It would be an understatement to say that I was decidedly irked at Sens. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and others of their caliber making the rounds of television news shows this week bemoaning President Obama’s weakness on foreign policy as the cause for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Equally irksome was their bastardization of conservatives’ talking points pertaining to the issue; i.e., extolling the wisdom of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney in their admonitions to beware Russia in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Palin and Romney were right, to be sure, but it is the GOP leaders’ hypocritical theatrics that gall. It has not been Obama’s weakness that is to blame for Putin’s excursion into the Crimean Peninsula, it is Obama having purposefully telegraphed weakness – in the same way he has telegraphed weakness in his foreign policy overall, thereby emboldening both enemies and potential enemies alike.
What’s the difference? The difference is huge. Jimmy Carter was a foreign-policy bungler. He was weak because he had a delusional overview of geopolitics and his significance as a world leader. Barack Obama has advanced similar policies, but this is not because of miscalculation; it is because of his desire – essentially a lifelong desire – to diminish the United States’ status as a superpower.
Obviously, Obama does not care if his detractors declare that he is weak or inept at foreign policy, any more than he cares if they believe he is a poor economic manager or leader on domestic issues. His policies, which have been detrimental to America on every front – economic stability, national security, domestic tranquility, foreign policy – are the sabotage of an enemy operative, not the careless acts of a ham-handed politician.
The hypocrisy on the part of weasels like McCain and Graham is that they know this, yet they continue to engage in political theater. Their continuing to do this in the face of America’s circumstances becoming more and more dire increasingly and definitively punctuates their craven, loathsome nature, as well as their own treason.
Let us look at the real dynamic playing out in Ukraine right now. We will begin with a determination to consign Russian President Vladimir Putin neither to sainthood nor demonhood for the moment.
The Western press as well as Republican leaders are beating the drum of Putin wishing to “restore the Soviet Union,” being an international bully, a retrograde dictator and so on. We know that Ukraine has been a contested area for centuries. We also know that Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and that Putin is an authoritarian leader. However, he is also dealing with factions (in the neighboring Ukraine, Dagestan, Chechnya and Armenia, to name but a few) that are replete with those who hold anti-Russian sentiments, including militant Islamists, some of whom have very recently carried out suicide bombings within Russia. This was precisely the reason for widespread safety concerns at the Winter Olympics at Sochi.
On the west side of this group of nations lie Turkey and Iran, both potential supply routes for jihadis, despite Russia’s economic entanglements with Iran.
That the aforementioned cluster of nations are of strategic concern to Russia no matter who her leader happens to be ought to be clear. However, Putin also has another problem with which to contend regarding Ukraine. The Obama administration has provided billions of dollars in aid and loan guarantees to Ukraine, more specifically the Svoboda Party, which strongly opposes Russian influence. While at first blush this may seem of little consequence or even attractive to those in the West, the Svoboda Party is reported to be virulently anti-Semitic and even following a neo-Nazi creed. They have also been accused of fomenting many of the more violent protests in the cities.
As I’ve recently reported in this space, the close ties between Islamists and Hitler’s Third Reich are a matter of the historical record, as are the ties between the Svoboda Party’s progenitors and the Nazis of World War II. So not only does Putin see himself fighting anti-Russian sympathies and factions in the region, he may even see himself potentially fighting neo-Nazis.
More significantly, Putin is fighting the efforts of the Obama administration, which has dedicatedly supported not only Russia’s enemies in Ukraine, but the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadists globally.
“What would happen if suddenly Russia were to manifest influence in Canada and Mexico, and some regions of these countries declared that they were going to join Putin’s ‘Eurasian Economic Union’ and perhaps even militarize? Of course, the American president would be forced to react as strongly as Putin, if not even more so. …”
– NYU professor Stephen Cohen, in an interview with CNN’s Russian bureau [translated]
Indeed. And what would the American people expect of their president in such a scenario? Certainly more than we have seen in America with regard to the ongoing flood of criminal illegal immigrants, the influx of unvetted “refugees” from Syria and revelations of jihadi cells within our borders, I should think.
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