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George F. Will: Putin's fascist revival is more dangerous than the Islamic State

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  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    I wonder how many people look back at Obama's dismissive reaction to Romney's assertion that Russia/Putin is/was a looming problem and wish they'd understood better how much better Romney's predictive abilities are/were than Obama's...on this and many other issues. Judging from Obama's plunging approval rates, the number of people who are wising up is surely rising.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:50 p.m.

    “U.S. participation in defense of the Baltic states is unconditional.”

    The certitudinous George Will is laying down the law again.

    No, US participation in the Defense of the Baltic States is NOT unconditional. It is very much conditional.

    IF we find it in our best interests THEN we will defend the Baltic states . . . To a degree that is also in our best interests.

    America doesn’t need any ultimatums from George Will, or any other opinionated “Conservative” columnist.

    Remember folks, these “Conservative” columnists are the SAME folks who led the cheers for GW Bush and company, who in retaliation for 911, attacked Iraq, a country that had NOTHING to do with 911.

    These are the same folks who got us in trouble in multiple ways with their senseless demands for low taxes for the rich, less regulation on the financial sector, laissez faire government, more military build up, and more wars . . . Everything, in other words, that led to GW’s inglorious retreat from the oval office, where he had done more damage to the United States in eight years, then Al Qaeda or ISIL could ever do.

    Is it wise to take the advice of "Conservative" columnists?

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    Putin's rise is deja vu. Just as the left-wing stood by and watched the ascent of the original Soviet Union, the current left-wing administration is standing by and watching the ascension of a new Soviet state.

    No reasonable person can deny that Putin is the proverbial dog in a manger who seeks to keep others from gaining, even though doing so provides no benefit to himself. He would sooner burn the world's food supply to the ground than let the Ukrainians rule themselves.

    We cannot let the Soviets rise again. If the current left-wing administration will not take action, a change of leadership is sorely needed.

  • Anchovey Provo, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:22 p.m.

    Relatives living through WWII in Europe were grateful to the British and especially the Americans who came and did what they could not--traumatized as they were by a dictator and his vicious means of retribution--to give them hope and to free them. While Ukraine may not be in America's best interests, Putin's methods to unify the lands Russia "lost" during the democracy movement in that region during the 90s should not be allowed to persist. Ukraine is a sovereign country--is it not? Remember, Hitler didn't stop with Poland and Czechoslovakia--Hitler wanted to rule the world. Putin's initial land grab will haunt the USA. President Obama's inaction is unsettling. President Bush had the decency to go with intelligence reports and ask for a consensus from Congress before heading off to war. President Obama and his fans could care less about the rest of the world; keep blaming everyone and especially President Bush; keep making up stories (read many news sources); stand down until someone else does something... Come on, USA--you are the world leader--or, were...

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    Mitt Romney did not say Putin was an emerging threat. He said he was the single greatest geo-political threat in the world.

    Bothe he and Will are dead wrong.

    JCS the Russians are hardly re-emerging as a new Soviet state. You need to put Ezra back in the bottle and view the world as it is.

    Putin is a problem, and a problem that needs to be dealt with, as we are doing, but he is hardly the greatest geo-political threat. No ones following him except for Russian speaking eastern Europeans primarily in Ukraine. Radical Islam is far more of a geo-political threat. They have followers in Europe, Asia, and the US. Much more dangerous.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:57 p.m.

    if parts of the Ukraine want to reunify with Russia, let them. Let those people in that part of the world decide. We have no say in this. Repubs need to stop trying rekindle the Cold War.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 2, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    Hey John Charity Spring -

    " . . . the current left-wing administration is standing by and watching the ascension of a new Soviet state."

    "A new Soviet State?" I see you disagree with George Will too. But Will is right and you are wrong.

    Putin is no Communist. He's a Fascist . . . 180 degrees away.

    Many "Conservatives" have no knowledge of the political continuum. They just throw words around without knowing their meanings.

    Obama's administration is far from "left wing."

    What do you think "left wing" means anyway?

