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Putin and Obama’s ‘Weakness’

Now that the Ukraine has blown up and Putin has sent troops into Crimea, the right is having a grand old time blaming it all on Obama being “weak” on foreign policy and thus making Putin feel “emboldened” that he could do it. Sarah Palin is even claiming to be a prophet, with Fox News pushing that idea far and wide:

Palin said then:

“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”…

Starnes: I just finished chatting with Sarah Palin. Here’s a comment she asked me to share exclusively with you folks:

“Back in 2008, I accurately predicted the possibility of Putin feeling emboldened to invade Ukraine because I could see what kind of leader Barack Obama would be. The bullies of the world are always emboldened by indecision and moral equivalence. We can expect more of this sort of thing in a world where America is gutting its military and ‘leading from behind.’”

This is just an idiotic talking point. It’s been known for a long time that Putin would love to get his hands on Ukraine. The man who was just overthrown was his hand-picked puppet. What none of these people have explained is what precisely they would have done differently that would not have “emboldened” Putin. John McCain thinks we should go to war over it, but he thinks we should go to war over everything. It’s like they never outgrew being a 13 year old bully, where posing as the tough guy was the ultimate social currency.

And the idea that we’re “gutting our military” is even more idiotic. We spent about 10 times more on defense than Russia, for crying out loud. If we wanted to, we could launch a full scale war and have a huge advantage over them in conventional weapons. But they also have nukes. Could any reasonable person think it’s a good idea for us to go to war with another nuclear power over control of their neighbor that we have no real interest in? Not just no, but fuck no.

Comments

  1. sh3baproject says

    one moment they praise putin for defending “traditional famliy values”,but the next moment they critize putin for warmongering. its a legit reason to critize putin for,just explained awfully by connecting things that arent there.

  2. karmacat says

    I wish someone would challenge McCain and ask him: 1. How much does he think it will cost to go to war in Ukraine. 2. How many lives will be lost. 3. How long does he think it will take 4. What will happen after the US leaves. He obviously has not paid attention to the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. Have these people even talked to the US military. Obviously, there is so much narcissism because they think they know better than military leaders. And most journalists are pathetic letting them spout off crap without any challenges.

  3. cptdoom says

    I don’t understand why the Right is mad at Putin anyway. He simply invaded a sovereign nation that posed no real military threat to his own country, on fabricated pretenses, in order to prove what a tough guy he is and perhaps exploit a few resources he otherwise wouldn’t control. I thought that was their model of Presidency.

  4. says

    After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence…

    Citation fucking required. (And if Obama was still a Senator at the time, that means someone else was President. Who was that someone else, and how did HE respond to the Russian invasion of Georgia?)

    And the idea that we’re “gutting our military” is even more idiotic.

    No, the Republicans gutted it by exhausting it in two incompetent wars (one of them totally unnecessary); and then by refusing to raise enough revenue to replenish it.

  5. eric says

    @7 – other than calling Putin a ‘bully,’ there is nothing in Palin’s speech really against him. Her focus is solely on complaining about Obama.

    @3 – To give the media some credit, Eric Shinseki did get quite a bit of media coverage when he disagreed with Bush’s figures. So the media does cover it when the military comes up with higher estimates than some admnistration representative. I think the situation now is not that the media is ignoring the Shinsekis of 2014, it’s that military personnel have seen how Shinseki was treated and decided they don’t want to dispute their political leaders in public any more. They are not apathetic about telling the contrary story when a military leader gives one; there is simply no contrary public story (from military leadership) to present.

  6. says

    As for “moral equivalence,” please refresh my memory — which party’s morality is more in line with Putin’s recent agenda?

  7. Alverant says

    At least the President is acting like a parent and not like a spoiled brat like Putin and the tea baggers.

  8. says

    Look, I think we can agree that whatever Obama does, even if he does the opposite or does nothing at all, will be wrong. That’s just common sense.

  9. raven says

    And the idea that we’re “gutting our military” is even more idiotic.

    No, the Republicans gutted it by exhausting it in two incompetent wars (one of them totally unnecessary); and then by refusing to raise enough revenue to replenish it.

    True.

    Bush made us weaker militarily rather than stronger. Besides exhausting the military:

    We are now suffering from Vietnam War Syndrome. After a lot of money and lives are spent on wars for nothing, the US public gets tired of war and they do vote and ultimately control the government.

    Not all wars are equally stupid. Even if we have a legitimate defense need, it makes it much harder to have another war. VWS is curable but it takes a generation or two until people forget.

  10. says

    There is so much that bothers me about the whole “Putin invaded Ukraine because Obama is weak,” argument.

