Rice: Yanukovich has abdicated, and Russia should step back
posted at 12:31 pm on February 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
A couple of days ago, the White House went out of its way to portray Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin as partners on resolving the crisis in Ukraine. Today, National Security Adviser Susan Rice told Meet the Press’ David Gregory that Putin’s client, Viktor Yanukovich, had “lost enormous legitimacy,” and that his ouster was no coup d’etat but a legitimate expression of the will of the Ukrainian people. “He has gone” on his own, Rice continued, and warned Russia not to intervene to reinstate him despite his status as a democratically-elected head of state:
National Security Adviser Susan Rice said “the United States is on the side of the Ukrainian people” and wants to see democratic elections and “the opportunity for the people of Ukraine to come together in a coalition unity government” after President Viktor Yanukovich was toppled Saturday.
Rice said Sunday during an appearance on Meet the Press that it “would be a grave mistake” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in the Ukraine crisis.
She also said the United States would play a role alongside the International Monetary Fund in providing financing to aid the Ukrainian economy which she described as “very, very fragile” and in need of reform.
Events in Ukraine have moved swiftly and dramatically. An arrest warrant was issued for Yanukovich, who was blocked from leaving the country Saturday on a chartered flight. He has called his ouster a coup d’etat, but Rice said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday “he has gone…. He’s lost enormous legitimacy — despite having been originally democratically elected – by turning on his people, by using violence in the streets against peaceful protestors, and by flouting the will of the Ukrainian people.”
Gregory challenged Rice on the relationship with Russia, and asked her the question that Mitt Romney raised: Isn’t the Russian Federation the biggest geopolitical foe of the US? Rice protested that the relationship was “complicated,” but Gregory countered with the “red line” in Syria and the slippage of American credibility, and asked whether it’s time for a completely different policy toward Russia. Rice largely dodges this by claiming credit for a UN resolution that demands Syrian cooperation with humanitarian relief. Later, she also claims that the Obama administration is demonstrating its power and influence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a marker that is at best a Hail Mary even when our other foreign policy efforts are going well, which is hardly the case at the moment.
The last few minutes of the interview features Gregory tossing Rice a few softballs on Benghazi, in which she claims that no one intended to mislead the American people, and that she has no regrets — despite the fact that she did a full Ginsburg at the time with a false narrative, regardless of how it developed. Sixteen months later, Rice claims that the Obama administration is still working to bring the perpetrators of Benghazi to justice, which is rather amusing given the fact that the US knows who and where they are … and they seem to be unworried about American intervention.
To wrap up, though, let’s see who’s ending up on the scrapheap of history in Ukraine … literally: