Skip to comments.Is Obama Wrong on Ukraine?
Posted on 05/06/2014 5:03:11 AM PDT by Kaslin
"What Would America Fight For?"
That question shouts from the cover of this week's Economist. It is, asserts the magazine, "the question haunting its allies."
While most agree that America would fight to defend her treaty allies and to protect vital interests if imperiled, the question is raised by President Obama's reticence in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.
Asked in Manila how he answers critics who say his foreign policy appears to be one of "weakness," the president, stung, replied:
"Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force. And the question ... I would have is, why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we've just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?
"[M]ost of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.
"[M]any who were proponents of ... a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven't really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again."
One senator Obama surely had in mind was Lindsey Graham who told "Face the Nation" this weekend, "I would sanction the energy economy of Russia, the banking sector of Russia, and try to drive the Russian economy into the ground."
But if you sanction her energy sector, Russia might retaliate by cutting off gas to Europe and Ukraine, causing a recession in the EU and a collapse in Kiev, requiring a massive bailout.
Some of those billions in U.S., EU and IMF aid to Ukraine might have to be redirected to Vladimir Putin to keep the Ukrainians from freezing to death next winter.
Lest we forget, the International Monetary Fund ranks Russia as the 8th largest economy while the World Bank ranks Russia No. 5.
And would driving "the Russian economy into the ground" cause the Russian people to rise up and overthrow Putin? Did such sanctions produce regime change in Cuba, North Korea or Iran?
Was Ronald Reagan a wimp for not imposing sanctions on Warsaw when Solidarity was crushed? Or was he a wise president who knew America would ultimately prevail in the Cold War?
But Sen. Graham was only warming up, "I would help arm the Ukrainian people ... so they could defend themselves."
The Wall Street Journal echoed Graham: "Defensive but lethal weapons for Ukraine -- anti-tank mines or artillery, modern guns -- would raise the cost and risk of this intervention."
Yes, they would, and they would also increase the casualties on both sides. But would it affect the outcome of a Ukraine-Russia war?
No. Which is probably why Ike never considered sending weapons to the Hungarian rebels and LBJ never considered sending arms to the Czechs when Leonid Brezhnev's tanks crushed the Prague Spring.
Another question arises: Would U.S. military transports landing in Kiev, with U.S. troops unloading mortars, mines and artillery pieces, be more likely to frighten Putin into paralysis, or provoke him into seizing Eastern Ukraine before the U.S. could make a NATO ally of Kiev?
Suppose Russia responded by sending "defensive" weapons, S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Damascus and Tehran?
Another question: Is it moral to send weapons to friends to encourage them to fight and die in a war we know they cannot win?
It is something of a paradox that while most Americans want us to stay out of Syria -- "somebody else's civil war," said Obama -- and out of Crimea and Ukraine, Obama, who has done as the people wished, is regarded as weak in foreign policy.
Still, one wonders why the Graham-McCain Republicans continue to push a reluctant president to get more militarily involved in Ukraine.
For it is almost an ironclad formula for failure to be led into a faraway war by a president who does not want to fight, and who leads a nation whose people do not want to be involved.
Undeniably, Sens. Graham and John McCain speak for a goodly slice of the Beltway elite that believes the Iraq war was the right thing to do and that now wants to confront Russia, overthrow Bashir al Assad, and bomb Iran if she does not give up uranium enrichment.
Yet most Americans want no part of this agenda.
Among the winning arguments Obama had in 2012 was that he wanted America to do her nation-building right here at home.
Yet, as the run up to 2016 nears, Hillary Clinton is not only more hawkish than Obama. She is more hawkish than her potential GOP rivals. Yet, other than Rand Paul, there appears to be no one in the Republican field who does not subscribe to the McCain-Graham line.
No wonder the neocons are already piling on the junior Senator from Kentucky.
No. He’s wrong on EVERYTHING...
Do we really need to break out the Magic 8 Ball on this one?
IMO, got to give the devil his due on this one, I also am not in favor of entering any war in the Balkans or Eastern Europe, period. There is no upside for us in any such engagements. NATO countries, unfortunately, we are treaty bound to be involved with but equally unfortuantely with most of these countries when we say NATO we basically mean the US as few of these countries have any military significance.
Circa 1990 of course we had armed supremacy, now we do not. These “trip wire” type wars between nuke powers can rapidly spin out of control and move onto the tactical and strategic engagements IMO and that is a no win for us or for the planet. Reminds me of the line from “the Enforcer” wherein Eastwood is told by the black guy at the black VFW we are just waiting for all you white folk to blow each other up so we can move right in.
There is nothing we can really do to help the Ukraine.
Obama pretty much gutted the military and we are mired in 2 wars now as it is.
Maybe send a squadrion of A10s but they are heading to the trash heap.
>overthrow Bashir al Assad
Why? He was able to keep the islamonuts somewhat under control. So what if he didn’t use kid gloves on the muzzy protesters and those seeking to implement sharia law.
Does a SHEITE Bear in the woods?
Is OhVomit right about ANYTHING?
>There is nothing we can really do to help the Ukraine.
Gotta agree. Pretty much anything sent over there is just pissing into the wind. The Euros are going to have to learn how to play power politics again.
Doesn’t matter, when it comes to the Current Occupant, the Magic 8 Ball is ALWAYS rigged to come out either “Reply hazy try again” or “Very doubtful”.
That is no joke. On every topic/issue I know anything about I can tell you that his position is wrong. Not just sort-of wrong but fundamentally flawed.
On matters of opinion he and I seem to be diametrically opposed.
