has few options. One is to know that his plan to reduce the U.S. Army to pre-World War II levels is  another revealing sign of his weakness. He should immediately re-think his destruction of American power. Peace has never come from weakness. A strong America is necessary for a path to peace. The progressive party is well on the way to achieving what neither the aggressors of both World Wars and the Cold War could accomplish. Our president is a master of winning elections but he is way out of his league when dealing with a man who is not afraid of power and its use.

If Putin goes beyond the securing of routine access to strategic Russian bases in the Crimea portion of the Ukraine and annexes Ukrainian territory, the Obama administration will maybe learn that words do not count for much in the constant struggle to maintain world peace. Weakness only feeds the actions of dictators. It does nothing in the struggle to contain territorial aggression.  The willingness to maintain and use national power when necessary, sets apart real leaders from empty ones. Ronald Reagan was a real leader. Barack Obama is not.

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