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Monday, April 14, 2014

As Ukraine Crisis Escalates, Obama Losses Another Week of Opportunity to Avoid War

Instead, he devoted his time to start a range war in Nevada and a race war in New York!

Massive escalation of the crisis in Donetsk region of Ukraine over the weekend.
Obviously, Obama sanctions and statements have no effect. Details at the BBC.
Over the weekend Russia stepped on the gas in it's plan to seize more of Ukraine. All of this was predicted, by me, after the seizure of Crimea. In a post on March 20, I said:
Obama's Attempt at De-escalation Gives Putin the Green Light

In the midst of Obama's typical dithering when it comes to foreign affairs a handful of observers asserted that he was actually trying to defuse the situation and give Putin a way out. But it's clear from Putin's actions that he saw Obama's sidestepping as weakness and stepped on the accelerator.
Putin sends troops to Ukraine.
Obama sends selfies!
Since the seizure of Crimea, Obama sent some military food rations to Ukraine, set up a few, very few, sanctions and his State Department spokeswoman tweeted a selfie photograph to show her support for the people of Ukraine. That's about it.

On March 28 Putin made a brilliant play by calling Obama and giving the impression he was ready to call a halt to any further action by Russia.

At the time of that call the Obama Administration released a statement saying:
President Obama underscored to President Putin that the United States continues to support a diplomatic path in close consultation with the Government of Ukraine and in support of the Ukrainian people with the aim of de-escalation of the crisis. President Obama made clear that this remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
After the call several Obama supporters promptly declared "peace in our time" and problem solved. Except things have only gotten worse. Yet, even as the Administration openly admits Russia is behind the latest move in Ukraine they remain wedded to the failed policy of diplomacy and de-escalation. UN Ambassador Samantha Power said on Sunday:
“So, I think we've seen that the sanctions can bite and if actions like the kind that we've seen over the last few days continue, you're going to see a ramping up of those sanctions.”
White House Spokesman Jay Carney said pretty much the same thing on Monday while rejecting any defensive military aide for Ukraine. ""I can assure you that Russia's further provocations and transgressions will come with a cost," Carney said. That's pretty much the same line the White House used before Putin seized Ukraine. Carney went on to say that Obama plans to speak with Putin "soon, perhaps today." Yeah. That will stop Putin!

The White House spokesman also rejected calls by Senator John McCain and others for defensive weapons to be sent to Ukraine. Included in those who make that suggestion is NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove. Democrats used to tell President Bush to "listen to the generals." Apparently, the same does not apply to Obama.

In Monday's editorial, the Washington Post concludes that it may be too late to avert war in Ukraine:
A WEEK ago militants seized government buildings in three eastern Ukrainian cities in what Secretary of State John F. Kerry charged was “an illegal and illegitimate effort” by Russia to “create a contrived crisis with paid operatives.” Mr. Kerry threatened that the United States would respond with sanctions against Russia’s mining, energy and banking sectors. But in the following days the Obama administration failed to act, other than against a few minor figures in occupied Crimea.
...
Once again senior U.S. and European officials charged that Russia was behind the attacks. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the actions were “professional,” “coordinated,” and bore “tell-tale signs of Moscow’s involvement.” But again, there was no tangible U.S. response. Ms. Power said only that there would be a “ramping up” of sanctions “if actions we’ve seen over the last few days continue.”

How much more action must Russia take to provoke a response? For weeks President Obama has been saying that a military intervention in eastern Ukraine would prompt U.S. sanctions far more consequential than the measures taken against a handful of Vladi­mir Putin’s cronies and one bank on March 20. By the U.S. account, that military intervention is now underway.
...
The Obama administration elected not to adopt significant measures last week in part because it was awaiting what it described as a diplomatic opening — a four-way meeting this week of foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. Yet there is almost no chance this gathering, if it takes place at all, can lead to an acceptable solution for Ukraine. Moscow is demanding that the country be chopped up into pieces and that areas under its influence be given a veto over Ukraine’s foreign policy. Given the weak response to its aggression, Moscow has no incentive to drop that scheme.

It may be too late to prevent war in eastern Ukraine. But the United States must quickly take the measures promised by Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry, or lose what little credibility it retains on Ukraine. If Sunday’s combat continues, it should also reconsider Kiev’s request for non-lethal supplies and small arms for its forces. If Ukrainians are forced to fight for their country, they should be helped.
As the Post makes clear, Obama is deluded into thinking that a diplomatic solution is possible. In so doing, he is tossing away the few military options which exist. This makes war more, not less, likely. As history has taught us peace comes through strength and weakness and indecisiveness invites war.

It's also clear that Obama's focus remains primarily on domestic, political concerns. Once again, politics trumps foreign policy. Ramping up the war on women, the range war in Nevada and the race war in New York are at the top of his to do list. The real war where people are dying does not concern him at all!

UPDATE: Even Politico finds Obama's indifference to the biggest European crisis since the Cold War odd:
Ukrainian government troops seized an airport from pro-Russian separatists in an “anti-terrorist” operation covered on TV around the world on Tuesday. Meanwhile, in Washington, President Barack Obama phoned the University of Connecticut’s basketball coaches to congratulate them on their recent tournament wins.
...
On Wednesday, it [White House] said, Obama is visiting Oakdale, Pa., to visit the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center “to tour a classroom and deliver remarks on the importance of jobs-driven skills training in a 21st century economy.”
The Politico also quoted Russian chess legend-turned political activist Garry Kasparov:
“Obama the professor is teaching a case study on how to turn the greatest military power in the history of the world into a joke,” Kasparov wrote.
Some would say that's been Obama's intention all along!

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