As Russia takes over Crimea, Kerry, Carney warn Putin not to cross the “line”

posted at 2:01 pm on February 28, 2014 by Allahpundit

In their defense, what else can they say? If they say nothing, they’ll be pilloried for silence in the face of aggression. If they get too explicit about the consequences of line-crossing, everyone will think of Obama’s humiliation over his Syria “red line” and laugh. There’s nothing the U.S. can do to stop Russia from knocking heads and reclaiming Crimea if it wants to. Which means all that’s left is the traditional stern yet scrupulously vague admonishment.

Kerry, in comments that highlighted Washington’s rising suspicion of Moscow, said the U.S. is watching to see if Russian activity in Crimea “might be crossing a line in any way.” He added that the administration would be “very careful” in making judgments about that.

“While we were told that they are not engaging in any violation of the sovereignty and do not intend to, I nevertheless made it clear that could be misinterpreted at this moment,” Kerry said. “There are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation and not send the wrong messages.”

Meanwhile:

What on earth is an “intervention line” and how has Russia not already crossed it? AP photographers snapped pics this morning of Russian personnel carriers on the move inside Crimea:

Between that and the seizure of the airports in Sevastopol and Simferopol, for which, apparently, Russia is now admitting responsibility, Ukraine’s new interior minister says this has become a “military invasion and occupation.” Seems like the fabled “intervention line” has been crossed. Then again, if there’s any one lesson to take from the Syria “red line” debacle, it’s that the White House is willing to look the other way repeatedly at violations in order to avoid having to enforce its lines. Remember, Assad’s side was accused more than once of chemical attacks before the big one last August that finally compelled the White House to act. Could be that Obama and Kerry are following a similar approach here: So long as the movements of Russian troops can kinda sorta be explained as defense of their naval bases in Crimea, that’s technically not an “intervention.” Just like, er, this isn’t an intervention either:

The White House’s plan, I assume, is to hope that Putin will be satisfied with this little bit of muscle-flexing and agree to talks on the disposition of the country rather than take parts of it by force. The goal is probably partition: If the choice is between letting eastern Ukraine and Crimea leave and a major war that Russia will have much more interest in prosecuting than the EU will, why not try to secure Russian acquiescence in letting western Ukraine go and call it a day? The Russians aren’t waiting around on their end of this:

There was a draft law debated to this effect in the Russian State Duma. Now, this announcement on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page:

“Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Simferopol urgently requested to take all necessary steps to start issuing Russian passports to members of the “Berkut” fighting force.”

In other words, Russia is now urging the nationalization of Yanukovych’s riot police.

Why is this important? Before Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 they issued passports to ethnic Russians.

At now, the Russian State Duma is discussing a draft law for adding a new subject of the Russian Federation, i.e. Crimea. In other words, Russia is taking many steps that it took before invading Georgia. This looks to be an attempt to annex Crimea.

I’m … reasonably sure that full annexation would cross the “intervention line,” requiring some sort of U.S. response, but we’ve been through too much to underestimate O’s ability to retreat from his own ultimatums. Stay tuned.

Update: The fact that Kerry’s saying things like this makes me think Russia’s not too worried about crossing anyone’s line.


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A real war was declared by him on Sept 1, 1939, so why then fight a phony one?

See above – Britain desperately needed to prepare for all out war, the Chief of Staff told him to buy a year, mission accomplished in Munich, Britain wins the war. Seems to me like it worked. Would you have had Britain invade Germany the day after it invaded Poland?!

For starters, I wouldn’t have dropped leaflets on Germany.
sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:09 PM

…ok!

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

What should the US be doing right now? What is it that they are currently doing that they shouldn’t be doing, and what is it that they aren’t doing that they should be doing?

segasagez on February 28, 2014 at 3:29 PM

You and Akzed are the same mindless, bleating parrot, aren’t you?

