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Why is Russia in the Ukraine? See Syria …

With the Olympics safely over, Vladimir Putin felt safe to invade the Ukraine and annex the Crimea.  Anyone want to take a guess why?

It has to do with “red lines” and words, not action.  Those red lines were first drawn in Syria.  And when they were crossed … nothing happened.  So:

“Putin smelled blood in the water when the airstrikes against the Assad regime were suddenly called off,” Oubai Shahbandar, a senior advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, the U.S.-backed opposition group, said of the Ukraine invasion. “We’ve seen this movie play out before, sadly, as Russian-supplied planes, tanks and even some mercenaries continue to arrive in Syria uninterrupted.”

“Hope won’t stop Russian aggression,” Shahbandar added.

Ah, but we’re talking about “hope and change”.  You know, the stuff that will calm the tides, still the wind and, well, fix anything.  All the Great One has to do is speak the words and the world trembles in fear. Our first post-modern President is of the ilk that believes talk equals action.  And he’s talked about it now, so its time to move on and bash Israel.
Meanwhile, all those red lines drawn and crossed in Syria rightfully have the Syrians leary of any promises from the US:

The Syrian opposition had long held out hope for significant U.S. support for their uprising, from heavy weapons and surface-to-air missiles to a no-fly zone. They argued that Assad’s main allies — Russia and Iran — had been steadfast in boosting his regime with arms and money, and in the latter case, with boots on the ground.

Many Syrians were deeply disappointed when Obama failed to enforce his famous “red line” on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons with air strikes — opting instead for a Moscow-initiated deal for the regime to give up its stockpile of chemical arms. “Do not develop strategies that are based on any assumption that the U.S. or EU will demonstrate assertive leadership to deter Russian aggression,” said Amr al-Azm, a U.S.-based member of the Syrian opposition and a professor at Shawnee State University.

And Ukraine, that treaty you have the the US?

“The last thing anybody wants is a military option,” Kerry said Sunday.

Seems to me Russia has already used in Mr. Kerry.

Do I want our military involved in another war?  Not under this leadership, no.  When the leaders are both gutless and clueless, our troops need to stay home.  But that’s really not the point here.  The point is the happenings in the Ukraine are a direct result of some of the worst foreign policy ineptness we’ve had to suffer under in a couple of centuries.  It almost makes one pine for Jimmy Carter.

~McQ

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28 Responses to Why is Russia in the Ukraine? See Syria …

  • It didn’t start with the “red line”. Obama has been telegraphing weakness for a long time.
    Withdrawing missile defense from Eastern Europe. Even during the 2008 election, during the invasion of Georgia, Obama’s weak statement that he actually redid after reading McCain’s and Clinton’s statements.

  • I can’t recall where, but there was a round-up of Obama saying he was “…deeply concerned” over this and that and the other.
    It was about two dozen “deeply concerneds”.  Which, like all things Obama, just becomes meaningless.

    • Like the WH Presser, “We mustn’t read too much into this…” regarding unemployment and economics reports….50 some-odd months in a row?

  • Next up – China occupies remote Japanese Islands.  Russia agrees that they are Chinese Islands.   The Japanese threaten to declare war and look to US to uphold the treaty.  Kerry flies to Tokyo and advises them to take a nice nap and forget about those silly little islands.
     
    It’s always been debatable that Americans would go to war for some of our treaties.   Used to be the adults in government made sure the other side didn’t test that resolve.  Playing hard ball in small ways that let the other guy know they couldn’t count on us NOT taking action.  Course before the Russian and Chinese used to use third party stooges to confront us.
     
    Obama (especially with lame ass Magic Hat Kerry as SecState) has demonstrated he doesn’t have a foreign policy of any consequence and he’s a pussy to boot.   Look for our ‘cold war enemies’ to do things that don’t cost American lives and they’ll just nibble away at what they want, bit by bit as the west parades around like Benito Mussolini making slightly threatening sounding but idle proclamations and drawing red lines that will become ‘the world’s red lines’ when they’re crossed.
    The visuals alone say it all – Putin in a zodiac boat with a harpoon gun, Putin taking down one of his bodyguards in a karate match, Putin shooting a tiger.  Versus Obama wearing his daughter’s helmet and riding his wife’s bike, Obama jogging around the White House with Joe Biden, Obama pretending he’s skeet shooting.
    The Russians and Chinese learned the Pearl Harbor lesson.   They’re bright enough not to piss off the drowsy giant while he’s watching the Oscars and Honey Boo Boo. In theory we may not have the national resolve to go to war for remote Japanese Islands, or for the Crimea.
    The object was never to let it get to the point where the other side would dare test that theory.   Welcome to the kind of world Barack and Michelle thought we should leave our children.

  • I find the usage of the term “Most Powerful Man on the Planet” to be misplaced at best, distrubing in all other cases.

  • I don’t really want another war either but we did promise them protection in exchange for their nukes.
     
    Ah well – it’s not like anyone will notice the West isn’t trustworthy…

  • The problem is what does Putin have to do next to push the boundary again?  Poland?

    • The next and most dangerous steps are the mixed areas of the Ukraine, like Odessa or the Eastern cities.
      I’m not sure he will take that step because at some point he gets to areas that are not 80-90% Russian.
      Crimea has a decent excuse to want to be Russian…they only became Ukraine in 1954.
      Other areas get tricky. Perhaps Putin will be like Serbia and allow local “Russian” militia to form.

