The war hawks are at it again, trying to push America into another war, this time with Russia.
It is interesting to watch grown adults continuously try to sell the line that unless the president of the United States responds to every wrong deed around the world with war, he is weak.
These are the same folks, of course, who took us down the road to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those ended well, didn't they? If you want to talk about actions that make our nation appear weak, Iraq and Afghanistan certainly fit the bill.
The war hawks never learn from previous experiences. They didn't learn from Vietnam, and certainly not from the colossal failures of Iraq and Afghanistan.
And while the American war hawks have no problem invading other nations thousands of miles away, they are upset with Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of a neighboring territory made up mostly of Russians on land that once belonged to Russia. This is not an excuse for Putin, just a comparison to put things into perspective.
Tom Friedman, writing for The New York Times, put the war hawks in their place. "There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is tougher than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood. This is how great powers get drawn into the politics of small tribes and end up in great wars that end badly for everyone."
Friedman's column goes on to say that if the war hawks really wanted to punish Putin for his aggression in Ukraine, they would advocate for a strong alternative energy policy in the U.S. and put Putin's main sources of income, oil and gas, out of business. But advocating against the oil and gas industry, said Friedman, would take real courage; certainly more courage than sending someone else's children off to war against Russia.
Putin is looking for a fight because he needs to rally the folks at home to remain loyal to him. He is a bully and has single-handedly destroyed democracy in Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Putin, Friedman said, "is now fighting human nature among his own young people and his neighbors - who both want more European Union and less Putinism."
Fred Kaplan, of Slate, writes that Putin is dreaming of the good old days of the Soviet Union. But the more he acts like a bully, the more he moves his neighbors closer to the European Union. Putin's dream is a fantasy. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated after talking to him on the phone, Putin is living "in another world."
Kaplan says that "It's dangerous when leaders who spark armed crises start turning a little bit crazy." Indeed, it is. And that is why I'm glad Obama is not eager to start a war with Putin and is able to see the horrible consequences of such a war.
Kaplan suggests that we ignore Putin and isolate him from the civilized world. "Putin's main interest," Kaplan said, "is to project an image of Russia as a great and essential global power. That's what the Sochi Olympics were all about. He spent $50 billion on that PR spectacle - an investment thoroughly nullified by his maladroit move on Crimea: another sign that Putin is not as brilliant as the Cold Warriors think."
Putin is not brilliant or strong or brave as described by the war hawks. They are intent on putting their own American president down for his acts of sanity, while building up Putin for his acts of recklessness.
During an international emergency, I'll take the sane guy. Obama hasn't gotten us involved in an unnecessary war and I don't think he will. He is too mature and thoughtful, which is exactly what our nation needs when facing a crazy man with nuclear weapons at his disposal.