Guest columnist: War in Russia would be real American incompetence

Jody Michael

I question Haoran Li’s use of the word “incompetent” in his March 18 column to describe President Obama’s handling of the Crimean crisis.

Since Obama has told Russian president Vladimir Putin not to invade Ukraine, we can certainly agree that Obama’s efforts on this matter have been unsuccessful.

To call it incompetence, though, implies that it is a very bad outcome for U.S. interests — but is it?

The author wrote that Obama instead should have been “arranging a number of NATO or American troops around the border of Ukraine to show Russia there was no space for the Kremlin to seize any territories from Ukraine.”

I wish Li (and others who share his sentiment) would stop framing such an action as just some little thing and start admitting what it really is: He’s advocating for the U.S. to start a war with Russia. Although it’s possible he doesn’t really want a war, that doesn’t change the fact that his proposed action would start one.

After an Iraq War that completely wasted trillions of dollars, left 5,000 soldiers dead and resulted in al-Quida having a foothold in Fallujah, he’s advocating the start of yet another risky war that doesn’t serve U.S. interests and for no reason other than because he thinks Obama looks incompetent.

After our disaster in Iraq, unless Li can prove not only that the U.S. would undoubtedly be capable of determining the outcome in Ukraine, but also that the outcome is important enough that the benefits of starting a war over it would outweigh the unquestionably enormous costs, I would argue that the Obama who took Li’s preferred course of action would be more fitting of the term “incompetent” than Obama’s current actions have been.

Jody Michael, Kent State Class of 2013, Crosby, N.D.