Mar 21 2014
Media hypocrisy and hysteria never cease to amaze. One should not be surprised to learn what low regard the general public has these days for journalists who all too often the public sees as editorializing instead of reporting. The bully pulpit the media has had for several generations is endangered because its practitioners see the sliver in the eyes of others but fail to see the log in their own eye.
Coverage of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine is a classic example where the media, which thrives on conflict, has been little more than a propaganda perpetuator of the State Department and the President’s angst over the Russian move.
Tortured analogies of President Vladimir Putin acting like Hitler in his annexation of Austria, and the German-speaking areas of the Czech Republic as well as the Sudetenland, have been all over the media.
It is disgraceful and Putin has every right to be angered by it.
The plain fact is that were the roles reversed virtually every president since James Monroe would have done exactly what Putin has done, and no amount of finger-pointing nor imposition of sanctions is going to change it.
In the parlance of international geo-politics, President Putin acted to protect what the Henry Kissinger’s and the Brent Scowcroft’s of the world would call “Russia’s soft underbelly.” Set aside that the vast majority of the people of Crimea are Russian-speaking, and that under Communist rule Soviet leaders like Nikita Khrushchev used to spend their summer vacation on the shores of the Black Sea.
Focus instead on the concentration of what’s left of the Russian Naval fleet, as well as a variety of other military installations in Crimea and one can begin to see where in the interests of future Russian security President Putin could not let the area fall into unfriendly hands.
A more appropriate analogy is our own “Monroe Doctrine,” promulgated by our fifth president, James Monroe. He served notice that the America’s, north and south, were for Americans, not Europeans. Hence, naval and military forces from Europe and elsewhere were to butt out and stay the hell away. And this is mostly what occurred.
Another analogy would be that of New Mexico deciding to align with Mexico, throw out the Border Patrol and open the border to any Hispanic or Central American immigrant or migrant worker to flood into the southwest. It’s a safe bet the President would declare martial law and send the Army to resecure the border.
Students of history may recall that as recently as the Cuban Missile crisis of the early 1960s President John F. Kennedy and his Administration invoked the Monroe Doctrine and told the Russians to get their missiles out of Cuba or else. Proximity to America’s soft underbelly was not going to be tolerated.
Do you recall what the other key part of the eventual deal was between Khrushchev and Kennedy? America, six months later, pulled out all its Atlas missiles in Turkey, aimed at Russia’s soft underbelly. One could argue that President Putin is acting in accordance with a long-held tradition of guarding the motherland from the chaotic forces of Islam all along its southern border.
The fact of the matter is even in today’s modern world a concept of so-called “spheres of influence” which dates back to the great German Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck, still dominates military thinking. The military and economic super-powers are viewed as fools by the others if they don’t protect their historic sphere of influence, which is exactly what Putin did. To expect him to have done anything less is just plain naïve.
America still invokes the Monroe Doctrine but now we’re also viewing the entire Pacific Ocean as our “backyard.” The Chinese, the Japanese, the Indians, the Indonesians, and even the Australians do not view the Pacific as an exclusive American lake and solely a sphere of influence just for the United States. Count on that.
So don’t let the media hyperventilation over Putin’s annexation of the Crimea unduly alarm. There isn’t one American president were he in Putin’s shoes, would not have done exactly the same thing. Putin acted in the national interests of the country he is the elected leader of and he is right to be angered by the hypocrisy being displayed by President Obama. Putin, though, unlike President Obama, appears to know what leadership is all about.Share on Facebook