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Crisis management – Obama style

Crisis looms throughout the world – in the Middle East, Ukraine, and even at our own southern border. Yet, despite all of this, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president seems ill-equipped at best or totally disinterested and disengaged at worst.

Let’s start with the border. The dramatic increase in Central American immigrants crossing illegally into the United States is due at least in part to President Obama’s decision to stop enforcing some immigration laws. Not surprisingly, when you announce you won’t enforce such laws some people get the odd notion that those laws won’t be enforced. Hmm!

The Central American immigrants are crossing the border with the reasonable expectation that they will be taken care of. Rather than trying to avoid apprehension, they seek it out. It’s as if they are at the butcher shop and waiting for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent to flip the “now serving” sign to their number.

How has Obama reacted? Well, he did go to Texas for some fundraisers, apparently unaware that Texas actually shares a border with Mexico. Then he flew to Colorado to play pool. Some at the White House may have suggested the pool bit would not play well with the American public. Maybe even White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

McDonough: Mr. President, are you really sure you want to play pool with Governor Hickenlooper? He doesn’t really want to be seen with you.

Obama: No, I’d rather golf. You were the one that couldn’t get me a tee time.

McDonough: With all due respect, Mr. President, it was the Broadmore – and it’s summer. Tee times are booked weeks in advance.

Obama: I’m the leader of the free world and I can’t get a tee time. I bet Putin can get a tee time.

McDonough: About the leader thing. Some people, even some of our supporters and allies, are looking for you to lead.

Obama: But I am – I’m leading an entourage to Martha’s Vineyard for a couple of weeks. By the way, we aren’t sending any of those Central American kids to Martha’s Vineyard, are we?

13obama533 (1)Next, we have the Middle East. Hamas is lobbing missiles from Gaza into Israel. Israel is retaliating. Obama believes this is bad. We do too. Israel has the upper hand because its missile defense system is able to intercept most of the Hamas missiles in the air. By contrast, Hamas tries to intercept Israeli missiles by tossing Palestinians in the air.

Recently, the United Nations discovered 20 Hamas missiles hidden in a school in Gaza. A school run by the UN, for God’s sake! Try as it might, Hamas was unable to convince the UN representatives that the missiles were merely “playground equipment.” Once convinced the missiles were not monkey bars, the UN representatives did the prudent thing – they gave them back to Hamas!

Naturally, this too concerned Obama. He is monitoring the situation closely, if he can find time in between fundraisers and that Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

Then, of course, there was the shooting down of the Malaysian passenger airliner.* It certainly looks like it was shot down by Russian supported Ukrainian separatists. Obama leapt into action – he took a call from Putin.

Putin: Barack, we’ve got a situation. It seems a plane fell from the sky. A Malaysian plane. Go figure! What are the odds? Not sure what happened, but we’ll have to figure it out.

Obama: Um.

Putin: But wanted you to know it’s not my fault.

Obama: Uh.

Putin: Pretty sure it was those damn Ukrainians.

Obama: But…

Putin: And even if it is my fault, don’t even think about more sanctions.

Obama: Uh.

Putin: Gotta run. This was a good talk.

Last week, Obama stopped short of blaming the separatists, or Russians, or Putin directly. The last time Obama was critical of Russians, like when he imposed economic sanctions on some of Putin’s cronies, they ridiculed him on social media. He hates it when Russians make jokes about mom jeans. People, you know, read that stuff!

Fortunately, Obama will be monitoring the situation closely, if he can find time in between fundraisers and that Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

*I have made a mental note to never ever fly on Malaysian Airlines – even if it means I must travel via donkey – on a surf board. Granted, there is no in-flight movie, but still…

Curtice Mang is the author of the two books, including the new book, The Smell of Politics: The Good, The Bad, and the Odorous. He can be contacted at, where one can also purchase his books; or contact Curtice at mangwrites at


1 Ann Herzer { 07.24.14 at 1:44 pm }

I always enjoy C. Mang’s articles also. Clever!


2 David J Gill { 02.21.15 at 9:18 am }

It wasn’t long ago that Obama seemed indecisive about the mess in Syria and sadly unwilling to aid rebels trying to rid their country of the oppressive, murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad. Of course, on an issue like this every president is damned if he does and damned if doesn’t, but that hardly seems a reason to do nothing.

Then, perhaps six or eight months later we get word of the growing power of a genocidal, apocalyptic insurgency, like the world has rarely seen, taking root in areas of Syria no longer under the thumb of Assad. At that moment it seemed apparent to me that intelligence from the region had made Obama aware of the growing new threat of ISIS at that time of indecision and that aiding rebels is Syria would have likely provided ISIS more opportunity to take territory after the legitimate rebels and the regime had bloodied up each other .

Let’s remember the president that made a bold and decisive move into Iraq with false certainty that that country could become a beacon of peace and democracy. And instead, of course, provided fertile ground for ISIS to sprout.

What’s the point of pretending Obama’s vacations, golf games and fundraisers are uniquely excessive? Which recent president has operated any differently?


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