...The record is clear and consistent. Whether Democrat or Republican, no U.S. president has ever succeeded in deterring Soviet military intervention in Eastern Europe over the last 70 years. American responses to intervention, however, did vary radically. President Reagan pursued a much more coercive and robust response to martial law in Poland in 1981 compared to President Johnson’s feeble response to Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
It is on this debate — how to make Putin pay for his actions — that our national leaders should focus. Debating the extent of sanctions against Russian officials, arguing over the size of the economic assistance package to the new Ukrainian government, debating greater military assistance to the Ukrainian army, considering how large the increase should be of scholarships for Ukrainians to study in the U.S. over the next decade, or jousting over how large the plus up should be for the Freedom Support Act should be in next year’s budgets — these are the important policy questions of our moment. Debating Obama’s weakness only makes our entire country weak.
Michael McFaul is professor of political science and Hoover senior fellow at Stanford University. He served for five years in the Obama administration including as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, from Jan. 2012 to Feb. 2014.
-bth: an editorial by former Ambassador McFaul worth reading in full. http://time.com/30561/former-u-s-ambassador-to-russia-debating-obamas-weakness-only-makes-our-entire-country-weak/