Tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine remain high. Vladamir Putin has threatened to invade the neighboring country just as he did in 2014, seizing the Crimea region and embarrassing the Western powers who sat idly by. In response to that threat of aggression, Joe Biden has done what he always does — fumbled about while projecting weakness.
And while there's broad disapproval of Russia's behavior as a whole within the United States, there are sharp splits within different political factions on exactly what should be done. Tulsi Gabbard added to that debate today, releasing a message that's sure to tick off everyone. Well, almost everyone.
Judging by the social media response, the neoconservative types absolutely hated her message. They've long seen Tulsi Gabbard as the embodiment of evil. Personally, I don't go that far, and while I don't agree with all her foreign policy takes, I think she generally means well. I certainly don't think she's some moral derelict in comparison to those who propagated 20 years' worth of wars that largely led to nothing by dead bodies and wasted money.
Honestly, a lot of the people on the right attacking her should probably look in the mirror. Good intentions only go so far, and they often leave a string of dead bodies behind. Gabbard's disposition on foreign conflict, having served herself, is far more isolationist than most, but I don't believe that makes her inherently bad. Every situation should be judged on its own merits. What is the national interest involving Ukraine? I could make the case there is one, but that's the point — the case needs to be made instead of just flippantly dismissing anyone who asks for more than “Russia bad” as a justification.
Still, Gabbard's comments aren't just causing waves on the right. On the left, she's already seen as a bit of a traitor, having developed an almost libertarian bent over the last few years. That she continues to go after the Biden administration, first on vaccine mandates, and now on foreign policy, bugs them. Democrats don't take kindly to independent thinkers and Gabbard has never been one to stay in her lane. Kamala Harris' presidential campaign can attest to that, may it rest in peace.
But there are two ideological factions that will fully support Gabbard's message, and they represent an incredibly odd pairing. Libertarians and right-leaning populists normally hate each other, but on this topic, they are perfectly in sync. Tucker Carlson has already slammed the idea of going to war with Russia over Ukraine and Libertarians generally oppose foreign entanglements of all types. So Gabbard may be despised by some, but she's also making new friends along the way.
As to the merits of her argument, I tend to agree that going to war over Ukraine would be foolhardy. The truth is that when Biden handed Putin Nordstream 2, we lost our biggest piece of leverage to hold Russia at bay. The time to fix this situation was early in the year. I'm also skeptical Putin even really wants to invade Ukraine.
The right move here is to wait and see. The faux tough guy act Biden is putting on, threatening yet more economic sanctions, only makes us look impotent. The president should have given an ultimatum and then shut his mouth. But I digress, that would require having a chief executive who actually knows what he's doing.