Skip to comments.Ukraine crisis tests Obama’s foreign policy focus on diplomacy over military force
Posted on 03/02/2014 4:45:39 AM PST by SkyPilot
For much of his time in office, President Obama has been accused by a mix of conservative hawks and liberal interventionists of overseeing a dangerous retreat from the world at a time when American influence is needed most.
The once-hopeful Arab Spring has staggered into civil war and military coup. China is stepping up territorial claims in the waters off East Asia. Longtime allies in Europe and in the Persian Gulf are worried by the inconsistency of a president who came to office promising the end of the United States post-Sept. 11 wars.
Now Ukraine has emerged as a test of Obamas argument that, far from weakening American power, he has enhanced it through smarter diplomacy, stronger alliances and a realism untainted by the ideology that guided his predecessor.
It will be a hard argument for him to make, analysts say.
A president who has made clear to the American public that the tide of war is receding has also made clear to foreign leaders, including opportunists in Russia, that he has no appetite for a new one. What is left is a vacuum once filled, at least in part, by the possibility of American force.
If you are effectively taking the stick option off the table, then what are you left with? said Andrew C. Kuchins, who heads the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I dont think that Obama and his people really understand how others in the world are viewing his policies.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
We are in a very, very dangerous situation now, and it will affect our Dollar, our markets, and our economy.
Hagel (and Obama by fiat) announced to the world how we were going to gut our military EVEN FURTHER this week.
Morale of the DoD is in the toilet. The uniformed military is facing massive layoffs and firings, cuts to their pay, cuts to their housing allowances, cuts to the benefits, and massive hikes in their health care premiums. The civilian DoD force has been furloughed twice in 10 months and been hit with pay freezes for years, not to mention hiring freezes to replace workers that quit out of disgust. For instance, thousands of DoD doctors and nurses have quit in the last year, and they are not being replaced.
Military members and veterans watched in horror as Chuck Hagel nodded in agreement with Paul Ryan/Patty Murray's legislation to cut their pensions. It was only public outrage and courageous efforts by military families that overturned this. But those cuts signaled just the beginning. And Washington expects our military to continue to respond as it has in the past, despite being thrown to the wolves.
Sequestration cuts of $600 Billion over ten years are still in effect, which are on top of two previous cuts by Obama of $330 Billion and $487 Billion. The Tea Party applauded and supported those cuts, because they seem to want to grasp any rope to cut spending, as opposed to thinking this through.
Our geopolitcal and economic strength, and the US Dollar's status as the World's Reserve Currency, was always tied to our military might and prestige. There are few in Washington who understand this. America is going down the tubes, and fast.
How many Americans will the Pentagon leave behind this time?
Don’t make a threat you can’t back up with action. But then again, Obama could learn a lesson or two from “Idiocracy”.
Diplomacy is worthless unless the other side is convinced that you are willing and able to open a 55-gallon drum of whup-ass on them if negotiations are not concluded to your satisfaction.
Has the creepinchief managed even one “diplomacy” victory in he 2 terms?
The arrogant little priss is getting his a$$ handed to him on the world stage. He didn't even show up for the National Security meeting yesterday. I have little doubt he spent the time in the locker room of the Andrews Air Force base golf course, getting a steam bath with one of his boy toys.
This will not end well. Russia will emerge as the real Superpower, and the US is going to pay a military, political, but most importantly ECONOMIC price for this debacle. Watch.
We already have been paying for years. Didn’t you know Iraq was a Soviet ally, and they’re well opening up relations with Russia again? We’ve been losing the diplomatic relations battle in the Middle East for some time now, to the Russians. It’s only a matter of time before the world ends up seeing Russia as the heroes, and us as a bunch of trash. In fact, if you travel abroad, it’s better to pretend to be either Canadian or Russian nowadays in a lot of places.
I am impressed - a true statement about Obama. Barak Obama really is completely untainted by the pro-America patriotic ideology of George W. Bush.
I wonder if the number of people joining the military has gone down under Obama and what the retention rate is compared to when other presidents were in office. I can’t see why anyone would want to join now.
and the US is going to pay a military, political, but most importantly ECONOMIC price for this debacle. Watch.
Not only the US. Canada and the rest of the world are going to suffer too and that price is going to be so steep, our great-grandchildren are going to hate us for it.
"Obama sent hockey player Caitlin Cahow and figure skater Brian Boitano to represent the U.S. delegation both are openly gay. Asked if he would call his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin icy, Obama demurred. I wouldnt call it icy, he said, adding that Putin has always treated him with the "utmost respect."
