Skip to comments.Obama, Ukraine and the Price of Weakness
Posted on 03/02/2014 2:42:09 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
There may be no way for the United States to reverse the Russias seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. The Obama administration still has the opportunity to send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin to punish Moscow for this aggression in response to the ouster of one of their stooge in Kiev by a popular uprising. Indeed, he would do well to listen to the advice of Senator Marco Rubio who outlined eight steps the U.S. should take in response to the crisis. But whether or not the president acts appropriately now, its probably too late to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine from a predatory Russia. As he did in Georgia in 2008, Putin counted on both America and Europe being too weak and irresolute to stop him from aggression carried on in his own backyard even if meant violating international law by carrying out a unilateral partition of Ukraine to either annex part of that country to Russia or, as is more likely, set up another puppet state in the strategic Crimea. At this moment, theres little reason to believe that calculation was incorrect.
But even if we take for granted that its too late to save Ukraine, the spectacle of Russian aggression should provoke a re-examination of the direction of U.S. foreign policy under President Obama. It should also cause us to think again about the assumption that the American people are, as Senator Rand Paul and a growing chorus of isolationists on both the right and the left have advocated, perfectly happy to retreat from the world stage and let aggressors such as Putin s Russia or Iran have their way. The lessons of the tragedy unfolding in the Crimea are many, but surely the first of them must be that when dictators dont fear the warnings of the leader of the free world and when America demonstrates that it is war weary and wont, on almost any account, take firm action, to defend its interests and to restrain aggression, mayhem is almost certainly always going to follow.
No doubt there will be many, whether they call themselves realists or isolationists, who will in the coming days argue that what happens in the Ukraine is none of our business. Americans who are sick of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan say they want no part of foreign wars or even a strong foreign policy that carries with it the chance of engaging in conflict. They may not cheer when Barack Obama speaks of leading from behind but they are entirely comfortable with the general drift toward retreat that has taken place in the last five years under his leadership. But, as we have seen in Syria and now in the Ukraine, there is a price to pay for such weakness and it is not one that will be paid by Bashar Assad or Putin. Nor will others who seek to test the mettle of American resolve, such as the leaders of Iran, fail to observe that the free world is led by a paper tiger. U.S. allies will draw the same conclusion.
A world in which dictators do as they like despite clear American warnings as President Obama did first in Syria and then again this week about attacks on Ukraine is not only a far more dangerous place. It also creates a dynamic in which every such American warning or diplomatic initiative is discounted as mere rhetoric, even if those daring to defy the United States are not so well situated as Putin is with his bold stroke in the Crimea. That is especially true with regards to the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
The circumstances of the U.S. diplomatic effort to restrain Irans nuclear ambitions are starkly different from those in the territories of the former Soviet Union. But the basic formula of a bold rogue regime that has no reason to fear the threats or the blandishments of either the U.S. or Europe is present in the P5+1 talks. Lack of credibility in foreign policy cannot be compartmentalized in one region or particular issue. Weakness and irresolution are fungible commodities in international diplomacy. The Obama administration gave up the formidable military, political and economic leverage they had over Iran last fall by signing an interim agreement with Iran that gave Tehran what it wanted in terms of recognizing their right to enrich uranium as well as loosening sanctions in exchange for almost nothing. If the Iranians had good reason to think they had nothing to fear from the Obama administration before this latest humiliation of the president at the hands of Putin, their conviction that they can be as tough as they like with him without worrying about a strong American response can only be greater today.
It is too late to save Ukraine from the theft of its territory. But it is not too late to reverse the U.S. retreat from the world stage that has been going on in the last years. President Obama can begin to regain some of his credibility by taking a strong stand on sanctions against Russia and sticking to it. But if he doesnt no one should be under the illusion that it wont affect Obamas ability to prevail in the Iran talks. The cost of Obama-style weakness and isolationism will not be cheap, either for U.S. allies or for an American people who must now understand what it is like to live in a world where no one respects or fears their government.
We could begin by dealing with this Russian warship now sitting in Havana harbor. Why is no one incensed by this?
So, who do you think will take “Best Director”?
Considering that Putin (a brutal dictator who more than dabbles in communism) is less anti-freedom and anti-American than Obama, I’m happy to see just about anything Putin does that weakens Obama further.
The First Moslem Tyrant-by-Pelosi’s-Perjury
is ONLY interest in Islam and his Caliphate.
The US position in the world under the Tyrant-Fraud
means nothing to his Excellency
except as a way for his Moslem Brotherhood
to murder/rape/behead more Americans
and Christians/Jews EVERYWHERE.
Yeah, our communist in chief really put the fear of God into Putin by gutting our military strength.
Now he comes for our guns while increasing the militaristic power of his favored liberal agencies like the IRS, Homeland Security....etc.
