What is Wrong With Our President?

I wrote earlier about President Obama’s pique against Russia because President Putin decided to give sanctuary to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

President Obama cancelled a pre-summit talk with President Putin. Perhaps he should have pulled up his big-boy pants and gone ahead with the talk. It might have forestalled the wasted opportunity of this G20 meeting.

There’s an ugly undertone to these events that should disturb anyone.

At a press conference Friday, President Obama issued a needless and adolescent snipe at President Putin, saying that Putin is a “slouch … looking like that bored boy in the back of the classroom.”

Is the president out of his ever-loving mind? International relations involving wars and more wars that kill who knows how many people are not the place for world leaders to indulge in personal rudeness. When I read this, I literally could not believe it. Why would he place this nation in the position of infuriating a world power, not for matters of consequence, but by this sort public childishness?

According to a fine post by Kathy Schiffer, President Putin has said that a US Military strike against Syria would be considered “an act of aggression.” He also flat-out accused Secretary of State Kerry of lying to Congress when Kerry testified that al Queda is not involved with the Syrian rebels.

My advice to President Obama is to stop getting personal with President Putin. Focus on the issues at hand. Personal insults at this level of government are not just childish, they are dangerous to the whole of humankind.

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  • Dale

    Putin has long had an anti-American attitude. It pre-dates the Obama presidency, which (at least at first) tried to put the US-Russia relationship on a friendlier footing than it had during the Clinton and Bush years.

    Quoting from a 2012 news article:

    NEXT week Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama will meet again. In July 2009, the only time the two have met before, Mr Putin—then Russia’s prime minister, now its president—gave the American president an earful on the insults Russia had suffered from America. Mr Putin thinks that the conciliatory steps he took in his first term, especially after September 11th 2001, encountered American aggression: the “orange” revolution in Ukraine, Western support for Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili, a missile-defence system. As Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, says, Mr Putin is “sincerely anti-American,” not because of his KGB past, but because of “his experiences with Bush-era America”.

    The “reset” by the Obama administration in early 2009 was meant to respond to this by letting bygones be bygones. Mr Obama and his advisers, who included the present American ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, hoped that the reset would return the focus of relations to the countries’ shared interests. It coincided with some achievements: a new treaty reducing nuclear arsenals, greater co-operation on sanctions against Iran, an agreement to allow supplies for the war in Afghanistan to pass through Russia and Central Asia. The then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has even described the past three years as “the best period in US-Russia relations in history”.
    http://www.economist.com/node/21556962

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny
    • AnneG

      Putin has long had an anti-American attitude. It pre-dates the Obama presidency, which (at least at first) tried to put the US-Russia relationship on a friendlier footing than it had during the Clinton and Bush years.
      Yeah, like using a “reset button”? That was an insult. Tis administration is full of amateurs and President Obama does not think foreign affairs are important.

  • linda daily

    I might encourage you as well to stop focusing on your personal dislike of the President and concentrate on the task at hand. As for Mr. Snowdon, some call him a whistleblower, others call him a traitor. We’ll see how history treats his actions.

  • vox borealis

    Why are you surprised? After five years of amateurism, hubris, pettiness and self-centredness you are surprised. Look, the nation elected as president a man who has accomplished only two things of note on the national stage, giving a nice speech at the DNC and then being elected president. And we continue to act surprised by new lows in diplomatic etiquette?

  • Tony

    Barack Obama: Eddie Haskell.

  • hotboogers

    Yes, the Anchoress calls this being ruled by 14-year-olds. I think their hormonal and mood swings are getting out of hand, metaphorically speaking.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Incompetence. No question about Obama.
    But let me say you and Kathy are going to a place I wouldn’t go, that is criticizing our president on a foreign policy issue where in essence you’re siding and supporting the semi-dictator Putin. Actually it’s less than a foreign policy issue. This is a battle of snits. As much as I can’t stand Obama, and as much as I don’t think very highly of him, I cannot take Putin’s word. I rather support our petty snit over a totalitarian snit.

