Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, March 1st, 2014.


Crimea

Obama Administration

The New York Times is reporting that Russia has seized Crimea, and the usual armchair warriors are thumping their chests and declaring that this must not stand. Exactly what the United States is supposed to do about it, short of declaring war on Russia, is not entirely clear.

Mr. Obama is under bipartisan pressure to take action to stop Mr. Putin. A dozen senators from both parties wrote him a letter Friday arguing that “the U.S. should make use of the tools at its disposal,” including targeted sanctions and asset seizure.

“Now is the time for U.S. leadership,” said one of those senators, Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “The U.S. and the European Union should take meaningful measures to demonstrate to the Russian government that military action against Ukraine is intolerable and will carry significant consequences for Moscow.”

None of the senators, however, outlined ideas not already on the table in the Situation Room. And besides, Mr. Obama needs Russian support in the midst of critical talks over Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear program.

“What can we do?” asked Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institution scholar who was the government’s top intelligence officer on Russia during the Georgia war when Mr. Putin deflected Western agitation. “We’ll talk about sanctions. We’ll talk about red lines. We’ll basically drive ourselves into a frenzy. And he’ll stand back and just watch it. He just knows that none of the rest of us want a war.”

Yeah, pretty much. But from now until the 2016 elections, and beyond, Republicans will be giving themselves bruises with all the chest thumping. It’s so cheap and easy to strike strong and resolute poses and make declarations about “leadership” when you actually can’t do anything.

Oh, wait, Congress actually does have the power to declare war, doesn’t it? So if they’re so keen to go to war, just tell them to write up a freakin’ war resolution and put it up for a vote. Take a stand, why dontcha?

On the other end of the scale, there are a few whackjobs out there who seriously believe President Obama somehow enticed Russia to attack Ukraine so he can start a thermonuclear war. See also this guy, but be warned there’s an automatic video that will play whether you want it to or not.

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Just Sing and Dance

blogging

This was something I needed to see this morning, and I thought some of you might need to see it, too.

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