Friday, March 28, 2014

The Republi-CON 'Russia Invaded Ukraine Because Obama is Weak' Myth

UPDATE:  "Compare what the Obama administration has managed to organize in the wake of this latest Russian aggression to the Bush administration’s response to Putin’s actions in Georgia in 2008. That was a blatant invasion. Moscow sent in tanks and heavy artillery; hundreds were killed, nearly 200,000 displaced. Yet the response was essentially nothing. This time, it has been much more serious. Some of this difference is in the nature of the stakes, but it might also have to do with the fact that the Obama administration has taken pains to present Russia’s actions in a broader context and get other countries to see them as such.

You can see a similar pattern with Iran. The Bush administration largely pressured that country bilaterally. The Obama administration was able to get much more effective pressure because it presented Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to global norms of nonproliferation, persuaded the other major powers to support sanctions, enacted them through the United Nations and thus ensured that they were comprehensive and tight. This is what leadership looks like in the 21st century."

Read the Washington Post, Obama’s 21st-century power politics.  

"In August 2008, Vladimir Putin invaded the Republic of Georgia while George W. Bush was President of the United States. Where were the 'weakness' complaints from Republicans? Well, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer — who has said that in the Ukraine situation Obama's 'inaction created a vacuum' and who derided the President's statements on Ukraine as 'weak' — said of the Georgia invasion back in 2008, 'Well, obviously it's beyond our control. The Russians are advancing. There is nothing that will stop them.'

Conservative Heritage Foundation national security staffer Peter Brookes exuded a similar calm in 2008: 'There's no easy answer; there's only tough choices... Russia is a tough nut to crack.' Apparently when a Democrat is president the situation is much simpler. Last Friday, Brookes explained that the Russian invasion of Crimea is proof that 'this administration's policy toward Russia has been a failure.' Hmmm....

There's another aspect to this Republican hypocrisy. McCain recently called Obama 'the most naïve president in history' because of his foreign policy tactics. And yet it was George W. Bush who famously said, upon meeting Putin, 'I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy, and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.' Did Republicans find him 'weak'? 'Naïve'?

Contrast this with Obama, who, against considerable odds, wrangled Russia into a constructive role on Iran sanctions, Syrian chemical weapons removal and a new START treaty. It is not merely laughable to call this President, who has unfortunately expanded the use of drone warfare and who also ordered the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, 'weak.' It is also self-destructive to our national interest, since absent any substantive disagreements, it reveals only national disunity in the face of a global crisis."

Read CNN, GOP's hypocrisy on Ukraine hurts America