If you are having trouble reading Barack Obama, think how Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Kim Jong-il of North Korea must feel.
The President of the United States was uncharicteristically silent during the Somali pirate hostage crisis: then he did what few would have predicted. He executed two three Somali youths to free one American.
But at the same time he has made a lot of noise and speeches about North korea and Iran and backed but all that talk with no action whatsoever. What is a dictator to think?
During the tense days when ship captain Richard Phillips was held hostage by Somali pirates, President Obama wisely kept his mouth shut, letting operational people do what needed to be done.
Much less wise was his declaration the weekend before that, “Should North Korea decide to take this action [launch a long-range rocket], we will work with all interested partners in the international community to take appropriate steps to let North Korea know that they cannot threaten the safety and stability of other countries with impunity.” The action? None. We did not let the Japanese shoot down the rocket when it passed through their airspace. Predictably, the United Nations Security Council has done nothing either. Lesson: Don’t huff and puff unless you intend to blow the house down.