DATELINEFoggyville, Mar 4 – Secretary of State John Kerry gave a jet-lagged, rambling presentation in Kiev today about the Russian military incursion into the Ukraine. Or, at least, Kerry was standing in front of a microphone using words that sounded like ‘Ukraine’, ‘Russia’ and other familiar nouns. He also replied to a series of questions on the same subject in a string of halting, disjointed statements.

Kerry did use well-known nouns, but he actually seemed to be talking about a place on a distant planet in an unidentified part of the Universe. And as our Secretary of State was stammering around looking weak and tired, Putin’s forces were increasing their hold on the Ukraine here on earth.

On the off-chance Kerry wasn’t referring to a strange orb hung elsewhere in the Universe, he’s wandering in the deep woods on our terra firma. Everyone in the Administration continues to utter meaningless phrases about how naughty Russia is as its President, undaunted, takes back what he believes is his.

Putin telegraphed this punch in April 2005 during his State of the Old Soviet Union speech. He stated then that the disintegration of the Soviet empire

“was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century. As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.”

Russia’s first opportunity to begin walking back the Soviet disintegration came in 2008 when two territories sought independence from Georgia. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Georgia, in response, attacked an outpost in one of them. Russia put her troops in place and, in short order, was threatening the Georgian capitol. France was able to negotiate a truce but the territories are today virtual Russia.

Six years later, Putin’s asserted desire to protect the Russian-speaking residents of the Ukraine is merely a restatement of the 2005 sentiment. And a rerun of the 2008 Georgian episode. No one, especially those in leadership positions, can possibly be surprised by the Ukraine invasion.

It is tempting to say that Obama actually understands the situation but, in order to avoid action, is publicly misinterpreting it. While slight of hand is an oft-used artifice of the current White House occupant, this time he truly does not understand the international stage.

There’s something else the President is not seeing. In his criticisms of the Russian attack, he talked today about Putin’s attorneys misreading international agreements. Obama is hardly one to complain. With his pen he’s ignoring Congressional legislation as if it were never written. Maybe Putin is just taking a page from Obama’s book.

After the President erased his red line around Syria’s use of WMDs, every crazy, and not so crazy, country is flexing its muscle. The last time anyone checked, Syria is still stomping on its citizens. Iran is still proceeding with completing its nuclear capability. And no one is asking the U.S.’s opinion let alone permission.

The loud sucking sound we hear around the planet these days is not the polar vortex. It’s the black hole created by the withdrawal of the U.S. from the ranks of earth’s superpowers, leaving only Russia in that category. Obama’s abdication of power in favor of Kumbaya only works when everyone is singing from the same hymnal, which has never been the case.

While saber rattling is not necessary, everyone needs to see the sabers on display. Penknives just don’t have the same effect.