Putin is a caricature, but nobody’s laughing

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Charles Krauthammer’s latest insipid polemic (“The Wages of Weakness”) epitomizes the lengths to which partisan propagandists will go to distort the facts to disingenuously and cynically criticize President Obama’s approach to foreign policy.

When Mitt Romney opined that Russia was “our number one geopolitical foe”, he and   other “neo-con” Republicans (including Senator John McCain and pundit Krauthammer), refused to confront the logical budgetary and fiscal policy implications of that premise.

American power to influence world events (whether in Georgia, Syria, and/or Ukraine) derives – not from any self-proclaimed “exceptionalism” – but from a vibrant economic engine that generates sufficient revenues to sustain both a broadly attainable “American Dream” and military capabilities sufficient to deter aggression, but whose judicious use demonstrates moral leadership and allegiance to long-established international norms.

Saber-rattling critics like Krauthammer still advocate the same economic policies that tripled our National Debt under the hapless Republican President Reagan, and doubled it again under clueless George Bush – who squandered a budget surplus and trillions more by concurrently initiating two unfunded wars while (over McCain’s objections) enacting massive tax cuts, and who irreparably damaged our international reputation by endorsing policies of “preemptive” invasion and “torture”.  Since then, Republicans have imposed mindless cuts on the defense budget, and are still obstructing economic recovery and reneging on their commitments to veterans. 
Thus, it is “puzzling” that—while Krauthammer asserts that “[t]here is no U.S. financial emergency, no budgetary collapse.  Obama declares an end to austerity — for every government department except the military” – “Teapublicans” (including Scott Tipton) insist that the ongoing “financial emergency” (the debt) demands more austerity rather than more revenue, while conveniently ignoring the fact that President Obama’s budget increases military spending above Republican-imposed “sequestration” levels.

Therefore, Republicans are indisputably to blame for Putin’s perception of American “weakness” – and accountable for its consequences.

The Daily Sentinel’s timely editorial – “Putin is a caricature, but nobody’s laughing” – understates the threat posed to a substantially disarmed Europe and our own national security by Russia’s resort to armed subterfuge in the Crimea.

A Pew poll released last week found that 67% of Americans approve of Hillary Clinton’s job performance as Secretary of State – and that 59% of those polled (regardless of party affiliation) expressed at least “some chance” of voting for her for President in 2016.

Thus, despite the scandalously disingenuous Republican demagoguery that scurrilously seeks to sully her with Bill’s peccadilloes and dishonestly blame her for the tragedy of Benghazi, Hillary remains Republicans’ “worst nightmare” and Democrats’ “best hope”.

Moreover, recent events in Ukraine reinforce the significance of her bona fide foreign policy credentials – in contrast to the flag-waving, saber-rattling clowns already seeking the Republican nomination in 2016.

Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to President Barack Obama because he had early-on and consistently opposed the invasion of Iraq, while Hillary (and Senator – now Secretary of State—John Kerry) voted for the resolution that enabled Republican President George Bush (and/or VP Dick Cheney) to initiate the War to Liberate Iraqi Oil.

Last week, Clinton described Putin’s recent behavior as reminiscent of the 1930s – when Hitler fabricated tales of oppressed German minorities in Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) and Poland to justify territorial expansion – and former chess champion Gary Kasparov opined that an “irrational” Putin will not be satisfied with just the Crimea.

Anti-tax “Teapublicans”, Libertarian isolationists (like Senator Rand Paul), and ardently anti-war Liberals alike should heed those warnings, and not naively discount the lessons of history (even if they seem less plausible today) – and be prepared to resist aggression.

Republican President Reagan was willing to spend “whatever it took” to precipitate the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Democrats should demand that America’s “1%” and tax-evading corporations pay “whatever it takes” to both revitalize our economy and adequately equip the young men/women of the “47%” who volunteer to defend them.

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