March 3, 2014

We had to know former Bush UN ambassador, neocon John Bolton -- who never met a conflict going on in the world that he didn't want the United States to escalate -- wasn't going to let Lindsey Graham and his BFF John McCain have all the fun attacking President Obama for his response to the situation in Ukraine.

Here he is on Fox this Monday, doing just that: Bolton: Putin Wants to Negotiate 'With His Foot on Ukraine's Neck':

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton gave us his reaction to the developments in Ukraine, as Russia reportedly denies that it has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea a 'surrender-or-else' deadline.

Bolton emphasized that Putin sees Ukraine as "the biggest prize" in trying to reassert Russian hegemony over the former Soviet states. He said the invasion by Russian troops into Crimea shows that Putin intends to negotiate with the new government in Kiev "with his foot on Ukraine's neck."

Alisyn Camerota asked what the United States can do now in response. Bolton called on the Obama administration to implement economic sanctions, vote Russia out of the G8, and bring forth a UN Security Council resolution even though Moscow and China would veto it.

But he said in terms of meaningful actions, there's not much President Obama can do. Bolton believes what's happening now is the result of five years of failed foreign policy, accusing Obama of "misunderstanding" the Russians.

"You have to look at foreign policy from a broad, strategic viewpoint. You can't look at it day-to-day," said Bolton.

Camerota actually asked Bolton if the Bush administration bore any responsibility for what's going on now due to the way they handled things when Russia invaded Georgia. Bolton said they did not and laid that in the lap of the Europeans instead for refusing to admit the two countries into NATO. You're never going to see them use the same language criticizing Bush as they're willing to use with President Obama. I'm fairly sure if you'd heard anything even approaching the nastiness we've seen from the right of late when Bush was still in office, they'd have been screaming treason and calling anyone who dared to criticize him unpatriotic.

As Digby noted, this piece by Michael Cohen on Ukraine is a "must read" and he lays out very clearly why we should not be listening to the likes of Graham and Bolton: Don't listen to Obama's Ukraine critics: he's not 'losing' – and it's not his fight:

The ‘do something’ pundits rear their heads. Just like they did on Iraq, Afghanistan and every other crisis of US ‘credibility’

In the days since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Crimea, it has been amateur hour back in Washington.

I don’t mean Barack Obama. He’s doing pretty much everything he can, with what are a very limited set of policy options at his disposal. No, I’m talking about the people who won’t stop weighing in on Obama’s lack of “action” in the Ukraine. Indeed, the sea of foreign policy punditry – already shark-infested – has reached new lows in fear-mongering, exaggerated doom-saying and a stunning inability to place global events in any rational historical context.

This would be a useful moment for Americans to have informed reporters, scholars and leaders explaining a crisis rapidly unfolding half a world away. Instead, we’ve already got all the usual suspect arguments:

Go read the rest but I'll just leave you with what he wrote at the very end of the article:

For Obama and the US, sure, there might be less Russian help on Syria going forward – not that there was much to begin with – and it could perhaps affect negotiations on Iran. But those issues are manageable. Meanwhile, Twitter and the opinion pages and the Sunday shows and too many blog posts that could be informative have been filled with an over-the-top notion: that failure to respond to Russia’s action will weaken America’s credibility with its key allies. To which I would ask: where are they gonna go? If anything, America’s key European allies are likely to fold the quickest, because, you know, gas. And why would any US ally in the Far East want Obama wasting his time on the Crimea anyway?

You don’t have to listen to the “do something” crowd. These are the same people who brought you the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other greatest hits. These are armchair “experts” convinced that every international problem is a vital interest of the US; that the maintenance of “credibility” and “strength” is essential, and that any demonstration of “weakness” is a slippery slope to global anarchy and American obsolescence; and that being wrong and/or needlessly alarmist never loses one a seat at the table.

The funny thing is, these are often the same people who bemoan the lack of public support for a more muscular American foreign policy. Gee, I wonder why.

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