    • hamiltonr

      I’m not “siding” with or “supporting” Putin. What I said is that President Obama should not have gotten into personal attacks on Putin. He can say what he wants about Putin in private — I do mean private — but when he speaks publicly, his voice carries a long way. Starting a spitting contest over something as silly as Putin’s posture is unbelievably stupid. He should know better than this.

      Remember John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis? He never made a single comment about the Soviet Premier’s weight and the Soviet Premier never said anything about Kennedy’s hair. I think that was a good idea on both their parts.

      But Obama, on the other hand is personally insulting the Russian President and exacerbating an already difficult international situation.

      Americans criticize their presidents, Manny. It’s what you might call a tradition.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Oh I’ve criticized Obama many times and harshly. I can’t stand him. And i do think he’s incompetent. But Obama didn’t really insult him. He said, “he looks like…” and then he goes to give him a compliment. I think too much was made of it.

        • AnneG

          Manny, it is insulting for a head of state to refer to another head of state in this way, unless you want to encourage animosities between the sides. Diplomatically, you just don’t do it.
          This was ham-handed, rude and myopic, just like the “reset” button. These people are amateurs.

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            I agree it’s not diplomatic and wise. Pulling it out of context does seem like an insult and people can play mischivous games with the phrase. But if you heard the entire two or three sentences from Obama it was actually a complimnet to Putin. If Putin pulled a snit over that, then he’s an ego maniac, which he well may be.

      • Arthur

        This so called attitude by Obama goes back to when he and Putin met and he again insulted the Russian leader because he wouldnt agree with him over so called Homosexual Marriage. Obama is the wild card in the pack of World leaders at the moment.He takes the stance that if you dont agree with him your hurting his EGO which is taking a pounding right now .If a democratic vote goes against him and he cant accept it -Its time for him to resign-As British i never thought i would hear a more annoying voice than Maggie Thatcher Obama has proved that wrong.

  • Mary Cambridge

    The President ignores and/or treats Russia as a helpless nation at our peril. Putin is a dangerous guy. President Obama needs to deal with him as such. Which does not mean getting in a snit and acting like Russia should bow down before the superpower. Has Pres Obama read ‘War and Peace’? Does he have a clue how Russians think?

  • Bill S

    What I said is that President Obama should not have gotten into personal attacks on Putin.

    Someone who hates Obama would take that sound bite as a personal attack on Putin. I heard him say that he knows that, from his body language, Putin sometimes comes across as a bored kid in the back of the classroom, but…and then he made positive remarks about their relationship. Big difference between how you are presenting it and what the President said. Obama has a sense of humor, which we all could use to add some levity to otherwise serious situations.

    • hamiltonr

      Bill, I put the video of Obama saying this at the end of this post so that all Public Catholic readers could judge for themselves.

      This press conference wasn’t President Obama’s living room. He made derogatory personal comments about another head of state’s personality and physical appearance at the precise time that this country and that head of state’s country are at loggerheads over a war.

      The fact that he did this in a flippant manner doesn’t make it a joke. It was a deliberate zing aimed at President Putin, which has set off all sorts of reactions from Putin himself. Politics always comes down to human nature Bill.

      President Putin is not President Obama’s opponent in a political campaign here in the United States. He is a head of state who has a vote on the United Nations Security Council and on the G20. The country he leads, Russia, has a border that is a short distance from Syria.

      • Bill S

        Perhaps he should have resisted the urge to make a funny. Same with Patriots owner Bob Kraft who showed Putin his Superbowl ring and Putin thought he was giving it to him as a gift. Putin is a tough nut to crack. There’s no getting around it. Just wait till the gays get going on their protests at the Winter Olympics.

        • Arthur

          What you said about the Homosexuals and Russia is true and if they try and pull some Homosexual Pride bull shit at the Olyimpics Putin will kick them into touch .I think
          that is one of the main reasons that their relationship is sour because Putin doesnt agree with Homosexual Mrriage Obama went in the huff with him -as he seems to do with anyone who dissagree,s with him-.

          • hamiltonr

            Arthur, you’re new here so you probably don’t know this, but I don’t allow cursing on this blog.

          • Bill S

            Putin is special. He is strong willed and uncompromising. I agree with you that he is not going to take any crap from gay protesters at the Winter Olympics. It will be interesting to see how the whole thing goes down.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Perhaps he should have resisted the urge to make a funny.. Yes, perhaps he should have. Listen to Rebecca, especially in the things she knows about. She’s a politician. She knows how politicians should behave.

