President Obama's speech at West Point today made it clear that American Exceptionalism remains an article of faith in the White House.
"America must always lead on the world stage."
Speaking of the Ukraine situation he claimed, "Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away." That claim echoes the delusional analysis offered by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times yesterday, "Putin Blinked", in which Friedman makes a stout defence of Obama's "new" diplomacy the day before the West Point speech.
You'd almost think he had an advance copy...
Putin didn't blink unless you believed all the nonsense about how he was planning to seize the entirety of the Ukraine and possibly the Baltic states too. That nonsense originated with Beltway think-tanks and Western media, not with Putin.
Putin did what he had to do and nothing more. It is far more important to Russia to have a stable Ukraine next door than it is to the Western pundits commenting from half way around the world. Whereas the US and certain other NATO nations were loudly clamouring for war, it was Putin who continuously reiterated Russia's determination to resolve the crisis peacefully.
Both Friedman and Obama cling to the belief that America still leads the world. America leads the NATO gang and a few client states. Beyond that, most of the world's population now lives in states that no longer look to the US for leadership. What they look for in America is a nation that plays by the same rules as everyone else and treats other nations, large and small, with the same respect it demands for itself.
When they hear Obama's grandiose claims of leadership on the world stage and look at the international drone war and the incessant meddling in countries around the world, they know that day is a long way off.
Is Putin isolated? Hardly. Major NATO partners are more than keen to maintain good relations with Moscow. Putin is meeting Hollande in Paris next week and you can bet it's not to be harangued about imaginary Russian expansion in eastern Europe. Increasingly, developing countries world-wide are looking for alternatives to the EU/IMF/USA extortion and protection rackets that have failed them for the past fifty years.
It is not Putin's Russia that is becoming isolated; it's the USA.