To many on the right, all bad things that happen are President Obama’s fault. More than a few see what happened in Benghazi has the cause of anything that happens anywhere in the world. In that context, it is surprising the missing Malaysian plane hasn’t been blamed (yet) on Benghazi. The theory is that Obama’s weak foreign policy has emboldened Vladimir Putin to the point where he thinks he can do whatever he wants, wherever he wants. How do they know this? Because when their guy was in office, they say Putin backed off.
The theory of this comes from the US response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. The theories I have heard are that after Russia sent troops to the area, George W. Bush sent war ships to the Black Sea, trained the Georgian military to fight Russia and airlifted troops from Afghanistan home to fend off the invaders. What really happened? Georgia is part of the international coalition that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. As such, the US did train their forces and agree to get them home in the case of an emergency. The invasion was viewed as a qualifying emergency and the US transported Georgian troops from Iraq to Georgia but not to areas where the fighting was occurring and the administration made it very clear that was part of the agreement we had with all members of the coalition, not a response to the crisis. As for the US ships in the Black Sea, they were full of humanitarian supplies and again, the White House went to great lengths to show they were not there to engage Russia in a fight that everyone thought could lead to a nasty conflict between the two nations. US military action was never an option.
What did President Bush do? Here is his official response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1Men9v2tNg
Oh, the (W) Bush administration also levied sanctions on Russia. Sounds pretty similar to what Obama is doing now. Putin did not take over Crimea because of anything Obama has done. This move is very popular inside of Russia and the leader clearly wants to re-litigate the end of the Cold War. The US needs to be a part of any action to end the takeover of Ukraine but to assume it caused the situation or that it alone can end it is naive and misguided. This world we now inhabit is far more complex and integrated than the one we lived in during the Cold War. We are all better served by not applying simplistic causality (Obama is weak therefore …) to complicated situations.