ChrisWeigant.com

Russian Indifference

[ Posted Monday, March 3rd, 2014 – 18:00 PST ]

Alexis de Tocqueville, at the very end of the first volume of Democracy In America, took a look into his crystal ball and made a prediction for how global politics and power would change in the future. Tocqueville was a Frenchman, of course, and he had also studied English society as well, but he dismissed the biggest European powers of his day and instead concentrated on two newer players on the world stage:


There are now two great nations in the world which, starting from different points, seems to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans [i.e., the United States].

Both have grown in obscurity, and while the world's attention was occupied elsewhere, they have suddenly taken their place among the leading nations, making the world take note of their birth and of their greatness almost at the same instant.

All other peoples seem to have nearly reached their natural limits and to need nothing but to preserve them; but these two are growing. All the others have halted or advanced only through great exertions; they alone march easily and quickly forward along a path whose end no eye can yet see.

The American fights against natural obstacles; the Russian is at grips with men. The former combats the wilderness and barbarism; the latter, civilization with all its arms. America's conquests are made with the plowhorse, Russia's with the sword.

To attain their aims, the former relies on personal interest and gives free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of individuals.

The latter in a sense concentrates the whole power of society in one man.

One has freedom as the principal means of action; the other has servitude.

Their point of departure is different and their paths diverse; nevertheless, each seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world.

Tocqueville was either incredibly prescient, or incredibly lucky in his analysis (perhaps a bit of both). He wrote this conclusion to his masterwork in the early 1830s, making the accuracy of his prediction even more impressive. It is an almost-perfect description of the Cold War which shaped geopolitics during the latter half of the twentieth century, written over a century before it became reality.

The Cold War era was actually on its way to being forgotten by Americans, before the events last week in the Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula. The Berlin Wall came down an entire generation ago, after all. The Soviet Union is as far in the past (relatively) as World War II was to many Baby Boomers.

Russia hasn't been on the minds of Americans for a while now (other than the recent Olympics, of course), which is why a whole lot of people are now shocked to discover a basic truth which was self-evident in the days of the Cold War: Russia, much like America, doesn't really have to care all that much what the rest of the world thinks about it.

This, of course, is the hubris of empire. As long as citizens believe in a general way that their country is attempting to do good for most of the people in the world, minor divergences from these ideals are shrugged off or flat-out ignored. This leads to a lot of hypocrisy, of course, such as John Kerry castigating Russia yesterday, by saying: "You just don't in the twenty-first century behave in nineteenth century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext." Except when that country is named Iraq, of course.

This hubris isn't limited to America, but American examples certainly do exist. Countries which are not superpowers have to care about how their nations are perceived by others and as a result they strive for acceptance from the global community of nations. Superpowers don't really have to do this, to be blunt. Take a look at all the worldwide treaties and United Nations organizations which America refuses to join. The International Criminal Court is an excellent example -- we didn't join because we were afraid American soldiers could get hauled up before the court for committing war crimes. That can only really be called imperial hubris -- setting ourselves above all others while not caring what they think about it.

Some might argue over the term "empire." But substituting "superpower" doesn't really change things all that much. The extent of the American empire has fluctuated over time, as territories we have controlled are either given their own autonomy (such as the Philippines or the Panama Canal Zone), absorbed into America (Hawai'i), or given the free choice of which to select for their own future (Puerto Rico). These days, our empire is on the wane a bit as we have once again discovered the limitations of projecting American military power overseas. To put this another way, the American public is not in favor of foreign adventures much anymore, after our last decade of endless war.

The twenty-first century is going to be a little more complex than the Cold War era, as China enters as a new player on the superpower stage. But because of its emerging nature, China is more susceptible to international condemnation, and they try to stage-manage their country's appearance to the world as a result. But Russia isn't in the same position as the Chinese.

Russia once was a true superpower, when it was the Soviet Union. They lost this status in the early 1990s and many Russians today still resent this downgrade of their power. Vladimir Putin is one of them, obviously. He sees it as his right to reassert Russian power in certain parts of the world, and by doing so he gains a certain type of respect from the rest of the world (the respect any powerful military deserves, in other words).

Putin knows one thing full well -- nobody's going to stop him if he decides to annex the Crimea. Who would be capable of doing so? The Ukrainians are outmatched militarily, Europe isn't going to send troops, and the United States is certainly not interested in fighting a major war after the last two minor ones turned out so badly. Are American men and women really going to die for the Crimea? Doubtful.

President Obama has no real military option, and Putin knows it. No matter how much the war hawks in Congress squawk, the American people simply have no will to fight right now, especially over another piece of real estate most would be hard-pressed to find on a world map. This would be just as true no matter who was in the Oval Office, in fact.

The plain fact is that both Russia and America have nuclear weapons. Lots of them. Which is why they've never directly faced each other on the field of battle in modern times. Proxy wars were fought throughout the Cold War and afterwards, but the two superpowers never directly faced off. The prospect of World War III was too daunting for either side to contemplate, and it still is.

So America sent soldiers off to fight and die in places like Korea and Vietnam, while Russia made snide comments about the limits of American might from the sidelines. America returned the favor when Russia invaded Afghanistan. But all the way back to the end of World War II, America had to stand and impotently watch as Russia sent its tanks in to places such as Prague or Hungary. The Warsaw Pact was the half of the world that the Soviets controlled utterly (with lesser control and influence over many other countries around the world). Within this sphere of influence, the Soviets did as they pleased militarily, and the United States -- no matter which president of either party was in office -- had very limited means of showing disapproval. The only real showdown which ever took place was over Cuba, which both countries claimed was inside their sphere of influence.

This hasn't really changed all that much. The lines have shifted significantly -- I don't think Russia could get away with invading Poland these days, for instance -- but they still exist. When Russia sent troops into South Ossetia in 2008 (also coincidentally right around the time of the Olympics), there wasn't anything George W. Bush could really do about it. As Russia now seems on the brink of annexing the Crimean peninsula, there's not much of anything Barack Obama can really do about it that is going to change the outcome.

