In the Wall Street Journal, Hoover Institution Fellow Josef Joffe asks: why did Vladimir Putin thumb his nose at the U. S. in the Snowden affair? The answer is pretty easy–because he knew he could get away with it. And why? Well, the old KGB veteran looked at the Obama trend line since January 2009: the Cairo Muslim appeasement speech; the fold on the European-based antimissile system; the tacit removal of the military option from the table on the Iran nuclear program; “leading from behind” in Libya; leading not at all in Syria; and possibly most dramatic, the defense budget reductions, even before the sequester. Obviously, connecting these dots leads to the conclusion that we are a superpower in retreat, a message that is not lost on Putin, nor is it lost on our radical Islamic enemies around the world who have attacked our embassies with impunity and are now intimidating us into wholesale closure of our diplomatic posts. Very painful to watch and I fear we will see more of it before Obama leaves office, which will only weaken us in critical strategic areas of the world, further embolden our enemies, and place more Americans in harms way. And don’t think the Chinese aren’t watching closely and taking good notes.
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