Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), you’re so vain, you probably think this invasion’s about you.
Sen. John McCain sharply condemned President Obama on Monday, blasting the administration’s foreign policy as “feckless” and partially responsible for the mounting crisis over the advance of Russian forces into Ukraine. […]“Why do we care? Because this is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore,” McCain said to the annual gathering of Jewish leaders in Washington.
McCain was apparently quite animated on the subject, going on (and on) about how President Obama is personally responsible for shaping world events in a way McCain disapproves of.
Reality, meanwhile, points in a very different direction. As David Ignatius explained this morning, “There are many valid criticisms to be made of Obama’s foreign policy … but the notion that Putin’s attack is somehow the United States’ fault is perverse.”
First, I’m struck by the curious application of McCain’s outrage. When Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008, ignoring the concerns of the Bush/Cheney administration and the international community, the senior senator from Arizona had precious little to say about blaming the United States for Putin’s ambitions. Now that there’s a president McCain doesn’t like in office, apparently he has fewer qualms about blasting the man in the Oval Office – even as the crisis is still unfolding, even when it appears Putin’s flailing desperately in search of a coherent strategy.
And second, whether McCain appreciates this or not, Russia’s interest in Ukraine predates Barack Obama’s presidency. Come to think of it, given the fact that the president was born in 1961, Russia’s interest in Ukraine predates Barack Obama, too.
It’s unsatisfying for many, especially the most aggressive foreign policy hawks in the U.S., to think world events unfold for reasons that have nothing to do with us. But foreign countries really don’t much care whether it’s unsatisfying or not – their geopolitical agendas exist without any real regard for what Americans are going to think about their decisions.