Wait for it …
Well, I enjoyed that.
Today, I kept being gobsmacked – smack, smack, smack, smack, smacked in the gob. By which I mean Rumsfeld – yes Rumsfeld! – and Cheney and Butters – yes, Butters! – are actually out there in public condemning president Obama for “weakness”. In an inspired moment of total lunacy, Butters even blamed Putin’s Crimea bullying on Benghazi! I know we all have to pretend that they have every right to speak their minds (and, of course, they do) – but really. The men responsible for the collapse of America’s military deterrent by losing two strategically catastrophic wars of choice actually have the gall to get up there and accuse Obama of weakness! The men who let Osama bin Laden get away; the men whose Putinesque derangement led to the total disintegration of Iraq; the men who presided over Iran’s achievement of nuclear infrastructure; the men who made a laughing stock out of US intelligence; the men who lost Afghanistan; the men who bankrupted the country by war and spending … these men now claim strategic prescience, manly foresight and a record of a “strong” America? There are times when the gob smacks itself.
And look at their role model, the man they think has run circles around Obama, the man they think is playing brilliant chess to our lame checkers. Or better still listen to him. In Ioffe’s memorable piece today,
Putin squirmed and rambled [at his press conference]. And rambled and rambled. He was a rainbow of emotion: Serious! angry! bemused! flustered! confused! So confused. … Today’s Putin was nervous, angry, cornered, and paranoid, periodically illuminated by flashes of his own righteousness. Here was an authoritarian dancing uncomfortably in his new dictator shoes, squirming in his throne.
This is the Metternich of our time? This is the model for running foreign policy? It tells you so much about the neocons that they have descended into this pit of ugly incoherence. And as for the American people, sick of a weak president, and eager to flex American military muscle again … well, it turns out only 18 percent believe the US has any responsibility to protect Ukraine. But the neocons have long since stopped looking at public opinion. For them, it’s always 1978. But Obama is no Carter; and they have no Reagan – a president, of course, they also excoriated for “weakness” in his time.
So let’s change the subject, as we did today, and note the humility of W H Auden’s quiet Christianity, the need for magnanimity in the culture wars, a Colombian window view, and the austere but deep conservatism of a great American patriot, hated (of course) by neocons: George F Kennan. And one more plug for the ever-vigilant Dish at 3 am this morning: coverage of live tweets of a military stand-off in Crimea.
See you in the morning.