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Michael Reagan: It's time to put the economic screws to Russia

Cagle cartoon syndicate Published: March 7, 2014 4:00 AM

Mr. Putin's quick takeover of the Crimean peninsula was no surprise to me.

Neither was the Obama administration's half-butted reaction on Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that to show our support for Poland and the Baltic states after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, the we will train more Polish pilots and expand our role in NATO's air policing mission over their territories.

I'm sure Comrade Putin is quaking in his combat boots.

To show he really meant business, Hagel went to the old Cold War playbook and pulled out some high-minded rhetoric about it being time "for all of us to stand with the Ukrainian people in support of their territorial int egrity and sovereignty."

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That sounded real nice, Chuck. The trouble is, it's too late for Ukraine and its people. It's been too late for a long time.

Unless we want to start World War III, Putin is going to do whatever he wants in the Crimea.

It was only a matter of time before Putin took off his Olympic ski mask and cracked down on Ukraine's freedom movement the way his imperialist forefathers in the Kremlin would have during the Cold War.

The United States has been showing Putin how little we care about what he does to the citizens of the former Soviet Union since 2008.

After Putin's quick intervention in Georgia -- Mikhail Gorbachev's former Soviet Georgia, not Jimmy Carter's Georgia -- the Bush administration pretended it was going to do something really tough.

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Dick Cheney rattled a few sabers and said Putin's use of military force to snuff out Georgia's freely elected pro-Western government would not go unanswered.

Of course, nothing happened. Russia did what it wanted and the Free World moved on. Georgia is an occupied country today, just as Ukraine will be one tomorrow.

The Obama administration can't -- and shouldn't --do anything militarily about Ukraine. But it can do more than just talk tough and cancel some military exercises with Russia.

I suggest that President Obama m ight want to study how Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Union.

He did it without firing a shot, as we know, but he had a super weapon -- oil.

Oil was the only thing the Soviets had in the 1980s that anyone in the rest of the world wanted to buy, besides ICBMs and H-bombs, and they weren't for sale.

Since selling oil was the source of the Kremlin's wealth, my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil. Lower oil prices devalued the ruble, causing the USSR to go bankrupt, which led to perestroika and Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

The Soviet Union was so destitute, so unable to pay for anything from the West in the 1980s, it was pathetic.

"How bad was it?" I once asked Mr. Gorbachev at a town meeting.

He said his country was so broke its women couldn't get pantyhose.

If our president is really serious about getting Putin to lay off Ukraine and think twice about rebuilding the Soviet Empire, he should follow the Reagan Rule.

He should put the economic screws to Mother Russia and bankrupt her until she starts clamoring for pantyhose.


Copyright 2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

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trawl Mar 8, 2014 1:49 PM

"~~I suggest that President Obama might want to study how Ronald Reagan defeated the Soviet Union."

By using the Social Security Trust Fund to outspend the U.S.S.R in defense thus squandering our childrens future was one way. (That future we're in now, by the way.)

But as usual Reagan ignores reality and puts forth a simple solution:

"~~my father got the Saudis to flood the market with cheap oil. Lower oil prices devalued the ruble," Blah blah

Sort of ignores the fact that Arab nations aren't quite as willing to be our puppets these days. Blaming Obama would require ignoring the Iraq War. And such.

Then there is the fact that Russia supplies most of Europe with natural gas. Putin only needs close the valve or throttle back supply. Sure, we could supply gas to Europe. If we could ship enough gas over there. But then what would happen here?

There is one shining piece of rhetoric in Reagan's column, that being:

"~~Unless we want to start World War III, Putin is going to do whatever he wants in the Crimea."

Wanna go to war with Russia in Russia's own back yard? Sure you do. I'll arrange a ride to the Recruiters for you and your children ... Oh, I see. You're all busy doing something else that day.

Wasn't that long ago I saw those in the National Media holding Putin up as an example of what a leader should be. Usually accompanied by pictures of a half naked middle aged man riding a horse or fishing .... many of us wondered about your BroMance with Putin.Lots of speculation on that.

Funny thing about the Right Wing, they set out to make Obama as weak as they could and now whine about the perception of Obama being weak.

In a way the Right Wing got what they wanted only to discover it isn't what they need.





Ian_Maserb Mar 8, 2014 12:31 AM

Yes, Obama should force Putin to invade Detroit. That would teach him.

redleg6 Mar 7, 2014 3:24 PM

Community Organizer vs KGB.....Who will win? The paper tiger from Chicago, or the Ruskie from Moscow that hunts tigers?*****


"Obama's warnings brushed aside by Russia's Putin" by Julie Pace.. AP White House Correspondent Published: March 7, 2014 9:11AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- One by one, President Barack Obama's warnings to Russia are being brushed aside by President Vladimir Putin, who appears to only be speeding up efforts to formally stake his claim to Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Told Ya So

amt_ Mar 7, 2014 8:57 AM

Republicans mocked for Putin warnings now say: 'Told ya so'
Published March 05, 2014

Several prominent Republicans are claiming "told ya so" in the wake of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Crimea, after having predicted such aggression and tensions years ago, only to be mocked by the media at the time.

Among them are the past two Republican presidential nominees, and former VP nominee Sarah Palin.

"I could see this one from Alaska," Palin wrote on her Facebook page last week. "I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did."

Now that Putin has sent forces into the disputed peninsula, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle largely agree on how to approach the stand-off -- with sanctions and other penalties, but not U.S. military force.

But both Palin and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney were shunned for their warnings in 2008 and 2012.

Romney, during the 2012 campaign, took flak for calling Russia "without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe."

The New York Times' editorial page and others ridiculed Romney for the comment.

President Obama, in a presidential debate, tried to zing his GOP rival for the alleged gaffe.

"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years," Obama quipped.

Romney stood by his claim.

Palin, for her part, said in 2008 that after Russian troops invaded disputed territories in Georgia, then-Sen. Obama's alleged "indecision" would encourage Putin "to invade Ukraine next."

Foreign Policy magazine called this "extremely far-fetched."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his run for the presidency against Obama in 2008, also used a debate to warn about Putin's Ukraine plans in light of the Georgia conflict.

"Watch Ukraine," McCain said. "This whole thing has got a lot to do with Ukraine, Crimea, the base of the Russian fleet in Sevastopol. And the breakdown of the political process in Ukraine."

Obama, at the time, did not dispute McCain's characterization.

On Tuesday, McCain told Fox News: "I predicted this, and although I'm very saddened by it, I'm not surprised."

In the wake of the conflict in the Crimean Peninsula, other lawmakers have reprised their warnings about several policy moves by the Obama administration, including the decision to pull back on a missile defense plan with Poland and the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, members of the House Intelligence Committee are now questioning intelligence assessments they received before Russia's invasion which apparently said the Russians would not advance into Ukraine.

Fox News has learned one assessment said that while Russian troops had amassed on the border and had the ability to go in, it appeared they would not. Another assessment concluded the Russians would not advance.

Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, a member of that committee, said Wednesday he's "ticked" about the intelligence community's forecast and doesn't think members were given all the information.