It's obvious to anyone who's paying attention that Republicans and their media flacks want the U.S. economy -- or at least the economy that the non-rich experience every day -- to continue failing until the GOP controls all of Congress and the White House. This approach seems reasonable to Republican officeholders, party officials, think-tankers, media figures, and donors because they assume that they themselves are immune to the economic malaise -- they live at a rich, rarefied stratum where economic problems simply aren't problems.
But what I'm noticing now is that the right's approach to foreign policy is becoming the same as its approach to the economy. Just as right-wingers want the economy to keep failing so the blame will go to Obama, they also want America to look as weak as possible under Obama so the country will fail in the foreign policy realm.
That's the explanation for what Michael Cohen is struggling to understand here:
... one is hard-pressed to find a single person in Washington who believes the US should send actual American soldiers to Ukraine -- even if Russia truly escalates the crisis and send its troops into Eastern Ukraine.
All of which raises a quite serious and legitimate question: what the hell are we arguing about?
If the US is not prepared to put troops on the ground? If we’re not willing to use military force? If we're content with taking the biggest tool in the US toolbox off the table, then how exactly is the United States supposed to reverse Russia’s seizure of the Crimea? Our vast military capabilities won't mean much to Putin if he knows we aren’t willing to use them.
Here's the dirty little secret of the foreign-policy pundit/expert orgy on what to do about Crimea: the US has at its disposal very few levers with which to change Russia's behavior, at least in the near-term. We can cancel multilateral summits and military training (already done); we can deny visas to Russian officials (just beginning); we can even ramp up bilateral economic sanctions and try to build support among key European allies for a larger, more invasive sanctions regime (under discussion).
But as our long effort to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear ambition reminds us, such steps will take time and diplomatic effort to bring results. They won’t offer the guarantee of a satisfactory result, and they could produce significant economic backlash for US companies -- and, more directly, US allies.
In the end, we're stuck arguing over policy responses that largely dance around the margins, and a situation in which Europe’s actions likely matter more than America's.
And yet here are the lead stories at FoxNews.com, Fox Nation, and Fox News Insider right now:
These folks are clamoring for Obama to do something tougher, but can't manage to make any genuinely useful suggestions. Ed Kilgore says this is a case of "Magical Thinking Run Amok." He adds:
One thing is for certain sure: all the high-volume demands we are hearing from American pundits and Republican politicians that Obama magically change the situation by "standing up" to Putin (without, of course, even contemplating military action) aren't helping. If there were ever a good time for an administration's critics to shut up for a brief while and await further developments -- from the Russians, from the Ukrainians, from the Europeans, and from our own diplomats -- this is it.But that's just the point: the Obama critics don't want to help. They want to do harm.
They're so used to harming the economy and not personally suffering as a result -- and, in fact, gaining electorally (the House in 2010, the Senate probably this year) -- that they seem to believe they can harm America in the foreign-policy realm and not suffer as a result of that, either.
'For them, partisan sabotage doesn't stop at the water's edge.