What in the world is he talking about?
The president [Obama] also addressed Putin's complaint that the U.S. was hypocritical to condemn his actions in Crimea when it had invaded Iraq. In a politically strange turn, Obama, whose rise in national politics was fueled by his opposition to that war, used the still-unstable country to defend U.S. moral authority. The U.S. sought to work within the international system, he said.
"We did not claim or annex Iraq's territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future," Obama said.
Mr. Putin also mentioned Kosovo. Regardless, Barack Obama must have been asleep when the George W. Bush administration bugged the UN, refused to listen to America's main allies against prematurely ending the weapons inspections, and refused to listen to the weapons inspectors saying that Iraq had no WMD (which it didn't). In addition, US oil corporations have numerous contracts in Iraq that they would not have had Bush and Cheney not invaded. Lastly and most importantly regarding Mr. Putin's position, the Iraqis did not conduct a referendum as to whether it wanted the US to invade and occupy Iraq. Of course, under Saddam Hussein, no such vote would have been allowed. If it had been though, the Iraqis would not have voted for invasion and occupation. The Crimeans though had an 83% voter turnout where 97% voted to join Russia. The analogy concerning Kosovo is more than apt.
There are some, such as Ilya Somin, who seem to falsely imagine that the Russians in Crimea would have had to be under huge Ukrainian persecution before those Russians would have the right to leave Ukraine to be joined to Russia (after an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine against Russian interests). He also claims that Russia's human rights violations are reason to disallow the annexation, as if Vladimir Putin is going to mistreat the Crimeans joining Russia of their own expressed desire. The twisted logic is astounding. He claims the 97% vote was "likely tainted by fraud and intimidation." Oh, that's a fact upon which to base a decision is it? It is not. It is nothing more than planting unsubstantiated seeds. As for the Crimean Russians having been under no threat of violence, one need only listen to the words of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko concerning Russians (pro-Russia, pro-Putin Russians). Don't kid yourself either that she has no power anymore or that no others there with power agree with her anti-Russian views.
She's talking about using nuclear weapons on 8 million of them. It doesn't matter that the West is trying to spin her later statements about that conversation. She admitted having it. She admitted the obscenities. Are you going to trust her and her people concerning how to treat Russians. Should Vladimir Putin have waited until after Russians were killed for being pro-Russia, etc.?
Honestly, Kiev is where the Rus were first notably established. It's the cradle of the Russian people's civilization. People such as Barack Obama act as if that doesn't matter much at all. Russia is still right there, right next door. It's not as if there's an ocean separating the two nation-states.
It is also ridiculous to bring up Stalinism in the same breath as Putin. Putin is not a Stalinist. Neither is he a Trotskyist. He's a market, mixed-economy, Orthodox Christian who believes Moscow is the Third Rome. It's not farfetched. If one looks at what happened to Rome and then Constantinople, there's a good case for Moscow's resurgence as that "Third Rome" now again.
Lastly, why did Vladimir say that the fall of the USSR was a huge mistake? Why doesn't someone in the West ask him? I suspect he wasn't referring to a desire to have maintained an authoritarian empire but rather anti-US imperialism for one. Look what happened as a result of Yeltsin? Putin has been digging out ever since and hasn't even come half way back to where Russia could have been in a post-authoritarian empire had the West not sat on its hands relishing the Russian people's plight (lack of market discipline and systems).
Vladimir Putin is not intending to build up a military machine so he can roll through Europe a la Adolf Hitler. Anyone who thinks that's Putin is a numbskull. What he wants is a strong, prosperous, healthy Russia that isn't pushed around but is a partner in developmental and other projects. It's really a shame that he doesn't have a counterpart in the US Presidency.
Look, if the right choices where made right now, the whole Crimean thing would end up moot.
I'm afraid that the US has gone too far down the moral relativism route though to suit Russia. It's the inevitable result of the selfishness inherent in so much capitalism for so long. It's bad training, bad upbringing.