After caving on Syria, President Obama was rightfully criticized for his threat of “consequences” for Russia if it invaded Ukraine.
With the Russian move in Crimea, there is a need for political bi-partisanship at home – the way Democrats and Republicans worked together when JFK confronted the Soviets in Cuba those many years ago.
Sadly, and perhaps even perilously, the carnival performers at the mercifully just-ended Conservative Political Action Committee regaled each other and the media by not only making fun of how the President was performing in the Ukraine situation but even gave a vote of endorsement to the Russian boss.
After that, they devoted nonstop assaults on Secretary of State John Kerry.
There is an old saw that growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional. Sadly again, the jokesters at CPAC forgot the adage that we only have one president at a time and proved to Putin and perhaps the world we don’t know how to come together when our reputation is on the line.
More nobly and patriotically might have been their calling the White House and requesting a meeting with the President that undoubtedly would have been granted under the circumstances. There they could have presented their ideas.
On the other hand, Henry the K had some old failures like Angola that might have tainted his own show.
But then we should not have been surprised at this turn of events. It was only the morning after the Republicans retook power in the House of Representatives a couple of years ago when they declared only two major missions: to knock off the president and to stand in the way of anything and everything Democrats might advance.
Nowhere in their declaration of victory was there a word to help rebuild American standing in the world and in the nation.
So now, as Putin has the vote of confidence and praise of CPAC and leaders of the Republican party on the record, why on earth should he surrender an inch?
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Joseph J. Honick is president of GMA International in Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Joe Honick, GMA International Ltd (Mar. 18, 2014): Bill Huey is dead on target but only omitted K's boss Nixon who extended the Vietnam disaster for campaign purposes.
Brian M (Mar. 14, 2014): I've always held out hope that Kissinger would make the wrong move, get sued and his client list would become public, exposing him as the biggest two-face gasbag on the planet. This is a man who turned down a spot on the 9/11 commission because he wanted to protect his business.
There's still time.
Joe Honick, GMA International Ltd (Mar. 14, 2014): Art, certainly you must have read my sarcasm into the idea the CPAC clowns really love Putin. But for the moment, words are what sre running the policies of everyone involved in the Ukraine megillah...words that have rendered us foolish negotiators if only because, as we raise the ante in Ukraine, millions in (and kicked out of) Syria wonder when we are really serious about turning words into actions.
Many months ago I suggested right here A Death In The National Family: Public Public Confidence. Reality is we have ever decreasing standing.
Finally, when then Senator Obama in 2008 foolishly and under disruptive security flew to Iraq to meet with our military commanders, he was appropriately admonished by Republicans that: "we only have one president at a time." It might have been useful for the CPAC clowns to have understood that as well....and Obama's drill team should have reminded them of their own words.
arthursolomon (Mar. 14, 2014): Bill, what you say about Kissinger's Vietnam policy is true, but his realpolitik policy had us deal with China, despite the fact that it was a communist country. Also, the Vietnam problem began way before Kissinger had White House influence. Eisenhower, Kennedy, and especially LBJ deserve D- marks, as does Nixon.
arthursolomon (Mar. 14, 2014): Joe, I voted for Obama because of his national economic policies, even though I was suspicious of his foreign policy statements, now unfortunately a reality. Words mean something, but not the words used by the GOP to bash Obama before, during and after CPAC. The words are only believed by the Obama haters and have been repeated ever since he won the presidency. The words that are reality were those spoken by Obama, which caused Egypt to again resume friendly relations with Russia; which caused our allies to not trust us and our foes to not fear us when he said he's "leading from behind," whatever that means; the words which, I believe, caused more unrest in the Middle East than usual, and, of course, his red line words. No Republican bashing can match the damage done to the U.S. than Obama's own words to the world.
Saying that Putin now has the vote of confidence and praise of CPAC and leaders of the Republican party because of their Obama bashing, just doesn't make sense. It's nothing but words that have no reality. In fact, Obama can learn from Putin that actions are more important than words, and also from Kissinger who used realpolitik to good advantage by viewing the world as it is, rather than the world as we all wish it should be. And from Teddy Roosevelt with his credo of talk softly but carry a big stick. The problem with the GOP words is that they have bashed Obama for so long and so often that their words are meaningless, except to TV talk hosts, who need them to fill their programs. The problem with Obama's words are that they are no longer believed. And that's my last word on the subject, maybe.
Bill Huey (Mar. 14, 2014): I agree about Kissinger, Joe, but his biggest failure was far larger than Angola--it was Vietnam. We could have gotten the same deal in 1968 (when K was National Security Advisor) that we got in 1973. many But Kissinger wanted to screw around with Realpolitik for five years, during which many lives were lost and futures shattered.