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:38 p.m.

    "Putin's fascist revival is more dangerous than the Islamic State"

    Not so. All Putin wants is more of the mideast and maybe Ukraine, Estonia, and Latvia. Poland too, maybe. Islamists want the world... and that would include the USofA. They already have their eye on Minnesota as we can see... where two Minnesotans converted to Islam and went to Iraq to join ISIS.

    @GaryO:
    "Remember folks, these 'Conservative' columnists are the SAME folks who led the cheers for GW Bush and company, who in retaliation for 911, attacked Iraq, a country that had NOTHING to do with 911."

    Dubya went to Iraq to stop the production of WMD which the US knew were used on the Kurds (stockpiles of old canisters were just recently discovered). And he went to the US Congress for permission getting approval including from Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden.

    @pragmatistferlife:
    "Mitt Romney did not say Putin was an emerging threat. He said he was the single greatest geo-political threat in the world."

    I see very little difference between emerging threat and geo-political threat. 'Threat' is the operative word.

  • Back Talk Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:49 p.m.

    the Cold War never stopped. We just gave up by trying to strike up a new relationship with Putin and Russia. You saw what they got us. Nothing but lies.

    NATO needs to act on its ideals and support Ukraine as a free country. Putin will do everything possible to reestablish the old Soviet Union.

    Let Ukraine be free and help them fight off Russia. Europe needs to support this 100% by ordering real and severe economic sanctions.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:52 p.m.

    Yes Putin's actions are unfortunate. They are also none of our business. Ukraine can if they wish put up a resistance. Similar to what the Vietnamese did with us.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:59 p.m.

    Thank goodness I voted for President Obama and he won instead of Romney. Otherwise we would be back in Iraq in a full scale war with boots on the ground and be in an other costly cold war with Russia. Enough is enough.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    Sept. 3, 2014 3:22 a.m.

    Oh how maddening it is to the left, that Romney showed such superior presidential intelligence, compared to the clueless bho we all got stuck with. Now his slobbering worshipers have to fumble around making up the most mindless excuses and lame theories about world issues. Except that the situation is somewhat serious and deeply concerning, it is fun to play the hapless leftists like puppets controlled by a puppet master.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 3, 2014 4:48 a.m.

    Putin is a fascist. Islamic states are fascists wrapped in religion. I don't see much difference. Both elements are bad.

    What worries me more is the fascism in this country. Lest you forget what fascism is, it is the radical nationalism associated with extreme patriotism and is generally associated with right wing politics. Sounds like the Tea Party to me.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    Yes JCS. Just what is your definition of "left wing"? Since every post you ever made includes the term, it deserves your definition.

    As much as many would like to paint Obama as left wing, it is just not possible using logic and a classic definition.

  • nicholdraper West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:07 a.m.

    Putin may be a fascist but look at who he is fighting. Same thing in Syria. We are on the wrong side here. We should never have supported the Mujahideen who became the Taliban in Afghanistan. We should support Russia in this fight.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Sept. 3, 2014 6:29 a.m.

    >>No, US participation in the Defense of the Baltic States is NOT unconditional. It is very much conditional.

    No, Will is right on that one. The North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 was signed by then-SecState Dean Acheson and ratified by the US Senate on 21 July 1949 by a vote of 82 to 13. Under the Constitution, ratified treaties have the force of law. So if Putin invaded a Baltic State NATO member, which then invoked Article 5 of the Treaty, the US would be legally required to consider that attack as an attack upon the US itself and come to their military aid.