This is a hard truth for many Americans to face, although those who remember the Cold War accept and understand it more easily. Obama can play the diplomatic game, withdrawing from a summit scheduled to happen in Sochi (for instance), but diplomacy is going to have virtually no effect in the short term to what happens in the Crimea in the next few weeks. Because Russia doesn't really care about international diplomatic condemnation all that much.

Economic sanctions may be instituted which could have an effect in the medium-to-long term, but if they destabilize the world oil market they're going to be unpopular at home. And that's really the only effective arrow in the American quiver, since Putin is just not going to believe that Obama will react militarily, no matter what happens in the Ukraine. Such a threat by Obama would be an empty one, just as such a threat by George W. Bush would have been just as empty during the South Ossetia crisis.

This hasn't stopped Republican critics of President Obama, of course. No matter what Obama does in any foreign crisis, it is (by their definition) the wrong thing to do, and that is not going to change no matter what Obama does. But notice how vague the Obama critics' answer is when asked: "Well then, what would you do, instead?" Because there simply aren't a whole lot of viable or believable options for America, as hard a concept as that is for some to accept.

After the Cold War, the American self-image became that of the "sole superpower." We were the only 800-pound gorilla in the world, and therefore we could do what we pleased without having to worry about any other country's ability to stop us. Russia, under Putin, is reasserting itself as the second weighty gorilla in the room. They are big enough and militarily strong enough to afford the luxury of not having to care what the rest of the world thinks of its actions. It is the indifference of empire, and there's not a lot any American president can do to change it, short of threatening what could escalate into a thermonuclear war.

That was the reality of the Cold War, and not much has changed since. Barack Obama is likely to try everything he possibly can to shame Russia on the world stage, because that's really America's only option. Economic sanctions could be imposed, but likely won't last long. Russia knows it can afford -- for the time being -- to be indifferent. It may be hard for some Americans to face, but that doesn't make it any less true.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

69 Comments on “Russian Indifference”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I think the diplomatic game involves quite a lot more than the optics of withdrawing from a summit, or removing Russia from the G8 or imposing sanctions. In fact, none of these constitute what I would call serious diplomacy.

    A serious path forward for Ukraine, Russia, and for the US and EU has been suggested by Zbig Brzezinski and it is the "Finland option".

    It would involve the West dropping its antagonistic wish for Ukraine to be part of the NATO military alliance and Putin agreeing to pull back Russian troops from Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It would involve serious talks between all parties on how to prevent a disatrous Ukrainian financial collapse with the top 10 oligarchs in Ukraine leading the way by providing the first 10 billion dollars (one billion each) of the bailout and with every EU country sacraficing something with Germany at the top of the list. It would involve serious negotiations between Russia and the emerging Ukrainian government.

    This is not easy work and will require a lot of heavy lifting on the part of al involved. But, THAT is what serious diplomacy is all about.

  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Thanks for this CW & Liz!

    There's many interests who seem to want a war out of this. Here's to hoping something can be worked out.

    -David

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You're welcome, David. :)

    I've always been a huge fan of Zbiggy!

  4. [4] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    It's a tough situation. I think if Russia is allowed to control the rest of the Ukraine, nuclear nonproliferation is completely dead. Before the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine was the worlds third largest nuclear power. They had more deliverable nukes than the UK, France and China combined. If that treaty is completely ignored now, no other country that gets nukes will give them up for the same reasons as we would have proven that a treaty is just worthless paper. On the other hand I'm not too bothered by the Crimea. As I understand it, the Ukraine got it by accident of bureaucracy rather than it being a natural part of what makes Ukraine the Ukraine. It also is a piece of land that just about every empire and their brother has owned at one time or another. Greece, Rome, the Mongols, the Ottoman Turks and many others. The full list is quite impressive. A possible win would be to get Crimea as an independent country under heavy Russian influence but with a constitution that would allow it to break free the next time Russia is weak.

    The Ukraine does have a modern military. Probably does not have the money to keep it going to take on Russia. It's about 1/5 the size of Russia's but Russia is huge and shares many borders. I don't know how much they could muster for a single front. Some are calling the Ukraine: Afghanistan 2. Top Gear just last week, in a perfectly timed episode, drove from Sevastopol to Chernobyl. Unfortunately the place is as flat as Nebraska. Which means it's ideal tank country. War with Russia would be fast and bloody. Their only hope would be lots and lots of rain in the near future in hopes of bogging everything down in mud and even that would probably not be enough.

    I think Europe really has to take the lead on this as they have the only real leverage. Stop buying natural gas ASAP might work. Putin needs the money and that would hurt. Hurt enough? Who knows...

    On a side note, there is a really interesting propaganda war going on in the comments for articles about the current situation in most major international news sites. Lots of Astroturfing by Russian interests.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russia, much like America, doesn't really have to care all that much what the rest of the world thinks about it.

    I have to disagree.. It has only been recently that Russia has learned that they don't need to worry about "the world" (IE the US) in their actions.

    Syria was the incident that sealed Putin's mindset that he can act with impunity anywhere in the world and the US is impotent to stop Russian expansion.

    I believe I said a couple weeks ago that Putin's goal is to recreate the old USSR... He has until 2016 to accomplish this goal...

    President Obama has no real military option, and Putin knows it. No matter how much the war hawks in Congress squawk, the American people simply have no will to fight right now, especially over another piece of real estate most would be hard-pressed to find on a world map. This would be just as true no matter who was in the Oval Office, in fact.

    Not true...

    Obama has no military option because he has decimated the military, both in morale and equipment..

    The simple fact is, it's bad leadership that PUT the US in this position to begin with.

    If Obama had stood firm on Syria and followed through with his "red line", then Russia would not be in the Crimea today.

    Basically, it's as I said before...

    "Russia has invaded Ukraine and we're not going to do a thing about it."
    -President Obama

    That's what passes for "leadership" these days...

    You are absolutely correct, CW...

    Obama IS impotent to respond to Russia's expansion.

    But WHY he is impotent is what is at issue here..

    Liz,

    That would be the perfect solution. But there is absolutely NO reason for Putin to give in and compromise on anything.

    Putin has Obama by the short and curlies and there is absolutely nothing Obama can do about it..

    Diplomacy as an alternative to open warfare only works when parties involved have something to LOSE..

