The world is in a time of peril. Russia has annexed part of Crimea. No one is quite sure what is happening in Afghanistan. Iraq seems mired in a new civil war. The civil war in Syria is destroying the country. It's kind of a dangerous situation out there.
And the right wing in America sees it all as an opportunity to undermine the president.
Former Vice President Richard Cheney notes that Afghanistan's leader, Hamid Karzai, has endorsed the Russian action, and says he is on Karzai's side.
"I personally am sympathetic with him to some extent," Cheney said. "Nobody likes to have a foreign leader side with Putin on Crimea the way he has. But I really think it's understandable given the terrible, terrible diplomacy" that the United States has practiced in Afghanistan.
John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, trains his fire on Secretary of State John Kerry. Sending Kerry to negotiate with Russia is like "sending a cupcake to negotiate with a steak knife," Bolton said.
Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense, agrees. He said "a trained ape could get a Status of Forces agreement with Afghanistan, but President Barack Obama hasn't been able to do so."
Really? Did the former secretary of defense just compare the president of the United States unfavorably to a trained ape?
Some critics accuse Rumsfeld of racism, but that isn't fair. Rumsfeld just likes the trained ape analogy.
Back before we invaded Iraq, for example, Rumsfeld commented that, "There's no debate in the world as to whether they have those weapons. We know that. A trained ape knows that."
What do Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton have in common? They were architects of the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history.
I don't know what's more astounding, the fact that these three have the gall to even mention foreign policy in today's setting or the fact that the major news media take them seriously.
It's not that I think everyone has to agree with Obama's policies. Exercising power is in many ways a gamble. You think through a policy, implement it and hope it works.
For example, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bolton thought the invasion of Iraq would be a good thing, that Americans would be greeted as liberators, that the war would be over in a matter of weeks. I presume they really believed that.
Obama could be wrong, but I don't think he should take advice from people who have proved time and time again that they are pretty good at blowing things -- and people -- up.