Spam, Spam, Spam, John Bolton, Spam, Spam and Spam
I actually find myself partially agreeing with John Bolton about Russia. Not that we should back away from arms control-- Bolton would suggest that on any day ending in -y. But it might be a good idea to push forward on missile defense in Europe so that we have something utterly inconsequential on the table that we can give up so Putin can stop making the situation in Syria and still be able to declare victory when he goes back to the harem of half-tiger dancing girls whom I assume will be waiting for him in Moscow.
I am, of course, suspicious of any time I even superficially agree with someone who sees the UN as legitimate only when it serves his neoconservative agenda. Especially since his proscriptions are being offered in the context of there needing to be a fundamental shift in the strategic realities in the Middle East if we are to see peace there (Ok, what he said was "advance legitimate American interests," and he almost certainly meant something else by that, but seeing as peace is the only legitimate American interest in the Middle East, that's what I'm running with.) Seeing as Russia's sociopathic behavior on the world stage more or less stems from concern about the expansion of American geopolitical capital, it's hard to see how we're going to save any lives in Syria by telling them, for instance, that we have no interest in pursuing agreements aimed at preventing the militarization of space.
Pounding our chest at Russia and saying "come at me, bro," is many things, but it's not strategic. Where there is a whisper of kinda-maybe truth is that Putin, keen political operator that he is, is likely basing his posture via a vis the US on how the President has dealt with bald faced unprincipled intransigence at home. If that's the case, and this is a matter of Putin crowding the plate, as it were, it's because he doesn't think that Obama has it in him to brush him back. If so, it's possible that it might be tactically sound to give him some chin music. But all that can possibly do is get him to take half a step back. It isn't going to win the ballgame. The only way to win the ballgame is to ultimately find a way to make peace with Russia and Iran without giving away the store. Honestly? I don't remotely have the policy chops to tell you how that's going to happen (working on it). I am, however, keenly aware of what not to do.
On an unrelated note, I would like to ask people who are posting this image on social networks to please fucking stop
Congrats, folks! You've found a way to save less than 1% of the deficit whilst giving members of Congress further incentive to seek outside income! You know, the outside income they get by investing on inside information and taking high-paid gigs from the people who were lobbying them while they were supposedly serving our interests. This is no different than Republicans going after foreign aid or funding for the arts. You can fundamentally believe that the people who are receiving this money don't deserve it, but pretending that cutting it off is going to solve any problem is severely fucking delusional. It's the sort of thing that distracts us from, you know, actually solving our numerous problems as a nation.