    First, it assumes that anyone somehow believes it the US’s obligation to have prevented it. But Russia has no reason to believe the US would intervene militarily, no matter who was president.

    Second, what would a “strong” president do? Go to war with Russia in their own back yard? Over Crimea? We’re not talking about an incompetently led third-world military here, like we’ve been used to trouncing in recent decades. War with Russia would be serious and exceedingly painful business. Nobody but a raging psychopath would be a “strong enough” president to order that, and if Congress condoned it they would all deserve to be run out of office.

  11. raven says

    Could any reasonable person think it’s a good idea for us to go to war with another nuclear power over control of their neighbor that we have no real interest in? Not just no, but fuck no.

    That would be suicide and/or we would lose anyway. Our supply lines are 5,000 miles. Russia shares a long border with the Ukraine.

    1. My solution (not being too serious here), would be to go to war with Russia over control of Afghanistan. We’ve already done that once by proxy. And then “lose” in the first 15 minutes. Let them occupy Afghanistan for a few decades instead of us.

    2. Or we could just invade Cuba. After all, it is geopolitically important and right next to the USA.

    The usual problem. Cuba is so poor and run down that it would be a money drain for decades.

  12. dingojack says

    somnus – ” We’re not talking about an incompetently led third-world military here, like we’ve been used to trouncing in recent decades.”

    Uh, I think you’ll find that was actually a John Wayne movie.

    Dingo

  13. raven says

    Putin, McCain, the Chickenhawks of the GOP miss an important point IMO.

    1. What makes a nation great these days isn’t the ability to throw some poorly armed, third world country against the wall and beat them up.

    2. It’s how well their citizens live their lives and in what direction their country is going, up or down. Rather than who has the most tanks, who has the most space probes. Who lives the longest and drinks the least?

    (Or maybe I’m just having a flashback to the 70′s)

  14. John Pieret says

    What none of these people have explained is what precisely they would have done differently

    They wouldn’t have been black centrist Democrats, silly!

  15. coffeehound says

    “Back in 2008, I accurately predicted the possibility of Putin feeling emboldened to invade Ukraine because I could see what kind of leader Barack Obama would be.

    By mindlessly repeating the same meme used by every Republican against every Democrat since the 60′s during an election year (weak on Russia, no foreign policy chops, etc, etc)? Even if you accept this (and you shouldn’t) she’s shown no acumen to predict anything else ever and should be seen as nothing more than a broken and very stupid clock.

  16. dingojack says

    Aw she only predicted this ’cause she can Russia from her house!
    Dingo
    ——–
    No doubt she has just ‘remembered’ her ‘spooky’ prediction, way back in 1978 when talking to her favourite Barbie doll, that a plane would crash into a skyscraper in NY in 2001. @@

  17. says

    Regarding Putin’s invasion of Georgia, some wingnut in a comment thread I was reading blamed Barney Frank because the policies he pushed tanked our economy, which emboldened Putin to take aggressive action. Simply amazing.

  18. busterggi says

    “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence,”

    Wasn’t there a Republican somewhere in DC back then, around the White House maybe or in Congress?

  19. raven says

    You all are dancing around the Russian invasion of Geogian South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    It was during August, 2008 and George Bush was president.

    The USA lost South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merril Lynch, Washington Mutual, and a bunch of other assets during his Catastrophe.

  20. says

    dingojack – “Uh, I think you’ll find that was actually a John Wayne movie.
    Dingo”

    Lest I give the wrong impression, I was referring to the engagements with the formal militaries of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, which there is little doubt we steamrolled quite handily. Obviously, that’s not all there was to the actual conflicts in either if those countries, and just as obviously we didn’t fare nearly as well against the informal forces.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people still seem to think the “beating up the opponent’s formal military” is the only important part of the conflict. I was just pointing out that in a war with Russia, that phase of the conflict will not go anywhere near as well as they’re used to seeing.

  21. says

    busterggi “Wasn’t there a Republican somewhere in DC back then, around the White House maybe or in Congress?”
    Nope. Obama is such an egocentric tyrant that neither history, facts nor even time itself can prevent everything from being his fault.

  22. says

    “After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”…

    Oh for fuck’s sake, that happened on George W. Bush’s watch.

  23. JustaTech says

    “Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die:
    Into the valley of Death
      Rode the six hundred.”

    I’m not saying that the blunders of the British army are ours to repeat, but…

  24. says

    Modus @20. “… there’s Mississippi.”

    Oh, snap!

    That’s one of your best. I’m surprised you haven’t declared bankruptcy from having to replace so many keyboards!

  25. dingojack says

    Somnus, JustaTech –

    “c’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre ” – Marshal Pierre Bosquet

    Dingo

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