Obama thinks he is brilliant and brave. He is a poser and a coward. Putin had him pegged, and is taking him apart piece by piece.
The alternate title to this article is:
Obama is the one in the corner sucking his thumb
Ya’ll heading on down to the recruiting center are ya? Or sending your kids or grand kids?
The link is not working for me, comes back with an error code.
Since I like to read the article before commenting, I’ll have to leave the commentary to those who don’t bother to read the article.
“cuts to their pay
cuts to their housing allowances
cuts to the benefits
cut their pensions”
When I served I did it for love of country. I wasn’t paid that well, but it didn’t matter to me, it was an obligation.
What you outline is a disaster of a military where people serve because of the benefits and the entitlements.
The US military will have no role in Ukraine. Nor should it.
To try to cast this event as a way to parlay MORE MORE MORE for the DoD and the already over pensioned, over benefited DoD civilian class, the over-benefited, over pensioned portions of the military that do not ever risk combat is absurd.
The risk to the US “reserve” currency is primarily the fact that we spend too damn much on everything building a permanent bloated bureaucracy that benefits itself and it’s members over the private sector that must pay for everything.
It is the government bureaucracy that is the biggest threat to the American way - not Russia, not terrorists, not anything else but Americans who support and Americans who are part of big government everything - including “big welfare”, “big military”, and every other program that distributes checks to a majority of America, including probably most “conservatives” on this board.
Two questions for you:
1. Does the military need people who stay in longer than say, 4 to 6 years, that is a LONG term commitment of decades in uniform?
2. Thank you for your service! How long did you serve? What did you think about staying in, when it as time to get out?
The point is. some say those people who stay in are worthless lifers, who couldn’t make it on the outside. Others say, no they are the true backbone of the military, and their dedication, experience and knowledge is what makes the US military as good as it is. Most of the benefits you’ve cited are really there for those who commit to stay several decades rather than go back to being civilians and seeking their own personal desires and potential fortunes.
I served for 22 years. Sometimes I wish I had not, and had the opportunity to settle down, buy a house, build a lucrative career, etc. But I didn’t, and they, meaning the US Air Force and government, offered me a CONTRACT of things to stay in. I did. How is this CONTRACT like welfare, when I fulfilled all of MY obligations to it, down to the very letter of the agreement?
Please do not see this as an argument on my part; one to be lost or won, but rather another perspective on the thinking of another party to the scenario you’ve described.
I have in the past on many posts (as you well know) cited and warned against the reductions in equipment, training, flying hours, weapon systems, and all the rest that is part of the disastrous dismantling of our military under Obama, with the collusion and aid of certain Tea Party types in Congress who think that cutting a dollar to SS Disability is the same as cutting a dollar to the military.
You are dead wrong that our military is over compensated for what they do. We will never agree on that, but you are entitled to your opinion of course.
Part of what you say about the risk to our status as the World's Reserve Currency is spot on. Our debt is murdering us. The Fed's medicine has become the poison. But the primary cause of our debt and deficit is not military spending. Far from it.
To your #1 Of course a professional military needs a small core of combat professionals who are career. A 20-year pensioned stint in the motor pool is not something everyone is entitled to. We can’t afford it.
To your #2 Please do not thank me for doing my duty. I served, I moved on.
The military of the last 20+ years has been the most political, politically correct ever. We’ve engaged in conflicts that did not need to be extended conflicts - if we even needed to be involved at all.
We can’t even cut our military down to a $500B a year budget without howls of entitlement. Then it is claimed there is no way to field an effective force for that much (little?) money. Nonsense.
Let’s talk about your CONTRACT. Who pays? where does the money come from? How many like you were promised someone elses money to be paid some time in the future?
We have so many people who were promised things from the US Government that we can’t possibly pay everyone everything. DO you think you deserve a multi-million dollar pension package for your service? If so how do we pay for yours and everyone elses multi-million dollar pensions - both in and out of the military.
It would be nice if we had, above all, a vibrant private sector that could pay all of the promises made by others that were in your CONTRACT and in everybody elses entitlement obligations. We do not have a vibrant private sector. We cannot pay everybody everything. We won’t pay everybody everything. Pretending we can and will doesn’t make it so.
