We may have helped engineer elections in Iraq after our regime change was completed, but we left that country with hundreds of thousands dead, mired in a constant crisis of civil war, bombings and religious strife. As for Iraq’s resources, our so-called “blood for oil” endeavor forced the state-controlled industry into private hands controlled by the West.
Before that, we invaded Afghanistan. Since then, for good or ill, we have been involved in the affairs of Libya, Pakistan and Somalia.
So, it is difficult to take the moral high ground with Ukraine, and, rightly, that is the kind of path President Obama likes to travel. He favors negotiation over saber-rattling, and talking is usually the best way to avoid wars.
The trouble is that we support the interim government in Ukraine, which gained power after a violent coup that ousted a democratically elected president who was opposed not so much because he was pro-Russian but because his government was corrupt. Again, we keep being thrust into an arena of these hypocritical positions created by the conflict between our ideals and our past actions.
These inconsistencies in our foreign policy make it all the more difficult for Obama to tackle crises the way he prefers, and leads the opposition at home, such as Sen. John McCain, to call him weak and demeaning to our standing in the world.
Some commentators now are saying that Obama makes former President Jimmy Carter look like a warmonger. Carter responded to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 with mere sanctions and isolation, rather than the force the real warmongers wanted.
Carter preferred to answer crises by asking, “what would Jesus do?” Apparently, the contemporary militarists would like Obama to respond to Russia by asking, “what would Bush and Cheney do?”