Mr. Putin is making fun of Obama at the G-20. Which is pretty rich for the leader of a has been superpower but, hey, it is a target rich environment.
The problem America faces goes well beyond the Big Zero and the clowns in his Cabinet and on his National Security Council; it is that America does not understand the Machiavellian view that a Prince is better feared than loved.
Most of the time there is no particular reason for the US to become embroiled in minor overseas disputes no matter how morally repellent the participants. So long as no critical American interest is at stake, and there almost never is, America can sit on the sidelines. However, when intervention is in the American interest, there is little point in pussyfooting around.
A limited, invariably “surgical”, no boots on the ground, no collateral damage, shot across the bow is as useless as it is cliched. Nuance and proportionality are the legacy of losers. Worse, they are a strategically boneheaded waste of time.
If America is going to engage its enemies need to know that the force will be overwhelming and utterly disproportionate. The head of the offending state needs to know that he will be hunted down and killed. The leading generals and regime supporters should know that they will suffer the same fate unless they immediately disavow the regime. Outside forces need to know that they will be accountable for their actions and that interference will be regime lethal.
There should be no question of international legitimacy. No UN sanctimony. Just raw, deadly power applied for as long as it takes to accomplish the American objective.
The point being that the use of American power should shock and awe and appall – and the American President and Congress should accept the consequences of its use.
As long as America is unwilling to “go Roman” in defence of its interests it is actually encouraging the rest of the world to believe that America is an overarmed push over.
No nation, particularly America, should ever go to war lightly. War is, and should be, terrible. But no leader should ever ask his nation to go to war half heartedly. No leader should ever ask his people to fight for vague purpose. And no leader should ever go to war unless the full range of his nations’ power can and will be concentrated on securing clear war objectives.