    Putin has nothing to lose. The US's ONLY possible response to his invasion of Ukraine is empty rhetoric that goes nowhere..

    Putin would be an idiot to cede ANYTHING. Putin may have many faults but being an idiot isn't one of them.

    "Patience is not one of my virtues. Well, I don't HAVE any virtues, but if I did I am pretty sure that patience wouldn't be one of them."
    -Crowley, SUPERNATURAL

    The long and short of this whole debacle is this.

    Putin has just shown the world how weak and impotent the US really is..

    As I said at the time, THIS is what happens when you issue ultimatums and don't follow thru..

    This is all completely and squarely on Obama... Period.

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Let me put it this way.

    Bush let Putin have his way in Georgia..

    Obama let Putin and Assad have their way in Syria..

    Obama is letting Putin have his way in Ukraine..

    What possible reason does Putin have to give in and compromise?

    Especially when it is his goal to rebuild the USSR and create buffer states between the West and the Motherland..

    Putin has no reason to compromise and every reason to give a big and mighty FOAD to Obama and the West...

    The US is impotent to stop Putin.

    And Putin knows it..

    Welcome to the 21st Century...

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://freebeacon.com/ukraine-on-the-brink/

    This ain't gonna be pretty....

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Who was it that said Russia was our biggest geo-political foe??

    And who mocked Romney for that??

    Guess we know who the winner and the luzer of THAT exchange was, eh? :D

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-obamas-foreign-policy-is-based-on-fantasy/2014/03/02/c7854436-a238-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

    Obama has not only become incompetent, he is actually a danger to the survival of this country.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Credit where credit is due. That's a pretty spot on military analysis of the situation...

    Yes, it will be a tank war. And yes. It will be very bloody and very messy...

    Which is why I don't think we'll see it happen. The Ukraine government HAS to know that they are out-manned and out-gunned 5 to 1 or worse..

    Any organized or sustained show of resistance will simply result in a lot of dead Ukrainian soldiers and civilians and the annexation of Ukraine by Russia that much sooner.

    So, I doubt we'll see any major outbreak of hostilities...

    Ironically enough, Obama has the power to stop Russia in it's tracks and force Putin to return home with his tail between his legs.

    But using that power requires testicular fortitude that heretofore, Obama has been unable to muster up..

    If Syria proved anything, it showed the world that Obama is nothing more than talk, talk and more talk...

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    LewDan wrote:

    CW,

    Couldn't agree more!--With one minor quibble... There are, and always have been LOTS of nations that ignore what the US wants, Russia, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Argentina, Iran... just name a few of the more prominent and belligerent. Large or small sovereign nations are SOVEREIGN, not American satrapies. The importance and influence of the only remaining superpower is largely a right-wing delusion. The numerous, and frequent, occasions when nations, large and small, defy the US, being conveniently dismissed as simply too insignificant to warrant response. Rather than an honest admission that we simply do not get to boss the rest of the world.

    Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War also remember Vietnam. When a tiny little "third-world" nation not only defied the US but did so MILITARILY.--And DEFEATED us. Since the Right is far from known for its fierce attachment to reality EVERYTHING it professes must be closely examined before being accepted. Much of its "American superiority" delusion being a case in point.

  11. [11] 
    TheStig wrote:

    -BashiBazouk

    You didn't elaborate on "Ukraine: Afghanistan 2," but I'm sure the Russians have not forgotten the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, which fought just about everybody occupying Ukrainian territory during the Second World war and for a few years after that.

    So, far, there has been a lot of movement on the part of the Russians, but little bloodshed. The Russians haven't yet done anything that can't be undone. That passes for caution by Russian standards.

    If the Russians do mount a major attack, it might be better if the Ukrainians just sent the troops home with their assault rifles, some military odds and ends and orders to await further instructions.

    Ukraine is good tank country, but there are a lot of places to hide too.

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War also remember Vietnam. When a tiny little "third-world" nation not only defied the US but did so MILITARILY.--And DEFEATED us.

    Obviously, you remember thru rose-tinted brain cells.

    The enemy did not defeat us in Vietnam.

    We defeated ourselves by listening to Left wing nut jobs who were more concerned with the enemies welfare than they were with their own citizens..

    I am sure I don't need to remind you how those Left wing nutjobs greeted returning soldiers...

    The problem with the HATE AMERICA FIRST viewpoint that the Left has is that it blinds them to the realities of the world in the here and now..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-obamas-foreign-policy-is-based-on-fantasy/2014/03/02/c7854436-a238-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

    The problem with Obama and all the other Obamabots is that they see the world as they WANT it to be, rather than what it really is..

    And they respond as if their fantasy was reality...

    Nowhere was the more evident than in Syria. Obama thought he would issue a proclamation and that would be the end of it...

    Assad, with Putin's backing, gave Obama the finger and Obama was SHOCKED that such a thing could happen..

    And now the world is reaping what Obama has sown...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    The White House (and certain Weigantians) often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple.

    But it’s also true that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.

    This is the reality, whether Obama and his worshipers, want to see it or not..

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-general-obamas-threats-are-the-joke-of-the-year/#ixzz2v1bF22DF

    THAT is how the world, both our enemies AND our allies view the United States and our President..

    How sad is that???

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale [14],

    Iran is neither a friend nor allied. Your prodigious leaps of faith in support of your prejudices is exactly what I meant by you're being "irrational."

    Your living-in-denial revisionist history of the Vietnam conflict speaks for itself.

  16. [16] 
    LewDan wrote:

    BTW Michale,

    The reception returning Vietnam veterans received is one reason the amount of popular agreement and media attention so underwhelms me as self-evident proof of an arguments veracity and sagacity. Just because "everybody knows" something doesn't mean everybody isn't wrong. I've seen it happen.--We both have.

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Iran is neither a friend nor allied. Your prodigious leaps of faith in support of your prejudices is exactly what I meant by you're being "irrational."

    Iran is saying in public what our allies are thinking in private..

    No other possible explanation fits the facts..

    Just because "everybody knows" something doesn't mean everybody isn't wrong. I've seen it happen.--We both have.

    Odds are, if it's common knowledge, it is factual..

