Lindsey Graham: Russia Invaded Crimea Because Of Benghazi

While some of you may think that Russia’s interest in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is motivated by strategic matters, history, the large ethnic Russian population in the area, or the Russian Naval Base at Stevastopol, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham has discovered the real reason:

And keep in mind that the Tea Party wing of the GOP thinks that Lindsay Graham is too moderate.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    And keep in mind that the Tea Party wing of the GOP thinks that Lindsay Graham is too moderate.

    But not apparently too smart.

  2. Rick DeMent says:

    Makes me misty eyed and nostalgic for the days when any criticism of the president that that tended to support our enemy’s was considered treason .

  3. gVOR08 says:

    When is his primary over? I am getting so sick of his pandering to his Tea Party fringe.

    @Rick DeMent: as always, IOKIYAR. Of course it’s not like Putin, or anyone else outside the Conservative Echo Chamber, would have any idea what Graham is babbling about.

  4. Tillman says:

    Benghazi aflame can easily send anyone into an invasion of the Crimea. This is common knowledge. Graham is just the only one willing to speak it.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    When you are trying to win over the hearts and minds of a party full of stupid…it only makes sense to be stupid.
    Or…Butters shows us how to out-Palin, Palin.

  6. mantis says:

    Hey, George Will says they invaded Ukraine because Obamacare! Surely some wingnut out there is blaming ACORN. Where’s O’Keefe?

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Pat Robertson says it’s because of the homos.

  8. mantis says:

    Here’s George Will’s stupidity, if you’re interested.

    Large presidential failures cannot be hermetically sealed; they permeate a presidency. Putin’s contribution to the miniaturization of Obama comes in the context of Obama’s self-inflicted wound — Obamacare, which simultaneously shattered belief in his competence and honesty, and may linger as ruinously for Obama as the Iranian hostage crisis did for Carter.

    Of course, I think Putin invaded because of Jeremiah Wright.

  9. Pete S says:

    Even if Graham believes his own nonsense, how exactly does he think he is helping? If Obama’s image is such a concern of his, what does he think the constant public criticism does for that image? This is either cynical or stupid to such a degree that he should be disqualified from public office. By his own reasoning Senator Graham is helping to facilitate Russian aggression by making the president look bad.

  10. john personna says:

    You know, I’ve sometimes compared Presidential popularity to rank superstition. We are told there were island tribes who after suffering ill fortune would throw their chief in the volcano, to appease the gods. The new chief would begin again.

    If there was ever an illustration of that kind of primitivism, that kind of superstition, it is in this right-fringe belief that with a “good President” good things just naturally happen.

    They can’t put it into any kind of Realpolitik, they don’t want to admit that any such pragmatic approach exists.

    It is superstition practiced at the very highest levels of government and journalism.

  11. Mr. Replica says:

    @Pete S:

    In no particular order whatsoever.

    1. The base Sen. Graham is giving the reach around to, loves to hate Obama.
    2. Sen. Graham knows the people that will vote him into another term love Putin more than Obama.
    3. Bad publicity is still publicity, no matter how insane it looks to everyone not willing to vote for Sen. Graham.
    4. Sen. Graham as been playing the game for more than twenty years. The political game that is. Scrapping the bottom of the barrel and playing to the most ignorant among us is what politicians do to survive.
    5. What Sen. Graham is doing on twitter/foxnews/MSM etc. has no bearing on the situation in Ukraine/Russia. The adults are on it. Sen. Graham and his online persona are at the kids table.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    It is possible that the Ukraine situation was caused by global warming…oh wait…that doesn’t exist.

  13. stonetools says:

    When you think the Republican talking points can’t get any dumber…
    Also too, peak wingnut is a lie. Apparently, there is no peak.

  14. Andre Kenji says:

    I´m the foreigner here. What REALLY shattered the reputation of the United States among foreigners was the Iraq War, because everyone could see Americans being basically beaten by all kinds of thugs in a backwater part of the world. Nothing shows weakness like losing a war.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Mr. Replica:

    5. What Sen. Graham is doing on twitter/foxnews/MSM etc. has no bearing on the situation in Ukraine/Russia. The adults are on it. Sen. Graham and his online persona are at the kids table.

