A Republican know-nothing speaks out about Crimea.

As I understand it, our senior Republican foreign affairs experts in the Senate, like John McCain and Lindsay Graham — not to mention our Talleyrands-in-training, Senators Cruz, Rubio and Paul — are accusing the President of being too passive on the Crimea question. The Obama administrations seems to be unwilling to rush head long into the cannons in dealing with Russia and its Manifest Destiny-like dream of bringing the wayward Crimeans home to Mother Russia.

This is part of a pattern of faint-heartlessness our Metternichs have detected previously in the nation’s foreign policy. Under Obama, we cravenly did not bomb the hell out of Syria. We didn’t hold Libya’s fragmented leaderships’ feet to the fire after Benghazi. We were out to lunch in Egypt and all the other Spring Times in the Muddle East.

It has been our party’s policy, apparently, to blame That Man in the White House for everything that’s gone wrong in the world lately. I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon will be blaming him for not providing air cover in the Bay of Pigs invasion, one of CIA’s memorable achievements during the Democratic interventionist JFK’s reign.

Not everything, of course. Just everything since Yalta.

The basic thrust of our party’s arguments seems to be that the President is some kind of virtual political coward. With a jellyfish of a spine, lily liver, cold feet, and curling toes, a master of drawing a yellow line in the sand, his is a Profile in Cowardice, especially in dealing with the Big Bad Bear, Putin.

Just because Bush and Cheney were playing Lawrence in Arabia with their 12 year war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which left us with untold casualties and four trillion dollars in debt, this President seems to not want to risk more of the nation’s blood and treasure by sticking our head in the bear’s mouth over Crimea, preferring diplomacy, sanctions and other weak-kneed measures. Is it any wonder our party’s saber rattlers are awarding the President four white feathers?

As I see it, everybody’s in favor of supporting a freely elected democratic government with a Constitution and respect for the law. But the Ukrainians our so passive administration is supporting in the debate over Crimea regrettably overthrew their democratically elected president, as bad as he was, and trashed their Constitution! How pusillanimous can we get?

It’s time our courageous get-tough-with-that-dancing-bear Republican foreign policy leaders woke up and smelled the borscht.

Don’t we realize we are dealing with an irrational, frustrated, paranoid, KGB bureaucrat who is pissed off that after nearly bankrupting his nation financing Sochi, his hockey team lost?

Don’t we realize that the Russians are unnerved about the Ukraine joining NATO? The missiles would be five minutes away from downtown Moscow. Would we like having the Russians in Key West?

Don’t we realize that Crimea has been part of the Russian Empire since Empress Catherine the Great annexed it in 1783, and that the majority of Crimean’s still foolishly think they are really Russian? Would we want the Russians to stick their nose in Arizona politics when their anti-gay wars divided the people?

Most Americans are not well read in foreign history, our legislative leaders being especially ignorant. Most senators and congressmen still don’t know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis (Don’t ask them whether Hezbollah is Shiite or Sunni?) If Bush and Cheney knew their history they never would have gotten us involved in an area where Sunni and Shias were killing each other since 637 A.D.

Since I am speaking out about something I don’t know anything about I might suggest to Putin, while he is making threatening faces at the West, he ask the question: “Who lost Crimea?” How is it possible that the Russians gave up Sevastopol, their only warm water port in the Black Sea?

An investigation might find it was Khrushchev in 1954. He must have been half drunk. More than half, one expert theorizes. The Russians are very good at having trials where the truth will out.

Incredibly, our Republican leaders are saying to Putin now: No way, Jose. Stay out of the Crimea. Or else. Or else what?

Soon Fox News and our other agitprop media will be telling us, “We are all Crimeans.”

At the risk of being called a Commie, tovarichs, McCain, Graham and the other kids on the policy block, are idiots. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that tickling a sleeping bear could be starting a new cold, or even colder, war.

To understand the Crimea Question even further, I have been re-reading my favorite Crimean War correspondent, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson. I had to memorize his “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in the fifth grade at P.S. 186 Brooklyn. Written during the Crimean War (1854-6), it memorialized a thrilling charge by British cavalry in the Battle of Balaclava on Oct. 25, 1854. It’s still a very moving account of the 17th Lancers, 8th and 11th Hussars and others led by Lord Cardigan, “The Gallant Six Hundred,” as they were later known, charging into the Valley of Death. “Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do & die,” Tennyson reported.

The noble Light Brigade made one mistake. At the bottom of the valley, they turned right, instead of left.

If Tennyson hadn’t run out of space, he might have appended another stanza or two illuminating the danger of going straight ahead on red.

The know nothings in our Republican Lite Brigade might still learn something from the Brits cock-up in the first Crimean War.


Marvin Kitman
March 16, 2014

Marvin Kitman is the author of “The Making of the Preƒident 1789.” “George Washington’s Expense Account” by Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman PFC (Ret.) was the best-selling expense account in publishing history.