      • Ukraine in 1954 – so…my lifetime.
         
        Have they been voting in Russian elections since the breakup of the Soviet Union, or do they vote in Ukraine?
        If 20 million or so ‘Americans’ who we waved the immigration wand over but originally came from Mexico since 1970 move to Texas and decide they want Texas to be Mexico again, is that okay?
        If these ‘Russians” wanted to be ‘Russian’ they should have moved back to Russian territory when Ukraine became a country, not assumed that Russian Territory would soon return to a neighborhood near them.
         
        This ‘ethnic’ excuse is a convenient excuse for occupations.
         

        • I believe the Tatars were the original ethnic group there. The Russians are there as a result of ethnic cleansing.

  • Thinking of concrete steps, there are many economic steps, and some symbolic ones, like removing Russia from the G-8.
    But if I were Obama, I would try to deploy additional defensive units to Poland and the Baltic states. Maybe anti-aircraft missile batteries. But it would at least start sending some concrete signals to Russia that actions have consequences and reassure some our allies.

  • Also, Russia has its own modern, warm water port NOVOROSSIYSK, which includes a super modern naval base. They really don’t need Crimea at all.

  • Probably because of Global Warming.

  • Remember the speech he gave at the U.N. when he started his administration? He said no nation can or should dominate another. I mean, there’s not a 12-year-old in the world who believes that. And he said the alignment of nations rooted in the cleavages of the long ago Cold War make no sense in this interconnected world.
    As our Secretary of State said today, or yesterday, after all this, this is a 19th century action in a 21st century world. As if what he means his actions where governments pursue expansion, territory domination, no longer exist in this century, as if that hasn’t been a constant in all of human history since Hannibal.
    They imagine the world as a new interconnected world where climate change is the biggest threat and they are shocked that the Russians actually are interested in territory.
    —Krauthammer

    This is because the constructs the Collective uses instead of reality are all fantasy.
    And living in fantasy is dangerous because reality really DOES bite.
     

    • Who knew that Putin was still living in the last century and clinging to outdated and outmoded concepts of power (along with the bloggers and the bulk of the commentators here on QandO ).
      Well, he just needs to discard his old values then!    If only he had some person educated in pragmatic political science to guide him!  Someone to teach him, that he could discuss this with, assuming he wanted to learn and wouldn’t mock such a person.
       
      Watch and learn, good and necessary!
       

      • By the way, this whole thing is a sign of Putin’s weakness you see.  According to a person who’s educated in pragmatic political science….
         
        For those in the real world, I wonder how long it will be before the Autonomous Republic of Crimea petitions the UN for membership.

      • Those anachronisms…they will kill you.  Twenty-first Century dead.

  • Obummer told the people of Ukraine “If you like your country, you can keep your country, period”
    Now what could possibly go wrong?

  • Back in the days of the Cold War, an action like that in the Crimea would have drawn a ramp-up in the alert status of NATO forces.
    I haven’t heard a peep about NATO alert status.  Does anybody know if there has been some reaction, or is NATO effectively dead ?
    I did read that the Ukrainians refused to answer calls from the Pentagon.

  • I know I am late to this party, but I don’t think US policy or Presidential performance has much to do with this. We never were going to go to war over the Crimea, no matter the president, whether cosmic waffel, perfect hair, or even the ‘wizard’ from Az.
    This is the result of Russian policy to destabilize Ukraine, until a pretext was available for the snatch. Just like the provinces grabbed from Georgia, IIRC, under Bush.
    The Russian Empire will continue to push and prod its former possessions in hopes of regaining some of what it lost.

    • I don’t think anyone particularly wants to die for the Crimea.  I’m certainly not in favor of going to war over it
      The point was not to make it so easy for Russia/China/Iran/whoever to be sure they could take this sort of license and get away with it.
      The antagonistic powers that be should have to sit back and take long hard looks at something like the current crisis and wonder if the Americans will intervene somehow.
       
      Not to excuse Bush, who’s foreign policies were troubling, but in Georgia I think Bush did nothing because he was done and didn’t want to saddle the incoming administration (2 months away) with a policy.
      So it was a good gamble for the Russians at the time.  The incoming administration carried out Bush’s verbal threats ….with a reset button.  That was the ‘serious consequences’ the Obama administration delivered on behalf of the US threat.
      This was their smart diplomacy.  Good tone for ‘consequences’ no?
      So I’m comfortable Obama/Clinton & now Kerry have made it that easy.
      We’re not done with these kinds of nibbles, not by a long shot, and it IS because of the disastrous domestic policies and feckless foreign policies of this administration.
       
       

      • I am sure the strength of our president is an issue with Iran, Syria, and other smaller countries, but . . .
         
        Russia and China are going to do what they are going to do based on long term strategies in what they see as their interests. Old soviet block nations are at risk from Russian meddling, and the Russians will take advantage.
         
        China will similarly take advantage, but more slowly and cautiously. Not because they are afraid of the USA, but because that is how China moves.

        • Probably true.  They’re just prepared to move and Obama happens to be the weak President, presiding over the weak economy, of a US that’s dog tired and divided.
          I concede China has plans in the can waiting for these kinds of opportunities and that it’s not specific to Obama just because it’s Obama.   Russia I think doesn’t plan as far out as the Chinese seem to, and takes bigger risks when short term opportunity presents itself.