Scott Johnson writes the following about Obama’s recent statement “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength, but out of weakness”:
You have to wonder just how weak Russia is, in Obama’s calculation. Is it so weak that it will invade the rest of Ukraine? Moldova? Estonia? Latvia? Maybe!
Obama didn’t have time to flesh out his thoughts into full doctrinal form. Is getting taken over by Russia a sign of strength? Does he stand in admiration of Crimea for being taken over, and of Ukraine for standing down? Their forbearance reflects strength.
Obama’s deep thoughts serve a useful purpose. It’s time to think seriously about weakness. Weakness takes many forms. Weakness doesn’t get much weaker than this.
That is followed by this video of Obama at the Hague making the point about Russian’s weakness, embedded in a statement so meandering that—well, watch for yourself:
There’s no question that countries sometimes invade other countries out of fear or insecurity. But weakness? Only of the moral sort, which is not especially relevant in the sense of geopolitical power struggle. Obama is either merely BS-ing here (always a distinct possibility), purposely abdicating US power and defining that action paradoxically as strength (very likely), or doesn’t even understand the Cold War or power struggles in the international arena. Because invading Ukraine does not indicate weakness, either of resolve or of drive to get what one wants through the raw exercise of force. And it has been successful, so far, although it may not remain so. But ask the people of Ukraine whether they think this is a show of weakness on Russia’s part.
The title of this post is modeled, of course, after the three slogans of the Party written on the wall of the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four: “WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”
It’s worth exploring a bit more about the Ministry of Truth:
The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history to change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel, Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.
Sound familiar? I thought so.
By his own definition of strength/weakness, this must be a very strong recent move by Obama:
Obama’s FutureWar Battle Plan:
Step 1. Reduce the Military Budget By Relying More on Stand-Off Weapons Like the Tomahawk and Hellfire Missiles
Step 2: Slash Funding for the Hellfire Missile and Eliminate the Tomahawk Entirely
President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say have helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.
The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.
…The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.
…Nearly 100 of these missiles are used each year on average, meaning that the sharp cuts will cause the Tomahawk stock to be completely depleted by around 2018. This is particularly concerning to defense experts because the Pentagon does not have a replacement missile ready to take the Tomahawk’s place.
“It doesn’t make sense,” said Seth Cropsey, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. “This really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”
Cropsey said that if someone were trying to “reduce the U.S. ability to shape events” in the world, “they couldn’t find a better way than depriving the U.S. fleet of Tomahawks. It’s breathtaking.”
The military always squawks when cuts are being made. This seems—different. Very different.
But let’s just remember: WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH. Apparently we are so strong in the geopolitical sense, thanks to Obama’s wonderfulness, that we don’t have to worry about that sort of thing.