“What would you do?” *squawk*

“What should they do?” *squawk*

“I know multiple people have posted multiple answers, but I’m going to keep squawking the same thing because, well, because… where’s my f*cking cracker?” *squawk*

Midas on February 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Putin’s border games will come back to haunt him. The Chinese will be doing something similar in Eastern Siberia soon.

lexhamfox on February 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

so…are we seeing the start of WW3 in almost real time??

dmacleo on February 28, 2014 at 3:28 PM

At what speed do you think history unfolds?

Rusty Nail on February 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Since people speak Spanish in Mexico, does that make them part of Spain?

Some who speak Spanish in the US are most certainly part of Mexico as you can see when they march with Mexican flags.

Again, Russian is widely spoken in Ukraine because Ukraine was an USSR republic and Russian was the official language of government for nearly 70 years.

Russians have been there since the 1700s.

Actual percentage of entic Russians in Ukraine? Less than 17%.

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

So 8 million people in addition to those who speak Russian.

sharrukin on February 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Ethnolinguistic map of the Ukraine

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fBoO7mEkKsc/UwjjuCt6swI/AAAAAAAAIiE/tJPRckUcCSA/s1600/Ethnolingusitic_map_of_ukraine.png

Then there is the little breakaway country of Transnistria for Russia to consider:

http://www.turkey-visit.com/transnistria.asp

Viator on February 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM

No doubt it is time once again to lead from behind…

… No doubt.

Seven Percent Solution on February 28, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Ukraine has a decent army. US airpower sweeping the skies clear would help them out. Vanceone on February 28, 2014 at 4:07 PM

The Ukrainian Army contains many ethnic-Russians. They train with the Russians. Their uniforms and equipment are the same as the Russians. Some of their senior officers first served in the old Soviet Army. It is not at all certain which way they would jump.

Before using US airpower we might want to check where the Russian nuclear submarines are parked – Cuba? New York?

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 4:24 PM

A casual start to WW3 a la Wesley Clark.

lexhamfox on February 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

That is the scary part. There are people like Wesley Clark out there who think that if they just act tough the other guy will just automatically fold.

sharrukin on February 28, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Cavuto reporting Russia is moving large numbers of troops by ship to Ukraine.

Obama will issue a stern warning & then go to bed.

novaculus on February 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Actual percentage of entic Russians in Ukraine? Less than 17%.

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

So 8 million people in addition to those who speak Russian.

sharrukin on February 28, 2014 at 4:21 PM

In addition? So now you are claiming the people who idenfity as ethnic Russians doesn’t even speak Russian?

You Russians need to get your propaganda talking points straight…LOL

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

There is one thing that the US can do. It can utilize the “Putin Doctrine” against Putin. At the same time that Putin is moving forces into Crimea in order to protect his sphere of influence and military harborage, he is soliciting bids from foreign powers to host Russian Naval and Bomber facilities. Particularly Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. If Putin can go into the Crimea to preserve his reasonable sphere of influence and security zone, then should he attempt to stage any forces in these states we should unleash hell. Cuba in particular has long been a problem deferred for another day. Let it finally happen.

patches on February 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM

See above – Britain desperately needed to prepare for all out war, the Chief of Staff told him to buy a year, mission accomplished in Munich, Britain wins the war. Seems to me like it worked. Would you have had Britain invade Germany the day after it invaded Poland?!

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:19 PM

What worked?

It was a disaster of a year. Norway doomed Chamberlain and if it wasn’t for Hitler, the BEF would have surrendered in France.

That’s not winning.

sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I wonder if the Ukrainians have ever heard of Benghazi…?

Seven Percent Solution on February 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Exactly what do people expect us to do? Do we have any military left capable of intervening in any meaningful manner? Do we want anymore of them to die? For what? For who?

rlwo2008 on February 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Beats a real war.

What would you have had Britain do differently?

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:06 PM

A real war was declared by him on Sept 1, 1939, so why then fight a phony one?

