Top Leaderboard, Site wide
September 18, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


A New Way Insurers Are Shifting Costs to the Sick
Climate Action and Economies Can Grow Together




On the Run


Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

Why Romney Is Wrong That Obama’s Syria Policy Emboldened Putin

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Mar 24, 2014

By Juan Cole

  A caricature of Mitt Romney. DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)


This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

On Face the Nation on Sunday, Mitt Romney slammed President Obama’s policies toward Russia as “naive” and called the country a “geopolitical adversary” of the US. He also seemed to suggest that Obama’s Syria policy emboldened Russia.  He said:

“”Well, there’s no question but that the president’s naivete with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia’s intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face. And unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you’re seeing in Syria,” Romney said. “We really need to understand that Russia has very different interests than ours. This is not fantasyland, this is reality where they are a geopolitical adversary. They’re not our enemy, but they are certainly an adversary on the world stage.”

The interview is here:

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

Russia’s actions in Crimea do not make it the chief geopolitical adversary to the US.  Crimea was never a US sphere of influence.

If Romney meant to imply that Obama’s Syria policy emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex Crimea, that is frankly absurd.  Rep. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pointed out that in the wake of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Putin nevertheless sent troops into South Ossetia and peacekeepers into Abkhazia, recognizing them both as independent of Georgia.  He also bombarded Georgia. These events unfolded in March-October of 2008, when George W. Bush was president.  It is unclear that Bush did anything at all about these events, despite talking a good game.  Had Bush encouraged Putin by invading Iraq?

In fact, the Georgia crisis in some ways began with the declaration by Kosovo of independence from Serbia, and this was cited by Putin.  Russia opposed Kosovo independence but then later saw it as a precedent for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

As for Syria, nothing Obama did there would have made any difference to Putin.  If Obama had in fact sent some bombs or drones on Damascus over the chemical weapons issue, it would have done nothing to deter either Syria or Russia. 

But, if there is a principal villain in Obama’s decision to turn to international allies in defusing the crisis, it is the Republican-held House of Representatives, which clearly was going to vote against US intervention.  So it is rich that the GOP standard-bearer should again be attacking a sitting president.

Bush’s non-action during the Georgia crisis is now completely forgotten by the Republicans castigating Obama.

Romney also completely misunderstands Russia’s motives.  From Moscow’s point of view, NATO enlargement was a a kind of Western aggression.  Romney’s advice that we should enlarge and speed up those developments is guaranteed to produce defeats for the US.

—–

Related video:

Reuters:  “Russia consolidates Crimea control” 


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook