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President Nero fiddles while the world burns

Foreign policy is up in flames
Foreign policy is up in flames

The image of President Barack Obama as America’s modern day Nero is Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson’s image. He testily spews he is "sitting on the sidelines" in the Ukraine and Gaza crises. He is little more that “President Nero" fiddling "while the world burns," Sen. Ron Johnson charged Friday.

Sen. Johnson is not alone in this political assessment of the president. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he ridiculed the president for his incredulous continuation to a New York political fundraiser Thursday night. It was mere hours before that he had gotten the horrific news of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, as well as Israel's push into Gaza.

Most Washington insiders would call that a major foreign policy day for the US. The president did not blink when he headed from his appearance in Delaware straight to the fundraiser, just as he did after hearing of the Benghazi attack in September, 2012. The only difference was the rubber chicken dinner was in Las Vegas.

"I'm hoping Americans are watching as President Nero fiddles while the world burns," Johnson told "The Steve Malzberg Show," He continued, "It is outrageous that we have the ground operations conducted in Gaza, we have an airliner knocked out of the sky, blown out of the sky, over Ukraine, and President Obama takes off for fundraisers in New York."

There are few in Washington uncertain that the attack was carried out by Russian surrogates with Russian supplied sophisticated weapons. Under the watchful eye of expansionist Russian leader President Vladimir Putin, this is a Russian wrong with no one to frame for it.

According to Sen. Johnson, "We have to back up the words with real action. That's something this president has utterly refused to do. The person to blame here is Vladimir Putin, but it's our lack of resolve, it's our lack of a strong response that continues to give him the signal that he can continue to act in this barbaric way with impunity."

As Putin supplies his private army with these state-of-the-art weapons, the US provides field meals for soldiers. "If you give a hand grenade to a bunch of monkeys and that hand grenade goes off, who's responsible for the damage that hand grenade inflicts? It really is the person who hands the people the weapons, and that's Vladimir Putin," Johnson said.

The senator’s solution to this crisis is common sense. He says, "rebuild its military. Allow President Petro Poroshenko to gain control over his borders and over eastern Ukraine. He's not going to be able to do that if we sit quietly on the sidelines and provide things like ready-to-eat meals, radios, first aid kits, sleeping mats, and uniform items, It's got to have Vladimir Putin shaking in his boots."

The question is why waste any more time to supply the Ukrainians? Now that Europe can see the intent Putin has and his quest for the old Soviet Union to return, it’s time to rearm and prepare.

The ghost of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain allowing Adolph Hitler to continue his land grabs one at a time is the sort of appeasement in this nuclear era that will involve the Europeans a great deal more than the US in terms of smaller wars becoming bigger ones.

Is America’s Nero going to continue to withdraw from the harsh realities of a very dangerous world with mere words and weak sanctions against a tyrant who will not stop until he is taken to the woodshed by American leadership. Is it there?

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*** Read “Redistribution of Common Sense” – Selected commentaries on the Obama administration 2009 – 2014, available at, Barnes & Noble and many other book outlets nationwide.

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