Robert Gates: Stop Being Mean To Obama Regarding Ukraine

Robert Gates deserves our attention and our respect, but I think he’s missed a few things

(Washington Post) As the Ukraine crisis deepened, Sen. John McCain responded by criticizing President Obama’s “feckless” foreign policy, while Sen. Lindsey Graham called Obama “a weak and indecisive president [who] invites aggression.”

These sharp comments brought to mind a different time and crisis — and a different tone in foreign policy debates. This prompted me to call another prominent Republican who takes a quite different view. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, a brief historical digression.

So, David Ignatius jumps back in time to the Carter presidency to look for a link, right at the time in 1980 when Iran stormed our embassy and took our citizens hostage and Russia had invaded Afghanistan

What (Sen. Henry M.) Jackson (D-Wash.) said was surprising, even at a distance of nearly 35 years. Rather than demanding tougher statements or more saber-rattling, he said he worried about “overreaction” to events: “We appear to be going from one crisis to another,” with Washington dispensing “red-hot rhetoric at least once a week about the dire consequences of this or that or something else.”

“We need to be prudent,” said Jackson, who was perhaps the most prominent Cold Warrior of his day. “There is a need for the U.S. to make careful decisions, stand by those decisions, and avoid sending false or conflicting signals” to U.S. allies or the Russians.

How’d that work out? Can there be an overreaction to Iran violating our embassy and taking our people hostage? People wanted Carter to be strong in the face of that and the Russian Afghan invasion. As usual, he was tepid. Funny how neither Ignatius nor most in the American media were preaching calm and measured words while Bush was president, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, dealing with North Korea and Iran, and prosecuting the War on Islamic Terrorism.

What does Gates think about the Ukraine crisis? Distilled to its essence, his message would be the same as Jackson’s: Cool it, especially when it comes to public comments.

“I think considerable care needs to be taken in terms of what is said, so that the rhetoric doesn’t threaten what policy can’t deliver,” Gates explained in a telephone interview. Russian President Vladimir Putin “holds most of the high cards” in Crimea and Ukraine as a whole. U.S. policy should work to reinforce the security of neighboring states without fomenting a deeper crisis in which Putin will have the advantage.

What Gates is missing is that much of the criticism is based on wanting Obama to be stronger. We don’t want war. Not at all. There’s no chance at all that we launch military action against Russia. Zip. But we do want Obama to match Putin for tough talk and to be engaged. Skipping his National Security Council meeting Saturday shows weakness. He’s been to fundraisers Friday and Tuesday, with another scheduled for today. When he looks weak he makes America look weak.

And were was Gates when Lefties where assaulting Bush? Beuller? Beuller?

Gates, a Republican himself, urged the GOP senators to “tone down” their criticism and “try to be supportive of the president rather than natter at the president.”

I’d  be happy to do that regarding Ukraine and other international issues when he grows a spine and actually makes these issues a priority. Most international issues seem to be a minor distraction to Obama. And any criticism is well deserved, because most of his foreign policy is a mess, as are his international relations. Wasn’t it the same Washington Post which stated that Obama’s foreign policy was based on fantasy and that his “smart power” was a failure?

Furthermore, I’ll tone it down when Obama tones down his own hyper-insulting rhetoric of insulting private citizens who disagree politically with him.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

Save $10 on purchases of $49.99 & up on our Fruit Bouquets at Promo Code: FRUIT49
If you liked my post, feel free to subscribe to my rss feeds.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed

4 Responses to “Robert Gates: Stop Being Mean To Obama Regarding Ukraine”

  1. Butt-Frozen_Gumballs says:


    Furthermore, I’ll tone it down when Obama tones down his own hyper-insulting rhetoric of insulting private citizens who disagree politically with him.

    Right on Sir. Where was Ignatius and Gates when Obama was attacking the Tea Party, Sen Cruz, certain white police officers, etc?

    How did that Iran thing turn out Ignatius? HOw’s the Iran thing working out now?

    And just because Gates is a Republican doesn’t mean squat. It is a label without much description. Sen McCain is a Republican but tends to side with Democrats most often than not. He’s also attacked Tea Pary and Sen Cruz and Sen Lee as well.

    And like the prosecution of Obama and his officials, war with Russia will not happen. However, there can be severe restrictions. Claiming that we will increase our military training with Poland is not one (recently reported).

  2. Jeffery says:

    So , to a true conservative being a strong leader means going to more meetings and talking tough? Got it. Communist Vlad Putin is your idea of a strong leader? Right wing authoritarians have long had the need for hypermasculine daddy figures to make them feel safe and warm.

    Specifically what would you do regarding your hero’s invasion of Crimea?

  3. Butt-Frozen_Gumballs says:

    You really have no clue what you think you are reading, do you?

  4. gitarcarver says:

    So , to a true conservative being a strong leader means going to more meetings and talking tough?

    I am sure that you remember when 9/11 happened, liberals excoriated Bush for not taking action on a Presidential Daily Briefing that mentioned there was chatter of an unspecific threat to the US.

    Now people like Jeffery are trying to say that Obama missing a briefing by experts on the situation and options is okay.

    Once again we see the total hypocrisy from the left.

    (This is not the first time I have mentioned options from the briefing because those options destroy your point. We don’t have all the experts, the history and the intel from the area to form available options. But neither does Obama because he didn’t attend the meeting. Just like someone had to push him kicking and screaming into getting bin Laden, someone had to say “there is a crisis going on and you should at least try to look like you know what you are doing.” Of course, that failed because once again, Obama is left in the dust by another leader from another country. I bet he thought “hey! If I send Billie Jean King to the Olympics, that’ll show Putin how he has to back off the Ukraine!” Yeah… right.)

    As for “talking tough,” remember the “red line” in Syria Jeffery? The line that Obama would not be crossed and then failed to act when it was? Or did that escape your notice? Or is it that as it destroys your point, you simply refuse to acknowledge it?

    Gumballs is right. You are clueless. A parent (well, a good parent which may exclude you) knows that if you are going to tell children the consequences of their actions and then fail to follow through with those consequences, the kids learn that your words mean nothing. Students learn the same thing from teachers that don’t follow through. Even managers in business know that if you have to follow through.

    Yet somehow you think that basic principle doesn’t apply to the world stage.

    All you have done in this thread is show that no matter what, you blame Bush, that Obama is not accountable for anything, and that you have no clue as to how to be an honest man of your word.

Pirate's Cove