The criticism of President Obama’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine crisis of 2014 ignores the Russia-Georgia crisis of 2008.
Six years ago, Russian dictator/president Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia, another one of those former Soviet satellite states. The U.S. president at the time, George W. Bush, let it happen. What could President Bush to stop Putin? Nothing. What should he have done? Go to war? That’s a tough call, given that the United States was already involved in two shooting wars at the time, Iraq and Afghanistan.
I’m left to wonder: Where was the criticism from the right back then? It was silent.
Move forward to the present day. Russian troops are sitting in Crimea, a region of Ukraine. There might be more military involvement from Russia, which is nervous over the ouster of pro-Russia president by insurgents in Ukraine.
What’s President Obama supposed to do? What can he do? Does he go to war with Russia? Well, of course not.
Yet the criticism is pouring in from the right, from the likes of Sen. John McCain, former defense boss Donald Rumsfeld, former half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, every right-wing talking head this side of Sean Hannity. They’re all bemoaning the “invasion” of Russian troops of a sovereign country, Ukraine.
Oh, but wait. Didn’t this country invade a sovereign country, Iraq, in March 2003 because — we were told — the late dictator Saddam Hussein had this big cache of chemical weapons?
President Bush told us once that he peered into Putin’s “soul” and saw a man of commitment and integrity. Well, that soul also belongs to a former head of the KGB, the former Soviet spy agency.
I’m thinking another key Republican, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, has it right. He’s telling his fellow GOPers to tone down the criticism while the president tries — along with our allies — to manage a dangerous crisis.