You make it sound like fortune awaits everybody who works in the private sector, and that government prevents you from achieving that fortune - so all who work in government deserve to have a multi-million dollar package of pension benefits - and to extract that from the folks in the private sector to get it (because we’re all rich in the private sector, and can afford it).
We are not. Most folks in the private sector would be fine if they didn’t have to pay the massive tab for outsized government - including government pension promises in your CONTRACT and other promises and benefits.
Do you know what happens when you can’t pay a CONTRACT in the private sector? Default. If you think that does not apply to government promises you are mistaken.
I agree with you - it is NOT an argument to be won or lost between us. ALL government promises for future checks have to come from present revenues + borrowing. When the present revenues cannot support the obligations and the borrowing, the checks stop (or inflate away).
There are tens of millions who think the government will continue to have the ability to pay them.
I think that is an assumption that is not based on the fiscal realities before us. Maybe I’m wrong and we can continue to punish and squeeze the private sector with taxes while also borrowing vast amounts of money without penalty.
THAT is the discussion we need to have.
Guess that whole lack of experience thing is coming home to roost. Putin has him pegged and is doing what he wants with no concern for repercussions.
Sick to watch.
You are absolutely correct, my apologies for that. Mod, can you fix the link? Here is the proper link to the Washington Post story posted:
Here it is in raw HTML:
“You cannot treat your own employees with contempt, and expect them to perform well with high morale. The US military and its employees are not slaves. Contrary to your notion, the great majority of those serving both in and out of uniform are patriots. “
You are, as always, a piece of work.
You cannot treat TAXPAYERS with contempt and expect them to perform well (paying outsized taxes) with high morale. The US TAXPAYER are not slaves. Contrary to your notion, the great majority of those private sector taxpayers outside of government bureaucracies are patriots.
My grandfather served, my father served, I served, and my son is now serving.
Your point is???
And you are, as always, rude and believe you are the only person in American who ever served in the military or pays taxes.
Same post, every...single.....time.
You are hopelessly lost in your own selfish dependence on big government checks to realize they cannot be paid forever.
I’m ignoring the off-point nonsense in your response.
So how about it? Are private sector taxpayers slaves? Must they pay every promise government makes? Can you possibly be a patriot if you are not working in government?
No, it's not TESTING it. It's PUNISHING it.
This is going to kill the Democrats in November. As well it should...
For those who have read the article, this is the money quote. Obama has made it clear to the world that when confronted with a crisis, he will do nothing. This reduces his options to zero and puts the United States and the world into a situation where rogue nations, non-state organizations, and gangs of thugs can do as they please with no fear of any meaningful response from the U.S. It makes the world a much more dangerous place.
Pax Americana is no more.
Since Putin has all of Obama’s personal information, our whole nation is being blackmailed. Thanks, Main Stream Media, for soooooo thoroughly vetting Obama.
Except for the part where it endangers us all, I am actually enjoying watching it.
Why doesn’t soebarkah threaten to slap him?
We’re watching the “unexpected” result of “infirmative action” played out on a dangerous world stage.
Please read, it is long, but I think I have some counterpoints for you to at least consider.
Well, military service is different from government service. Even that 20 year guy in the motor pool gets the shit end of the stick every now and then.
The thing is, the country decided on a professional military with a long term commitment of benefits to entice and retain a certain (which actually is a small percentage) amount of qualified people. Far fewer reenlistments are allowed than you may think (having been given the duty of reenlistment NCO I know). But still, it was a commitment. You seem to be saying that a commitment is a something that can be simply dropped by one party whenever it is convenient to do so, as in the case of the United States having overspent itself. However, there is no one size fits all. This is what gave us sequestration, where the military has to cut a percentage equal to other half of the government, without looking at the value of the particular program nor the current needs of the country.
Witness Hagel earlier this week committing the government to cutting the military in a massive way (compared to the past) and by the weekend the Ukraine starts to spin out of control. While it might not seem to be such a big deal, we have no vital interests in the Ukraine, from a historic perspective, it is huge. An inconvenient truth is we actually have a military treaty with the Ukraine to prevent a Russian attack (and they promised to give their nukes to the Russians as part of the agreement). If they publically call on us to enforce our treaty obligation, how do we do so? Do we do so? What a mess! What does failure to act on our agreement say to the North Koreans vis-à-vis South Korea? China and Taiwan? Israel and Iran? Think quick; others are watching! Chamberlain at Munich led to September 1, 1939...
