Did it finally happen? Did Barack Obama’s bumbling incompetence actually lead to a decent result for this country?
I’m surprised to say the answer appears to be yes. Obama’s milquetoast response to Vladimir Putin’s bold aggression in the Crimean Peninsula may have made him a laughingstock among Russian leaders. But it’s also reduced the likelihood of U.S. intervention there. And that’s a good thing.
Let’s face it: The United States has absolutely no vital interest at stake in that part the world. What do we care if a majority of citizens in Crimea vote to declare their independence from Ukraine? Or even that they want to become part of Mother Russia? What business is it of ours to tell them they can’t?
Now I’ll grant you, conducting a plebiscite under the watchful eyes of 40,000 Russian troops may lead some to suggest that a little pressure was being exerted on the populace. Was anyone surprised to hear that the proposal to rejoin Russia was approved by a whopping 96 percent of the people who cast ballots? That’s the sort of landslide we’re used to hearing from North Korea or some African dictatorship.
Now, I’m not about to beat the drum for this country to take tougher measures against Russia. The best thing for us to do is to sit this one out. I don’t think we should even provide aid, whether financial or military, to Ukraine.
The House of Representatives doesn’t agree. An emergency measure to give the Ukraine more aid was rushed through by a sizable bipartisan majority. But when the bill reached the Senate, Harry Reid decided to ... send everyone home for a short vacation.
Mmmm, now I find myself agreeing with Reid. Maybe I’d better rethink this.
OK, I did. And I still think what happens in the Crimean Peninsula is not our problem or our responsibility.
But what Obama ended up doing is worse than nothing. In what the President described as a “calibrated” response, he decided to impose economic sanctions on all of 11 people. Obama said the people on the list — seven from Russia and four from Ukraine — had threatened “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” But none of them were the key players in this melodrama. Putin’s chief of staff, his defense minister and his chief intelligence officer were all conspicuous by their absence.
The Russian stock market, which had been falling for the two weeks after Russian troops invaded Crimea, in fear of what sanctions might be imposed on the country, climbed higher when it became apparent how insignificant the U.S. and European response would be.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny even sent out a tweet, declaring: “Obama only delighted all our crooks and encouraged them.” One of the people on the list, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, promptly confirmed this appraisal, when he sent out his own tweet, saying: “It seems to me that some kind of joker wrote the U.S. president’s order.”
It doesn’t sound like they’re taking our President too seriously, does it?
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry has been flying all over Europe and the Mideast, trying to get someone to agree with his “better not do this” brand of bluster. To say that he’s been ineffective would be a compliment.
Kerry stuck his foot squarely in his mouth by lecturing Putin: “You don’t just, in the 21st century, behave in the 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext.”
When I heard this, I wondered how long it would take someone to say: “Oh, yeah? What about Saddam Hussein and all those so-called weapons of mass destruction?” I hope whichever speechwriter was stupid enough to put those words in Kerry’s mouth is now looking for another line of employment.
Or maybe we shouldn’t blame some anonymous scribe for this embarrassing mistake. Maybe Kerry came up with that absurd reprimand all by himself.
Unfortunately, it looks like the situation will continue to escalate. Vice President Joe Biden has flown to Lithuania to reassure countries on Russia’s borders that the United States will stand by them. Since three former Soviet satellites — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — are now members of NATO, we are committed by treaty to come to their rescue if Putin puts his eyes (and his military) on them next.
“We’re in this with you, together,” Biden said. Don’t you wish that weren’t the case?
And of course, the so-called “international community” has to meddle in events as well. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is flying to Russia and the Ukraine, to meet with Putin and other leaders in an effort to resolve things diplomatically. The United Nations is also sending a 34-member “human rights monitoring mission” to Ukraine. And we know how much good such observers have done in the past, in Chechnya, Serbia and other hot spots, from the Mideast to Africa.
How should this conflict be resolved? I like what Pat Buchanan, a longtime Washington observer and ardent America-firster, had to say:
America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter — whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine — no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.
If the people of Eastern Ukraine wish to formalize their historic, cultural and ethnic ties to Russia, and the people of Western Ukraine wish to sever all ties to Moscow and join the European Union, why not settle this politically, diplomatically and democratically, at a ballot box?
Of course, a peaceful, practical solution like this one will never win the approval of the New World Order advocates. There’s never been a tar baby they could resist. And they don’t care how many eggs get broken along the way. The interventionists know there is no better way to increase their control over their own citizens than to focus on the threat posed by some far-off enemy.
It’s time to tell Washington that in regard to Putin’s actions in the Crimean Peninsula, we’re going to mind our own business: no aid, no troops, no interference. That’s what our country’s foreign policy was for the first 150 years of our existence. Wouldn’t it be great to return to it again?
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears weekly. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.