For starters, I wouldn’t have dropped leaflets on Germany.

sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:09 PM

LOL..Ouch

Yeah, that Chamberlain history revision attempt is not going well

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Do we want anymore of them to die? For what? For who?

rlwo2008 on February 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

I am not sure they care what the fight is supposed to be about.

sharrukin on February 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Send Biden! Before its too late send Biden!

onomo on February 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Obama lost his testicles long time ago in Syria.

Krupnikas on February 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM

I pray the Ukrainians are not depending upon King Putt and John Horsehead Kerry for either advice or cover.
The Ukraine offers a formidable land force if it can be commanded and controlled. I would imagine some entities in our government have a clue about the condition of Ukrainian forces. However I no doubt that King Putt will ignore their council. I would also hope that the Ukrainian’s understand their adversary. Putin is born and bred KGB through and through never forget that.
In the words of Ambrose Bierce: War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.

Missilengr on February 28, 2014 at 2:56 PM

I expect that in the end JF’nK and the REB will agree to the Russian invasion as long as they keep their Carbon signature to an absolute minimum.

slickwillie2001 on February 28, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Look, Vlad said he wasn’t going to invade Ukraine. Right? So all of those military types running around are revolutionaries, because Vlad wouldn’t be lying? We can trust him to keep his word, as a man of honor!

So if we took some B-52′s and carpet bombed all those troops in Ukraine, what can Vlad do? Is he going to declare war on us, because we can just say, “Oh, sorry–we thought you were telling the truth! Maybe you should issue a declaration of war before you invade another country.”

I mean, if we are playing diplomatic games, then why not? Russia says it is not invading, so we take them at their word and, since there is some unrest that is affecting airspace, we can assist the Ukrainian government by cleaning out some scofflaws who are using the recent turbulence as an excuse….. Surely Russia would agree they are scofflaws, because Russia is an honorable nation, right?

If we had the balls to do the above, Vlad’s not going to launch nukes at New York over it.

Vanceone on February 28, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Revisit:

Ukraine in a state of caustic fighting due to a corrupt government that has been around for decades, in which they finally get tired of. Yet, they can’t seem to get out of that corruption.

Putin wants the Crimea (and maybe all of Ukraine)… and doesn’t care how it happens.

The U.S. or any other nation, really shouldn’t get involved, as this is more about their fight for freedom than anything else.

Have I missed anything?

Oh gas/oil lines.

upinak on February 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Actual percentage of entic Russians in Ukraine? Less than 17%.

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:16 PM

17% is for the total population of Ukraine. CIA World Factbook:
Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 census)
Please note that these numbers are 13 years old.

For Crimea it is at least 60% depending on who is counting.

This an Ethno-linguistic Map of Ukraine from the Washington Post.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Midas on February 28, 2014 at 4:20 PM

What an artless evasion.

Had anyone made such a suggestion I would have been happy to probe its contents. No one has, including you.

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

President Obama to give a statement in the briefing room on Ukraine at 4:45 pm ET – @mpoindc

Remember, this is all Israel’s fault.

sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

segasagez on February 28, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Yes, that’s what happens to damn fools who’ve proven time and time again that they don’t have the first damn clue about how to effectively conduct U.S. foreign policy.

AZCoyote on February 28, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Exactly what do people expect us to do? Do we have any military left capable of intervening in any meaningful manner? Do we want anymore of them to die? For what? For who?

rlwo2008 on February 28, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Good point…

… Obowma does not believe in “Victory”.

Remember this…?

“Five decades of teaching in colleges and universities across the land, portraying the U.S. as a power mainly responsible for injustice and evil, whose military might was ever a danger to the world — a nation built on the fruits of greed, rapacity and racism — have had their effect.

Seven Percent Solution on February 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Budapest 1956 and Prague 1968 come to mind. Czar Vladimir Putt is still having angst over the break up of the Soviet Union and probably has a Gorbachev voodoo doll in his Kremlin office.