    Granted, there are exceptions. Bush and the Democrats going all in on Iraq is one example..

    But if "everybody knows" then chances are good it's a fact...

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your prodigious leaps of faith in support of your prejudices is exactly what I meant by you're being "irrational."

    Drawing a "red line" in Syria and then doing absolutely NOTHING when it is crossed and NOT expecting consequences is what is irrational here..

    Obama frak'ed up in Syria and now we have Russians in Ukraine..

    "These are the facts. And they are undisputed."
    -Captain Jack Ross, A FEW GOOD MEN

    No one with more than 2 brain cells to rub together would deny that these are related...

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can we TRY to inject a little bit of reality here??

    This IS a reality based forum, after all..

    The idea that the situation the US finds itself in, in the here and now, is NOT any of Obama's fault is utterly ludicrous..

    Only someone so drunk off the Obama koolaid could think that Obama is completely blameless here...

    I'm just sayin'...

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Russia, under Putin, is reasserting itself as the second weighty gorilla in the room.

    So, what you are saying is that Russia is our #1 geo-political foe in the world..

    We'll make a Romney supporter of you yet!! :D

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russia test-fires ICBM amid tension over Ukraine
    http://news.yahoo.com/russia-test-fires-icbm-amid-tension-over-ukraine-193003190--sector.html;_ylt=AwrBJR9IKhZTKSMAfjrQtDMD

    "Russkies don't take a dump without a plan, son."
    -Fred Thompson, HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    SF Bear wrote:

    Michale;

    The left Wing Nut Jobs who defeated us in Vietnam were called the Viet-Cong. Ask any one who was there, another half million GI's would not have changed the outcome only the timing. CW is absolutely correct in stating that NO president is going to go to war over the Crimea. So if we know it and Putin knows it what is to be gained by posturing and bluffing? I am curious as to exactly what "power does Obama have to stop him in his tracks"? lets see on the downside we can eliminate the human race and the upside is we force Putin out of the Ukraine. I can't imagine even you thinking that is a sane bet.

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    "Russkies don't take a dump without a plan, son."
    -Fred Thompson, HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

    Indeed.

    No one seems to have the foggiest idea, ahem, of what serious diplomacy entails. And, now, what are they talking about. Why, diplomatic isolation, of course. Sigh. How precious, not to mention ironic, is that!?

    You know, I'm beginning to think that Putin is the only one who actually has a strategy - a dangerous one, to be sure but one that can be countered successfully to resolve this long-simmering potential crisis. But, you need two equals to tango properly and Putin may have vastly underestimated the capacity of the West to understand the first thing about Finland. :)

  24. [24] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    "The enemy did not defeat us in Vietnam."

    Wrong, but then in Michale world, the Republic of South Vietnam still exists. Just a hint, but a total failure of your strategic goals means you got beat.

  25. [25] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The reason we had to tread lightly in Syria is because the Soviet Union and later Russia have been allies and trading partners since the mid fifties. Russia has a military base there, does billions in military sales a year and has many other business ties.

    It's silly to think we could win a conventional war in the Ukraine. The level of commitment would almost certainly lead to nuclear war. The Soviet military, to which Russia inherited the lions share, and our military were specifically built up and designed to fight a massive war with Ukraine being a possible and likely front. Russia has lost the ability to project large amounts of military force anywhere on the planet like the US still has. But it not only shares a border with Ukraine but Putin inherits 40 years of Soviet battle planning and has the logistics systems set up specifically covering how to get as much men and material to a western front as quickly as possible. Much of that planning with Ukraine being part of that front. This is not some middle east light weight with impressive numbers and little else. The nastiest military hardware ever conceived was made for this engagement. There would be no air superiority and the enemy faced would not crumble at the first shots. If you magically made nuclear weapons disappear from the planet, we would most likely win in the end but the causalities on both sides would be at WW2 levels.

    Maybe Putin would blink with that threat, but do you want to risk it? Does any politician that would like to stay in office?

    Obama has no military option because he has decimated the military, both in morale and equipment..

    Oh what complete hysterical nonsense. We still have a military budget larger than the next 12 largest military budgets combined. The last major hit was due to sequester and therefore the Republicans share at least some of the blame. Possibly more than some considering their current refusal to negotiate at any cost.

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    SF Bear,

    The left Wing Nut Jobs who defeated us in Vietnam were called the Viet-Cong. Ask any one who was there, another half million GI's would not have changed the outcome only the timing.

    That's your opinion, but it is unsupported by the facts..

    The simple fact is, the war effort did not have the support at home. If the homeland support would have been similar to, say Desert Storm, then the outcome in Vietnam would have likely been similar.

    I am curious as to exactly what "power does Obama have to stop him in his tracks"?

    I am glad you asked. :D

    First off, Russia needs to be booted from the G8...

    Second, Obama needs to take a page from the Ronald Reagan manual on DEALING WITH EVIL EMPIRES and decimate the Russian Economy. Putting a moratorium on all Russian international transactions and shutting down all Russian banks around the world will send Putin scurrying back to faster than you can say otvali i umeret'..

    But Obama doesn't have the will to make the hard calls.

    And, as we have seen time and time again, he doesn't have the credibility to even make the threat..

    Liz,

    You know, I'm beginning to think that Putin is the only one who actually has a strategy -

    You are coming to the realization that I came to.

    That Obama is simply not the great leader we thought he would be..

    He can't lead his way out of a paper sack...

    Welcome to reality. It sucks, don't it...

    YoYo

    Wrong, but then in Michale world, the Republic of South Vietnam still exists. Just a hint, but a total failure of your strategic goals means you got beat.

    But WHY did the strategic goal meet total failure??

    Because the support at home wasn't there.

    And why wasn't the support at home there??

    Because Left Wing nutjobs cared more for the enemy than they did for their own citizens.

    These are documented facts people and I will simply refuse to let ya'all rewrite history..

    Bashi,

    The reason we had to tread lightly in Syria is because the Soviet Union and later Russia have been allies and trading partners since the mid fifties. Russia has a military base there, does billions in military sales a year and has many other business ties.

    With the pinpoint accuracy we are capable of, we could have decimated Syria's military w/o touching a hair on a Russian soldier's leg..

    It's silly to think we could win a conventional war in the Ukraine.

    As do I...

    Oh what complete hysterical nonsense. We still have a military budget larger than the next 12 largest military budgets combined. The last major hit was due to sequester and therefore the Republicans share at least some of the blame. Possibly more than some considering their current refusal to negotiate at any cost.

    That was before the massive draw down, which is still occurring today.

    That was before the social experiments that Democrats are continuing to try out in the military. The end of DADT, etc etc..

    Do you have friends in the military?? I do...

    Ask them about how morale is...

    It's at the lowest point it has even been in my lifetime...

    Of course, if you go thru official channels, everything is rosy and peachy keen... No one wants to risk upsetting THE ONE because everyone knows what happens when you do. Ask General McChrystal..

    I realize it's tough to accept that Obama is not a good leader..

    But the facts, the ACTUAL facts (not the Left Wing Facts) speak for themselves...

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    SF Bear,

    Further actions Obama needs to take is to approve the Keystone pipeline and start ramping up our domestic oil and natural gas production. Some of the largest natural gas deposits in the WORLD are right here in North America.

    We can easily supplant Russia's stranglehold over Europe and also take care of our own energy needs for a long time to come.

    These are real and tangible steps that Obama can take to send Russia packing..

    But he won't take them. Because he doesn't have the courage or the leadership capability to do what needs to be done..

    It's that simple.

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    I notice you have successfully avoided the pertinent question:

    "Well then, what would you do, instead?"

    It's easy to snipe at decisions made at the front lines, but it's a lot harder to come up with a better solution.

    So... given where we are (no "we should have done this in Syria or Iran" nonsense, in other words, just reality on the ground), what would you do differently, now?

    Remember, in answering that, that Dubya did absolutely nothing when Russia invaded Georgia, and even St. Ronnie of Reagan did a whole lot of nothing when the Soviets stomped on Poland in the Solidarity era....

    -CW

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Well then, what would you do, instead?"

    I have been waiting for you to ask me that!

    ALL DAY!! :D

    But I couldn't hold my water anymore so I outlined the steps to SF Bear..

    1. Kick Russia out of the G8

    2. Freeze all Russian backs world-wide and put a moratorium on all international Russian transactions.

    3. Sign deals with European countries to supplant Russian oil and natural gas with US imports.

    4. Approve the Keystone pipeline and aggressively push for exploration and exploitation of domestic energy assets.

    These steps will push Putin back to Moscow faster than you can say otvali i umeret'...

    But Obama is impotent to take these steps..

    Having said all that, it is undeniable that Russia is in Ukraine now because Obama drew a red line in Syria and didn't follow thru.

    This is fact.

    So, you really can't ignore what brought us to this situation, much as ya'all would like to.

    Let me ask YOU a question now...

    Does Obama bear any responsibility or culpability for this situation?

    Did Obama make any mistakes or is he just a victim of circumstances beyond his control?

    Don't think I didn't notice how you confirmed Romney's statement that Russia is our number 1 political foe. :D

    Remember, in answering that, that Dubya did absolutely nothing when Russia invaded Georgia

    And I slammed Bush un-mercilessly for it, both at the time and above in this very commentary..

    I am not enslaved by political dogma or ideology. If a Republican fraks up, I slam them just as I do when a Democrat fraks up..

    I would love to see Weigantians reciprocate, but I realize it's a pipe dream..

    But, I have to give credit where credit is due..

    Liz sure is coming around to my way of thinking.. :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    2. Freeze all Russian backs world-wide and put a moratorium on all international Russian transactions.

    Just the Full Backs... We can leave the Tail Backs alone... :D

    Of course, that should read

    2. Freeze all Russian BANKS world-wide and put a moratorium on all international Russian transactions.

    My bust.... :D

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    The level of commitment would almost certainly lead to nuclear war.

    So, basically ya'all are invoking the MAD doctrine..

    But... But.... But...

    The Cold War is over!!!!

    Obama SAID it was!!!!

    :D

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Remember, in answering that, that Dubya did absolutely nothing when Russia invaded Georgia, and even St. Ronnie of Reagan did a whole lot of nothing when the Soviets stomped on Poland in the Solidarity era....

    And every reason ya'all gave for Ukraine ALSO applies to Bush and Reagan, right??

    No one is advocating boots on the ground..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/president-obamas-foreign-policy-is-based-on-fantasy/2014/03/02/c7854436-a238-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html

    But there are many steps Obama can take to push the Russians back..

    The only point of contention is does Obama have the leadership, the testicula..... oh hell, the BALLS... to do it...

    THAT's the question...

    And it's a question I am certain we ALL know the answer to..

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    "These are documented facts people and I will simply refuse to let ya'all rewrite history"

    *sigh* I'm not re-writing history Michale, you're ignoring it. First of all you're ignoring the ability of the Vietnamese to wage what they perceived as an anti-colonial struggle for independence that lasted over 20 years. And two take two random examples where lack of support was not an issue, lets examine the body count doctrine, and the Ho Chi Minh trail. Body counts are one the defining bits of jargon of Vietnam, essentially and literally, the idea was to kill enough Vietnamese fighters that attrition would win the day. Unfortunately for the US, they never had a clear idea of what that number was (hindsight showed it to be over 50,000 a year, which they never reached) or even how many people they were killing, due to all the problems inherent in gathering accurate data, officers had an incentive to inflate their body counts. This doesn't even go into the fact that US military training was really bad at counter-insurgency training. Also training at this time was incredibly racially charged, which had the side effect of dehumanizing the civilian population in American soldier's eyes, which led to countless abuses and a fundamental failure to win "hearts and minds."

    The Ho chi Minh trail is another excellent example where your ignore Vietnamese agency, this side of the conflict was essentially Northern Vietnamese engineers vs. American Air power. Vietnamese engineering WON Michale. hands down, no question. We dropped more bombs than in the entirety of ww2, and without fail, supplies and troops traveling south on the Ho Chi Minh trail increased at a regular rate. If nothing else you have to admire the sheer doggedness of the Vietnamese. The US dropped more bombs on Northern Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh trail than the allies dropped on Nazi Germany.