What’s up is down.......
Russians don’t think like Americans or anyone else for that matter.
I’m shocked Obama is simply allowing this to happen. A revitalized Russia is so dangerous, especially with China’s assent. One day Russia and China will fight over Siberia and eastern Russian, but for now, they have common cause and are making the most of a weak US.
Last week, a Chinese admiral said there would be blood. They don’t say these things for squeeks and giggles. He meant it. They have too many males and a big rural poverty problem besides a soon to be noticed yuan devaluation, banking problem and derivitives exposure.
This is a bigger move than just Ukraine. It’s geopolitical chess and Obama is still learning to match puppies and kittens with flashcards. Those pipelines are going to be owned by our enemies and so will the oil. Iran is playing with the US and Syria is part of this board.
Obama and Jarette are so far out of their depth, we are all going to drown.
“Now he comes for our guns”
Note first thing the Ruskies did in the Ukraine. See any difference? I don’t. His excellency does it by stealth, Putin did it directly.
It has been a long time since question has been asked by anyone sitting in the White Hut. At least 4 administrations.
Obama and his WH adviser John P. Holdren (they're all of like-mind) believe that the world will be SAFER when the U.S. is de-developed and diminished on the world stage; that it is desirable that other countries gain while we lose status. [I guess Russia and China didn't get that memo. In reality they recognize how to fill a power vacuum when it is gift wrapped and sealed with big wet kisses].
The Crimea is a special case - after all, the territory IS mostly ethnic Russian and Russia does have a case in protecting its interests and the people who live there.
A Russian attack on Ukraine itself would be a completely different matter but the West would be powerless to respond - its decadent, flabby and weak. People who want to be its friends are advised not to repose a great deal confidence in it.
That was the Maidan revolutionaries and the Western Ukrainians big mistakes - for which they’re now facing Russian wrath. Moscow’s not too subtle message is reject us and face the consequences. Join with us and you will have influence, peace and security.
Its one not being lost on the Ukrainians. In the end, they may have to capitulate to the Bear because they have no real options and the West isn’t going to be there for them. But the reason they would want to choose a future with Russia is because Russia is the only country that can protect as well as punish them. In a dangerous world - an enemy as good as his word is also the kind of ally you want to have as a friend.
What does the West offer Ukrane really? And Moscow’s other side is it can offer a lot of money, inducements and trade to sign up with them. Poor Jonathan Tobin and a lot of Westerners who wax high on platitudes need to go back and read their Machiavelli. “Its better to be feared than to be loved.” The bottom line is Vladimir Putin knows exactly how win respect for his country.
We should give it a try sometime.
Best Dictator? I didn’t know that was a category. There would seem to be a clear front-runner, though.
He's joking, right? This is Zero we're talking about here.
But all-out invasion of Ukraine appears unlikely at present given that even if Russia were to win, it would face years of costly and bloody insurrection.
Taking over just Crimea appears, at least initially, to be less risky given that more than half the population is ethnic Russian. As a peninsula, Crimea would be theoretically easy to defend.
But a Russian takeover of Crimea could be disastrous in the long run. The Kremlin would be underestimating the impact of the sizeable population of Tatars who were forcibly deported from Crimea by Josef Stalin in 1944 and not allowed to return until the beginning of political and economic reform in the 1980s.
Sutyagin, who is at the London-based Royal United Services Institute, said: "The Tatars are very anti-Russian. They will do anything not to be under the Russians. They will be determined to fight for Ukraine. It would be a second Chechnya."
Many of the soldiers fighting in the Ukrainian army are ethnic Russians but Sutyagin said loyalty to the idea of an independent Ukrainian state would top their ethnicity. "The entry of Russian troops would be a deep humiliation for Ukraine. Ukrainians do not want to be occupied. It is a mistake by Russian politicians who think ethnic Russians are Russian," Sutyagin said."
America will do nothing. Ukraine is the Russians’ backyard - if they want to slap it silly, who is going to stop them?
And what is amusing to the Russians is the high minded dungeon from countries that once ran empires. The Russians still know hard power ultimately is the best instrument of asserting real influence.
They don’t care if they burn their bridges to the West - but they will obtain the respect they think they rightly deserve and aren’t about to let upstart Ukraine spit in their face. There is a method in Vladimir Putin’s seeming madness and its one that may pay them dividends.
Moreover, according to him, Crimean Tatars have already begun to organize themselves into voluntary self-defense units, who may be given weapons.
"The Majlis will fight, even if we have to be engaged in a violent confrontation with the invaders. We are now creating units of Crimean Tatars who are ready for an active fight.
These units will be armed if they get the status of an Ukrainian state formation. They could be put under command of some Ukrainian police or army department. Then they will get weapons. Negotiations are underway on this", said Cemil.