    + 10

  16. Mr. Replica says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Nothing shows weakness like losing a war.

    Yes, but the United States has been doing that well for a long time now.

    The way I see it. For the DoD and whomever else that makes their fortunes on the backs of missiles, rockets, lasers, planes, drones, and so on. Their wars are always won. In the traditional sense tho, winning wars is passe. The days of front page bold font “VICTORY!” are over.

    As Dan Ackroyd eloquently put it in Tommy Boy:

    What the American public doesn’t know, is what makes them the American public.

    You may not be an United States citizen, but I think you get the idea.

  17. RWB says:

    That is ridiculous. Everyone knows that Russia invaded Ukraine because of Obamacare.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RWB: No no no…. It’s all about the deficit.

  19. mantis says:

    Come on, folks. It’s clearly because Obama didn’t wear a flag pin one time.

  20. JWH says:

    Justin Bieber is currently in jail because of Benghazi.

  21. Tillman says:

    Rob Ford smoked crack because of Benghazi.

  22. Graham is wrong. Putin invaded the Ukraine as a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video.

  23. Rafer Janders says:

    Lindsey Graham: always ready to Blame America First.

  24. labman57 says:

    Once again, a Republican politico attempts to use a “6 degrees of separation” approach to establishing nonexistent causal relationships between disparate international events.

  25. bill says:

    it’s the “weakness” that causes others to test your mettle. countries with non-western values have no respect for “niceness”- it’s a sign of weakness.

  26. anjin-san says:

    Flashback, 2008: When A Russian Invasion Made Fox News Shrug

    Fox News commentators have been rushing in to blame President Obama for the Russian military’s excursion into Ukraine. It’s because of Obama’s “weakness” that Vladamir Putin has seized the military initiative, announced Sarah Palin.

    The crisis proves Obama’s guilty of misunderstanding the Russians and not being “interested in American national security affairs,” according to John Bolton. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox viewers Obama “left a vacuum that Putin is filling,” and Steve Doocy complained the president hasn’t done “much” to solve the situation.

    Also, Obama needs to get a “backbone” and he’s “lost moral authority.” All this while Fox has marveled over Putin’s prowess as a true “leader,” and swooned his supposed physical superiority over Obama.

    Please note that in August 2008, during President Bush’s final months in office, a strikingly similar scenario played out when Russian forces invaded the former Soviet state of Georgia. At the time, the Bush White House sounded an awful lot like today’s Obama White House. From Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, now a Fox host:

    “The United States supports Georgia’s territorial integrity. We call for an immediate ceasefire. We urge all parties Georgians, south Ossetians, Russians to deescalate the tensions and to avoid conflict. We are work on mediation efforts and to secure a ceasefire, and we are urging the parties to restart their dialogue.”

    Yet unlike today, the Putin-led excursion in 2008 completely failed to spark the panicked rhetoric that’s become Fox News’ trademark since Russian troops crossed over into Ukraine last week. Notably absent from the 2008 Georgia coverage was relentless finger pointing and blaming the White House for the extreme actions of a foreign leader thousands of miles away. There was also none of the Putin cheerleading that we hear on Fox News today.

    In fact, some of the Fox commentators currently stoking the flames of “crisis” were rather non-judgmental when Russian tanks moved into Georgia. “I don’t think the Russians are reckless,” Charles Krauthammer announced on August 8, 2008, as Russian fleets advanced into the Black Sea and Russian jets launched raids targeting government buildings in Georgia. “What they are doing here is reasserting control of this province. And when it’s done, which will probably happen in a couple days, the firing will crease.”

    Three days later, Krauthammer insisted there was nothing for the United States to do as the crisis escalated: “Well, obviously it’s beyond our control. The Russians are advancing. There is nothing that will stop them. We are not going to go to war over Georgia.” Krauthammer’s Fox colleague Jeff Birnbaum, agreed: “Because Georgia is not part of NATO, there’s really no danger the United States or Europe will get in involved in what is really a civil war almost between–within this small part of Georgia.”

