Let’s take a moment to reflect on where we would be had we followed the advice of the critics of President Barack Obama’s “feckless” foreign policy on Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Iran that supposedly encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin’s occupation of Crimea.
Would we still have 60,000 American troops on the ground in support of an unlimited commitment to the hopelessly corrupt government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, instead of being poised to withdraw all or almost all of them by the end of the year? Would we be looking at video of helpless Syrian civilians killed and injured by sophisticated American weapons seized from the disorganized but moderate opposition army in Syria by the more ruthless rival radical Islamists in their joint fight to depose Syrian President Bashar Assad?
In Libya, would we have 10,000 American troops on the ground to maintain order in assisting the fractious Libyans in establishing a stable government in accordance with the “we broke it, we own it” rule? Would those American troops not be a magnet for IED attacks with resultant ongoing loss of life of American service personnel by the same elements of the Libyan militia that attacked the American compound in Benghazi?
Following bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities by us or Israel, would we be dealing with retaliatory strikes by Iran and its Islamist allies and with the impact of the disruption of significant oil supplies on the fragile American and international economies?
So I guess we are to assume that in the context of any of these eventualities, Mr. Putin, the president of energy-rich Russia, would not have reacted to the situation in Ukraine because of fears that Americans still would be looking for another military solution to international problems.
MICHAEL C. JOYCE