The Crimean vote and Russia’s acceptance into the Federation has frustrated the West due to the great influence they have lost in the region controlling vast amounts of natural gas. Threat after threat has not phazed President Vladimir Putin who has continued his course of action despite the number of nations spewing rhetoric. A clear polarizing agent of this modern world has seemed to be President Barack Obama himself.
A supposed harbinger of peace, Obama has done nothing to seek a peaceful resolution during his presidency. The seeds of a return to a two power world were sprouted by the time of the Syrian civil war when the Russian answer to the issue was taken above the American answer. The Ukrainian incident has served as almost a literal metaphor for the two largest power sectors of the planet. The West does not bode well when their iron rule begins to rust as it has. What was once a single entity in charge of major world decisions has returned to a cold war state between Russia and Western powers. But why is that the case and who is to blame?
Many factors have played into the world’s current state. Obama’s most recent sanctions have served as a major rift in future relations between two super powers of the current era. Rogue states like North Korea seem ever less important when two behemoths are sizing the other up. Putin reacts to the Obama administration’s sanctions with those of his own. The act and react game is a dangerous slope that caused the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and American Vietnam and Korean Wars. During the cold war era there was very little the Soviet and Americans needed each other for. Propaganda worked so fully that dissidence sparked red scares. This is no longer the case.
The internet has brought the world far closer than ever before. The choice the Obama administration made to sanction businesses in Russia not only hurts the Kremlin, but also American prospects abroad. The White House seems to be running on its own power as an average American will have no interest in what flag flies in a nation halfway across the planet. Not only has the current government been creating a world where it is the “West vs. the Rest” as Samuel Huntington suggested in Clash of Civilizations, but the lack of listening to an American at home has created a rift between the people and the heads of government.
Obama should take a step back. His promises during the campaign included better connecting with the American public which gave rise to change.org. But it seems that through his many fundraisers and speeches across the nation and the world, President Obama never tries to understand the needs of those who gave him the most powerful position in the nation. Economic sanctions are not a one way street. By damaging trade, it hurts all partners of the trade route. The American economy is fragile and easily changed. Polarizing the planet does nothing to better the situation in Russia, Ukraine or the United States and the back and forth political rhetoric by Putin and Obama is a dangerous game.
Opinion by Andy Diaz