I retired as a Senior Master Sergeant. My AFSC was 3C090 which is Comms-Computers. The whole enlisted Air Force SEEMS to be REMFs but 3C0’s do combat comms, Red Force and other combat missions. Even so, I will agree that in the Air Force enlisted ranks, only the SPs are truly a military force. That changed after 9/11 with the demand for combat comms and forward air controllers, but there ya go. I retired before 9/11.
Note however the Air Force didn’t pay me to do comm-computers, but rather they paid me to be a Senior Master Sergeant. I was, at that rank, capable of leading in many different roles. Still, my AFSC was constantly getting robbed by recruiters in the civilian world for competent technicians; and yes, they made lots more than we who stayed on were being paid. My own experience is that yes, I could have made much more on the outside. You yourself said you didn’t get paid much but was proud to serve. Compensation for serving longer than a one hitch up and out should offer more than just kudos for patriotism. Especially for those who have families. My wife couldn’t keep a career, either, as much as she wanted to. When I PCS’d, I still had a job. She didn’t, and if lucky, got something (she got a substitute teacher job at San Vito AS, Italy, and that was it..one or two times a month). When I retired, her resume wasn’t looking so good as it would had I simply served once and got out.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Well then, you should have just got out and pursued your fortune!” But dude, I did/do love my country and my Air Force! I liked serving! I liked being the best I could be. Still, the PROMISE of the pension, the medical care, the continued relationship as a retiree beyond the gate kept me in when my wife cried and was bored to tears, while I was jacked up by A-hole Lts and Capts who thought they knew it all, when the shit would hit the fan and everything would go to hell in seconds (and yes, I thought about that a lot—I spent seven years in ADCOM/NORAD/SAC running comm-computer scenarios for Missile Warning). Now you want, after I did my half, to take it away because it cost too much (while a HELL of a lot is wasted and given out for free), while I’m now older and sick is a big hardship on me. And you (the country) got my services for very cheap all those years I served, and I do think I did a damn fine job, and in my many different ways, kept the country strong and out of war. Can I say that? I’m very proud of my service. I have not one ounce of distain for those who did not serve and/or those fine airmen who got out after one term. I used to smile inside when people said what a hero I was, when I was having so much fun. Still, I was told “Keep at it! We’ll reward you at the end for all your hard work, sucking gas mask rubber (I am somewhat claustrophobic and 12 plus hours in chemical gear had me almost, but not quite, ready to tear that sucker off and scream in front of everyone. The colonel told me I was the best, most intense senior NCO when we did battle staff but little did he know I was so focused because otherwise I would tear out of chem gear. Condidtiion Black and lying under the table was probably the worst, as I couldn’t DO anything!) and a host of other things.
Again, I think you are not looking at both sides here.
The REASON for all this, what you see as government largesse we cannot afford, is RETENTION.
The military policy of the nation is supposed to be to protect the country and its interests. How it goes about it in a time when its budget is limited is to come up with smart ways to save money while getting the best possible outcome. Retention is a fiscal policy. It cost money, but the return is less money spent fixing problems that a bunch of new guys without anyone to lead and help them would otherwise create.
You and I can debate retention, but I’m sure we can both agree at a certain level, retention is a must for a modern, technical military.
I think to blithely say that the pensions, housing, commissary, etc. model we’ve come up with over the past 60 years is wrong, without thinking through the consequences or at least offering replacement ideas to continue retaining quality people is penny-wise and pound-foolish. I would agree that the whole system and packages should be looked at and constantly tweaked to respond to the times. However, once an agreement between the government and a military person is met and signed, the rest of us should at least honor it as much as we can, no? Especially in a time when the giving out of free iPhones is being INCREASED and Food stamps (EBT) is at its highest ever. So far I have heard of NO plans by the administration to cut ANY of that. It appears they have their priorities; “Pennies for defense, but not one cent taken from welfare!” I am terribly sad to see my country in the fiscal crisis it is in. I actually would give up many of my benefits if the cuts were made all around. But come on, the democrats are INCREASING welfare and free handouts with our money and all we do is talk. The Republicans themselves just raised the debt ceiling. Obama won’t use that to further fund anything military-personnel, ops and maintenance, hardware—just more free give-outs. And our side is going to jump on the cut the military bandwagon as a fix?!
What, ultimately, would be the economic outcome to lose a war? I live in the South; the only part of America that did. It set us back many generations. Our first duty is to see no enemy defeats us. Its that simple. We’re just quibbling over how best to achieve that.
