March 23, 2014

Anyone who has had the privilege of reading Driftglass or listen to his and Blue Gal's podcasts knows that David Brooks cannot be bound by the deeply held beliefs he had last week when they directly contradict the ones he deeply holds this week.

But it takes a special kind of denial and lack of self-awareness for David Brooks to justify his war-mongering need to take on Vladimir Putin when one considers his indefatigable cheerleading for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

All you need to do is replace "Putin" with "George W. Bush" and the hypocrisy glows like a beacon:

BROOKS: You know, people might say “Why do we care?” It's far away, the country, you know, we don't know much about it, but Rich alludes to the real problem here, which is we have had a post-Cold War era, which has not been great, but it's been a lot better than the 19th century.

And there are some undergirding factors of that era. The first is, you don't have spheres of influence. Russia can't say we sort of control everything. We control everywhere where our people are.

The second is that you don't go invading other countries. While breaking down the law is complicated, but you don't, you basically have some stability and within the stability you can have global trade, you can have free movement of people. And Putin is this radioactive individual who wants to create history, large ego, large Russian nationalism which he's whipped up all around him.

He is a fundamental threat to this order and so that's why it matters. It matters to the economy. It matters to the way the world conducts itself for a couple of years.

Here's the thing: I fully admit I don't know enough about Ukraine or the Crimean region to really feel comfortable opining on what's going on there. Based on the generic things he says, I suspect that Brooks doesn't know any more than I do. I do know that Crimeans voted to separate themselves from Ukraine and join Russia, so clearly, this is not a black and white issue of Putin invading and occupying a sovereign nation. But I do feel comfortable in saying that if the issue is truly all about making sure that Putin recognizes the US's strength so that he doesn't reignite another Cold War, the Republicans in office and in the punditry might want to reconsider the continual emasculation of President Obama and show a united United States.

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