    And we still haven't covered the failures diplomatically, the failures in presidential leadership, the failures in South Vietnamese government. And the 9 thousand other ways in which the United states plodded along the path to defeat. We are capable of losing wars, and you're failure to acknowledge that the vietnamese pbeat us decisively, explains sooooooo much of the neo-conservative hubris that led to the two Vietnam's of the twenty first century. Not willing to learn from your mistakes? You're going to repeat them.

  34. [34] 
    TheStig wrote:

    So, after a heap of steaming rhetoric (29) emerges and amounts to:

    1. Limited diplomatic isolation

    2. Limited financial isolation

    3. Build a tanker fleet with supporting infrastructures, US/Europe

    4. Replace natural gas with liquified bitumen, exact technical means and timelines to be determined.

    Two pieces of conventional wisdom propped up by two hot air trial balloons.

  35. [35] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    Plus Obama is already doing numbers 1 and 2

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    YoYo..

    Yer right. If you are intent on rewriting history, I really can't stop you..

    But your ignorance of the military and military matters shines thru.. :D

    So, by all means. Blame the military. Ignore what the politicians and the American Left did..

    It's ALL the military's fault.. :^/

    Plus Obama is already doing numbers 1 and 2

    "Of course, you can PROVE that, right? Oh yea, that's right, I forgot. You were absent the day they taught LAW at Law School"
    -Tom Cruise, A Few Good Men..

    TS,

    So, after a heap of steaming rhetoric (29) emerges and amounts to:

    1. Limited diplomatic isolation

    2. Limited financial isolation

    Who said anything about "limited"?? What am I?? A Democrat???

    3. Build a tanker fleet with supporting infrastructures, US/Europe

    Yea, cuz NOTHING like that exists in the world today, eh?? :/

    4. Replace natural gas with liquified bitumen, exact technical means and timelines to be determined.

    And, don't forget that we have to train unicorns to carry the cargo on magical wings.. :D

    If yer just going to throw crap out there, I can do that too.. :D

    CW wanted a plan. I gave him a plan..

    And it would be a VIABLE plan if we actually had a competent government.

    Alas, we don't. We just have Democrats...

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    One thing and one thing only caused the defeat in Vietnam..

    Political will....

    That's it. You can blame the military all you want. That is what the Left excels at, after all..

    But the lack of political will is what lost Vietnam.

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Russia is trying to provoke a bloody confrontation by Ukraine, Ukraine is wisely not buying in.

    I don't think Putin expected this. Russian soldiers occupy some Crimean military bases and government buildings, hold some others under siege. Is anybody actually running the The Autonomous Republic of Crimea at this time?

    This is increasingly looking like a stalemate to me.

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, now we know Obama's solution...

    US to bolster military support to Poland, Baltic
    http://news.yahoo.com/us-bolster-military-support-poland-baltic-162411959.html

    Start looking to possibly maybe repairing the door after the fox is breeding 16K strong in the hen house...

    Gotta love our POTUS.. A rebel without a clue...

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    Russia is trying to provoke a bloody confrontation by Ukraine, Ukraine is wisely not buying in.

    You DO realize that Putin is KGB, right???

    If Putin wants a bloody excuse to smash Ukraine, he'll get it.

    Even if he has to manufacturer it himself..

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M -(40)

    Putin wants to co-pt Ukraine, not smash it. He may have underestimated the difficulty of walking this ridge line. We'll see.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Putin wants to co-pt Ukraine, not smash it.

    Yea, cuz that's the hallmark of KGB, right?? :D

    Putin wants to rebuild the USSR... If he has to smash recalcitrant countries so they toe the line, then that's what he'll do...

    We'll see.

    Yep, we will...

    But the fact that the US is starting to bolster Poland and the Baltic States would indicate how this is going to play out..

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    TheStig wrote:

    We now return to our normal playlist of steaming rhetoric.

    Where is your viable plan not requiring magic wands and/or fairy dust?

  44. [44] 
    YoYoTheAssyrian wrote:

    "But your ignorance of the military and military matters shines thru"

    Uhuh, you can blame Vietnam on the hippies all you want Michale, but the United States failed totally, and that includes the military. And how am I showing ignorance? You keep asserting nonsense with nothing to back yourself up, I actually studied Vietnam, and regardless of political will the United states couldn't achieve strategic goals like stopping northern infiltration. Or setting up a functional democracy in the south, or getting the Vietnamese population to support the American efforts. And this is regardless of American domestic support. You're such a hawk, but time and time again you show yourself to be profoundly ignorant of the consequences, methods and history of American military intervention. I don't need to blame boogeymen, I look at historical fact, and that says the United states waged a poorly executed war in Vietnam with a badly thought out strategy and squandered public support. Which contrary to your beliefs was quite strong until the Politicians and generals in charge of the war were shown to be either incompetent or liars by the Tet offensive.

    No amount of political will can overcome terrible counter-productive strategy and tactics in the field.

    But to bring this back to Ukraine, Unless you're willing to really look at the foreign policy failures of the past, you're bound to repeat the same mistakes. See Iraq/Afghanistan, which have proven to be a powerful piece of political rhetoric to be used against the desires and aims of US foreign policy.

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    But to bring this back to Ukraine, Unless you're willing to really look at the foreign policy failures of the past, you're bound to repeat the same mistakes. See Iraq/Afghanistan, which have proven to be a powerful piece of political rhetoric to be used against the desires and aims of US foreign policy.

    Of course!! How could I be sooo stoopid!!!

    Ukraine is all BUSH's fault!!!!

    Do you people see how utterly around the bend ya have gone???

    Obama and the Democrats are completely and utterly blameless..

    EVERYTHING is the fault of the military or the Republicans or Bush or any combination of the afore...

    It really must be nice to live in your own little world where your chosen ideology is ALWAYS right and ALWAYS good and ALWAYS the best and any other choice is ALWAYS evil and ALWAYS wrong...

    Well, newsflash for ya. Normal everyday Americans can't live in your world..

    We much prefer reality...

    Jeezus, I knew ya'all were delusional, but I never figured ya'all were THAT far gone..

    Ukraine is Bush's fault...

    THAT takes the cake...

