The entire post is filled with this sort of excellent analysis. The problem, sadly, is that his post is aimed at, well, grown ups. The people handling this Republic's foreign policy are not. What they are, well, that's described in this post's title. The State Department reflects the preferred future state as envisioned by Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and the Progressives inhabiting the Faculty Lounge. That vision is frivolous, in that it has no understanding that actual work of production has to occur to keep society running (so long, Keystone XL); instead, a well placed Op Ed or a peer reviewed paper on some factor of Gender Studies receives pride of place. As I said, frivolous.First, make life unpleasant for Putin’s silovik and oligarchal cronies through an expanded Magnitsky Act. Encourage our allies in Europe where significant Russian assets are held to pass similar laws. Restrict their travel. Make their personal finances difficult. Consider occasionally revoking the visas and university admissions of their children.Second, attack Russia’s lifeblood—petroleum profits. Massively expand the export of U.S. natural gas to our European allies. Stop goofing around with Keystone XL and other oil-and-gas exploration and transport licenses. Encourage our Arab allies (if we have any left) to open the taps. Impoverish the Russian state—and its corporatist cronies—to defang their military and their ability to buy political power.
That is matched by a rather astonishing viciousness - the late Christopher Hitchens described this sort of person:
We're in power because we like it. We're in power because we enjoy punishing people. We're in power because we enjoy owning people. We enjoy telling them what they can do.This is actually the bigger problem, because the strength we found to stare down the Russian Bear back in the Cold War was the strength that came from people who did things, rather than people who talked about things. The current Administration seeks to leash those who would do things. They are like a medieval doctor bleeding a sick patient, only more cynical - a weakened polity is easier to dominate and control.
And so alas, the Volgi's excellent essay would be good counsel for previous Administrations, or even a Romney one. The chances that the current crowd will take any of this advice is nil.
Meanwhile, Iran watches the carve up of a Ukraine which gave up its nuclear weapons, and a Europe unwilling to engage in economic sanctions. It is doubtful that this will spur them to give up their own nuclear program. Our foreign policy is frivolous, but since it's the Tea Party and not Iran who are the enemies of the Administration, all is well Citizen. Relax. The circuses are entertaining and the bread is free.