Do Republicans really think Russian President Vladimir Putin’s style of leadership is the model that US presidents should aspire to, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Apparently so. At the very least, they are using Putin’s brand of “leadership” as a way to put down the President of the United States, and that should disgust everyone.
There seems to be a meme out there in Republican-land, that the only way to show strength and world leadership is to rattle sabers and make decisions without thinking. To be sufficiently “macho” on the foreign stage, you have to make rash decisions, without thinking about repercussions or results. We used to call that childish; now, it’s apparently “manly.” A meme has overtaken the Republican Talking Points Machine in recent days, suggesting that President Obama is a weak leader, apparently because he hasn’t carpet bombed Russia in response to their incursion into Ukraine. They’re actually implying that, because Putin saw what he wanted and just took it, he’s apparently a great leader.
Check out this, from a recent Rudy Giuliani appearance on Fox Business:
Giuliani: Putin decides what he wants to do and he does it in half a day, right? He decided he had to go to their parliament. He went to their parliament. He got permission in 15 minutes
Neil Cavuto: Well, that was kind of like perfunctory.
Giuliani: But he makes a decision and he executes it, quickly. Then everybody reacts. That’s what you call a leader. President Obama, he’s got to think about it. He’s got to go over it again. He’s got to talk to more people about it.
So, that’s what being a decisive leader means to a Republican, apparently. Making a decision quickly is not the sign of a leader, it’s the sign of a reactionary. Making a quick decision seems more important to Republicans than making a correct decision, which explains why they are so terrible at government. George W. Bush made a lot of quick decisions, and most were bad, because reactionaries do not make great leaders. Leaders think about what they do, consider every every possible outcome and plan for everything. This is why what should have been two quick incursions in Iraq and Afghanistan turned into the two longest wars in US history. Bush planned the invasions of both countries, but had no plan for ending them and pulling out. A great leader would have gone into Afghanistan, taken out al Qaeda as quickly as possible, and gotten out. A great leader wouldn’t have gone into Iraq at all, but if he had, he would have planned on finishing in six weeks and pulling out. (He also would have raised the money to pay for it, instead of putting it all on the credit card for the kids to pay, but that’s another argument.)
Giuliani isn’t the only Republican to sound asinine on this. Lindsey Graham may actually have Rudy 9-11 beat. Sunday, on CNN’s State of the Union, Graham said:
“Well, number one, stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators. It is not your strong suit. Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody’s eyes roll, including mine. We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression. President Obama needs to do something. How about this, suspend Russian membership in the G-8 and the G-20 at least for a year starting right now. And for every day they stay in Crimea, add to the suspension. Do something.”
The first thing you should know is, at the time Graham said that, President Obama had already spoken to the other G8 members and discussed suspending Russia from the group, and the Administration was already considering sanctions. You should also realize that Russia had just sent its troops into Crimea two days earlier when Graham said this. How fast do Republicans imagine we can respond to such actions? This isn’t Star Trek; we can’t teleport Obama to Moscow to confront Putin, and we also can’t teleport U.S. troops into Crimea.
And all of this came before Graham went on Twitter and blamed the situation in the Ukraine on Benghazi, which is doubly funny when you consider that one reason for the Benghazi attack was because Obama helped Libya get rid of its dictator; a guy that Obama’s predecessor seemed to think was a decent guy because he kissed Bush’s ass.
The world is NEVER in a better place when you have a weak, indecisive American president. And Russia is a symptom of that weakness.
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) March 4, 2014
It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. #Ukraine
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) March 4, 2014
Seriously. Republicans’ Benghazi fetish is really bad these days.
Then there’s John McCain. The former Republican standard-bearer appeared at AIPAC right after the Russian incursion and said Russia’s actions were “…the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”
How does anyone “believe in strength”? And when McCain says “strength,” does he in fact mean “might”? I’d also ask what that has to do with what’s happening in the Ukraine. Does anyone but a Republican think that every country on the planet that undergoes an internal dispute should cower in fear at what the United States might do to them if they displease us? Is that supposed to be the primary goal of American foreign policy? Apparently it should be, according to Republicans. Based on their view of things, we’re no longer supposed to be the benevolent big brother who helps to keep his littler brothers safe, we’re supposed to be the big bully, who looms over everyone, threatening them if they don’t do whatever we think they should do.
Republicans think President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is “weak” and “indecisive,” but without his approach, the “Arab Spring” would not be happening, the Iranians would not be negotiating with he rest of the world to end their nuclear program, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would still be ongoing. The precision with which Obama conducts foreign policy is actually breathtaking. It’s why he got rid of bin Laden when the Republicans couldn’t (or didn’t want to), and why Ghadaffy is gone.
“Macho” posturing and declaring that America has the biggest balls is not a basis for foreign policy. And frankly, the effusive praise Republicans are heaping on President Putin, at the same time they denigrate President Obama, is beyond unseemly. It’s disgusting, and it’s part of a pattern of putting the GOP ahead of the country. It’s shameful.