While Most Republicans Aren’t Talking About War with Russia Now – They Will Be

boehner-mccainI made a joke today while talking with a friend about how Republicans are always so quick to want to send our military off to war – well, as long as it’s some small Middle Eastern country.

Even someone like John McCain, who’s said we need to take strong diplomatic stances to isolate Russia, has said that he’s not talking about using military force.  Which isn’t “funny” in the traditional sense, but it is funny in the sense that McCain is usually the first Republican in Congress saying how we need to send troops to (fill in whichever Middle Eastern country), scoffing at the idea of handling those situations with diplomacy.

But they’re not Russia.  Dealing with Russia and their actions in Ukraine isn’t something where we can simply say, “Send in the troops!” Though I’ve seen some conservatives either suggest that directly, or imply “it’s not off the table.”

So far, the leading Republican talking points about this situation trend more toward strong diplomatic action as opposed to military force.


For now.

We’re all well aware that Republicans love war.  Sure, they’ll never say that, but it’s pretty obvious.

John McCain, the man who would have been president in 2008 if he had beaten Obama, would have sent troops into Egypt, Syria and Libya for certain – and who knows what he might have done with Iran.

Mitt Romney, the man who would have been president in 2012 if he had beaten Obama, made it clear that when it came to Iran he wasn’t opposed to using military force.

Then we need to look no further than the last two Republican presidents we’ve had.  George H. Bush, in just four years, sent our military off into operation Desert Storm and George W. Bush started both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Like I said, Republicans love war.

And while most aren’t calling for military force now, mark my words, many of them soon will be if things in Ukraine don’t settle down.

Most of them are rightfully calling for diplomatic means to address Russia’s aggression, but that’s because they have to.  Risking war with Russia isn’t the same as sending a few thousand troops into Libya or Syria.  So they’re being more cautious about their words, but you can still hear the underlying tone in what they say.

They realize that risking war with Russia is a very big deal, so they want to make sure that they work up the right kind of fear and anti-Obama sentiment before really making that push.


Heck, most of them have been pushing the idea that Obama trying to improve relations with Russia is what led Putin to sending troops into Ukraine.  Because, you know, having the lofty goal of working with (instead of against) Russia is such a “terrible” idea, right?

But mark my words, whenever Obama announces what he plans to do to take action against Russia, Republicans will be publicly slamming him for whatever that plan is.  They’ll continue to ratchet up their rhetoric, continue to work their constituents up into a fear frenzy, and just when they think that public support might be growing for military involvement in Ukraine – that’s when you’ll start seeing more Republicans publicly endorsing using our military.

They just can’t do that now because war with Russia would not go over well – even with most Republican voters.  Let’s face it – a war with Russia would most likely spiral into WWIII.  It’s not going to happen under President Obama’s watch.

But Republicans don’t care.  They’ll take the proper time to seem diplomatic and reasonable, stir that “fear pot” they always like to use with their easy-to-frighten voters, then that’s when you’ll see the typical war-mongering rhetoric start spilling out from the Republican party.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Michelle Grasz

    kick backs from defense contractors, hell yeah they love war

  • Veritas vos Liberabit

    This is the ramification of giving comfort to the enemy that Conservative/Republicans precisely did when Russia’s Putin “brokered” that peace deal between Syria and the USA. According to our Constitution, giving comfort to the enemy is an act of treason. Many Conservative/Republicans even called for Obama to return his Nobel Peace prize. They even suggested that Putin was more deserving of that prize. I suppose that the anti Obama sentiment that runs through the veins of Conservative/Republicans is higher than loyalty for our Country. The same Country they profess to “love”.

  • Gary Menten

    Did Eisenhower go to war with Russia in 1956 when the Russians crushed the Hungarian Revolution? No. Was he weak? I doubt anyone in his right mind would call him that. Did Johnson go to war with Russia when they crushed the Praque Spring in 1968? Was he weak? Considering that he’d committed half a million Americans to fight a pointless war in Vietnam, I would say that he probably wasn’t either. They were sane.

    Nixon tried to fool the Russians into thinking he’d lost it in 1969 when for three days he secretly sent nuclear armed B-52s to fly close to Soviet borders and messwith their air defenses. But the Russians knew he wasn’t crazy and called his bluff and WWIII failed to break out.

    My point? Ukraine is very close to Russia and very far from the United States. Unless willing to push the nuclear button and send the world up in smoke, the US can no more stop Russians from flexing their muscle in the Crimea than the Russians could to stop the US flexing its muscle by invading Grenada or Panama.

    Deal with it.

    • annicka

      And closer to the past, when Russia invaded Georgia during Dubya’s presidency.

      • Gary Menten

        Yes, good point.

  • Phil the observer

    Let us do the math, shall we? Russia and possible allies in s fight China, excess of 3 MILLION persons to send into combat..That would just be the persons, that does not include the Tanks, artillery, planes, helicopters, armored personnel carriers that decide to join the party. Hmm, not even going to bother with Naval strength, we got that hands down… 480,000 troops in the Army, a couple hundred thousand Marines vs 3+millions….WE are SPARTA is not gonna work this time, in the Russians backyard. I am not a coward, nor a fool, but I walk away from fights I can’t win, for a person I don’t know… Attack Nato….well, that’s another kettle of fish. I vote we sit out the Russian Tussel for now.

  • Matthew Reece

    If the Ukrainians really wanted to resist, they could. They wouldn’t win a long war (at least if Global Firepower is anything to go by), but they could make the Russians pay in blood and treasure for their conquest. If the Ukrainians themselves won’t fight back, why should anyone do it for them?

    Of course, the Ukrainians put themselves in this mess when they gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994. Putin would have a much harder time if the Ukrainians could wipe Moscow off the map.

  • Gary Menten

    Republicans are just using this to attack Obama. If a Republican were in the White House, they would not be acting so bellicose. It’s a fool’s gambit however. Obama cannot run for a third term and they can’t swing the tar brush at Hillary Clinton about this since she is no longer a part of the administration.

    Maybe they do something useful like focus on job creation instead? (Har, har, blatant sarcasm…)

  • rossbro

    You left Reagan and Grenada off your list of Republican Wars.