President Obama's workload is certainly compounded by the looming shadow of World War III. But in the age of the rule of law vs. dystopia, the free world requires a strong leader. Do you want to live in a society that beheads journalists and throws gay men from buildings? Do you want to live in a society where democratic activists are shot and killed? The problems of "over there" are urgent simply for the reason that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," to quote another democratic activist who gave his life in the fight for freedom.
Ukrainians, driven by the same longing for freedom, are struggling to hold their own against the second most powerful military in the world. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has let Germany -- influenced by a powerful Russian lobby -- and France -- ruled by one of the weakest presidents the Fifth Republic has ever seen -- take the lead on the Putin crisis, leaving Ukrainians to be massacred. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reportedly wanted to give defensive aid to Ukraine's depleted military, but national security advisor Susan Rice got in his way; tensions between the two allegedly led to Hagel's resignation last fall. The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation in December calling for the president to give Ukraine basic weapons -- we're talking the basics -- but so far, Obama has yet to act.
The president's wavering foreign policy complicates other humanitarian crises. "It is the president who is against action in Syria not the whole of the US government," Syrian opposition leader Mouaz Moustafa told a newspaper two years ago. "President Barack Obama has been very insular and cautious about Syria. The president does not seem to understand how important Syria is to US national security."
To understand the president's motives and how all the pieces -- from ISIS to Iran to Boko Haram -- fit in his priorities, impacting each other, the Ukrainian Museum of New York will host a foreign policy panel this Wednesday evening featuring Michael Weiss, the editor of the Interpreter, a news and analysis site following the Putin crisis, and the co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror; Moustafa, the Syrian opposition leader mentioned above and the star of Red Lines, the award-winning documentary about Syrian activists lobbying Washington for much-need support; and filmmaker Damian Kolody, who recently returned from Kiev with heart-wrenching interviews with Ukrainian soldiers. All ticket sales go to helping a wounded soldier in Kiev whose interview testimony of Russia's invasion will be screened at the event.
For more information, please visit the Ukrainian Museum on Facebook.
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