Michael Cohen at The Guardian:
In the days since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, it has been amateur hour back in Washington.
I don’t mean Barack Obama. He’s doing pretty much everything he can, with what are a very limited set of policy options at his disposal. No, I’m talking about the people who won’t stop weighing in on Obama’s lack of “action” in the Ukraine. Indeed, the sea of foreign policy punditry – already shark-infested – has reached new lows in fear-mongering, exaggerated doom-saying and a stunning inability to place global events in any rational historical context.
This would be a useful moment for Americans to have informed reporters, scholars and leaders explaining a crisis rapidly unfolding half a world away. Instead, we’ve already got all the usual suspect arguments…
What I’d like to know from Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Bolton, and all of the fogbrains at Fox News is what they expect President Obama to do? (Well, I know what McCain and Bolton want to do, and that would require hazmat suits.) Sitting in a TV studio like a potted plant yelling “Do something!” is not a foreign policy.
The thing about a crisis like this is that there is very little that the United States or any outside force can do that would improve the situation, and this kind of macho bullshit just makes these folks look like warmongering fools… which I grant you for some like Mr. Bolton is not that far a hike.
You don’t have to listen to the “do something” crowd. These are the same people who brought you the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other greatest hits. These are armchair “experts” convinced that every international problem is a vital interest of the US; that the maintenance of “credibility” and “strength” is essential, and that any demonstration of “weakness” is a slippery slope to global anarchy and American obsolescence; and that being wrong and/or needlessly alarmist never loses one a seat at the table.
The funny thing is, these are often the same people who bemoan the lack of public support for a more muscular American foreign policy. Gee, I wonder why.
Exactly. It might have something to do with the planes unloading the long boxes at Dover and the stone markers in quiet fields across the country that were made possible because someone decided to “do something.”