Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal:
Was it only 10 months ago that President Obama capitulated on Syria? And eight months ago that we learned he had no idea the U.S. eavesdropped on Angela Merkel ? And seven months ago that his administration struck its disastrous interim nuclear deal with Tehran? And four months ago that Chuck Hagel announced that the United States Army would be cut to numbers not seen since the 1930s? And three months ago that Russia seized Crimea? And two months ago that John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian peace effort sputtered into the void? And last month that Mr. Obama announced a timetable for total withdrawal from Afghanistan—a strategy whose predictable effects can now be seen in Iraq?
Even the Bergdahl deal of yesterweek is starting to feel like ancient history. Like geese, Americans are being forced to swallow foreign-policy fiascoes at a rate faster than we can possibly chew, much less digest.
On Thursday, Russian tanks rolled across the border into eastern Ukraine. On Saturday, Russian separatists downed a Ukrainian transport jet, murdering 49 people. On Monday, Moscow stopped delivering gas to Kiev. All this is part of the Kremlin’s ongoing stealth invasion and subjugation of its neighbor. And all of this barely made the news. John Kerry phoned Moscow to express his “strong concern.” Concern, mind you, not condemnation.
If the president of the United States had any thoughts on the subject, he kept them to himself. His weekly radio address was devoted to wishing America’s dads a happy Father’s Day.
Also last week, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria seized Mosul. Then ISIS took Tikrit. Then it was Tal Afar. Mass executions of Shiites in each place. The administration is taking its time deciding what, if any, aid it will provide the government in Baghdad. But it is exploring the possibility of using Iraq’s distress as an opportunity to open avenues of cooperation with Tehran.
When I was a kid I used to play with model rockets – the kind that really fly. When you launch one it takes off with a WOOSH and shoots up into the sky. When the fuel runs out and it nears apogee the rocket slows, then seems to just hang there in the sky defying gravity. Finally it begins to descend, slowly at first, then gaining speed.
If it doesn’t deploy its parachute (or doesn’t have one) it accelerates until it is moving almost as fast as it went up. Then eventually it reaches the ground with a crash. After they crash rockets aren’t much good for anything anymore.
Humans aren’t rockets, but sometimes they do the same thing.