  27. Mr. Replica says:

    That article sounds to me as an excuse to take the greatest super power in the world, the greatest the world has ever known, and lower it to the likes of people that only respect lower brain functions. Just so they will respect us later.

    Sounds to me that there a lot of people who can not fathom diplomacy or tact. That the only thing they will accept is force.

    To me that sounds like true weakness.

  28. Jr says:

    @bill: In what world has Obama been nice? It honestly blows my mind how morons on the right see Obama as soft/nice. Obama is pretty damn hawkish, the difference between him and the hawks on the right is he just more competent.

  29. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    it’s the “weakness” that causes others to test your mettle. countries with non-western values have no respect for “niceness”- it’s a sign of weakness.

    Do you remember in the 2008 debate when big, bad John McCain was literally wringing his hands on national TV saying that we could never go after Bin Laden in Pakistan because it might make them angry with us?

    Obama, on the other hand, said he was going after Bin Laden. Period.

    Have you seen Bin Laden recently?

  30. Franklin says:

    Remember that bin Laden guy? IIRC, he killed Americans and paid a price.

    Remember that Gaddafi guy? IIRC, he killed Americans and paid a price.

    But you’re right Graham, nobody who kills Americans pays a price. I see someone desperate to capture the far right vote.

  31. anjin-san says:

    I also seem to remember the right going on quite a bit about how Obama was out of control with the drone strikes (you know, going after our enemies)

    Now suddenly he is Mr. Rodgers?

  32. Andre Kenji says:

    The idea that foreigners can perceive “weakness” on an American President is ludicrous.

  33. al-Ameda says:

    It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. #Ukraine

    This is a “moderate” Republican?

    On a serious note, I’ve always thought that Putin would do some thing like because he knows that Bill Ayres can’t do anything about it.

  34. Kylopod says:

    @mantis: George Will writes:

    and may linger as ruinously for Obama as the Iranian hostage crisis did for Carter.

    Will should know. Just like Carter it led to his being voted out office in a landslide.

  35. Kylopod says:

    The irony is that outside of right-wing cuckooland, the only thing that has ever perplexed the rest of the world about the U.S. health-care system has been its lack of universal coverage, unique among advanced nations.

  36. Grewgills says:

    Clearly Putin, the prescient tactical genius that he is, recognized that a weak Obama would be entering the White House and Bush was clearly too gentlemanly to start a war that someone else would have to finish, so he knew he was safe in invading Georgia, exactly like he understands the Ukraine.

  37. It’s worth noting that the only time that terrorists went unpunished was after 241 American servicemen were murdered in cold blood by the Iranians and NOT A SINGLE SOUL WAS EVER PUNISHED FOR IT.

    In fact, less than two years later, Ronald Reagan was selling the terrorists (Iran) weapons.

    And, to bring this full circle, Lindsey Graham is the guy who stated he was going to introduce a resolution in the Senate calling for immediate military action against Iran. Iran managed to reverse engineer those weapons Reagan sold them (the TOW anti-tank and HAWK anti-air missile), so if Graham has his way, American soldiers will be shot at and killed by weapons Reagan sold to Iran.

  38. Ben Wolf says:


    it’s the “weakness” that causes others to test your mettle. countries with non-western values have no respect for “niceness”- it’s a sign of weakness.

    Americans are incapable of understanding the world does not revolve around domestic U.S. politics.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Who you calling “advanced”???? (snarl)

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh, and I have a correction. It is not deficits that caused Putin to invade Crimea, it is Social Security. If we got rid of SS it would show the badmen of the world that Americans aren’t softies, that even our octogenarians are capable of steer rasslin’ and certainly aren’t afraid of no d@mn Russkie.

  41. JWH says:

    The latest season of How I Met Your Mother is awful. I blame Benghazi.

