Sunday, March 2, 2014

GOPers, shut up about Ukraine

Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Marco Rubio have all shot off their mouths about the Ukraine situation.

Graham: "Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody's eyes roll, including mine. We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression. President Obama needs to do something."

Yeah, because Russia would never have invaded a nation on its border whose leader was just deposed and which was on the verge of establishing closer ties to Europe (and which, in the past, has made noises about wanting to join NATO) if Obama hadn't made a weak-tea threat against Putin.


Putin has made it clear many times he wants to restore the role of Russia, that means the near abroad ... and Ukraine is the crown jewel of that. So when Putin sees the President of the United States say, "We're going to act if they cross a red line" and we don't, and when he sees the President of the United States saying, "Tell Vladimir that when I'm reelected I'm going to be more flexible", when we are pushing the "reset" button, I think that Vladimir Putin, being the old KGB apparatchik that he is, does not have a belief that the penalty for this behavior will be very severe.
Earlier in this interview McCain also mentioned Putin taking advantage of what McCain called "the decline of the United States", demonstrated by, among other things, American reaction to Russian aggression against Georgia. What McCain left out is that the Georgian crisis occurred in 2008 on George W. Bush's watch.

In any case, McCain, like Graham, is hopelessly hung up on so-called perceptions of American weakness and how those perceptions govern world affairs. This perception of American decline, and the panic that arises from it, makes us a more dangerous nation as it encourages our elected leaders to see menace in every shadow. Ironically, it's also exactly the sort of wounded pride that fuels Russian nationalism.

Like many hawkish conservatives, McCain can't imagine that stuff happens in the world that has no relationship to the U.S. Putin didn't care what Bush thought in 2008 and he doesn't care (except for propaganda purposes) what Obama thinks now. Putin and the Russian government perceived Georgian unrest to be problematic for Russia in 2008 and they perceive Ukrainian unrest to be problematic for Russia today.

Then there was this McCainism in Time before Russian troops entered Crimea:

In response to reports of a Russian takeover in parts of Crimea, Arizona Senator John McCain said on Friday, “We are all Ukrainians.”...
Um, no we're not, John. Nor are we all Ugandans in spite of that nation's horrible new antigay law, nor Venezualans in spite of that nation's unrest against its elected leader, nor Syrians in spite of the horrific massacres in its civil war, nor ...

Rubio: "We know that the Russians have basically violated every major treaty they’ve ever entered into. We’ve seen how they’ve basically lied. Let’s call it what it is. They are lying and this government is a government of liars, the Russian government."

And we all know Russia's the only nation that has ever lied and broken a treaty. You should read a history book or two, Senator.

What these politicians' statements have in common are bellicosity and emptyheadedness. Even considering that these statements are really mile markers for the 2014 and 2016 elections, the impression they leave is just ... sad.

GOPers, do us all a favor: just shut up. I don't think you're morons ... but you sure as hell sound like that on Ukraine.

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