Militarization trumps timid politics
As the conflict in Ukraine comes to a head, the United States seems to show an increasing interest in keeping Russia out of Ukrainian affairs, and with good reason.
The U.S. is still acting as the democratic watchdog for developing governments as it did during the Cold War.
The problem is not the fight the U.S. chooses, but how the U.S. is choosing to fight.
In his speech from Kiev on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged a $1 billion loan to Ukraine while condemning the actions of Russia.
As part of the deal, the U.S. threatened to issue economic sanctions against Russia.
This is a very ineffective way for the U.S. to be involved in the situation.
It’s like taking the school bully’s allowance away when he has a full time job elsewhere.
With all of the political and economic power in Putin’s hands, threats of economic sanctions are hardly even something for the Russian government to consider.
A much more effective tool to use is the threat of military intervention.
Rather than giving Ukraine a $1 billion loan, why not give them several million dollars of weapons and tanks? There are strategies the White House can use to militarily hold Russia accountable without putting U.S. troops on the ground.
The current administration, however, seems to be afraid of any sort of military confrontation.
Another example of the failure in presidential leadership was the handling of the nuclear situation in Iran.
Rather than drawing a red line in the sand and using military force when the line was crossed, the U.S. government used economic sanctions as a punishment for Iran.
How did that work out for the U.S.? Russia ended up proposing the best solution to the problem, making the U.S. look weak and unorganized.
Obama may have ulterior motives for being timid with the armed forces.
With an uneventful presidency full of low ratings and unsuccessful political endeavors, staying true to campaign promises may be a very big deal in the president’s mind. One of the biggest issues on his platform was his promise to end our conflicts in the Middle East via troop withdrawal.
While many do not necessarily view this as a big victory, it has been successful compared to many of the president’s other attempts.
Even his greatest political success, the passing of the Affordable Care Act, has been plagued with public disapproval and low enrollment levels.
Keeping the military option off of the table will allow Obama to say he at least didn’t get us into a petty war at the end of his presidency.
What the president fails to understand about this strategy is that military intervention does not always lead to combat.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick,” as former President Roosevelt said.
Keeping a large military and threatening to use it is quite different than warmongering.
This worked in our favor in the 1980’s when Reagan ended the Iranian Hostage Crisis simply by threatening to use the military.
By neglecting to use the military strategically, the president is failing the nation as Commander-in-Chief.
While the pursuit of peace is a noble cause, it is important to know that there is more than one way to achieve it.
By successfully using every power the executive branch has to offer rather than just the economic powers, Obama can still rise up and be a respected world leader.
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