Weekly Standard columnist Steve Hayes viewed Russia’s attempt to keep Ukraine under its thumb a symptom of a weak United States and a weaker president, declaring “we are watching in real time the decline of American power.”
Hayes made his remarks during a Fox News panel Wednesday with liberal commentator Juan Williams and National Review’s George Will. Both Williams and Will believe the protests now rocking Ukraine indicate that the Obama administration’s much-vaunted “reset” with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime has failed.
“Putin is obviously bolstering the government in Ukraine,” Will explained. “The question then is, what are we getting? This completely sterile foreign policy. I don’t know what ‘reset’ was supposed to mean, but I can’t see any evidence that it helped.”
Williams agreed. “George says, ‘What do we get for seeing into Putin’s soul, and pushing the reset button?'” he asked. “And the answer is — so far — zip! He has not been a willing partner in terms of the international stage.”
Hayes, however, took the argument against the “reset” even further. “It’s not just that we didn’t get anything from the Russian reset,” he explained, “it’s that we lost quite a bit in the Russian reset. We not only lost time; we lost face, we lost power.”
Hayes noted that Putin has been working for years to expand Russia’s control over eastern Europe and other areas previously dominated by the Soviet Union. “The Obama administration misread that,” he contended. “They misunderstood that from the very beginning. It’s why they chased this Russian reset for several years.”
“We continue to let Vladimir Putin push us around,” he claimed, citing negotiations on Iran and Syria as well as Ukraine. “And what’s most worrisome about this development, in the broader context of Obama foreign policy, is we are watching, in real time, the decline of American power.”
“And the person who’s most afraid of American power today,” the columnist added, “is Barack Obama.”
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