Did you know that we are absolutely resolved to stand up to Russian agression? Did you know there is no way we're going to stand up to Russian aggression?
Which is true? Both! All you have to do is ask the Obama-Biden team, which has its story about as straight as ever when it comes to the situation in Eastern Europe.
In a visit with European allies yesterday, Vice President Biden sounded strong and resolved, telling the leaders of friendly nations:
“President Obama wanted me to come personally to make clear what you already know, that under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, we will respond. We will respond to any military aggression against a NATO ally.”
Hear that, Vladimir! Don't mess with our friends, buddy!
One problem: That may be what Obama told Biden to say to our allies, but here's what Obama said for public consumption:
"We're not gonna be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine."
OK . . . what?
Now here is how I imagine Obama's defenders will try to explain this. Ukraine is not technically a member of NATO, so Biden is not promising that we will intervene on Ukraine's behalf. But if that's the case, what does he mean? Are we going to send troops in anticipation of an attack on Poland or the Czech Republic? Because if that's the case, our resolve on behalf of those two nations will surely come as a surprise to them given Obama's history on this topic.
In a broader sense, however, the different language between Obama and Biden is just another example of how you can't take anything seriously that comes from this administration. Obama's "red line" in Syria meant nothing, and in fact he needed Putin to bail him out after he talked big and wasn't prepared to back up his words with action. His talk of "consequences" if Russia invaded Crimea meant nothing.
Maybe Obama and Biden think they're playing a clever game of good cop/bad cop. I would suggest America would lead the world more effectively if our leaders spoke in clear and consistent language. Then again, that assumes our leaders actually want America to lead, and I don't think that's a safe assumption under the current administration.