It’s the Main Event: Obama versus Putin

Posted on March 2, 2014. Filed under: World Affairs | Tags: , , |

from NYMag.com

from NYMag.com

I’ve been taking a (long) break to tend to family matters, and try to catch up on some projects around my house that I have fallen behind on.

While I’ve been away, it was reported that Ukraine, particularly the capitol city of Kiev, was in turmoil. The turmoil began back in November 2013, when the Ukrainian government decided not to sign an association agreement with the European Union, despite demands from the citizenry to do so.  The unrest grew after the government adopted what were known as the “anti-protest laws”, laws which effectively restricted freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Of course, these laws did nothing to stop the protests, and were repealed, then modified a few days later. Protesters took over government buildings, and ultimately overthrew the president, after parliament declared that he was unable to perform his duties and removed him from office. One thing to bear in mind is that the President and the Prime Minister are two separate offices. Both are currently held by temporary appointments until elections can be held.

On March 1, 2014, shortly after the closing of the winter Olympics, Vladimir Putin struck. The Russian Parliament gave him the green light to move troops into Crimea, the southern province of Ukraine.

Crimea, which is part of the Ukraine, is an autonomous region, with it’s own government, but that government is subject to the laws of Ukraine. In essence, it is a state like California is a state. However, the government there is very pro-Russian, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the Crimean government requested that the Russians come in to help.

The request cited the “threat to the lives of Russian citizens” living in Crimea, as well as the personnel of the Black Sea Fleet.

(http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303801304579412380376851854)

This hearkens back to 1938, and the annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, where he cited that ethnic Germans living in the region must be protected, and the land given to him to do so. Hitler then used this annexation as a springboard to take the entire country.

Mr. Putin told Mr. Obama that Russia reserved the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect its interests and those of the Russian-speaking population there, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Mr. Putin also spoke of “provocations, crimes by ultranationalist elements, essentially supported by the current authorities in Kiev.” It wasn’t clear what incidents Mr. Putin was referring to. (see WSJ article above)

However, this doesn’t sit well with the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian government views it as an invasion, and an attack on their sovereignty.

“We are on the brink of a disaster,” Yatsenyuk told the nation of 46 million in a televised address. “This is not a threat. This is a declaration of war on my country.”  (http://news.yahoo.com/ukraine-navy-chief-switches-allegiance-crimea-pro-russia-172726132.html;_ylt=AwrBJSDxahNTSBEA4VXQtDMD)

Enter the Three Stooges; Obama, Biden and Kerry.

After calling Putin, the White House issued a statement regarding the situation that said:

the U.S. “condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.” (WSJ)

I’m sure they are condemning it in the strongest possible terms, and if that doesn’t convince Putin, they’ll do it again.

On Friday, Mr. Obama had publicly warned Russia that there would be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine. (WSJ)

Obama told the Russian leader in a 90-minute phone call on Friday that the aggression would diminish Russia’s standing in the international community, and the U.S. is suspending preparations for the Group of 8 economic summit in Sochi this summer.

(http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/europe/199647-putin-running-circles-around-us-rogers-says#ixzz2upzIrOZn)

What kind of costs, again?

US Secretary of State John Kerry upped the stakes for Russian President Vladimir Putin by bluntly warning that Moscow risked losing its coveted place among the Group of Eight nations over its deployment of troops in Crimea.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Anything but that!

What’s next? Are they going to put Putin in Time Out?

Ground him for a month from playing with his army?

Kerry immediately went on Meet the Press and opined,

You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text, It is serious in terms of sort of the modern manner with which nations are going to resolve problems. [Note: did that make any sense to anyone else?] There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are. President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there are a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don’t choose to invade a country in order to do that. (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/03/02/Kerry-Complains-Putin-Plays-by-19th-Century-Rules)

I’m kind of surprised that Kerry didn’t say it was a teachable moment for Putin.

To his credit, MtP’s host, David Gregory did press Kerry, asking him why the Obama administration did not acknowledge that Russia had invaded the Ukraine on Friday.

I’m sure it was because he was unaware that it happened, and that he learned about it on the news like everyone else.

Kerry also dodged questions about military options, noting that NATO had issued a “strong statement.” (Breitbart.com)

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!

Go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!

Kerry is stuck on stupid. To think that the people of Massachusetts continued to elect him as a senator. Putin behaving in a 19th century fashion? How about a 20th Century fashion? I’m surprised Lurch doesn’t realize that the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, the “incident” that led to an escalation of US involvement in Kerry’s favorite war, Vietnam was a trumped up pretext, because it was really a minor incident, and the North Vietnamese torpedo boats really posed no threat to the destroyer, USS MAddox.

Or how about the Second World War, Czechoslovakia, cited above, or Poland?

Or Germany during the First World War. Hey, Serbia just assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, so we should invade France!

Oh, and i mentioned Biden. He was probably at his home, sitting on the upper balcony and firing off two shotgun blasts.

Look, there are not really a lot of options at this point.

After Iraq and Afghanistan, this country is understandably war weary. We have our own issues, including unrest due to an overbearing government, that we are dealing with.

I know people who don’t believe that any American life is worth anything in the rest of the world, that the US is not the world police. I can see that line of thinking, but I don’t agree with it.

If not us, then who?

China?

Russia?

What can we do, especially since Ukraine has not asked for help at this point. What are they supposed to do, go before the UN Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, and ask for help?

My point is that this incompetent administration should not be making empty, meaningless threats, like kicking Russia out of the G-8.

Putin is daring Obama to something.

Anything.

Putin sees Obama as weak and ineffective. Obama believes that he has strengthened ties between us and our allies through diplomacy.

Let’s see. The Arab Spring, spawned by a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire and later “inflamed by a You Tube video” has not brought democracy, but war and more conflict through the Arab world. Khadaffi was overthrown as a result of Obama’s Lead from Behind strategy, and the country broke down into civil war, becoming a hotbed for terrorists. Just ask the four Americans that were murdered there when Obama, or Hillary, or both, tried to run guns to Syrian rebels, and stored them in Benghazi. Obama (and McCain) wanting to side with these Syrian “rebels”, who have long since been infiltrated, and taken over by al-Qaida, our terrorist enemy.

That is why we should stay out of Syria, because neither side is our friend or ally, and because Russia has naval bases there. You don’t want a major conflict erupting because of a couple of naval bases.

China is making demands over Taiwan (which is normal), and making threats over the seas and islands off their east coast, aimed at Japan, our ally, in particular.

We cannot treat our enemies like they are our friends. We cannot continue to be beholden to China, not just because of what our children and grandchildren will have to pay, but because sooner or later, there will be a conflict.

I ask again, what happens when that conflict occurs, and we are suddenly cut off from our factories?

I guarantee that it will happen sooner or later.

But my point is that, over the last 5 years, this administration has been a foreign policy disaster. Failure after failure, after failure.

I don’t know what is more alarming, Obama’s incompetence, or the utter incompetence of the people that he taps for key positions, like Secretary of State. Then Congress rubber stamps them, especially after the court jester, Harry Reid, elected to change Senate rules to get these nominees through with less scrutiny.

So, what are we supposed to do about Putin?

Nothing at this point, but we could increase personnel and equipment at our bases in Europe in preparation for something happening. We could send more aircraft carrier squadrons into the Mediterranean. We have bases in Turkey, where we could increase aircraft, pilots and support personnel.

You never give up on diplomacy, but sometimes you have to flex the muscle and prepare, not because you want something or expect something to happen, but you have to show that you are ready and that you mean business.

And therien lies the problem.

I don’t think Obama means business. These are just inconveniences to him in between golf games and vacations.

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