Over the past few days, commentators and politicians have expressed dis may over President Obama's restraint in the way he addresses the crisis over Ukraine. Senator Dan Coats and others want trade sanctions against Vladimir Putin's Russia. Others want some sort of military effort. Sarah Palin offered a view, along with a giggle, that President Obama's policy lacks "potency." Sexual innuendo has been a mechanism for comedy since the days of Aristophanes or before. As an expression of belief about military policies, it is troublesome and, perhaps, scary.
Perhaps lessons in history would benefit these people.
1) The United States had the respect and sympathy of the World in late 2001. President George W Bush ordered military forces to attack areas in Afghanistan where people connected to the attacks of 9/11 had trained and from which those sympathetic to the attacks still resided and trained. President Bush II went at the problem with a meat axe, rather than a scalpel, and the United States invaded. Only now are we about---finally---to withdraw from Afghanistan.
2) The respect we might have had from other nations, so as to speak from a higher profile in the present situation, was lost when the United States then invaded Iraq, for no valid reason. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had not supported the 9/11 attackers. Al Quada did not like Saddam Hussein because his government was secular. Oil trumped morality in Dick Cheney's conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
3) We---the United States as a nation---are not in a position, either morally or militarily to engage in military actions against Russia. Putin is an autocrat. He is a dictator in reality, nominally elected to office. We have fought two wars over the past 13 years or so, and violated human rights along the way. Other nations do not respect us. The lack of respect has nothing to do with size of our military forces, or the "potency" with which the former governor of Alaska seems so taken. Lack of respect is derived from others who view hypocrisy when the United States decries the invasion of a country by a much larger country on grounds that are made-up. We have all these military toys. They kill. Our drones carry out killings nearly every day. Putin's actions in Crimea and potentially Ukraine are abhorrent. Our actions in Iraq were also abhorrent.
4) Russia still has nukes. We should not encourage their being unleashed over a confrontation in Ukraine.
5) Invasions of Russia/USSR never have worked. Napoleon learned as much. General George Patton, reincarnated as one of Napoleon's officers, recounted the scenes of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, blood and French corpses on the snow leading back to France. Hitler's tanks reached Moscow's suburbs in December, 1941, and were within sight of the Kremlin before they were forced to retreat. The United States invaded the Soviet Union at the end of World War I. Our effort to derail the overthrow of the Czarist system was not successful. American troops died there in a failed effort few of our people remember.
Swords and rifles are phallic symbols---long and hard, pointed out. We have all this money sunk into and wasted on military hardware. Einstein once said it is impossible to both prepare for and prevent war. Perhaps President Obama would have a better position from which to dissuade Putin's actions were the United States not so recently guilty---yes, guilty---of rights abuses and violation of international concepts of peace.
On Saturday's Show we will discuss Guantanamo Bay, United States imprisonment without trial of individuals there since 2003 or thereabouts. We also shall discuss Russia/Ukraine.