Criticism of President Obama's Ukraine policy, like most Republican criticism of the President, is long on dumb shit and short on better ideas. On this weekend's Real Time with Bill Maher (Special "Book Conservatives Whose Names Sound Like Fraggle Rock Characters" Edition), the emptiness of that criticism was masterfully exposed when host Maher asked guests Hogan Gidley and Matt Kibbe, "What should he be doing differently? And be specific."
Freedomworks CEO Matt Kibbe began by explaining how President Obama isn't respected by Vladimir Putin, and when asked what Obama should do to gain Putin's respect, replied, "It's called leadership."
Reading the minds of everyone everywhere, Maher said,
"Excuse my French, but what the fuck does that mean?"
Then it was Gidley's turn to tap in, and assert that the lack of respect is due to our failure to "flex muscles, militarily," shortly before declaring that any conservative who wants to send the military to Ukraine is "off their rocker," and accused the President of refusing to name Putin a "bad actor in the plane coming down." (Apparently, Gidley is an early endorser of the James Lipton 2016 campaign.)
Then, when asked "what should we be doing," Gidley admitted, right off the bat, that his only recommendations would be "symbolic" actions, like...
"He's trying to buy some French helicopters, you buy the helicopters."
Can't you just hear Putin's inner circle taunting him now? "Awwww, shit, son, he bought your French helicopters! You got served, comrade!"
What Gidley is suggesting is the military equivalent of stealing your best girlfriend's wedding date. The truth is that, while the President's actions in Ukraine haven't worked out all that well to date, none of the suggestions from the other side of the aisle, including French helicopters and spending billions so energy companies can sell liquid natural gas to Europe 10 years from now, are even serious, let alone effective.
Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to let liberal dumbshittery get past him, as with this bit of wisdom from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, who rightly says that the United States shouldn't go it alone in Ukraine, but then opines that we shouldn't be taking "a particular side":
What many liberals seem to conveniently forget is that we gave Ukraine a security guarantee in exchange for their nuclear arsenal (as did Russia), so when Russia invaded Crimea, and is invading eastern Ukraine by proxy, the sides have already been chosen for us. That kind of security guarantee, by the way, is also crucial to our attempts at disarming Iran, so no, we don't really have the option of not choosing a side at this point. Surprisingly, neither conservative guest bothered to bring any of this up. either.
Goodman wasn't done yet, though, asking Maher and company how wonderful it would be if the option for war was no longer on the table. That is a wonderful idea, but aside from the obvious fact that even if we take war "off the table," any other country can throw it right back onto it, Goodman chooses the worst possible example to illustrate her point: Syria.
In case you missed it, Putin didn't cooperate with the United States on Syria just so he could get a New York Times credit onto his résumé, he did it under the threat of U.S. airstrikes on Syria, which President Obama was in the process of asking Congress permission for.
The truth is that, aside from physically inserting ourselves between Putin and Ukraine, the outcome of this situation is not going to be determined by U.S. action, but by the limits of Vladimir Putin's lunacy.