Sunday, March 2, 2014

Obama slammed for weakness when it comes to Russia…

 You knew it was coming.

Stevie Wonder could’ve seen this coming.

From the Sunday Morning Shows:

"Putin is playing chess and I think we're playing marbles," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, speaking on Fox News Sunday. Rogers said the Russians have been "running circles around us" in negotiations on such items as Syria and missile defense.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaking on CNN's State of the Union, said "we have a weak and indecisive president," and that "invites aggression."

From Charles Krauthammer on Fox News last Friday:

"The Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama's statement," he said. "What he's saying is, we're not really going to do anything."

It’s a shame we don’t have a strong, Pro-American type in the White House, like we did during the George Bush years. None of this soft, mushy, touchy-feely stuff passing itself off as American Diplomacy. We need a firm hand at times like this. 

Hold it.

We've seen this movie before, remember? 

We love simple-minded, good versus evil type plot lines. We're America, so obviously we're the good guys, which makes Russia the bad guys. We're peace-loving, just looking out for the interests of the world while the Commies try and bully their way into here and there.

Remember back in 2008 when Russia tried to invade Georgia? Here's President Bush with his remarks from back then:


 Compare that to the statement President Obama has made: 

Not that different, if you ask me.

I'm not sure what people expect to happen here. America, with the exception of the neo-cons, are weary of war and want no part of any new military conflicts. People can go on the Sunday Morning talk shows, or facebook for that matter, and run their mouths about how terrible Mr. Putin is, how weak President Obama is, President Reagan would never have stood for this, blah, blah, blah. Its cheap theater. Its politics and its Washington DC bullshit. Period. 

I have no idea how this plays out. There looks to be some economic penalties and some isolationist repercussions from the West toward Russia should they persist with their actions in Ukraine. What else could there be? Seriously? 

I remember John McCain going on at length about the cause of the Georgian people during 2008, thinking, I'm sure, that this was a winning strategy to take. Present himself as the experienced foreign policy and military guy and let the neophyte Obama figure out how to respond. The whole affair wasn't as much about Soviet aggression as it was an itchy trigger-finger mentality by members of the Georgian army combined with an overreaction by the Russian army. In the end, it was men swinging their dicks around, as it so often is. President Bush considered a military response but decided a humanitarian effort was more appropriate. Which was the right thing to do. 

Care to predict the reaction across the Conservative landscape if Obama announced he was going to keep his distance on this but did plan on sending humanitarian supplies? Heads. Exploding.

There's this odd competition thing going on between the US and Russia, which probably shouldn't be. On some level, we feel a need to show Mr. Putin who's boss or something and Putin may feel the same towards us. Hopefully cooler heads prevail, something gets worked out that everyone can live with. It can't be the end of days every time a country does something we're not wild about. We have, arguably, the greatest diplomatic corps in the world. We should exhaust all possibilities before we dare to think about a new military operation.

In my mind, the criticism we're hearing from the right is more about political posturing than anything else. They have to appear to be hawkish and aggressive in order to make themselves appear strong and not weak and vulnerable to an attack from their right, most likely by a Tea Party candidate. There seems to be some bipartisan support growing for economic repercussions against Russia for Putin's actions, which may be the right tact to take. Hopefully the situation de-escalates soon and cooler heads prevail. 

However it winds up, keep things in perspective. As President Bush infamously told us he'd looked into Putin eye's and saw his soul, the last time something like this came up with Russia, we didn't exactly charge in with guns a-blazing. Things were messy for awhile and then they settled down.

While some would love to see President Obama scream and yell and talk tough, chances are very good that a less hands on approach will be better for all parties. They can call it weak, I call it responsible leadership and foreign policy.


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