    TS,

    Where is your viable plan not requiring magic wands and/or fairy dust?

    Already posted it..

    No magic wands or fairy dust required..

    Just some testicular fortitude and actually CARING about this country and it's citizens..

    But getting Obama and the Democrats to actually CARE about this country and it's citizens??

    Maybe yer right. Maybe a magic wand is necessary for THAT to happen...

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Someone was saying before about a decimated military being "hysterical nonsense"..???

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/03/04/220134/militarys-top-general-offers-grim.html

    Welcome to your United States Military...

    Courtesy of Obama and the Democrats...

    Like I said above. Morale in the US Armed Forces these days stinks.

    Another example of the Left viewing the world how they WANT it to be, rather than how it really is...

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's simply amazing...

    During the Bush years, the President was blamed for EVERYTHING..

    Under the Obama Administration, the President is blamed for NOTHING...

    It's simply uncannily AMAZING.....

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    I came up with a plan to handle Putin and Ukraine..

    "If you have a better plan, now's the time."
    -Admiral James T Kirk, STAR TREK IV, The Voyage Home

    Anyone??? Anyone?? Beuhler???

    {{chiiirrrrppppp}} {{chirrrrrpppppppp}}

    That's what I thought....

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Zbiggy's plan is better, Michale.

  50. [50] 
    dsws wrote:

    Cross-posted from HuffPo:

    To act effectively in such a situation, a country needs to be able to appeal to some sort of principle to make its actions comprehensible and credible to opponents, bystanders, and allies alike.

    I don't mean "principle" in the usual sense: high-sounding expressions of moral sentiment. Rather, I mean a general rule-of-thumb type statement that can be applied to specific cases, sort of how Le Chatelier's principle is a different kind of statement from Boyle's law.

    The principle I propose is as follows: it is inadvisable for anyone to start a war without at least the tacit acceptance of a superpower.

    So we say to China, hey, did you guys ok this? And if China says no, then the two superpowers jointly find a way to swat the offending regional power on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. We don't try to impose some solution. We don't try to take away Russia's regional-power status. We certainly don't do anything that Russia could credibly deter with nuclear threats. We just arrange for Russia to lose face a little, and to be slightly worse off than if it hadn't undertaken the reconquest without consulting at least one superpower.

    China gets its superpower status acknowledged and affirmed. Both superpowers get a precedent set that supports their global influence. The world gets a slightly improved chance of peace. Russia gets to keep its reconquered province, just at a slightly higher cost than it bargained for. No one loses badly enough to fight over.

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Zbiggy's plan is better, Michale.

    Not really.

    His plan requires the co-operation of Putin.

    Mine does not..

    Putin has absolutely NO reason to co-operate...

    dsws,

    The problem with your plan is it rewards aggression... There are no relevant consequences.

    Consequently, Russia knows it can roll into Poland or the Baltics with little to no repercussions..

    Further, what do you do when China says, "Well, we didn't 'OK' it, but we don't have a problem with it."

    Then we're scrooed...

    Think of Russia as a recalcitrant child. If you don't punish bad behavior, then the bad behavior continues and escalates...

    I said the same thing back during the Syria crisis and Ukraine just proved me right...

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya'all just don't seem to want to see it.

    The one thing a POTUS needs when dealing with situations like Syria and Ukraine, the absolutely FIRST and FOREMOST vital ingredient is.....

    Credibility...

    Our opponents MUST know that, if they cross a line, they are going to get smacked down...

    The BEST way to achieve this to smack them down hard when they cross the little lines.

    D.A.D.D.
    Dads Against Daughters Dating
    Shoot the first one and the word will spread

    -Tshirt

    :D

    And that is the problem our country has in Ukraine. We have absolutely ZERO credibility on the world stage.. We let the little shit slide and let scumbag tin-pot dictators get away with crossing a whole buttload of little (and not so little) lines...

    And THAT is exactly why we have Russia in the Ukraine now.

    Because the US has no credibility...

    It's really THAT simple...

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    We don't try to take away Russia's regional-power status. We certainly don't do anything that Russia could credibly deter with nuclear threats. We just arrange for Russia to lose face a little, and to be slightly worse off than if it hadn't undertaken the reconquest without consulting at least one superpower.

    For a group of people who are so adamant that the Cold War is over, ya'all sure are itching to return back to those days....

    I'm just sayin'....

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    dsws wrote:

    Large or small sovereign nations are SOVEREIGN

    I think it's time to ditch that particular fiction. No one is sovereign. No government can act without considering the responses of other governments and of other entities.

    Nor is sovereignty per se a particularly worthy aspiration. Nation-states do not deserve special consideration. People matter. People have inherent moral rights, that should be recognized and protected as legal rights. Any group of people that's organized to act together effectively is pretty much on the same moral ground, a priori, as any other. Principles should be adopted and supported according to what will benefit people, not what will benefit some pre-determined type of institutions.

    Better to have an arrangement where no one loses badly enough to fight over it (but nation-states don't get their supposed due), than to have one where the supposed rights of nation-states are upheld (but people slaughter each other).

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    His plan requires the co-operation of Putin. Mine does not..

    Well, Michale, that's why your plan is suspect. You can't ignore a critical part of the problem.

  56. [56] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, Michale, that's why your plan is suspect. You can't ignore a critical part of the problem.

    On the contrary, it fully addresses the Putin Problem.

    Putin is a Hitler... The ONLY plan that will work is a plan that Putin is not a Party to...

    It's the same reason why the Allies didn't include Hitler in the WWII plans.

    It's the same reason why the US didn't include Saddam in their Desert Storm plans..

    Putin IS the problem.. Period..

    He's a bully.. You bloody the nose of a bully just once and chances are good you'll never have another problem with him...

    Michale

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Remind me how your plan addresses the Putin problem.

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Micahle,

    Not only does your plan ignore Putin, it ignores what is in the best interests of the whole of Europe.

  59. [59] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    [Sorry, Michale!]

  60. [60] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Someone was saying before about a decimated military being "hysterical nonsense"..???

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/03/04/220134/militarys-top-general-offers-grim.html

    Welcome to your United States Military...

    Courtesy of Obama and the Democrats...