It is to be recalled that on February 26, thousands of Crimean Tatars seized all approaches to the local Crimean parliament, counteracting Russian extremists and separatists.
Meanwhile, for the first time since the invasion of Crimea by Russian troops, western officials acknowledged the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
"Obviously, there is a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. Their likely immediate aim is to set up a puppet pro-Russian semi-state in Crimea", said Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt.
Until then, no western leader, including Obama (whose position looks frankly shameful), has admitted the obvious the fact of Russia's military attack on Ukraine by their seizure of Crimea." Kavkaz Center
If the Tartars fight the Russians will just expel them to Ukraine.
Consider 1864 when Lincoln sent troops south to recapture the secessionist states. Is Putin marching into Ukraine different than yankee Sherman burning Georgia?
America will do nothing. Ukraine is the Russians backyard - if they want to slap it silly, who is going to stop them?
Russia also has a border dispute with Canada. Doing nothing now when a neo Brezhnev KGB thug rampages against his neighbor will have big costs later.
The Russians do not think the way Westerners do. They look at their huge country and know much of it is kept together only by force.
They look at what Gorbachev did and for them that was a time of national humiliation they want to live down. They remember how weak they were when their Serb allies were pummeled by the Americans and NATO and they could do absolutely nothing.
The lesson they learned is letting the West taking advantage of them brought NATO right on their doorstep. And they will not allow the West to take away their freedom to run their “near abroad” as they see fit. They may have lost their empire but they are not about to let any one else take away the influence they wield in their part of the world.
If asserting Russia’s interests means they won’t be invited again to a future G-7 summit, so be it. For the Kremlin, making sure Russia is the leading country of the post-Soviet space overrides all other considerations. And its on this basis that Russia is claiming the right to act as it pleases in Ukraine today.
Like they did in East Germany, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia?
Don't make me laugh.
This shows the false promise of international “law,” U.N. “peacekeeping” and/or treaties.
The Ukrainians are Europeans. The only reason the Russians lost Eastern Europe was the empire was draining them dry.
If the Ukrainians are smart, they will let the Russians occupy them and pick up the tab for their bankrupt country.
In the end Russia will disgorge them because the financial costs of keeping them happy are not worth it.
If the only reason Putin is deterred from invading Ukraine, is not due to moral scruples, respect for international law, or even a regard for human life but simply because acquired real estate is very expensive to administer in the modern world.
And rebuilding the Russian Empire involves more than grabbing huge chunks of land in the bargain.
“to save Ukraine” ???
The e-mails of Klitschko, the boxer dubbed pseudo-president of Ukraine, have been hacked.
They reveal that Klitschko wanted from the start that the situation escalate in Maidan Square and protestors die, because he needed dead bodies to blame for and expell the sitting, legitimate president.
Putin doesn’ want all of Ukraine.
He’ll probably take the East, russophone et russophile, the rich and industrialised part and leave the poor east with its batch of nazis to the EU.
Why are you licking Putin’s boots in all these threads? Are you an isolationist?
Some are. Some are Russians.
And the truth is, the Europeans who live in Ukraine have had all the press these last two weeks. We have no reliable, testable method of determining what TASS used to refer to as the "correlation of forces".
I presume that the Russians who live in Ukraine want reunification. I also presume that, in the West, there is a so far silent faction of unknown size who were proud to be Soviet citizens, who don't like being small and weak, and/or who don't want to be homosexualized or to be overrun with the Turks and Africans who will arrive with the IMF and the E.U.
I absolutely recognize that Lwow (and Brest, and Grodno for that matter) will never be Russian. But I bet you anything that the silent majority East of Galicia won't fight and die to reverse Putin's coup.
Of course, I could be wrong. That's why they play the games.
Why are you backing a Neo Nazi who has already tried to remove the citizenship of every Russian speaking citizen.
It boggles my mind that there are several people here who think a Neo Nazi Chief Prosecutor in a corrupt 3rd world country known for brutality and ruthlessness (see the fear worldwide of Ukrainian Mobsters) poses no problem.
This is a powder keg and Jews that can get out should get out until this settles down.
“........There is a train of thought among some libertarian types that the Ukraine is “not our fight” an eerie parallel to the thinking among isolationists and appeasers of the 1930s regarding Hitler’s territorial demands. But the imperative of preventing the rebirth of the Soviet Empire and the second coming of the balance of nuclear terror makes the Ukraine everyone’s fight. Because it will not be Putin’s final territorial demand.”
Jews are front and center as to be the ones to lose again..
Some here think there are no Neo Nazis in power in Ukraine.
The idea is LUDICROUS. Mccain has actually backed them..but then he is a senile ole’ coot.
