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Putin's freedom: Obama's weakness

In the middle of the Winter Olympics, held in Russia despite that country's continued occupation of parts of Georgia it took illegally in 2008, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Jakharta, Indonesia, where he delivered a speech warning the people who live in that serially terrorized nation that "the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk" unless the world acts with "urgency" to stop one of the greatest "global threats" of our time. He was talking about global warming.

So while the Obama administration's top diplomat was in the world's most populous Muslim country calling global warming "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," Vladimir Putin was both hosting the Olympics and awaiting his opportunity to take part of a neighboring nation — one the United States reportedly is obliged by treaty to defend. The treaty worries Putin as much as a scrap of paper worries a bear.

Kerry claimed over the weekend that Putin's invasion of Crimea was an act of "weakness." Amazing. The weakness on display is not Russia's. It is the weakness of the United States that has withdrawn from the world under a President who believes that speechmaking equals action, that persuasion is the only legitimate tool of diplomacy, that global warming is an immediate threat to world peace, but Russia is not.

Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick. Obama speaks loudly and carries ... a BlackBerry and an iPad. Hey, at least he's hip. After Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Benghazi and Syria, every world leader knows that Barack Obama will talk incessantly but do nothing. It is no surprise that Putin is taking advantage of the operational freedom Obama has given him.

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