“Because the Cold War ended 20 years ago,” Obama continued. “But governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, as well as the social policy of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.”
The line killed, of course. But boy, does he hit differently now?
One would think that his smugness for Russia back then, and subsequent events that proved him dead wrong, would have humiliated the former president.
But if he feels any regret, he doesn’t show it.
At a conference titled “Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy,” hosted by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and The Atlantic this week, Obama was asked bluntly if he wishes he had been tougher on Putin knowing what we do now.
Visibly upset, he replied, “Not really, because the circumstances were different.”
And he defended not arming the Ukrainians because “we were worried about making sure we didn’t give [Russia] an excuse for another raid”, and “you had training problems”.
He congratulated Europe for reaching today where he wanted it back then.
And he amazingly explained how we got to a place where Russia believed it could invade a sovereign nation. He said Western democracies “have become complacent.” Apparently the kind of warning Romney was flagging back in 2012.
It’s hard to imagine anyone being less self-reflective and more immersed in an obvious foreign policy mistake, and one they could easily argue helped pave the way for this current invasion.
But when you remember how awful Putin turned out to be in the years after the Obama debate ended, it’s actually much worse.
Obama is no doubt aware of all this, but he said this week: “I don’t know if the person I met is now the same person who leads this office.” [against Ukraine].”
This is just weird. Revisionist. Amnesic.
But in Ukraine, would nothing have changed? This defies logic.
Romney was not prophetic in 2012, he was simply aware, he saw Putin for what he clearly was and understood the threats. You can forgive the misreading of Obama, but all this time later, with everything we now know, it’s very hard to understand his stubbornness.