Not so stupid after all

Tina Fey’s comments about the visibility of Russia notwithstanding, it appears Sarah Palin’s foreign policy perspective was, in some ways, more perspicacious than Barack Obama’s:

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin warned that if Senator Barack Obama were elected president, his “indecision” and “moral equivalence” may encourage Russia’s Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.

Palin said then: After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.

For those comments, she was mocked by the high-brow Foreign Policy magazine and its editor Blake Hounshell, who now is one of the editors of Politico magazine.  In light of recent events in Ukraine and concerns that Russia is getting its troops ready to cross the border into the neighboring nation, nobody seems to be laughing at or dismissing those comments now.

Hounshell wrote then that Palin’s comments were “strange” and “this is an extremely far-fetched scenario.”

“And given how Russia has been able to unsettle Ukraine’s pro-Western government without firing a shot, I don’t see why violence would be necessary to bring Kiev to heel,” Hounshell dismissively wrote.

That being said, the problem wasn’t Obama’s indecision, but rather the decision of the USA to support and encourage the anti-democratic revolutionaries who forced Ukraine’s democratically elected president to flee, thus handing Putin the international moral high ground and permitting him to send in Russian troops “to restore democracy” to Ukraine.

The real cost of the Obama foreign policy is that he has simply thrown away America’s second-greatest foreign policy asset; the credible claim that the USA held the moral high ground vis-a-vis its enemies. The Obama administration has never understood that even when one has overwhelming might on one’s side, the failure to establish at least a credible claim to the moral high ground means that those who might otherwise stay neutral will be forced into at least nominal opposition.

This is why Rome, in several centuries of world-spanning conquest, never fought a war that wasn’t “defensive”, and why Hitler went to the trouble of dressing dead bodies in Polish uniforms to excuse the Nazi invasion of Poland. The USA has gone from a global crusade for democracy to overthrowing multiple duly elected governments in a few short years, and this has not escaped the world’s attention.

Of course, President McCain would have been even worse, in foreign policy terms, than President Obama. Obama may have handed Putin an excuse to invade Ukraine, but at least he hasn’t started an open war with Russia… yet.