It is a sad spectacle. “As threats and crises multiply, what is President Obama doing? He’s proposing to reduce the size and strength of America’s military to pre-2001 levels. Can anyone still regard the United States as a reliable ally? More consequentially, is America still seen as a formidable adversary? Mr. Obama’s critics call him ambivalent and indecisive. Perhaps, but those are symptoms. The underlying malady is his conception of America’s role in the world.” Read the whole thing.

Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the the agency's targeting of tea party groups, where she invoked her constitutional right not to incriminate herself. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) Former Internal Revenue Service  official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill. (Lauren Victoria Burke/Associated Press)

Vladimir Putin’s most recent display of contempt for the United States has been a long time in the making. “Five years ago, in February 2009, Vice President Biden announced a ‘reset’ in relations with Russia. A few weeks later, on March 6, Secretary of State Clinton presented to her Russian counterpart a button marked ‘reset.’ When the Senate was considering President Obama’s arms control capitulation to Russia in the form of New START, Secretary Clinton promised that ratifying the treaty ‘would also continue our progress toward broader U.S.-Russian cooperation.'”

The exhibition of disdain keeps rolling along. “Russia on Wednesday turned down Secretary of State John Kerry’s invitation to an emergency meeting on Ukraine, further adding to the growing tensions between Moscow and Washington.”

The sight of the president dawdling is to much for the speaker. He suggests: “As we speak, the administration is sitting on 24 applications for natural gas exports; it’s approved just six in the last three years.  This amounts to a de facto ban that only emboldens Vladimir Putin, allowing him to sell large quantities of natural gas to our allies. The American people have seen the threat Mr. Putin puts forward.   They know something must be done.   The president should do the right thing here and end this de facto ban so we can strengthen our economy here and our security here and abroad.”

President Obama’s show of hostility toward Israel  is not copied by the House. Instead on Wednesday “the House once again reaffirmed its commitment to an unbreakable U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel’s right to defend itself by itself. . . .  This bipartisan legislation, which declares Israel a major strategic partner of the United States, strengthens multilateral cooperation between our two nations at a critical point in time.”

The Internal Revenue Service circus plays on. Why not grant her immunity and get to the bottom of this? “House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., reconvened a hearing Wednesday that began more than nine months ago to investigate whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservative groups, a scandal that was exposed in 2013. The problem was, he didn’t have a witness to answer his questions – again. [Former Internal Revenue Service  official Lois] Lerner once again asserted her Fifth Amendment right not to testify, as she did last May when she was first called to testify. Before she first spoke at the hearing Wednesday, Issa warned that his committee would consider whether to hold her in contempt if she declined to testify.”

In case you thought the administration’s demonstration of weakness was limited to Europe and the Middle East: “The risk of war in Asia will increase over the next 10 years as U.S. military forces struggle to maintain their edge amid declining budgets and increasing threats, according to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The dire assessment from Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman, is outlined in the Pentagon’s four-year strategy called the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) that was released Tuesday.”