Simon Shuster's article is as deflating as it is informative. This part is both informative and deflating:
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose nation lost 193 citizens in the attack (one of them a U.S.-passport holder) called pitifully on Putin to do “what is expected of him” in helping recover the bodies. U.S. President Barack Obama struck a similar tone on July 21 after the victims’ remains had been packed into refrigerated train cars out of reach of foreign investigators: “Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and President Putin in particular has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do.”
That was the crisis in a nutshell: the least Putin could do was the most Obama could ask for. The American President announced no deadlines, drew no red lines and made no threats.
That's confirmation that America's president is impotent and stymied. First, political ideology blinded President Obama. Then egotistical pride didn't allow him to admit his foreign policy was wrong. At some point in his presidency, Jimmy Carter understood his policies weren't working so he started to change. He didn't change them nearly enough but he started changing.
President Obama's ego is too big for him to admit that he's wrong. In fact, there's speculation among the White House press corps that he's waiting for people to realize just how brilliant he is.
Back to the world stage
Because President Obama won't use the US military, Vladimir Putin keeps getting more emboldened. This isn't a call for President Obama to deploy the 82nd Airborne to eastern Ukraine. It's a call to send the Ukrainian military the type of jamming equipment that renders the Russian surface-to-air missiles impotent. It's a call to sell Ukraine the type of offensive weaponry that will put the Russian-trained separatists on the defensive.
So Putin presses ahead. His increasingly overt goal is to splinter Europe, rip up the NATO umbrella and restore Russian influence around the world. As if to put an exclamation point on that manifesto, the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine apparently resumed their antiaircraft attacks less than a week after the destruction of Flight 17. On July 23, two military aircraft belonging to the pro-Western Ukrainian government were shot down just a few miles away from the airliner’s crash site.
While President Putin pushes his expansionist agenda, the impotent, disinterested American president attends fundraisers and goes golfing. Thus Americans are faced with this incredible paradox: President Obama is everywhere on TV but he's missing from his job. While on TV, President Obama is talking trash about Republicans like politics is an NBA game.
Unfortunately, he's nowhere to be found with a solution that checks the new Russian bear. President Putin, this century's Russian bear, keeps defying western nations. There's almost a glee to his defiance. Why shouldn't he be? He's resurrecting the former Soviet empire that a real American president buried. That president was Ronald Reagan.
Reagan believed in "peace through strength", which meant he didn't negotiate with Russian presidents until after he'd confronted their expansionist efforts wherever they popped up. He forced the Soviets to spend money they didn't want to spend and couldn't afford to spend.
Putin doesn’t have a lot to worry about when he looks at the forces aligned against him. Obama, as the leader of a war-weary nation, has ruled out all military options, including the provision of weapons to Ukraine.
The US is war weary but it hasn't been proven that they'd object to arming the Ukraine. The American people are tired of US troops fighting wars in far away nations. Where is it written that they're opposed to arming a sovereign nation so it can defend itself?
The emboldened Russian bear is making the trash-talking, disinterested US president look positively impotent. This is the most impotent America has looked on the world stage since Viet Nam.