Posted: 03/02/14 17:46, Edited: 03/02/14 17:46
by Dave Mindeman
I couldn't help but notice something that Secretary John Kerry said this morning on Meet the Press...
"You just don't invade a sovereign country on trumped up charges to assert your own interests..."
I'm not sure he got the irony, but essentially, the US has lost the high ground compass on the political argument here.
Putin has a Cold War mentality and he longs to reunite much of the Old Soviet Union. In addition, the Crimea is home to a strategic Russian naval base.
None of that makes what he has done acceptable as "national interest", but governments have used less to justify their actions.
The whole Ukraine situation has plenty of complications. The deposed leader WAS democratically elected. Russian will use that as a talking point. He was removed from power in an arguably undemocratic way - almost resembling a coup. Was it justified? You probably won't find much agreement on that. But Russia's use of force to intervene is still an unacceptable international norm and western protests must focus on that.
Obama has some hard decisions to make. But even before he has begun to deliberate, the GOP is, AGAIN, using a foreign policy crisis as a means to score political points. Obama will be wrong (to them) on whatever he chooses to do. And that will also weaken what he does. Republicans desperately want to return to being the party of strong foreign policy. Allowing Obama to make decisions unchallenged is no longer allowed - from their point of view.
John McCain and Lindsay Graham always want to opt for intervention. I shudder to think how many conflicts we would be managing right now if McCain had been elected in 2008. This nation is war weary and while sabre rattling may be good for the ego, it will only lead to more tension we are not prepared to back up.
President Obama doesn't have many good options, but I suspect he will deliberate on all of them very carefully and make the proper decision. He is not quick to war - he doesn't force adversaries into corners.
He will take the best action in our best interest. He will have to ignore the critics with political motives - good Presidents do.