Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Obama blinks and backs down again on Ukraine.

The new round of sanctions against Russia just announced, the supposedly tougher sanctions that Obama had threatened has all the meaning and power of imposing a ban on the sale of peanut butter cups to Russia. And as much of a deterrent.

It has become another embarrassing instance of Obama backing down, blinking,  losing face , losing nerve and looking weak and foolish. Everything Putin counted on.

Not only are the newly announced sanctions almost laughable since they target only 15 people in Russia, but as the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said, it is an example of Obama negotiating down. So what else is new?

Originally Obama threatened tough sanctions against Russia if they didn't pull back the 40,000 troops amassed on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine, in a clear attempt at intimidation.

Putin's response to Obama's threat has been to laugh in his face.  The troops are still there and even more special forces have invaded more cities and towns in Ukraine and more government buildings have been taken over by armed Russians sent by Moscow along with more Russian instigated and directed violence.

So now Obama threatens that the really tough sanctions, really, he means it this time, no kidding, it's a red line,  will be imposed by the U.S.,  not if Putin doesn't pull back his troops as originally threatened, but only if Putin actually invades Ukraine with those 40,000 troops.

My guess would be that if Putin did invade, Obama would count the number of troops crossing into Ukraine and if Putin invaded with 39,995 Obama would find a way of trying to sell that as the sanctions worked and it kept Putin's invasion force down. It's foreign policy Obamacare, a fake, a farce, and facade for taking real action. And the Ukrainian government is getting a taste of what its like.And they should reject it the same way 97% of Americans have rejected Obamacare.

More sanctions have been announced by Europe but they were in the same tepid category as Obama's, bringing the total number of individual Russians sanctioned to 60.

The consensus is that Europe, who has wanted Obama to lead, was waiting to see what sanctions were announced by the U.S. first and would then follow Obama's lead. And they did.

Which shows that the problem will  only get worse if  Europe continues to look for Obama to lead. Obama doesn't want to lead, cant lead and wont lead. He is waiting to see what the Europeans do and would prefer to follow them while the Europeans are waiting to see what Obama does. And so they are both like dogs chasing their tails and little or nothing gets done.  Except that Putin gets to take over more towns and government buildings with his armed, masked burglars, robbers, and terrorists, while more paid gangs attack peaceful pro-Ukrainian demonstrators with clubs as they did the other day as local police slinked away.

All this ultimately leaves it up to the government of Ukraine to take the lead where Obama won't,  and to finally use force where force has been long overdue.

There is already evidence that much of the Ukrainian government's attempt at avoiding confrontation and force comes from Obama who is more interested in not having to deal with a Russian invasion than anything  else.

But the Ukraine government needs to look at history and everything that has been the product of Obama's presidency and realize the only way to achieve anything is to ignore Obama and take the lead themselves.

They need to use force decisively against the Russian insurgents both in their streets attacking people,  and the invading forces occupying buildings, and prepare to repel or retaliate against any military action or invasion taken by Putin  and force the hand of Europe and the U.S. to actually do something meaningful and effective if Putin invades. 

There is still the real possibility that Putin is bluffing with those 40,000 troops and Russian justifications for invasion, none of which carry any legality --  that they reserve the right to invade if Russian speakers are threatened or attacked -- are meant more as intimidation since the Russian assertion is absurd.  Ukraine is completely justified in using whatever force necessary against armed insurgents occupying buildings and those in the streets clubbing anyone who opposes a take over by Moscow. As would any other country. And they should start acting that way.

To not use force, to constantly be on the defensive, to be afraid to move forcefully into the crowds of Russian thugs beating pro-Ukrainian demonstrators and use deadly force if necessary to stop them and do what is necessary to clear away the masked armed Russian terrorists occupying government buildings, to do none of those things because of being intimidated by the Russian troops Putin placed on the border,  plays right into Putin's hands. And is the reason those 40,000 troops are there in the first place. To try and intimidate the Ukrainian government and Obama and Europe to back down. And so far it's worked.

The Ukrainian government and Europe needs to realize what France and the UK realized in dealing with Libya and the rebels fight against Ghadaffi -  that waiting for Obama to lead is waiting for a train that will never come. Unless Obama's hand is forced and he realizes that doing nothing will make him look weaker and more foolish than doing something meaningful,  Obama will continue to do nothing that matters, and take meaningless actions in dribs and drabs that leave Putin stronger and more confident every day in his efforts to get what he wants through intimidation.

The Ukrainian government needs to take a long look at Obama's presidency and see that in terms of being decisive, having convictions and principles or a backbone and standing up for anything, he has been a fraud and a laughing stock both at home and abroad. Remember, this is the man who, when Iranians protesting a rigged election were being shot in the streets said "I don't want to meddle" and couldn't even manage words of support. And unless they want to end up a laughing stock too,  and as much of an embarrassment as Obama, they need to see that nothing Obama has done, domestically and certainly not in foreign policy, has ever had a successful outcome.  They need to ignore the praise they have gotten from the international community for using restraint in dealing with the Moscow inspired mobs and Russian mobsters taking over Ukraine's buildings. The praise is completely self serving because there are those who would rather not have to deal with the consequences of a blatant invasion by Putin, something Putin has also counted on. They need to stop taking Obama administration advice to constantly back down from  armed confrontations instigated by Moscow, and use whatever force necessary to repel it.

And then force Obama and/or Europe to back them up. One of them will. 


Jen the Michigander said...

Putin had Obama figured out all along, which is why he is behaving this way now. Say what you will about Bush/Cheney, but Putin knew he couldn't mess with them. He also waited until Hillary had stepped down; Kerry does not intimidate him.

Marla said...

Going back 10 years to the time of the Orange Revolution, Putin was attempting to influence the election in Ukraine in 2004. Putin paid a state visit to then Ukrainian President Kuchma in late October, 2004. Yuschenko had already been poisoned with dioxin by then. Kuchma's preferred candidate was Yanukovych. In the primary, Yuschenko and Yanukovych were the winners and went on to a general election on Nov. 21, 2004. Yanukovych won but observers noted vote fraud. By the end of the week, protesters were gathering in Independence Square. The Bush 43 (W) administration as did other governments intervened. A new election was held in which Yuschenko was the winner.

I mention this because when Yanukovych won in 2010 there were allegations of vote fraud. Obama did not intervene the way W did.

I believe that Jen is right. Hillary would have taken action in 2010 if she was president. She would be doing more now, even sending tear gas and gas masks to the Ukrainian army would help them scatter the "pro-Russian" militants.