Skip to comments.Obama's Diplomatic Dance with Putin is a Sad Sock Hop
Posted on 04/18/2014 4:00:18 AM PDT by Kaslin
President Obama is right. He told Major Garrett of CBS this week that "Mr. Putin's decisions aren't just bad for Ukraine. Over the long term, they're going to be bad for Russia."
I believe that Putin's adventures in Russia's "near abroad" are a mistake. Indeed, they are part of a whole tapestry of wrongheadedness. It's also bad for the Kremlin to crush dissent, censor the news and hobble the economy by handing it over to oligarchs and a kleptocratic bureaucracy. Putin's scapegoating and demonizing of gays isn't only morally wrong, it's not in Russia's long-term interests either. That Putin prefers to use his oil and gas assets as a political weapon abroad and an excuse not to diversify his economy at home has me Googling the Russian word for "boneheaded."
But here's the thing: Putin disagrees. And on the matter of Ukraine -- like so much else -- he is immune to persuasion. All of the condemnations, communiqués, joint statements and other diplomatic lamentations, not to mention the late-night bull sessions on the phone with Obama, will not shake him from his views of what is best for Russia.
In a sense, arguing with the Russian bear is like arguing with a real bear. No matter how eloquently you explain to the bear that it should not eat your face, it's going to eat your face if it wants to eat your face -- that is, if you do nothing tangible to stop it.
Obama seems to think that's what he's been doing. He told CBS, "Each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, there are going to be consequences."
Unfortunately, the credibility of Obama's "consequences" took a big hit when he was unwilling -- or unable -- to make good on his vow that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would amount to a "red line" for the U.S.
And then there are the consequences Putin has already faced as a result of his annexation of Crimea. The Obama administration did impose sanctions targeted at a few of Putin's henchmen and cronies. They publicly laughed them off, but it was worth a try.
Beyond that, though, Obama's consequences haven't even been inconsequential; they've had the opposite of their intended effect. Rather than send the Ukrainians weapons or useful intelligence, we sent them a bunch of MREs ("Meals Ready to Eat"). And even that we were unwilling to do in too provocative a way. We didn't use Air Force cargo planes, but rather sent the snacks in by civilian trucks. Meanwhile, pleas from allies to deploy more assets to Poland and other front-line NATO states were rebuffed by the White House.
On April 12, The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was still weighing requests from the Ukrainian government for other supplies such as "medical kits, uniforms, boots and military socks."
"You want to calibrate your chest-thumps," a senior military official told the Journal, explaining this step-by-step approach. "He does something else in Ukraine, we release the socks."
Now, imagine you are Vladimir Putin. You illegally sent Russian soldiers without military insignia into Ukraine (a major violation of the Geneva Conventions). You lied about doing so at the time (Putin has since boasted that he did exactly that). And your aide brings in the news that a "senior military official" of the United States has announced that if you take another step toward carving up Ukraine, the U.S. will be forced to give the Ukrainians the socks they've been asking for.
Call me crazy, but I doubt the response will be "Comrades! Call it off! We can't take the chance that the Ukrainians will have warm, dry feet when we invade Kiev!"
Consequences that are not sufficiently painful or sufficiently scary aren't consequences in the sense Obama means at all. They're invitations. It's like trying to get a bear to leave you alone by throwing salmon at it.
I entirely understand that Americans are war-weary, and for good reason. But has it really gotten to the point where the U.S. military now defines "chest-thumping" as unleashing the socks of war?
Yep, ya’ wanna’ build great culture ya’ gotta’ encourage sexual deviance. Hell, EVERYONE knows that...
soetoro tells putin how the world works.
Now that’s funny!
Putin is a thug and Obama is a proven liar.
Obama believes if he explains the “facts of life” to Putin, the latter will be chastened, become a good boy and mind his manners.
Putin scoffs at such naivete.
Putin would not behave that way if McCain were in office. Sadly no one will say it publicly because we eat our own.
If only Putin were a Republican the BLM would be rolling into Sevestapol.
Did any sane person ever think that our empty suit was a match for Putin? But the low information idiots thought he was a cool Black, and the university Communists were thrilled to have the first Communist president. How do we know that he and Putin aren’t working together ..that “flexibility” Obama mentioned on the open mic before the ‘12 election?
That arrogant pos a match for Putin? Bwahahaha, now that is hilarious. He’s all talk with nothing behind
These words of obama in the mirror: below
I believe that Obama's adventures in America's "near abroad" are a mistake. Indeed, they are part of a whole tapestry of wrongheadedness. It's also bad for Washington to crush dissent, censor the news and hobble the economy by handing it over to Progressives and a kleptocratic bureaucracy. Obama's politicizing and aggrandizing of gays is morally wrong, it's not in America's long-term interests either. That Obama prefers to use his oil and gas assets as a political weapon in the U.S. and an excuse not to grow his economy at home has me Googling the English word for "boneheaded."
Sadly no one will say it publicly because we eat our own.
Yeah it's a shame what some in here do
The last Crimean War wasn’t exactly a rousing success.
I didn’t care for McCain, but I did think he would be good for us on foreign policy. I voted for Sarah, so he got my vote too.
Yeah. I’m sure all his terrorist buddies in Syria would agree with you.