  42. al-Ameda says:

    You know, Putin is so smart and so crafty that he’s assumed responsibility for handling the ongoing Syrian tragedy/fiasco – the very same situation that Congressional Republicans opposed giving Obama any authority to take unilateral action should circumstances require. And now those same Congressional Republicans are saying that Putin exercises REAL power while Obama wavers.

    Fortunately for me I purchased Dry Cleaning Futures – right now, every time a Republicans creams in his pants at the sight of Putin I make a lot of money.

  43. Jim R says:

    I find the idea that Lindsay Graham is saying this to appease Tea Partiers because he is facing a primary rather humorous. He and McCain will seize on any opportunity to spew this kind of asinine crap.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, the US didn’t lose the Iraq or Afghanistan war. We lost the peace. In other words, we quickly toppled the government and captured or killed our enemies (or in the case of Iraq, Bush/Cheney’s wet dream fantasy of enemies). But the US, like all other major powers, have been unable to nation build in countries whose population does not blindly accept authority. Germany and Japan were stringently hierarchical societies and once the leaders were cut out, new leaders were easily substituted. Afghanistan, Iran, Korea, Iraq, etc were not rigidly hierarchical societies and the population were not going to accept foreign occupiers.

  45. anjin-san says:

    @ MarkedMan

    FWIW, the US didn’t lose the Iraq or Afghanistan war.

    Sure we did. Ultimately, wars are about outcomes, not battles.

  46. MarkedMan says:

    @anjin-san: A valid point. And perhaps it’s just a disagreement about terminology but I think it is deeper. War and other military might can be used to kill or capture enemies or to take over and hold territory or possessions. Put more simply, War is about taking something by force. But nation building isn’t about taking something.

  47. bill says:

    @Jr: obama is no hawk, get serious. his foreign policy is very wanton and he exudes passivity. nobody really cares about some crappy chunk of dirt in that part of the world to begin with- so why even bother with the faux posturing? it’s all going to come down to money, as always.

  48. Andre Kenji says:


    FWIW, the US didn’t lose the Iraq or Afghanistan war.

    I remember reading far left newspapers in Brazil(We are talking about people that still praises Stalin) and seeing articles commemorating the killings of American Soldiers and contractors in Iraq in 2005, 2006. If you hate the United States, Iraq was a epiphany.

  49. anjin-san says:

    This just in – The Beatles broke up because of Benghazi.

  50. Jr says:

    @bill: Where have you been the last 5 years? Obama expanded drone usages, increased military presence in Afghanistan, has removed Gaddafi and Bin Laden, and wanted to bomb Syria.

    Just because he has D next to his name doesn’t make him a dove, he is a hawk…..the most hawkish Democratic President we have had since LBJ.

  51. bill says:

    @Jr: i’ve been busy watching us fall out of place as a world leader.
    1) obama bailed out of iraq, after all the money/lives spent to set up the only arab democracy? now it’s falling to al qaeda- who were supposed to be “on the run”.
    2) he’s trying as hard as possible to bail on afghanistan.
    3) kadafi was on our leash, and his people were on his. now, well i don’t need to go there do i?
    4) “arab spring”, looked like a wonderful 60’s era thing happening until “sharia fall: became more like it.
    5) you really want to bring up syria, after putin handed his ass to him in full global view? the “line in the sand” was crossed, and he did nothing.
    not like lbj had a clue what to after kennedy died, but neither did kennedy.

  52. Jr says:


    1. Not really, Iraq kicked us out.

    2. Yeah, he wants to leave Afghanistan now…..but he also increased troops there in the first place.

    3. I have no idea what they hell you are trying to say here.

    4. How the hell is that Obama’s fault? Backlash from the Arab world precedes Obama and goes back the 30+ years.

    5. Except Obama did want military action against Syria, and congress shot him down.

    Honestly, you really must have been asleep for the past 5 years if you think Obama is some naive dove. His record has been fairly hawkish in terms of Foreign Policy. The biggest difference between him and the right is he isn’ t stupid, he is just way more efficient at this.