Does anyone here think of Obambi and his Black Panthers when reading this story
People had better WAKE UP....before the Neo Nazis have suddenly risen to the top
It’s WWI that has the lessons for our time
NEWSNIGHT: Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine
but But but..Jews have nothing to fear according to some here...
Despite the Chief Prosecutor being a Neo Nazi
Why are you backing a Neo Nazi who has already tried to remove the citizenship of every Russian speaking citizen.
That is a false choice. But if it was a real choice I would still pick some “neo nazi” bureaucrat over a murdering KGB thug with an army of 700,000. Putin is running the Brezhnev doctrine playbook, killing those that disagree with him politically and living in the 1970’s. I don’t care to go back there.
This is really about isolationism isn’t it? It’s none of our business yada yada yada. If that’s your position just state it. Willfully ignoring the the murdering KGB thug in the room while you chase strawmen is unbecoming a conservative. Would Reagan do that?
Feb 26, 2014: “............On January 27, a Chinese coastguard vessel tried to drive away Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal by using a water cannon, General Emmanuel Bautista, the head of Philippine military said on Monday.
China claims about 90 percent of the 3.5-million-sq-km (1.35-million-sq-mile) waters of the South China Sea. It provides 10 percent of the global fish catch, carries $5 trillion a year in ship-borne trade and has a seabed believed to be rich in energy reserves.
Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam also claim parts of the sea.
The Philippines has urged regional grouping the Association of South East Asian Nations to conclude a binding code of conduct with China to avoid accidents and miscalculations in the disputed waters.
The Philippines has taken its dispute with China to arbitration under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea but China is refusing to participate.
China has rejected challenges to its sovereignty claims and accused the Philippines of illegally occupying Chinese islands in the seas and of provoking tension.”
Simferopol, a well known hotbed of Ukrainian nationalism.
The Neo Nazis backed by Mccain helped lead to the destabilization of the Ukraine.
This is about destabilization.
So, basically what you are saying is that it is okay to let the Neo Nazis who hate Jews take power.
How many said that as Hitler gained power.
The most worrisome and largely overseen factor of the ongoing Ukrainian tragedy, to me, is the mighty Neo-Nazi presence among the opposition hard-core militants from ultra-right nationalistic parties and movements. The threat posed by those forces should be not under-estimated, especially in the context of rapidly rising ultra-national forces all over Europe, the current. new ugly fashion.
So both sides are bad and it’s none of our business. Is that your position?
No, but last night several of you were claiming that talk of Neo Nazis was pure Russian Propaganda. Nothing to see here..Move along.
That is not so
The fact that the Neo Nazis were backed by the US (and probably the CIA) for destabilization is frightening.
But then again, the CIA will use whoever can help them with their goals.
But now you have a Neo Nazi in a Chief Prosecutor’s role with people here saying it is no big deal.
This is a powder keg that has the potential to lead to a WW III..or it can go quietly in the night to Russia taking over Crimea and everyone in the West forgets about it.
I dont know what is going to happen..but I do know I would get out of there if I was a Jew.
Already starting to hear from the left that this is indeed Bush’s fault for appeasing Putin all those years and allowing Vladimir to build back the Russian military. I figured there would be an Obama-proof excuse...
I see nothing about a Ukrainian pogrom on Israeli news pages. You can worry about it all you want but it doesn’t seem to be a big issue in Israel right now.
This not going to end with the Crimea. The murdering KGB thug wants all of Ukraine. You seem ok with that. What if he wants a chunk of the Canadian arctic? Or oil at $200 a barrel? You ok with that also?
You are extrapolating beyond Putin’s ability.
He has strong preSoviet precedent for following the 1760’s precedent of Catherine the great to secure access to the Black Sea.
He has the limited military strength to intrude in the Crimea and perhaps even all Ukraine. Beyond that he is limited. He is not in the best of financial health to go far beyond his home field.
Turning a blind eye, eh???
Plenty of Israeli sites are worried about the Neo Nazis rising to power in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
I guess you will wait to pay attention until much much later...as many did with Hitler.
Obama has zero power. Obama is powerless. Putin has Obama blackmailed. Our entire country is paying for Obama’s personal history. Why does congress allow a blackmailed queer to continue occupying the Oval Office?
Maybe you will change your mind if this comes out as true
“The new U.S.- and EU-backed government in Kiev has overthrown the anti-Nazi propaganda laws previously in place in Ukraine. The action opens the way for normalizing National Socialism in Ukrainian Society. Ukraine is now the only country in the world to openly embrace Nazi ideology, writing, and thought. “
true or Russian Propaganda. Not enough info out there to determine:
4176 Bill to repeal law penalizing Nazi propaganda
The person last night who claimed that the Ukraine would NEVER have anything to do with Nazis ought to be rethinking his position because there is enough info out there to see the coalition with Neo Nazis.