Former Bush UN Ambassador John Bolton told CPAC that America’s “biggest national security problem is Barack Obama.”
Back when folks started receiving cancellation notices because their health insurance policies didn’t meet Obamacare’s minimum standards, Fox News went on and on about how wonderful these plans were and what an outrage it was that people couldn’t keep them, even though these plans often didn’t cover things like, oh, hospitalization and had very low annual and lifetime caps. These plans were cheap for a reason — the coverage was minimal.
Now that President Obama has said people can keep these plans for anther two years beyond the initial one-year extension, all of a sudden Fox News is calling them “junk.”
The Crimean Parliament has voted to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia. They plan a referendum on the issue for their citizens on March 16. Will the rest of Russia-leaning eastern Ukraine follow suit?
If Ukraine splits up, it might be easier for them to move forward. Since independence from the Soviet Union, they have been torn by those who want to look east and those who want to look west and have been somewhat immobilized.
Ukraine’s biggest problem is its horrific corruption and dominance by oligarchs, who function as feudal lords. If the western part splits off and joins Europe, they will have a chance of reducing that corruption to, say, Italian or Greek or New Jersey levels. The eastern part will remain a mini-Russia, a kleptocracy.
The big takeaway here, people, is that if you have nuclear weapons, don’t ever give them up for a meaningless piece of paper (that joke of a Budapest Memorandum).
On a more serious note, my main sentiment is that when the Soviet Union broke up, Russia’s power and prestige hit rock bottom and had nowhere to go but up. So I see Putin’s actions in the Crimea, like his actions in Georgia in 2008, as a “reversion to the mean.”
He knows he’s not going to get his whole empire of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact back, but he also knows he can get something without having to fight. Taking Crimea is a slam dunk, as taking the rest of eastern Ukraine probably is. Heading into western Ukraine means he’d have to fight the locals, who’d have help from us, and occupy them. Heading into Poland means he’d have to fight NATO. I doubt Putin’s eyes are bigger than his tummy.
Of all the aggressive actions Putin could take, I see the Crimea as the most logical and least threatening to our interests. If you did a word cloud for Russia, “warm water port” would appear very prominently. Of all the world’s territory technically outside Russia right now, I can’t think of anything more deeply tied to them, more arguably theirs, than the Crimea.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie told CPAC, “We have to stop letting the media define who we are and what we stand for.”
No, actually, Chris, the media are simply revealing who you are and what you stand for. You’ve already defined yourself.
Wonder if CPAC will have him back next year when he’s the former governor?
“President Obama is such a weak strongman. What’s more, he is a feeble dictator and a timid tyrant.
“That, at any rate, is Republicans’ critique of him. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Obama’s critics pivoted seamlessly from complaining about his overreach to fretting that he is being too cautious. Call it Operation Oxymoron.”
Dana Milbank, “Obama, the feckless tyrant,” WaPo
The GOP has been behaving as shamelessly and disingenuously as Putin in all this.
“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.
“But this crisis is Putin’s Waterloo, not ours.
“Which brings us to perhaps the most bizarre element of watching the Crimean situation unfold through a US-centric lens: the iron-clad certainty of the pundit class that Putin is winning and Obama is losing. The exact opposite is true.
“Putin has initiated a conflict that will…result in greater diplomatic and political isolation as well as the potential for economic sanction. He’s compounded his loss of a key ally in Kiev by further enflaming Ukrainian nationalism, and his provocations could have a cascading effect in Europe by pushing countries that rely on Russian’s natural gas exports to look elsewhere for their energy needs. Putin is the leader of a country with a weak military, an under-performing economy and a host of social, environmental and health-related challenges. Seizing the Crimea will only make the problems facing Russia that much greater.”
Michael Cohen, “Don’t listen to Obama’s Ukraine critics: he’s not ‘losing’ — and it’s not his fight,” The Guardian
So Kerry Kennedy, one of Bobby’s kids, got in trouble for driving while under the influence of Ambien. Most people resolve these things quietly with the authorities, but, no, Kennedy had to take it to trial.
In his closing argument, Kennedy’s lawyer amazingly asked these rhetorical questions of the jury: “Is this an honest person? Or is this someone who has led a life of lying and cheating?”
Kerry Kennedy used to be Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, the wife of current NY Gov Andrew Cuomo and the mother of his three children. But she lost the “Cuomo” a decade ago when she had an affair with also-married Bruce Colley, polo-playing heir to a McDonald’s franchise fortune.
So her lawyer really shouldn’t bring up lying and cheating.