Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wasting Away Again In "BlameBushVille"

MSNBC host Rachael Maddow the other day said Vladimir Putin's aggression toward the Ukraine is George W. Bush's fault.

Referring to her upcoming documentary "Why We Did It," supposedly about circumstances leading to the Iraq War, Maddow told Andrea Mitchell that the Bush administration is largely responsible for the nation's current foreign policies.

“The decisions of our generation on national security are determined more than anything by what the George W. Bush administration did with that nine-year war in Iraq and, alongside it, a 13-year war in Afghanistan that’s still going on," she told Mitchell. "And the American people are against those wars."

“Those are the determinative constraints for our thinking about everything,” she continued, “from Crimea, to Syria, to what the overall size of the U.S. military is.”

Really, Rachael? So Vladimir Putin invading Crimea and threatening a full scale military attack in the Ukraine is Bush's fault? Do you ever come back and visit the real world? Does anyone miss you while you're gone?

Let me enlighten you just a bit - not that you'll learn anything. Unless he is mentally ill (which certainly is possible)  there is no one responsible for Putin's aggressive behavior except Putin himself. Putin was a KGB agent in the former Soviet Union. He liked it. He wants to build Russia back up to the way it was before. The only way to accomplish that is to acquire land, people and, by so doing, power.

Putin has no fear of President Obama. He has no care about President Bush. I don't blame Obama for Putin's actions. But I do blame Obama, at least somewhat, for Putin's complete lack of fear and/or respect for Obama. One of the first things Obama did after taking office was scrub the European Missile Defense Shield. Obama believed if he made nice with Putin, Putin would be his friend. He was wrong.

Putin watched very carefully the events of the Syrian chemical weapons incident. He watched as Obama drew that "red line" and told Syria not to cross it - then watched Obama back down when Syria did just that. Seeing huge opportunity for exploitation of the situation, Putin then stepped in and helped broker a deal, in the process making himself look good and making Obama look weak.

That lesson wasn't lost on Putin. Nor was it the last. He then watched as his friend Iran defied the world's demands to stop enriching uranium and watched as the Obama administration made a another deal that is basically worthless. Putin has no fear of, or respect for Barack Obama or the United States because Obama has shown him nothing to fear or respect. Putin deals in strength and power. Obama likes to talk. Putin doesn't fear talk.

Some people say Bush didn't do anything when Russia invaded Georgia. That's not exactly true. The Bush administration worked up several severe sanctions and had a military response planned just in case. They also sent planes full of supplies to Georgia as a sign of solidarity and support. One thing Bush did not do was talk tough. But since he had already demonstrated his metal in using the American military if necessary, it wasn't necessary.

President Obama did have warning about Putin's possible future aggression - albeit from Republican sources. In 2008, Sarah Palin, the darling of conservatives and evil, vilified bane of liberals, suggested that Obama's election could encourage Putin to one day invade Georgia.

"After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Sen. Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next," Palin said. 

It wasn't exactly a prediction but it came true nonetheless. It's gotta smart when even Sarah Palin gets it right and you get it wrong, huh, Mr. President?

During a debate with Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney was mocked by President Obama for saying that Russia was our greatest geopolitical threat.

President Obama attacked Governor Romney:

"Governor Romney, I'm glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia, in the 1980s, they're now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years.

But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s."

These statements about Al Qaeda interestingly came after Obama had spent most of 2012 telling the American people that Al Qaeda had been decimated and was no longer a real danger.

And Governor Romney responded appropriately and accurately:

"Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe... and I said in the same -- in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I'm not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I'm certainly not going to say to him, I'll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election, he'll get more backbone."

So if President Obama had taken the advice of these two well known Republicans and paid more attention to national security briefings he might have been prepared for this. But his daily security briefings seem to be something he once again is forgoing. They could have given him information that would have allowed him to make a preemptive plea (or demand) of Putin not do do it. He should have been able to tell the world it was coming. He didn't.

Do you get it now, Rachael? Even if you live and work at MSNBC - move out of BlameBushVille and come back to the real world. And bring all of those other Bush haters with you. No matter what Bush may have done during his Presidency, right or wrong, Obama has been President for five long years. He as been President long enough that you really should stop blaming his predecessor for the problems we have today. How long will you continue to live in BlameBushVille? My guess is until there is another Republican President elected. Then you can simply switch the blame to him/her.

*Note: As of 6pm Eastern time yesterday FOX News was reporting that Vladimir Putin had backed off a bit, believed to have been deterred from his hostile invasion of the Ukraine by President Obama's steps toward imposing tough economic and diplomatic sanctions against his country. If this is true then congratulations to President Obama. It doesn't necessarily mean Putin is afraid - more likely worried about what can happen to his already flailing economy. And it doesn't mean he won't regroup and try something else later - maybe with financial backing from China or the Iranian government. But for now Putin blinked. And that's good for the world.

By 9pm that decision seems to have turned around once again. The general consensus now is that Putin has taken Crimea and won't be giving it back. That's probably the truth. We shall see what happens in the next few days.

In the meantime - either way - it's still not Bush's fault.

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