On MSNBC, today, Rachel Maddow dropped a truth bomb on Republicans, and their media lackeys, who are saber rattling and calling for war with Russia.
When you think about the American range of options. I mean there’s all of this sort of chatter in Washington about what how President Obama has to look whether or no he seems muscular or tough, or whether or not he seems weak. Well, that’s all sort of esoteric stuff when you start comparing it to the actual range of options that the United States has.
Obviously, there’s no boots on the ground option here. Even the Ukrainian government is not saying that there is any military option in response to what Russia has done right now.
What else can we do? Well, we can give money to Moldova, and we can give money to Georgia, and we can give money to Ukraine. Part of what turned Ukraine around from its sort of pro-European drift back to Russia was a fifteen billion dollar bribe from Vladamir Putin. If the West, EU, and the U.S. want to start matching that kind of money, it may sort of lead them back in a direction where most of their population wants anyway.
The options that we have can be punitive, but almost nobody believes they are military.
I think Vladimir Putin in the long run doesn’t have many military options beyond Crimea either. But we have to think about what we can do, not just how we want to look, but what are options are, and the saber rattling, I think, in an esoteric way, without talking what we ought to do is less productive than it ought to be.
Maddow’s comments were a direct rebuttal to the Republican hand-wringing and cries that Obama must look tough while doing something. She delivered a comprehensive slam to the Republican war hawks like Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain who seem barely able to contain their desire to escalate the conflict with Russia.
The options of the international community are limited, but they could also be very effective. The oligarchical Russian economy could grind to a halt if the United States and Europe decide to freeze Russian assets. Economic sanctions would do more damage to Putin and his dreams of restored Russian influence than a billion Republican threats of military response.
Sanctions to Russia and economic aid for Ukraine don’t get the Republican blood pumping, but they do require the strong presidential skills of cooperation and coalition building.
Republicans and the media are making the situation worse with their endless posturing and calls for saber rattling. Tough talk is a poor substitute for having a policy that works. Republicans are all about all about appearances, but in this case, actions matter more than words, and the policy path that President Obama is on will do more damage to Putin than all the tough talk that Republicans can muster.