    Like I said above. Morale in the US Armed Forces these days stinks.

    Another example of the Left viewing the world how they WANT it to be, rather than how it really is...

    Michale

    You might want to read the article you posted and look in to his actual comments before using "decimated" or placing blame...

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/defense-secretary-hagel-defends-the-pentagons-proposed-budget-and-cuts/2014/03/05/c5c9a002-a480-11e3-84d4-e59b1709222c_story.html

    "Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that even with the cuts, the military would still be able to carry out its missions around the globe, albeit with increased risk."

    Not exactly "decimated".

    Also sounds to me like they are fishing for money with the whole army will be at pre-WWII levels. Ya, if you seriously cook the numbers. Completely ignore that the Air Force as called the Army Air Corps and were part of the Army before WWII as well as that there is a lot more civilian contracts for support and logistics functions than pre-WWII. Then compare army to army only rather than the compete military in 1940 to just the army of today...

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not only does your plan ignore Putin, it ignores what is in the best interests of the whole of Europe.

    It doesn't ignore Putin.

    It makes him irrelevant which is where he belongs.

    As for Europe, do you think being extorted by Russia is in their best interests now???

    Having North America supplant Russia as Europe's trading partner serves Europe's interests FAR better than being extorted by Russia...

    Michale

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    The Russian economy is already jittery over these latest events. The ruble is dropping precariously.

    The West has the ability to push the ruble even lower and force Putin to bow to international will.

    Just like Reagan's masterful moves 20+ years ago forced the USSR to disintegrate, Obama can emulate Reagan and force Russia to step back...

    The only question remains; does Obama have Reagan's will??

    Which is not really a question because evidence clearly shows that Obama is a theoretician.. He is all about theory and lacks any substance or ability to make the hard calls, as Reagan did...

    It's the ONLY plan that provides a short term *AND* long term solution..

    Letting Russia keep the Crimea is tacit approval for Putin to take the rest of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics...

    Appeasement is not a solution. It's simply an engraved invitation for more of the same...

    And the plans laid out to date are nothing more than appeasement..

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

    Even Henry Kissinger is wrong on Ukraine..

    Which is surprising because Kissinger is usually NEVER wrong on anything to do with Foreign Policy..

    Michale

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    OBAMA'S WARNINGS BRUSHED ASIDE BY RUSSIA'S PUTIN
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_RUSSIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-03-07-04-00-33

    That's what happens when you draw red lines, when you issue ultimatums and then ignore any transgressions...

    Your future "warnings" are ignored and/or brushed aside...

    Obama has only himself to blame..

    He is a lame-duck POTUS in every sense of the word...

    Michale

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not even Russia invading Ukraine will keep Obama from taking ANOTHER vacation....

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/07/oh-no-obama-may-have-to-cut-third-vacation-this-year-short-because-of-ukraine/

    Like I said, it's perception....

    And more Americans perceive that Obama is a crappy POTUS than not...

    Michale

  66. [66] 
    dsws wrote:

    Actually, if we just want to make Russia suffer, no matter the cost, we would covertly support a chronic Ukrainian insurgency. Who, a decade or so later, would like us just as well as the ones we supported in Afghanistan.

    It's not a good option, but it beats actually trying to force Russia out of Ukraine. Causing a September Eleventh II is much less bad than causing a World War III.

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    dsws,

    A little dark humour there, eh?

    Yikes!

  68. [68] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Holy Mackerel, 67 comments?

    OK, well, here goes...

    Michale [29] -

    Let me ask YOU a question now...

    Does Obama bear any responsibility or culpability for this situation?

    Exactly as much as Bush bore for Georgia. No more, no less.

    The real difference, to me, is that back then, Democrats put country ahead of partisan politics, and didn't mercilessly dump on Bush for the situation in Georgia. Now? The GOP treats geopolitical politics as just another partisan can to kick around. So much for "politics stops at the water's edge," eh?

    (various) [34-37] Hoo boy, we're getting into Vietnam? Well, then for those of you into nostalgia, I've got some great articles lined up for next week, just had to insert that plug!

    Michale [39] -

    I can quote you Republicans who advocated bolstering the Baltics militarily in the past week. So now that Obama's doing it, it's the wrong thing to do? Talk about Obama Derangement Syndrome... I mean, sheesh...

    Michale [45] -

    I heard a new term last week that seems to apply. Because it's morphed from "ODS" into "Blame Obama First" -- the counter on the right to what they used to call the "Blame America first" knee-jerk reaction on the left.

    Everything is always Obama's fault, obviously, all the time, for any problem encountered.

    [picture rolling of eyes...]

    Michale [51] -

    The US has no way to lead Russia around by the nose, militarily. Will you at least admit that? We didn't have this capability under Bush, and we don't have it now. Fair enough?

    [52] -

    Putin is not a tin-pot anything. He's got nukes.

    dsws [54] -

    There's a Heinlein quote worth inserting here, something along the lines of: "national boundaries are nothing more than where two armies got tired of fighting, at some point in the past."

    Michale [56] -

    Putin is a Hitler

    Careful, there... you're agreeing with Hillary Clinton, you realize, right?

    :-)

    Michale [62] -

    Um, yeah, Reagan was all resolute and all that, and wasn't into appeasement or cutting and running. Except, of course, in Beiruit...

    [63] -

    Actually, I heard an interview with Kissenger and Charlie Rose where Kissenger was actually making a whole bunch of sense. He was essentially saying the same thing I was, as a matter of fact: if Russia takes the Crimea, there is absolutely nothing the US can do about it, militarily. Nothing like a bit of the old realpolitick...

    OK, that's it for this thread...

    -CW

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Exactly as much as Bush bore for Georgia. No more, no less.

    Disagree...

    Bush didn't draw a red line and then ignore it..

    Obama did.. And THAT is why Putin is in the Crimea now...

    So, Obama bears more culpability for Ukraine than Bush does for Georgia..

    if Russia takes the Crimea, there is absolutely nothing the US can do about it, militarily.

    And, as I said, I agree...

    But there is PLENTY that Obama could do about it that would send Putin packing..

    If ONLY he had the balls to do it..

    Michale

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