Absolutely not! The Tax payers are not slaves, but free men. But the country has an obligation to protect itself. That is probably the one single DUTY it has.
There is no argument there, the argument is what constitutes protection and how much it costs to do so.
Invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein, for example, is a debatable argument of need or not. Responding militarily to the Empire of Japans attack on Pearl Harbor is less so. Keeping a massive military when your adversary has nuclear weapons and an avowed hatred of your way of life and threatens you makes sense to many as well.
Still, the whole wide world of human beings include good guys and bad guys, and often those bad guys get enough of their kind together and go taking things from the good guys. The citizens of this country decided to form a government to look out for their good interests, and one of those interests include having a military to confront bad guys.
This has a cost. Argue how much and what for, but it does have a cost. Spend too little and the bad guys get through, and they’re not going to be nice.
Mad Vlad’s been communicating his intent for years. Obama’s response has been to cut military spending.
August 14, 2012
Russian attack submarine sailed in Gulf of Mexico undetected for weeks, U.S. officials say”
“A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles operated undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks and its travel in strategic U.S. waters was only confirmed after it left the region,...”
(snip)”...Instead of closer ties, Russia under President Vladimir Putin, an ex-KGB intelligence officer who has said he wants to restore elements of Russias Soviet communist past, has adopted growing hardline policies against the United States.
Of the submarine activity, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, Its a confounding situation arising from a lack of leadership in our dealings with Moscow. While the president is touting our supposed reset in relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin is actively working against American interests, whether its in Syria or here in our own backyard.
The Navy is facing sharp cuts in forces needed to detect and counter such submarine activity...”
You crack me up.
Da boy is WAY out of his league and it shows.
Thanks to Daniel Greenfield for the remarks below to explain where we are with Obozo as POTUS.
The Post-American order stands for nothing except its own dismantling. That is why Obama sets red lines that he wont enforce and issues threats that he doesnt mean.
The only thing less appealing than selfishness is the complete absence of self. The only thing less appealing than empire is an anti-imperialism that so thoroughly negates its own power that it has no influence and no reason to exist.
Post-American America exists to destroy itself. Until that changes, it has nothing to offer the world except membership in a suicide pact.
Everyone “blamed” obama for the sequestration cuts. Now we know it’s exactly what he wanted all along.
Pre-WWII levels. When the Japs hit Pearl Harbor we were not ready. And soon we will be at that exact same level. Actually, I don’t think we’re ready for anything big right now. Our military is dog tired.
The problem with this whole thing is that the actors here are absolutely the worst actors I have ever seen. They have no heart in it, they are deliberately giving Putin what he wants, at least in part seemed to help incite the situation in Ukraine, Obama leaving or not showing up for a briefing, talking real big and then no action to look weak and impotent, and of course I could point out Obama’s rather close love affair with Russia (kind of like the one Old Bill Clinton had with China). The few of us left who actually give a damn about God, duty, honor, country, etc are being rolled by these Marxist nut jobs. We are being played. All they need to do here is continue to look week, and you can bet that is the plan, let the economy tank on its own at some point once we have been isolated enough from the rest of the world or if its going to happen to slowly then push it off the edge. Then the real fun hear at home begins, i.e. people (patriotic Americans and potential leaders) disappearing, ending up dead for some reason, creation of political action or propaganda zones, gun confiscation (at least they will try), use of the internet kill switch, concentration camps quickly becoming death camps when they get a taste of blood, you know the works. Ever since Obama has been elected, the speed at which this country has been marinaded for the meal of leftist, has exponentially increased. This is not the days of Carter, it is something far more sinister and diabolical.
and where are these “anti war” and “anti occupation” libtards now?
I feel exactly the same way. I have spoken to people who have this heartfelt hope that we are repeating 1979, and that another Ronald Reagan is just around the corner, ready to save us.
Sadly, I don't think that will happen. Things are going to go from bad to worse.
I agree. Putin probably has the taped phone conversations of Obama having phone sex with Reggie Love. The Israeli Mossad had the tapes of Yassir Arafat having sex with teen age boys.
Moreover, Putin bagged Eric Snowden.
I can only imagine how Putin has been able to parlay the intelligence he has now gathered into raw, sheer power.
If Putin can so easily read our idiot in chief and for all intents and purposes....give him a swirley on the world stage, why can the GOP not win one fight? So many resources and so much foot shuffling.
Amazing isn’t it?
Obama is an amateur on the world stage, but the Pubbies are still his little bitch.