Posts Tagged Crimea

Crimea conundrum

It’s Friday, which means conservatives are decrying President Barack Obama for harming the country.

Actually, they do that every day.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea has made the President for accusations that he is weak from, among others Senator John McCain and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Obama has already called for sanctions, and is working with European nations to present a united diplomatic front in the face of Russia’s aggression.

Yet some seem to think more drastic action is necessary. The question is: what kind of action?

If the recent history of Republican foreign policy is any indication, the American people probably won’t like where they want to go.

Prominent conservatives can call Obama all the names they want, but their record is far from laudable.

The war in Afghanistan is just winding down, and I’m pretty sure Obama didn’t start it.

Neutralizing Al Qaeda was a legitimate military goal, but the Bush Administration allowed its military adventure in Central Asia to drag on through its two terms without making any serious attempt to end it.

That’s an example of gross foreign-policy incompetence. It’s a testament to this country’s short memory and political partisanship that one of the main architects of the bungled Afghan war is still considered a credible source for criticism of the current President.

In general, the kick-ass-because-America method of military intervention rarely produces the desired results. Did we ever find those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Even smaller-scale interventions tend to become massive embarrassments. Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Granada wasted resources and accomplished nothing, while his support of the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua set the stage for one of the biggest scandals in American presidential history.

These types of interventions only succeed if there is a clear goal, and there really isn’t one here.

Yes, Putin’s annexation of Crimea violates the sovereignty of Ukraine. However, the U.S. doesn’t have a clear interest here, which makes choosing a course of action difficult.

There’s no physical U.S. presence to be defended, or concrete issues to serve as bargaining chips. The U.S. wants Russia out of Crimea simply to maintain the international balance of power, and because it’s the right thing to do.

Would it be worth going to war with Russia over a piece of land that most Americans probably can’t locate on a map?

I’d wager most people would answer “no,” but subjectively, diplomatic solutions like sanctions seem inadequate with Russian troops walking the streets of Sevastopol.

That’s where the conservatives come in. They’re always looking for opportunities to bash the President, and people’s confused feelings about Crimea have created the perfect opportunity.

So, yes, Crimea is a problem that needs to be dealt with. But blaming Obama isn’t a solution.

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