    Therefore, if the US refused to come to that member's aid, we would be breaking the law and a 64-year old multinational security commitment. No longer able to trust that we will keep our legally binding commitments whenever we find them inconvenient, our allies would probably reconsider every treaty we've ever signed them accordingly.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    That was until the cease fire.This may be more complicated that in the 1950's.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    Going back and saying Romney was right is of no use whatsoever. What would Romney have done about Putin? Immediate war? It seems to me that Obama has taken all the right steps. He has imposed progressive sanctions and exercised patience. All those who talk tough, are you ready to send millions to their deaths by rushing into a war that might be the world's last? And, this is not merely U.S. vs. Russia. All the nations on that side of the globe need to step up. Will may be correct in saying Putin is more dangerous than ISIS, or it may be rhetoric on his part. Time will tell. But I am deeply grateful for a President who is patient and is taking a longer view on these issues. We haven't given up anything as relates to our national security, and we sit in virtual control of the economic power (along with the UK). There are problems on that side of the globe, but it would not matter who sat in the White House in terms of prevention. The question is the reaction. Impulsive, or patient?

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    >>The question is the reaction. Impulsive, or patient?

    Patience is a virtue, but not infinitely so, and is often invoked to mask indecision. So the real question is whether Obama's current approach truly is an act of patience or an act of indecision. The president easily could settle that question by answering a few simple questions.

    How long is too long to see whether sanctions will work? What is your criteria for success? If sanctions fail to restrain Putin, what then? Do we, Chamberlain-like, stand by and hope Putin won't go further? What's the option between "failed sanctions" and "military action"?

    Clear answers would show that he has a plan and really is being patient -- true leaders have a vision, a strategy to implement it, and they communicate it. Muddled or absent answers would suggest that there is no plan and indecision is being misconstrued for patience.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    @ ordinary

    Nice try on the Fascist label, but as often happens with most lefties, you can't really figure out how to connect all the dots. Your hatred for conservatives and the TEA party get in your way. A true fascist would never embrace the United States constitution, and when it comes down to it, TEA party members and true conservatives are the only ones who really follow the constitution! So try again next time, your bound to get it right eventually.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    " The Islamic State is a nasty problem that can be remedied if its neighbors, assisted by the United States, decide to do so. Vladimir Putin's fascist revival is a crisis that tests the West's capacity to decide."

    If it can be remedied then why has it not been remedied? I couldn't make it past the first line.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 3, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    When it’s not clear what exactly we’re dealing with, it’s best to tone it down as the President has been trying to do amid a chorus of incoherent alarmist rhetoric. Wars are relatively easy to jump into. It seldom fails that regret follows on the morning after.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 3, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    Hey wrz -

    “Dubya . . . went to the US Congress for permission getting approval including from Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Joe Biden.”

    Right. But you forgot to mention that the Bush administration LIED to Congress.

    “His [Sadaam’s] regime has amassed large clandestine stocks of biological weapons, including anthrax and botulism toxin and possibly smallpox. His regime has amassed large clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX and sarin and mustard gas.” - Testimony as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., September 18, 2002.

    Democrats in Congress made the mistake taking the Bush administration’s words as face value.

    Democrats made the mistake of believing lying Republicans.

    We DON’T do that anymore.

    Get used to it.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    @ mhenshaw, there are no quick and easy answers to your questions. It calls for judgments, not rash decisions like we saw in the last Administration. Too much is at stake.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Sept. 3, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    @GaryO: "IF we find it in our best interests THEN we will defend the Baltic states . . . To a degree that is also in our best interests."

    Well, it is in our national interest. So that is solved. The reason it is in our national interest is that we belong to NATO. We've been a major part of NATO since its founding back in the beginning of the Cold War (1950's?). If Russia attacks a member state of NATO our treaty commitment, agreed upon by congress, is to defend that country.

    If we walk away we have lied to people who have trusted us. We become the laughing stock of the world. No one will ever trust us again. This can only be in our national interest if we are going to isolate ourselves over in the Western Hemisphere. Given that the world is shrinking, isolationism is even less possible than it was in the 1930's.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Sept. 3, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    "Otherwise we would be back in Iraq in a full scale war with boots on the ground and be in an other costly cold war with Russia. Enough is enough."

    A BBC correspondant was with some Kurdish peshmerga yesterday and they were going to go into a battle zone. The Kurds stopped the correspondant from going in. The upper command wouldn't say why. After awhile some trucks went by with bearded men who appeared to be US special forces. Apparently, US and German special forces were on the front lines calling in US air strikes on ISIS positions. The Kurdish peshmerga called these guys 'guests'.

