Foreign policy is one of the pillars of any government. In fact, some argue that the most important function of any state is to defend its citizens. However, due to President Obama’s logic in dealing with the various difficulties in Ukraine threatens global security, and therein American security, in a very real way.
Too often, the President seems to draw on flawed fatalist logic when considering Ukraine and Russia. It seems that his theory is either the United States must enter into full military conflict or do next to nothing to stop Russia. Obviously, both claims are undesirable. After all, most sensible observers want to prevent any and all sorts of direct military conflicts before they happen.
In the same sense, no one who legitimately agrees with Western interests is suggesting that the President of the United States should be doing nothing given the nature of the crisis. Thus, as Obama paints himself as the victim of a truly unsolvable problem, he can pick what he considers the lesser of two evils and do next to nothing to help Ukraine and stop Putin.
However, this is a very dangerous idea for the President to espouse. After all, there is a wide breadth of options in-between the two extremes which must be considered. These include substantial and wide-reaching sanctions, military overseers in the region, increased diplomatic pressures, expansion of NATO’s operational range, arming and funding Ukraine, and better supporting our allies in the area. President Obama’s logic of only considering the two extremes quite evidently threatens global security. By justifying inaction, he is, in fact, supporting Russian action in Ukraine.
Putin understands that if he is not going to meet with force at some point, there is no legitimate threat to his interests. He can continue to invade and press his agenda while continually jockeying for a better position, should he decide to settle down and negotiate.
Also, by doing nothing, it makes it far more likely that military action will eventually be used, and that Americans will be drawn into a full-scale conflict. Putin’s actions may finally cross the line whereupon inaction is not an option. For instance, an infringement upon a NATO security member’s sovereignty would constitute such an event, and although it is unlikely, it is entirely possible.
The only way to stop Russia is to demonstrate a willingness to confront Russia, and that starts in Ukraine. The United States must develop a far more robust foreign policy that includes definitive red lines. And, as opposed to the repeatedly broken red lines and the sheer laziness the Obama administration has demonstrated in developing punitive measures, the President and his team ought to develop a more firm approach to the various issues in the world.
It should also be noted as a disclaimer that this is not to advocate a return to the clumsy foreign policy of the Bush Administration. An approach to foreign policy must think first and act after rather than storming in with sheer bravado. However, for anyone who has observed the President’s policies, one of his notable attributes is thinking and talking big without acting, so no one should worry about him becoming too aggressive and irrational.
All things aside, enough of the “thinking big and talking big” that has happened under this Administration, very notably in Ukraine. President Obama’s logic has thus far been too timid and it is demonstrably ineffective. Moreover, his inaction threatens both American and global security, and for those reasons, the President should reconsider his current path.
Opinion by Brett Byers-Lane
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