This leads me to the reasonable conclusion that even on issues I may not be well informed on, or not well informed on yet (not having bothered to research) I can fairly well estimate that whatever position he is advocating it is almost certainly factually wrong and/or I would disagree with it in some way as a matter of opinion/conscious.
Obama is no more wrong on Ukraine than a blind man who paints himself into a corner.
With all the good options killed long ago by ineptitude and lack of foresight, Obama is left with the option of begging even as Putin sticks a “Kick Me” on Obama’s back.
It isn’t so much that Obama is wrong on Ukraine. I think the real problem is he is coming across as so weak and vacillating. From his weak actions and mealy mouthed speeches it is easy to visualize the world school yard with Putin the bully and Obama the p***y. You have to stand up to a bully but Obama continues to roll over and play the p***y.
Obama, and the US, is weak because Obama is perceived as being weak.
The proper question is “Is Obama Wrong?”
And the answer in all cases, is “Yes.”
Obama AND the Socialist DemoRats are wrong and lying on EVERYTHING.
Putin is not a bully. Stop repeating neocon propaganda. Putin is reacting in the way a logical person would expect him to act when the US causes trouble on his borders. We started it and he’s going to finish it with a solution to his own liking because Putin doesn’t take any shit. We should cut our losses and make some kind of diplomatic solution to save face fir everyone before US troops start dying.
American military fights for Al Qaeda in Syria and for IMF in Ukraine. Greystone is fighting for NATO IMF in Ukraine.
State Dept gave 400 stinger missiles to Al Qaeda in Lybia for Syria and more.
The real question is what will Russia fight for?
Albanian Christina Churches Destroyed; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjiBtAGnm6M
Serbian Orthodox Church destroyed by Moslems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XOY4LelhH4
Moscow - Europe's Moslem Capital/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aihmte1DWvA
Most Russians don't want moslems in their country and are faced with the same chaotic immigration policies as in the USA. Crimea was 16% Tatar moslem until the Russians took over.
Its just a matter of time till the cork pops and the nukes drop.
These trip wire type wars between nuke powers can rapidly spin out of control and move onto the tactical and strategic engagements IMO and that is a no win for us or for the planet.
It all makes the centenary of August 1914 seem so quaint, doesn’t it?
List all the times Obama has been right on anything. Of course he’s wrong on the Ukraine - intentionally so.
It stands to reason that an economic and business illiterate like Obama will be as hobbled in foreign policy as he is in domestic policy.
America should only fight i a war with the intended purpose of WINNING. That means defeating the “enemy” and calling the shots after the war ends. Think Germany and Japan circa 1945.
Getting our young men and women killed for political poinst or to play police officer of the world must stop.............
We need to cultivate Russia into a friend and partner that they have wanted to be for the last 30 some odd years.
And that will be difficult considering the differences between our cultures. Our's has been going downward and accelerating.
It’s a heck of burden being Buchanan. Did he ever win over 1% of the presidential vote? Yet, so smart was he that he ran again and again with the firm conviction that he is and was an expert on foreign policy. He campaigned again and again too to save Saddam. (I’m not saying he was in love. But he may have been.) It didn’t work out well for either of them, but at least Pat didn’t lose his over the matter. Poor Pat. He’s always been right about the USA not fighting Hitler (though what we can do about it now remains unclear) and isolationism. Too bad he lives in a country that’s a democracy that can ignore him and not one like his latest focus of admiration, Putin’s. People say his problems are deep seated. They say it all goes back to the uncle who died at the death camp, the one who fell out of the tower. I don’t know for sure, but I know the poor man has never met a tyrant that didn’t fit his weird brand of conservatism.
He was so beaten, as a political guy, by General Agayants and KGB's Antiwar movement (directed at a couple of removes through the New Left and the Old Left/CPUSA), that he still wants to stay out of the ring. His boss was the better man; he climbed right in and whipped them. Pat still thinks two oceans will protect us from ICBM's and demographic invasion.
I think you're seriously out of your mind. Putin is nothing but old-line KGB, and all those Khrushchev boasts about "we will bury you" are still good with him.
Ordinary Russians are one thing. Russian nationalists and old-school Bolsheviks are another matter entirely. Russia is run by a combination of those two passions.
Only the brainwashed well by our MSM, would believe that Putin is pedaling communist ideology and world domination. Respect yes.
He has all he can handle protecting his huge country, with only 135 million people, the last thing he wants is an area war being forced on him by an encroaching NATO.
He's moving his country forward and that's what we should be doing.
Putin/Russia's real problem in this century is going to be keeping the RFE and eastern Siberia away from the Chinese.
So NATO is his problem? If I were in Putin's shoes I'd be angling for membership in NATO myself! He's going to need serious help when the PLA shows up in Khabarovsk one morning without an invitation.
Meanwhile, he should be adding infrastructure, and inviting other non-Chinese players to do likewise, in Siberia. Especially roads and railroads, far out of reach of the newly-mobile PLA.
He needs to be engaging Canada and the United States to build multimodal, high-speed Great Circle rail/truck routes from the North American upper Midwest across Alaska and the Bering Straits to Yakutsk and other Siberian towns, and down the coast to Magadan and the cities of the RFE, like Khabarovsk, which is the hinge-point (as well as an admin and defense center) of the Russian holdings there; and then along a second Great Circle through the big oil fields of western Siberia to Moscow and the industrial towns scattered along the Ural chain, and beyond Moscow to central and western Europe -- Smolensk, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris, and the French Atlantic ports like Nantes and Rouen.
That's what Russia needs to be doing.