Betsy Crites: Foreign distraction

March 4, 2014 

Politicians love a foreign policy crisis such as Russia’s intervention in Crimea. It gives them a chance to posture and sound tough and distract public attention away from domestic troubles.

As the March 3 news article “Republicans bash Obama on Russia” reported, we have “a new chapter in the Republican effort to regain their political advantage on national security.” This “new chapter” may boost members of Congress attempting to justify spending $1.1 trillion for a boondoggle such as the F-35 fighter plane. It’s hard to explain such extravagance when we don’t have a war or even a credible enemy. A crisis involving Russia provides the enemy.

Americans are clearly tired of war and, when they learn about it, reject massive spending for war preparations. We want our resources directed toward rebuilding our communities and improving economic opportunities.

Hopefully, lawmakers will resist the temptation to use the conflict in Crimea for their political advantage, get serious about diplomatic and nonmilitary solutions and refocus on building an economy that serves us all.

Betsy Crites, Durham

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