Jewish World Review Feb 27, 2014 / 27 Adar I, 5774
America's quiver of outrage is empty
By Victor Davis Hanson
Don't step over the line and re-militarize the Rhineland. Absorbing
Don't dare blow up another American military barracks overseas. Don't ever consider another attack on the
President Obama issued yet another one of those sorts of warnings to stop the violence to Ukrainian President
Secretary of State
Why does this rhetorical assault sound familiar?
Over the last five years, Obama has issued serial deadlines to
Later, Obama turned from deadlines to red lines. He threatened Syrian President
Assad moved over that American red line, using chemical weapons to gas his own people, and is now winning the war against the Syrian insurgents. In the end, an embarrassed Obama was reduced to denying that he had never issued a red line in the first place: "I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line."
The administration's latest cry of "outrageous" does not seem so absolute either. Remember, the president himself used that exact adjective to condemn the
Later, after various key
Will the Ukrainian mess now abate due to Kerry's hints at sanctions?
Given Kerry's loud global-warming sermonizing and the administration's serial threats, bad actors abroad probably believe that burning too much coal is more likely to anger the U.S. than shooting protestors or gassing enemies.
After the Obama administration finally assembled a coalition of allies to impose tough sanctions against
The message? Imposing sanctions is a difficult business. When they finally work, they are likely to be abruptly lifted if the squeezed nation sends out a few peace feelers and wants to feign appearing reasonable.
The U.S. has now shot so many rhetorical arrows that its quiver of indignation is empty -- and the world's troublemakers may know it. An administration that ignores almost all of its own Obamacare deadlines surely cannot expect others to abide by any timetables it sets abroad.
There may be no viable solutions to the violence in
Although the U.S. alone seems to honor its promised deadlines of withdrawal from
Such a seemingly insignificant loss of deterrence is how wars often start -- when an aggressive nation bets that loud words signal that consequences will never follow. So it is emboldened to up the ante to try something even riskier.
America's step-over line/deadline/red line outrage is long past monotonous and empty -- and the result has been an ever scarier world.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University.
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