Putin and Russia are on the march. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Remember that Vladimir Putin grew up in the shadow of Russian and Soviet Communism. He is still a throwback to a bygone era. The problem is that he sees the break up of the old Soviet Union as a horrible consequence of the West and their attempts to force Russia into a weak position. He does not want to repeat that. In fact, he intends to work on re-unifying the old Soviet Union.
I have said this before. We have already seen him make a start of this back in 2008 with the invasion of Georgia (another former Soviet Republic) and parts of the Caucuses region. Now we are seeing him move into Ukraine. Chances are he will likely take all of the eastern half of the country, unless the West can come up with something that actually is effective. So far, neither Obama nor any of our European allies have been able…or willing to do what is really needed.
If you take a closer look at things, Putin is also projecting Russian power much closer to the US. Take a look at what is happening in Latin America these days. A number of military leaders point out the fact that Putin is trying to surround the US, like the Russians tried in the past. In fact, he is sending naval ships and long-range bombers to Latin America for the first time in years. The Russian defense minister has announced they are planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. Just last week, Putin held a meeting with his hand-picked national security team to discuss increasing military ties with Latin America.
Even a number of US lawmakers have noticed this trend. Senator Joe Donnelly (Dem, IN) said at a Senate hearing that “they’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.” General James Kelly, who is the commander of the US Southern Command has also noted that there is a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America recently. This is the first time that we have such levels of Russian global power projection in three decades, since the Reagan era.
China has also been establishing a presence in the region. There has been an influx of Chinese capital that is being used to prop up Maduro as the leader in Venezuela. Before him, they were also helping to keep Chavez afloat. It would certainly seem that the old Communist goal of surrounding the US is still alive and well and being played out by China and Russia.
Part of the problem is that Obama has allowed all of this to happen on his watch. He has been too weak to really bother with paying much attention to Latin America as a whole. In fact, there are currently 10 countries in Latin America without a US Ambassador. This is due to the fact that they either have not yet been nominated or confirmed. This is certainly a very clear sign to Russia, China, and the rest of the world that this region continues to be seen by the US and Obama as a very low priority.
This is just another example of Obama’s weak, inept foreign policy. It almost seems like he feels too important to be bothered. If the US does not move quickly and decisively to correct this situation, it will become a major problem. We will lose the ability to influence developments in a region that is very important to us. Not to mention that it is close enough for Russia and China to conduct attacks on us and other regional allies.
What do YOU think? Are we ignoring Latin America due to Obama’s ineptness? How bad has Obama been in terms of his foreign policy? What should be done to correct the situation?
House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to provide information about the interview ex-IRS official Lois Lerner gave to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about her role in the IRS targeting scandal.
Issa and Oversight member Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Holder, obtained by The Daily Caller, requesting “All documents and communications referring or relating to the scope, timing, and scheduling of the DOJ’s interview of Lois Lerner” and “All documents and communications between or among the DOJ, or other federal law enforcement agencies, and Lois Lerner or her counsel referring or relating to immunity for Ms. Lerner.”
Issa and Jordan also asked Holder whether Lerner tried to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights during the interview with DOJ attorneys, and whether she refused to answer any questions.
TheDC reported a March 5 revelation by Lerner’s attorney Bill Taylor that the ex-IRS official gave a private “Q&A” with the DOJ that was not under oath.
“We haven’t heard anything back” from the DOJ regarding the meeting, Taylor said. “I don’t expect we will.”
Obama political donor Barbara Bosserman is leading the DOJ’s investigation, which has been roundly criticized by people close to the case.
“For over eight months, the Committee has sought to carry out its oversight obligations in concert with the Department of Justice’s law-enforcement duties,” wrote Issa and Jordan. “At every stage, the Department has refused to fully cooperate with the Committee.”
Rep. Jordan previously told TheDC that Oversight is “moving” toward holding Lerner in contempt after she refused to answer questions at a March 5 hearing. Though Democratic Oversight ranking member Elijah Cummings claimed that Issa could not hold Lerner in contempt, Issa shot back with a letter explaining exactly how Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and can still be held in contempt to compel her to testify.