President Obama is not, apparently, going to be steamrolled into acting as if Russia is the Soviet Union and Ukraine is Czechoslovakia. (Not that we did anything in 1968.)
And I’m grateful for that. Just imagine if that crazed warmonger John McCain was president or even Mitt Romney (although Romney is not unstable so I don’t suggest they are the same).
Instead, we have Obama who seems to understand that the United States is limited in what we can do about Ukraine. And not just logistically either.
We are also limited by the fact that the U.S. has acted precisely the way Russia has dozens of times in the last century alone. Ukraine is on the Russian border. How far are we from Guatemala, El Salavador or Chile? How far away was Iran when we overthrew its government in 1953? How far away is Iraq which we invaded and destroyed or Afghanistan where we provided the arms to put the mujaheddin in power who are now the Taliban, a curse from which that country is unlikely ever to recover?
Not surprisingly, the same people who promoted the Iraq war and now want the U.S. to bomb Iran (or let Israel do it) or pushing for action against Russia. You can call them the neocons or the Kristol-Joe Lieberman-Dershowitz-Krauthammer-Perle-Feith-Peretz gang, who always want us to be tough, lest someday we won’t defend Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. (These guys are all about Israel, nothing else.)
These thoughts were triggered by an article written by an old friend of mine, Jim Sleeper, who I knew from Israel activism days back in the 1960′s. He focuses his ire on one of these neo types in particular, Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic. I don’t read Wieseltier because he is a total gasbag but Sleeper does and lets him have it. Everything he writes about him applies to all these neoconservatives who are always ready to send other peoples kids off to war out of a misguided sense of what is ultimately best for Israel.
Read the whole piece here. It’s great, And here is my favorite part, a reminder of the neocons’ legacy:
…what would Wieseltier have Obama do? “We must mentally arm ourselves against a reality about which we only recently disarmed ourselves: the reality of protracted conflict,” he advises, this time apropos of Russia’s encroachment upon Ukraine. “The lack of preparedness at the White House was not merely a weakness of policy but also a weakness of worldview,” he explains. “The president is too often caught off guard by enmity, and by the nastiness of things. There really is no excuse for being surprised by evil.”
So we must get better at recognizing evil when we see it. Wieseltier anticipated and applauded the preparedness and strong worldview of George W. Bush who, although surprised on 9/11, was never again caught off guard by enmity or evil.
In fact, even as Ground Zero lay smoking only days after 9/11, Wieseltier joined 42 other armchair warriors in delivering prescient strategic and moral advice to Bush in a letter sent Sept. 20, 2001 on the letterhead of William Kristol’s neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC): “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.”
That’s preparedness for you! As I noted several years ago in a longer assessment of Wieseltier’s literary and political modus, this formidable editor and closet neoconservative foreign-policy activist had even prepared himself for preparedness by joining the advisory board of The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a spawn of Kristol’s PNAC and the American Enterprise Institute….
And what is Wieseltier’s legacy?
Outside the Union League Club on Park Avenue in Manhattan I saw 40 or 50 otherwise-fit young men who lacked only legs or arms wheeling or peddling themselves around on a tour of New York City arranged for them by the Veterans Administration and philanthropists. They’re not Vietnam War veterans but children of the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
Wieseltier’s children. Kristol’s children. Krauthammer’s children.
And now these same neocons are demanding we take on Russia? Why in God’s name would anyone pay any attention to anything these miscreants say?
Thank God Obama doesn’t.