Russian President Vladimir Putin sends troops outside Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula threatening to take it over. What is the response from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry? There needs to be a “diplomatic solution.” Then, Putin invades Crimea and annexes it to Russia. Meanwhile, Obama and Kerry still plead for a “diplomatic solution.” Then Putin amasses 80,000 troops outside of Ukraine, threatening to invade the eastern part of that country, and actually sending in nondescript military personnel anyway. The response from Obama and Kerry? That good ole “diplomatic solution,” and “a way out” for Putin. On April 17, Ukraine actually fought back against some Russian rabble-rousers in the Eastern Ukraine, and Putin says he just might have to invade Ukraine to settle things down. The response from Obama and Kerry? Again, we need more diplomacy. Have we not seen this movie before? Yes, we have. Hitler’s Germany in the 1930s and Communist Soviet Union in the 1950s.
Thirty years ago we had a strong president. A man who believed in the U.S., believed in its strength and leadership, and who stood up to the Kremlin until it crumbled. Nearly 30 years ago, President Reagan walked away from then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Iceland Summit. Reagan wanted a better and stronger nuclear arms treaty. Within a year, Gorbachev and the Kremlin caved and agreed to a deal that Reagan liked. In the summer of 1987, Reagan went to Berlin and uttered the famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
In the 1980s, we had strength, vision, clarity, backbone with the likes of Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Today, we have weakness, fecklessness and “tell Putin after the election I will have more flexibility” ignorance from Obama. In the 1980s, we had peace through strength. Today we have a cowering little child all too willing to practice the appeasement philosophy of England’s Neville Chamberlain.
At the risk of being called a “Neocon” (oh no, oh my, I’m a Neocon!), if I were president, when Putin first began mettling in and destabilizing Ukraine, I would have sent 25,000 U.S. troops to Ukraine along with weapons for the Ukraine military. I would also put another 25,000 U. S. troops in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. I then would have a meeting with our NATO allies and provide leadership so that additional NATO forces went into Ukraine and the Baltic States. This would send a very clear message to Putin that his country-conquering escapades will not be tolerated and will not stand. Putin would have no choice but to stand down.
And since Europe fears losing its natural gas it gets from Russia, I would open more federal lands to get our own natural gas out and sell to Europe. This would severely weaken Putin and Russia’s economy while strengthening our own. Already, the economy in North Dakota is booming with an unemployment rate in the 3s. Why is North Dakota’s economy booming? Because of energy. More energy exports also means more revenue to the federal government, which means smaller deficits. So, we get more jobs and more money. Not to mention that we are leading the world again, not shrinking from it.
I fully understand that after Afghanistan and Iraq, this country is war weary; the people are war weary. I also understand that a majority of Americans really aren’t interested in getting involved in the Ukraine or Eastern Europe. The country was not interested in getting involved in the 1930s either; not until Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Americans never really want to get involved in conflicts anywhere, but in most cases we do support a military response when it occurs. It also takes leadership by the president.
Americans were not interested in saving Kuwait’s hide in 1991. President George H.W. Bush was able to galvanize public opinion and when war did break out, the vast majority of American people supported the war effort. It was that way before our involvement in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts.
The United States has always stood up for freedom and democracy. We have always fought against tyranny and oppression. We usually have supported countries against big bullies like Russia and Putin. But it takes some presidential leadership. Some guts. Some character.
While Obama occasionally talks a good game, I never believed that he actually believes in American goodness. American strength. American character. When he looks at the United States of America he sees a generally flawed nation that needs to be changed, corrected, remolded. He sees a country that he had to apologize for, a country that he needed to bow before other world leaders in an effort to make up for our past “misdeeds.”
I also believe that Obama could care less whether Ukraine or any other Eastern European nation remains free or becomes a ward of the Russian empire. I believe that Obama wants to be as flexible as Putin would like him to be.
Last year, Putin saw Obama establish red lines for Syria and its dictator Bashir al-Assad, and then let those red lines repeatedly get crossed with no consequences. Before that, Putin saw an Obama who wanted to “lead from behind” regarding Libya and its strongman dictator Muammar Gadhafi. Putin saw Obama pull all troops out of Iraq without any regard as to what would happen to that country once the U.S. presence was gone. He sees us doing the same thing with Afghanistan.
And in the past couple of months, Obama has set many red lines, or similar to red lines, regarding Russian adventurism. There will be consequences to Russia if it invades Ukraine, Obama repeatedly said. So far, those consequences have been less than a slap in the face. They’ve been a joke. The entire Obama foreign policy has been a joke. An embarrassment. A danger.
So, it seems the United States and Western Europe will let Russia gobble up Ukraine. It’s not a NATO member, after all. However the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are members of NATO. Putin already is stirring the pot there.
I’m constantly told by some, especially Libertarians, that we have no interest in Ukraine, in the Baltic States. It makes no difference to us what Russia does to those countries. But it does, and it should. While we cannot be the world’s policeman all the time, we are the defenders of freedom, liberty, and democracy. Russian adventurism will only lead to problems, just as Hitler’s adventurism did and the eventual Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe.
While I am not a Neocon, I do believe in American exceptionalism. I do believe in our greatness; our power. I do believe in supporting free peoples whenever we can. I do believe in life, liberty, justice and freedom. That is what the U.S. is all about. Too bad we have a president and administration that do not. Too bad we have the weakest, most feckless and most embarrassing president in this country’s history.