Obama’s tepid response towards a Ukraine on the brink of war seems to be contagious among D.C. politicians wondering how their careers may benefit from the latest international crisis. Busying themselves with yet more financial sanctions against Russia, politicians populate bureaucratic panels, tossing out rhetorical questions focusing on why Russia’s invasion took the Obama administration by surprise. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell observed:
I’m hard-pressed to think of any single place in the world where we’re better off. And it takes you back to the speech that the president made in Cairo in 2009, where he seemed to be questioning American exceptionalism, and the uniqueness of our own country. And he’s acted in such a way, almost amounting to passivity in many instances.
…We seem to be pulling back everywhere. And so it’s no wonder that Putin looks at the United States, and sort of concludes that no matter what he does, he doesn’t pay a price for it.
“Almost” and “sort of.” That’s tough stuff. Must be a midterm year!
At a private fundraiser on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton drew a historical comparison between Hitler and the Russian autocrat. Not ironically, the comparison was quickly condemned by many U.S.-Russian policy experts, including those who worked under her husband’s administration. Responding in true Hillary fashion, the former secretary of State proffered a milquetoast defense as softly suggestive as Mitch McConnell’s gentlemanly insults.
She said she was merely noting parallels between Putin’s claim that he was protecting Russian-speaking minorities in Crimea and Hitler’s moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Europe to protect German minorities.
“I just want people to have a little historic perspective,” Clinton said during a question-and-answer session at UCLA. “I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”