    We do have boots on the ground. I am not saying that is good or that is bad. I am just saying. It isn't a full scale war yet.

    I think that our military doctrine should be help people defend themselves. We can't do things for them. If Afghanistan won't clean up their corruption, we can't help them. If Israel won't stop oppressing the Palestinians, we can't help them. If Iraq's Maliki is oppressing the Sunnis we can't help him.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 3, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    Hey Tekakaromatagi
    Dammam, Saudi Arabia -

    I see you want this nation immersed in war

    It’s interesting that you live in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s have been playing this nation for a fool for a long time, haven’t they?

    The world is their little play pen, isn’t it? Individual Saudi’s fund ISIS, but the Saudi Royals, the nominal leaders, are terrified of ISIS, and yet think they can control Islamic extremism if they play it just right.

    Sadaam Hussein and his secular government were a threat to Islamic Extremists. And the Saudis nodded approvingly as we killed Sadaam and ravaged Iraq.

    And Bashar al-Assad of Syria, another secularist, and thus an opponent to a regional caliphate, is a threat to them too. But Obama refused to kill him. Obama refuses to be used by the Saudi’s OR the Israelis. And that makes American “Conservatives,” who have an extremely hard time thinking critically, furious.

    As for Russia and the Ukraine, Obama will do what needs to be done there too. But that doesn’t involve taking advice from “Conservatives” who only seem to be good at failing.

    Get used to it.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 3, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    @GaryO:
    "Right. But you forgot to mention that the Bush administration LIED to Congress."

    Congress had the same intelligence reports that the SecDef and the White House had... or at least they coulda obtained same. The truth is, Saddam had amassed large clandestine stocks of biological weaponry (as your post clearly shows), the remnants of which were recently discovered by Sunni extremists (i.e., ISIS).

    "Democrats in Congress made the mistake taking the Bush administration’s words as face value."

    I take your point. Thus we can clearly see that Democrats in Congress are obviously a lazy bunch and should be replaced. And the sooner the better. We don't want any more errors in judgement.

    "Democrats made the mistake of believing lying Republicans."

    There were no lies. Saddam did have chemical WMD as used on the Kurds and as was recently discovered.

    "Get used to it."

    Agreed.

  • Anchovey Provo, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    From what I have read about Barack Obama, indecision is part of his character. That may be a blessing or a curse. Telling it straight--no lies, no cover-up--would make me a fan of the President. However, no matter how you spin it (four Pinocchios for Josh Earnest today...) Russia is a threat to world peace as is the ISIS/IL movement. Decisions must be made and President Obama (who wanted to run for a second term) must make them!

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Sept. 5, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Then there was Snowden who was applauded by the Tea Party for taking sensitive information to Russia. As soon as Obama labeled him a traitor he became a hero to Conservatives.

    What a funny world we live in.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 5, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    LOU Montana,

    Snowden being sheltered by Putin doesn’t seem to be causing America’s right wing much discomfort, does it? George Will didn’t find it worthy of mention in this alarmist screed. Can a man serve two masters? Where there's a will, there's a way for a man to do anything by way of turning his head and looking the other way.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 17, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    When I was last working in Germany, a discussion came up as to why Germany still maintains US Troops and bases. I asked why are we (the USA) still occupying a vibrant, robust, democracy like Germany.

    Answer: No European nation has a capable army; an army capable of defending Europe from invasion, or at that time, stopping the Balkan genocide. Nor does Europe have the will to do much against Russia, which provides about 1/3 of Europe's energy.

    Europe must be willing to defend itself. As NATO partners, a NATO engagement would embroil the USA. At this point, NATO is not willing to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression.

    So what do you Republican zealots think the President should do? Roll out the H-Bombs? Move carriers into the Black Sea?
    Start WWIII? Over something Europe isn't willing to deal with?

    Get real, Party of Stupid.