In the early days of the insurgency in Crimea when Russian agents, thugs, and terrorists with weapons supplied by Moscow used Gestapo tactics against anyone who opposed them in trying to impose their will, the world saw the Ukrainian military, meekly it seemed, turn over their weapons and abandon military bases giving the insurgents victory after victory while anyone who opposed the militants were beaten, kidnapped or killed.
Emboldened by their successes they tried to duplicate them in eastern Ukraine and again, at first, the Ukrainian military gave up without a fight while 40,000 Russian troops were cannily positioned on Ukraine's border by Putin as a force of intimidation. And for a time it worked.
But it wasn't the interim government in Kiev who were intimidated. And as we are seeing now, it wasn't the Ukraine military. It was Obama. He was the one who Putin successfully, for a time, intimidated.
Images of the Ukraine military at the beginning of the insurgency simply giving up and turning their weapons over to the terrorist opposition was clearly something that looked and felt as having Obama's finger prints all over it especially since Kiev and Obama were in close consultation. Obama's idea of a response were non-lethal sanctions he ordered against a hand full of Russians close to Putin. Which, as expected, accomplished nothing.
The assessment that it was the government in Ukraine following Obama's direction by having their military surrender their weapons was confirmed by Wesley Clarke, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO who, after returning from a visit to Ukraine, said in an interview that the government in Kiev was following " guidance" to "avoid a military confrontation at all costs" and to "avoid any bloodshed". The guidance was not coming from Dr. Phil or Dr.Drew.
It was Obama who was intimidated by Putin and the 40,000 troops on Ukraine's border not Kiev. It was Obama who didn't want the Ukrainian military to act against the insurgents and terrorists out of fear of Putin's (empty) threat to invade. An invasion Obama just didn't want to deal with in spite of how unlikely it was.
This picture of Obama as intimidated and outgamed by Putin was widespread. First, Obama has a long history of caving in to avoid a conflict of any kind on every issue of domestic policy since he's been president, from dropping the public healthcare option and giving in to the health insurance lobby's idea of healthcare reform now known as Obamacare, to gutting financial reform, backing down from criminal prosecutions on Wall Street, trying to gut the USA Freedom Act to give the NSA more of what it wants, reneging on a promise to close Gitmo and on and on.
CNN got into the act during the height of the Ukraine crisis when they aired a segment called " Is Putin Bullying Obama?"
Eventually Kiev began to reject Obama's "guidance" of capitulation and appeasement and began to retaliate militarily. It brought the beginings of success.
But with the insurgents believing they could continue their intimidation, they attacked and took over the Donetsk airport Monday morning using automatic weapons and grenade launchers and firing on a civilian aircraft. But this time the government in Kiev responded not with Obama's appeasement but with the Powell Doctrine, the policy employed by Colin Powell in the first Gulf War which was to use overwhelming force to defeat an adversary.
The Ukraine military, using the weapons they always had and could have used all along, launched a ferocious counter attack against the insurgents, using fighter jets, attack helicopters and infantry. The terrorists were badly routed, and the Donetsk airport retaken and secured. Reports by the Associated Press coming out of Donetsk was that along with sustaining heavy casualties the insurgents were "badly shaken" by the ferocity of the attack.
Had that force been used from the beginning, had Obama's guidance been rejected, perhaps not easy to do when the interim government in Kiev was understandably, but futilely looking for help from the U.S. , many lives would have been saved, the insurgency would have been contained and defeated, there would have been no illegal annexation of Crimea and no take overs in eastern Ukraine where people were killed, beaten, kidnapped, intimidated and free speech shut down. There might have been rallies or protests , but no deaths, beatings or terrorism or the suppression of free speech by armed men in ski masks.
Ukraine's new president is promising to defeat the terrorists " in hours, not months" and has promised to use the neccessary military force to do just that. By doing so the Donetsk airport is now out of the hands of the terrorists. The rest of eastern Ukraine will probably follow. And with order finally restored, no one will need to wonder which five new Russian officials Obama will threaten to sanction next.