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The hypocrisy of Obama's threats to Russia

By Gregory Koch
On March 5, 2014

Last week, Russian troops entered Ukraine in response to what Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called "an unconstitutional coup," according to NBC News. This invasion came shortly after Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanuvych was ousted by the citizens and forced to flee the country. On Friday, President Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by the actions of the Russian troops, and warned that "there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine," according to an article on Fox News' website. However, this position is highly hypocritical coming from the United States government, which has intervened in numerous foreign conflicts in the last several decades without any apparent reprucussions from the international community.
If Obama had agreed to provide military support to the opposition in Ukraine before Russia sent troops in, nobody in the international community would dare condemn him for his actions. After all, in less than 15 years, we have intervened in conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Mali, as well as providing financial support to one side or the other in numerous other foreign conflicts. If Putin or any other foreign leader had dared to declare there would be "costs" for our intervention, the President's response would be swift and negative. No country would dare speak out against us in that way.
Now, however, President Obama is criticizing Russia for the very same thing he and numerous American presidents before him have done countless times-intervene in a foreign conflict. How come it is only acceptable when we are doing the intervention? The hypocrisy of the situation is appalling. Obama cannot criticize the Russian military for taking actions that the United States military has taken in similar conflicts several times during his term of office.
If Obama is against interventionism, he should have pulled all the troops out of Afghanistan a long time ago. He should not have let the Iraq War continue for almost three years during his first term before finally ending it. He should not have sent troops to Libya, Somalia, Mali,and Pakistan to intervene in those nations' conflicts. It appears his position is that nobody except the United States is allowed to intervene in wars in other countries.
The United States does not own the exclusive right to intervention. There is seldom a good reason to intervene in foreign conflicts, and it is good that Obama finally realized that. Unfortunately, he only applies this logic when it is another country sending the troops. If the roles were reversed, and Vladimir Putin threatened the United States if we did not immediately withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, our government would not tolerate that. Most likely, Obama would still be threating those "significant costs" to Russia but for a very different reason.
Back in reality, Obama is telling Russia to stand down and withdraw their troops from a conflict that should not have involved them. This is a commendable stance. The conflict was entirely domestic, and there was absolutely no reason for Russia to send troops in. It simply was not their problem until Putin decided it was. Does this sound familiar at all? It is the exact same thing America has done for a long time. Yes, Russia's action against Ukraine is wrong, but Obama cannot reasonably condemn it when he has authorized similar actions against other countries numerous times.
Either intervention in international conflicts is wrong no matter who does it, or it is an acceptable foreign policy measure. However, it is not only acceptable for certain nations while being worthy of condemnation when others do it.
If Obama does not find intervention acceptable, he should carry that viewpoint over to his own policy. However, judging by the current state of American foreign affairs, Obama has never had a problem with it in the past. Now that it is another country doing it, he has decided it is not acceptable. This view is hypocritical. Obama needs to apply the same non-interventionist stance he takes against Russia to our own government, or he has no grounds to complain about the situation in Ukraine.  


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