          A little lesson from history, cast in Macaulay’s stately periods. The subject is Frederick II of Prussia, who reigned in the late seventeen hundreds. The real motive which induced the great continental powers to forget their old animosities and their old state maxims was personal aversion to the King of Prussia. This feeling was strongest in Maria Theresa; but it was by no means confined to her. Frederic, in some respects a good master, was emphatically a bad neighbour. That he was hard in all dealings, and quick to take all advantages, was not his most odious fault. His bitter and scoffing speech had inflicted keener wounds than his ambition. In his character of wit he was under less restraint than even in his character of ruler. Satirical verses against all the princes and ministers of Europe were ascribed to his pen. In his letters and conversation he alluded to the greatest potentates of the age in terms which would have better suited Colle, in a war of repartee with young Crebillon at Pelletier’s table, than a great sovereign speaking of great sovereigns. About women he was in the habit of expressing himself in a manner which it was impossible for the meekest of women to forgive; and, unfortunately for him, almost the whole Continent was then governed by women who were by no means conspicuous for meekness…. Lewis [King Louis XV of France],… feelings were not quick, but contempt, says the Eastern proverb, pierces even through the shell of the tortoise; and neither prudence nor decorum had ever restrained Frederic from expressing his measureless contempt for the sloth, the imbecility, and the baseness of Lewis. France was thus induced to join the coalition; and the example of France determined the conduct of Sweden, then completely subject to French influence. The result? The Seven Years’ war, with all the powers of Europe ranged against Prussia, which Prussia survived by miracle and after immense slaughter. When dealing with people of power, even if you are powerful yourself, it is a very good idea to keep your wit at home and under lock and key.

          • Bill S

            Listen to Rebecca, especially in the things she knows about. She’s a politician. She knows how politicians should behave.

            I can accept that kind of advice from you. What I find hard to accept is how a learned man like yourself can believe in superstitions.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Yes, I’m in kinda illiterate company – you know, Alistair mcIntyre, Paul Polkinghorne, CS Lewis, Albert Einstein…

              • Bill S

                I know. Why don’t they know what I know. Go figure.

  • Mary Christine

    If this is the state of “leadership” in the 21st century, I think we are in very serious trouble.

  • michicatholic

    The situation is very dangerous. Obama is the worst president in my lifetime and I’m not young. Worse than Carter, worse that Bush, worse than Nixon. All of them handled international relations better than Obama has, even Carter.

    • TapestryGarden

      My sentiments exactly. There is something WRONG with Obama. He’s like a petulant child having a tantrum but he’s playing with nuclear and chemical weapons, not Tinker Toys. A man who can’t stand the slightest criticism but makes personal remarks that have no bearing on the issues. Has he not learned from history never provoke the Russian Bear? I had thought Carter was the worst President in my lifetime, followed by Nixon who did have a few positives related to his tenure. But Obama is corrupt, inept, dishonest and petty. I think it was Victor Davis Hansen who said his ego is going to be his undoing. But please Mr Obama, don’t destroy the country while you’re at it…

  • Allan Daniel

    I don’t think saying Obama is an agent of evil is overstating the case.

  • hamiltonr

    Note: I believe that President Obama’s comments about President Putin were ill-considered and do not help our country. However, I’ve seen some comments that are a little over the top.

    Let’s not vilify anyone; including our president.

    Just as I said about his comments about President Putin; don’t get personal.

  • FW Ken

    The Russians are a great and ancient people, Christian a thousand years. They have suffered for a century because of idolatry – a corruption of their leadership, followed by a loss of faith into which atheism swept and imposed a tyranny worse than that of the czars and aristocracy. For their faults, not least of which was a virulent anti-semitism, they are not to be disrespected or dismissed. Press. Obama, I think, doesn’t know that.

  • Sheena-Leader Of-the Fuzzheads

    Personally I am starting to think Obama is insane, and I don’t mean that in any figurative sense. His judgment is so bad that it makes me think he is not capable of what they call “reality checking”.


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