"Not learning from mistakes is worse than committing mistakes. When you don't allow yourself to make mistakes, it is hard to be tolerant of others and it does not allow even God to be merciful."
Competence and experience? Man, you're just asking too much from liberals.
As noted elsewhere in this thread, I support providing economic and financial assistance to Ukraine. Hopefully, that assistance can help it overcome its substantial economic and financial problems, begin developing a stable and response political system, and improve the living standard of its people.
With respect to Iran, both the U.S. and EU have significant differences and concerns with Iran. Whether Iran is willing to accommodate those needs in exchange for a peaceful civilian energy program remains to be seen. Moreover, Iran has shown little indication that it will cease supporting its proxies e.g., Hezbollah, who pose threats to strategic U.S. Mideast allies.
This is poker game. Nuclear weapons are irrelevant as weapons neither US nor Russia could use them. But they are a massive PR statement.
The question is whether Russia can claim without dispute that the Crimea is their country now. There are still Ukraine military posts that have not been surrendered and held by 20,000 Ukraine troops (unless that has since changed.) Even a few American forces or NATO forces there would make it impossible for Russia to drive them out.
Would they shoot down American supplies being flown in? Is Russia going to start a shooting war with the USA? Think of history and West Berlin. Just 200 Marines - 100 each in a couple Ukraine held base in Crimea would be a constant huge PR thorn in Putin's side. What the hell is he going to do?
This SHOULD have been done before the "vote" and immediately when Russia started declaring basically military take-over of Crimea. I think it still could be done.
The same for NATO or USA troops on the border of the rest of Ukraine.
Why nuclear weapons in Ukraine? We could unite virtually all of former Soviet Eastern and Southern block countries to our side if we'd show some courage - ie turning them rather solidly "pro-West" and any agreed upon (with the country) USA and/or NATO presence in that country keeps Russia out. There also is inherent connection between FRIENDLY foreign troops on invitation by the locals as soldiers bring $$ in their pockets.
The nukes (which would technically remain in our control) are huge PR for the entire former Eastern bloc countries. Since all this is on Russia's border, not ours, complexities are against Russia's advantage and favoring ours.
At the same time, there is considerable lack of cost control that does need to be addressed. The Pentagon simply cannot function as it currently does where there is little predictability in costs of developing new weapons and cost overruns are par for the course. Budgetary mechanisms need to be developed and enforced to assure that projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter project are completed both on a timely basis and on budget. Given the delays in the project and costs involved, it is somewhat uncertain whether the new fighter jet will, in fact, be qualitatively superior to anything else available once it finally goes into service.
The military also needs to improve its costs relative to waging war. It cannot maintain a cost structure where it consumes $300 million per day in Afghanistan (https://www.google.com/hostednews/af...JvsAlNkA?hl=en) without limiting its capacity to sustain a war effort. Otherwise, enemies will attain a competitive advantage from a strategy of waiting out the U.S.
Also, I'm not arguing for an unrealistic goal of military preeminence. I am arguing that the U.S., along with its allies, should pursue a position of maintaining a relatively stable balance of power so that their major interests are safeguarded. Preeminence is not required for deterrence. One only need sufficient strength that the perceived costs of an enemy's pursuing an objective are prohibitive relative to the objective it is seeking.
All in all, I'm not calling for a dramatic increase in military spending. I am suggesting that the planned cuts should be reduced. In the longer-term, the Pentagon needs to do much to improve its cost structure and such improvements will yield savings.