Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, bent on getting the old USSR band back together, shot down a Malaysian airliner. Rivaled only by Obama, Putin is adept at blaming others. He did so in this case, but since he shot down a plane full of Europeans, he might have angered more than Americans.
The reason the United States does not need to get involved in conflicts around the world like Syria, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya and now Ukraine is that we do not have a direct security interest in them. But mostly they are harder to understand than a Joseph A. Bank sale. You go in, get confused, spend a lot of money and then realize you got nothing of value.
One could argue that Putin's aggression in Crimea and now Ukraine was provoked by Obama's perceived weakness. Obama is not a military president. All he knows is how to run attack ads in Iowa, instruct his mainstream media to engage in politics of personal destruction, and have the IRS audit his enemies or sic Attorney General Holder on them.
None of these tactics will deter the cold-blooded Putin in the Ukraine. The only time Putin pulls back is when his mom or daughters try to hug him.
Obama is haplessly doing the right thing here for our war-weary country. He admires Putin's disregard for the rule of law, his use of executive orders, and his totalitarianism, but if it does not involve race, gay marriage, contraception, unions, golf, fundraising or dishing out entitlements, it bores Obama. He offered $1 billion to Ukraine. Nothing is more magnanimous than us borrowing more from China to lend to Ukraine.
Although it's the best news broadcast on TV, I do not like Fox News' neo-cons and hosts always trying to goad us into war. It's easy to spew bluster from those opinion chairs, saying we should do something all the time and calling Obama weak.
This mindset of "do something, even if it is wrong" has to go. In goading Obama into war, John McCain said the Russian aggression "is the most shameful thing he's ever seen as a senator." (This from the man who witnessed pre-Civil War slavery.) We get it, Sen. McCain.
The United States has to be careful. Putin armed the separatists, and it was his surface-to-air missile that shot down the plane. Our government knows about half the weapons around the world that have fallen into nefarious hands, because we have the receipts.
Putin controls the Ukrainian economy with his natural gas and, due to its lingering Soviet mindset, Ukraine's lack of a free market system. This is why the country's move toward the European Union sparked Russian aggression. Ukraine's leaders admire the EU's system of six-week vacations and two-hour lunches. All the EU has to do is open trade, sit back and continue to let hardworking Americans invent everything and bring it to them.
For now, our economy is our strength. Remember, the USSR, North Korea, Cuba and other socialist countries could always produce war, guns and national health care "equally for their people." Their system just could not provide them breakfast, lunch or supper.
To remain an economic power, we cannot continue spending trillions on wars of choice and angering the world. We should trade with the world, not fight it. Marlboro cigarettes and Levi's jeans brought down the Berlin wall. When goods cross borders, troops don't. Let's focus on free markets that will inevitably free people.
Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com.