“Whether Democrat or Republican, no U.S. President has ever succeeded in deterring Soviet military intervention in Eastern Europe over the last 70 years.“
He further writes that: “Vladimir Putin invaded and annexed Crimea. Instead of condemning him for this outrageous act, however, some think it is more important to blame President Obama for this tragedy. The analysis is flawed. The historical amnesia is frightening.”
Well, all I could think of as I read this article was “Nigeria;” especially with the now almost intentional habit of our educated elites to blame President Goodluck Jonathan for the many security problems facing the nation led by the Boko Haram attacks and now lately those of the rampaging Fulani herdsmen – considering these senseless trend of religious-and-ethnic-and-extremists-related attacks predates his administration and go way back to the late 70s and early 80s.
It was so easy for me to draw obvious parallels between what the Prof was getting at here and what I have also long-considered to be a malaise within the Nigerian Polity.
Here is more of what he wrote:
- “It was not the reset [US-Russia New Relations Programme – google this] or Putin’s perception of Obama’s weakness that created the permissive conditions for Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea. Rather, Putin could review 70 years of history of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and correctly conclude that the United States had no means to stop his invasion plans.”
- “George W. Bush did not prevent Russia’s invasion of Georgia. (Some argue that had Obama bombed Syria last fall, Putin would not have invaded Crimea, but Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not stop Putin’s invasion of Georgia).”
- “Few would accuse President Reagan of being naïve or weak regarding the Soviet Communist regime. Yet, when Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev colluded with Polish General Jaruzelski to crush Solidarity and implement martial law in December 1981, Reagan could not deter this brutal crackdown.”
- “President Johnson, of course, did not prevent Brezhnev from invading Czechoslovakia in 1968. And President Eisenhower, even armed with his rhetorically muscular “roll back” of Communism policy, failed to halt the Soviet invasion of Hungary of 1956. And obviously, President Roosevelt was unable to compel the Red Army to retreat back to Soviet borders at the end of World War II.”
- “The record is clear and consistent. Whether Democrat or Republican, no U.S. president has ever succeeded in deterring Soviet military intervention in Eastern Europe over the last 70 years. American responses to intervention, however, did vary radically. President Reagan pursued a much more coercive and robust response to martial law in Poland in 1981 compared to President Johnson’s feeble response to Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.”
- “It is on this debate — how to make Putin pay for his actions — that our national leaders should focus. Debating the extent of sanctions against Russian officials, arguing over the size of the economic assistance package to the new Ukrainian government, debating greater military assistance to the Ukrainian army, considering how large the increase should be of scholarships for Ukrainians to study in the U.S. over the next decade, or jousting over how large the plus up should be for the Freedom Support Act should be in next year’s budgets — these are the important policy questions of our moment. Debating Obama’s weakness only makes our entire country weak.”
There you have it – if this piece had been written by a Nigerian substituting the words Russia/Putin with Boko Haram/Fulani herdsmen and Obama/other mentioned ex-Presidents of the US with Goodluck Jonathan, I bet this Prof. would have been torn-apart by our new very fierce public commentators and bloggers as a “Sycophant” or “Any-Govt-In-Power [A.G.I.P] Contractor” who is busy “rationalizing the weaknesses and cluelessness of Jonathan rather than saying the truth.”
Well knowing these guys very well, I won’t be surprised if they accused this Prof of similar allegations in respect to Obama suggesting that “the Prof who is an ex-staffer of the President might just be seeking an easy way back into government reckoning.” Yet the obvious lessons to be learnt here are simple – No nation – whether the US or Nigeria should be at WAR with itself when it actually has a common enemy that is raping of its sense of sanity while wrecking either mild or maximum havoc on that nation as it is today with the case of Russia v US and Nigeria v Boko Haram, et al respectfully!
Responsible citizens of every decent nation should be able to know the limits of playing Politics versus being Patriots of that nation – knowing that a thin line actually exists between these two scenarios – even as I was shocked to learn on CNN just yesterday morning about how “Putin’s approval rating in Russia was actually rising as that of Obama [39%], Cameron [40%], Hollande [17%] were actually at relatively all-time-lows!” [I am not suggesting here that these poll numbers are directly connected to the Ukraine-Crimea drama]
This made me begin to wonder if liberal societies aren’t actually largely the cause of their own biggest problems? How do you turn against your leaders when you are supposed to be joining them in waging war against your common problems and enemies while citizens of nations ran by maximum leaders get to applaud them?
And of course in no other nation can I confidently say this happens today more than in my own Nigeria – it has now become a fashionable thing of some sorts for our educated folks and elites to treat all the problems within the polity as “something caused by Goodluck Jonathan/his administration/the PDP” and every other commentator you give the microphone; or a page in the dailies; or a blog; must tell you “if only our Government was doing this, that won’t have happened” – to the point that we now seem to have come to an all-time-low level of some self-instigated mental blockade scenario where no one within this polity dares come up with any real palpable solutions on any subject matter because all you need to do to be popular nowadays is to just be against-any-position-of-the-Goodluck-Jonathan-administration and you are allowed bow and go.
How come these Nigerians are the ones that can tell of a surety that “they know Shekau is still alive” as though he is a mutual friend of theirs whose phone number they have on speed-dial? How come they are the ones that know of a surety that “Boko Haram is more equipped and organized than the Nigerian Armed Forces” as though they have military-training backgrounds to expatiate on the subject matter? How come these Nigerians never criticize Boko Haram, hurling curses on them; praying that the blood of the innocent Nigerians they slain would be taken from them? How come Goodluck Jonathan is the one that must be blamed for the loss of these innocent lives as though he’s executed a treaty with Boko Haram to help him reduce the population of the nation over a period of time?
When would these Nigerians begin to understand that there is no gain in negating your own country on the platform of being politically popular or correct?
I really wonder for how long this dangerous trend would persist within this nation – in the words of Olu Jacobs in his famous detective series – I wonder; I just wonder.
McFaul’s full article can be read from See: http://ti.me/1ddqIzg