In an editorial today, the Washington Post catches up to Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Both Republicans warned that Russia would become a major foreign policy difficulty for the United States. Obama dismissed both. The media for the most part joined in and mocked them too.
The White House often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple.
But it’s also true that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.
As Mr. Putin ponders whether to advance further — into eastern Ukraine, say — he will measure the seriousness of U.S. and allied actions, not their statements. China, pondering its next steps in the East China Sea, will do the same. Sadly, that’s the nature of the century we’re living in.
The Post published its editorial before China made its position known. No one should be surprised that China is siding with Russia. China has interests in Asia and off the coasts that it wants to advance, but the United States and our alliances stand in the way. China is paying close attention to Barack Obama’s actions on Ukraine, or lack thereof.
For all the talk of a “new economy,” nations still need fuel, raw materials, access to ports, and the ability to impose their will on occasion. Obama either still doesn’t understand, or he does but doesn’t deem America’s interests as worth advancing.
More fantasy: Kerry says Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”
“That’s not the act of somebody who’s strong, “ Kerry added, saying Putin is acting out of “weakness” and “desperation.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” Kerry called Putin’s move a “brazen act of aggression” and raised the possibility that allied nations would move to kick Russia out of the Group of 8 in addition to boycotting the G8 summit in Sochi this summer.
“It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century that really puts into question Russia’s capacity to be in the G8,” Kerry said.