The idiotic craving for hunky heroism never ends:
Scarborough: Putin Wouldn't Have Invaded Ukraine With Bush as President (in 2004)Um, this is what Putin was up to in 2004:
After agreeing that President Barack Obama had failed to demonstrate consequences for aggression in Syria, a Morning Joe panel comprising host Joe Scarborough, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wondered whether forceful actions like the Iraq War had proved a better deterrent against foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin, or whether Putin was in fact taking advantage of America's post-Iraq exhaustion with war.
"The question is, would Putin have made this move, say, in 2004, 2005 with George W. Bush president? Would he have believed he could have move with impunity then, the way he did, against Bush?" Scarborough asked.
From the edges of a new Europe to the Caucasus to Central Asia, Mr. Putin is wielding Russia's considerable resources - and his personal clout - to keep ... countries in what Russians call the "near abroad" under the sway, if not outright domination, of the Kremlin.Putin also meddled in that year's elections in -- wait for it -- Ukraine, where he campaigned on behalf of (yes) Viktor Yanukovych, and would have gotten Yanukovych elected were it not for Ukrainian and international outrage at the suspect election results.
He has used Russia's economic levers - above all, its oil and gas, often sold at discounts - to bind its neighbors into an ever tighter dependency. He has countered the American military buildup in Central Asia that followed the Sept. 11 attacks with a buildup of Russian forces in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
In Moldova and Georgia, Russia has openly abetted separatist regions by refusing to keep its commitments to withdraw its troops. In Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, it has also granted Russian citizenship to thousands who, technically, are citizens of other countries, an act that makes them candidates for the special attention of Kremlin diplomacy....
In Poland, a former Soviet satellite, a scandal has erupted over allegations of bribery and espionage involving a Russian agent and the country's largest oil company. "We are facing a restoration of the Russian empire through economic means," Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, the former chief of intelligence, told a parliamentary inquiry last month.
But back at the Scarborough panel, Jeffrey Goldberg thinks JoeScar's idea is right but his timeline is a bit off -- the U.S. didn't seem to be winning the penis-shaking contest in 2004 and 2005, but in 2003, I tell ya, we were cocks of the walk:
"In 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, the Iranians froze their nuclear program because they thought they were next. By 2004 and 2005, they saw America get bogged down in Iraq -- because of terrible planning, among other things -- and decided to restart and walked away from the nuclear negotiations."And thus we see the sheer idiocy of this kind of speculation. Scarborough is desperate to pinpoint a manly-man-astride-a-white-horse moment, and what's the moment Goldberg comes up with? A moment just before the entire Iraq adventure collapsed in a pathetic heap of rubble. A moment of world-historic overreach. (Putin, who's alienating the West and damaging his nation's economy even as he's stirring the loins of the Morning Joe panel, may be at a similar point himself right now.)
That's the thing about posturing manly heroes: their heroism is often just a posture, and their "bold" "leadership" often turns out to be a disaster.