In a pre-empted broadcast of Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” one that was aired lived due to a press conference following the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, a clearly agitated host Bill O’Reilly declared that event “the most boring presidential press conference” in his 37 years of covering the news.
And Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer agreed, but explained the takeaway was the United States has lost some of its swagger in the world, particularly regarding Russian involvement in the ongoing violence in Syria.
“It was the worst. It was the dullest press conference since the invention of the radio wireless let alone the cathode-ray tube,” Krauthammer declared. “However, you missed the most important parts. Number one, regarding Syria, Obama actually said in this press conference about the Russians ‘I am confident that they do not condone the massacres.’ The Russians are providing the helicopter gunships conducting the massacres.”
Krauthammer homed in on Obama’s remarks concerning a “transition” from Bashir Assad’s regime, saying the Russians were ready to go along, noting that there were some obvious actions by Russian President Vladimir Putin that would make that an understatement.
“It’s the tone Obama takes, the conciliatory tone — and he had something else to say about the Russians where he said, ‘I’m not quite prepared that they are signing on to our idea of a transition where [Syrian President Bashir] Assad steps down,’” Krauthammer continued. “What in God’s name is he talking about? The Russians are opposing that. The Russians are blocking that The Russians are supporting Assad. They block all resolutions to bring him down. They block all resolutions for an arms embargo. They are sending helicopter gunships. They’ve announced they will send anti-aircraft equipment so the Syrians can shoot down anybody in the future who might want to do a rescue or some kind of support of the Syrian people from the air. And we’ve just had the news that the Russians are preparing to send three ships from their Black Sea port to the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Russians have a base and facilities that Putin has revived for the first time since the Cold War. And we have a president who says ‘I’m not sure they are signing on to our program.’”
That presence of Russian warships in war-torn Syria was what The Washington Post columnist deemed a “challenge” to western powers.
“This is a challenge to the United States and to the West,” he continued. “This is a thumb in the eye to the United States. And this is the Russians planting their flag saying Syria is our property, our client, our state and we are going to do as we wish and the United States has a president who not only says anything to oppose that or to critique it but says we are working with them because ‘I’m confident they don’t condone the massacres.’”
Finally, Krauthammer lamented the Obama administration’s foreign policy direction, declaring it to be the biggest decline in U.S. influence at any point since World War II.
“The second thing I picked up was the subtlety of the gibberish he offered on Europe which was the only thing he can do because the fact that he didn’t have anything to say or to offer is the perfect reflection of the decline of American influence everywhere in the last three-and-a-half years,” Krauthammer said. “I think it’s a bigger decline in U.S. influence in all areas of the world — in the Middle East, in Syria, in Europe, economically and every other way than any three-and-a-half years since the end of the Second World War. This is a president who speaks for the United States so weakly that nobody cares what he says.”
“The Europeans care what [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel says about Greece and Spain and Italy,” he continued. “They don’t give a damn what the United States says because it is irrelevant. In the same way in the Middle East if you are a western-oriented ally and you see the United States get out of Iraq without leaving behind any strategic relationship, any residual American influence or you see the United States by the admission of its own director of National Intelligence impose sanctions so weak up until now that by our own admission it hasn’t affected the nuclear program whatsoever and standing by on Syria — why should you care what the United States says?”