Krupnikas on February 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Open thread about this and POSOTUS speech up.

upinak on February 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

17% is for the total population of Ukraine. CIA World Factbook:
Ukrainian 77.8%, Russian 17.3%, Belarusian 0.6%, Moldovan 0.5%, Crimean Tatar 0.5%, Bulgarian 0.4%, Hungarian 0.3%, Romanian 0.3%, Polish 0.3%, Jewish 0.2%, other 1.8% (2001 census)
Please note that these numbers are 13 years old.

For Crimea it is at least 60% depending on who is counting.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

That’s about the same percentage of Russians in Ukraine as there are Mexicans/Hispancis in the US. Many areas in Texas is above 60%.

I guess that means Mexico and Latin America has the “right” to use military force against the USA in order to “protect their ethnic brothers” according to Russian logic.

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

So if we took some B-52′s and carpet bombed all those troops in Ukraine, what can Vlad do?

Shoot them all down. Unescorted bombers are sitting ducks.

Is he going to declare war on us, because we can just say, “Oh, sorry–we thought you were telling the truth! Maybe you should issue a declaration of war before you invade another country.”

He would strike at Poland, or another ally.

And what happens to the troops in Afghanistan?

I mean, if we are playing diplomatic games, then why not?

It’s not a game.

If we had the balls to do the above, Vlad’s not going to launch nukes at New York over it.

Vanceone on February 28, 2014 at 4:35 PM

And this risk of war should be carried out for what American strategic interest?

sharrukin on February 28, 2014 at 4:45 PM

What worked? It was a disaster of a year. Norway doomed Chamberlain and if it wasn’t for Hitler, the BEF would have surrendered in France. That’s not winning. sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Chamberlain was asked to procure a year to prepare for war.

From September 1938 to September 1939 is a year. Google it.

Britain won.

If you can disprove any of this, say on.

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM

That’s about the same percentage of Russians in Ukraine as there are Mexicans/Hispancis in the US. Many areas in Texas is above 60%.

Norwegian on February 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Yes. And many don’t speak English and their numbers are growing. I find that frightening for the future of our country but the democrats seem to love it.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Or else they’ll tell their mommies.

UnstChem on February 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

I wonder what color the line is this time? Red didn’t work, Pink maybe.

Dasher on February 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Britain won.

If you can disprove any of this, say on.

Akzed on February 28, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Britain won despite of Chamberlain’s failures.

Said off.

sentinelrules on February 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

What ever the policy is, Kerry was for it before he was against it.

GarandFan on February 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM

As Russia Mexico takes over the Rio Grande Valley, Kerry, Carney warn Putin American citizens not to cross the “line”

kcewa on February 28, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Yes. And many don’t speak English and their numbers are growing. I find that frightening for the future of our country but the democrats seem to love it.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 4:50 PM

The libs don’t understand that the people who are behind Laraza and other Latino groups trying to get “reparations” is that if they gain control of the country, their gringo hatred won’t keep to certain political parties.

UnstChem on February 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Well, someone did actually predict all this in 2008!

dominigan on February 28, 2014 at 4:52 PM

And they made a caricature of her over Tina Fey’s joke, “I can see Russia from my house.”

The bastards should all suffer unspeakable things for the lies they told about Sarah.

About the only person who understands foreign policy today better Sarah Palin is maybe John Bolton.

UnstChem on February 28, 2014 at 5:01 PM

2,000 Russian soldiers land in ‘armed invasion’ of Crimea

“Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one,” Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president’s special representive in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, adding the air space had been closed. It was not immediately clear if Russia had the right to use the base or send additional troops there under its agreements with Ukraine.

In other news, Obama is to speak at 4:45 Eastern time.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM

You do know that we didn’t do that in WWII, right? You do know we didn’t try to intimidate the enemy into stopping their aggression. We sent troops over to fight. We didn’t try to out man them. We outgunned them.

When you were out there “playing” warm games, did you engage in combat? Were you ordered to attack Russia?

segasagez on February 28, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I presume you don’t understand the nuances of “try your luck, and I’ll kick the everloving sh!t out of you” game which we played. For a refresher: Libyan fighters were splashed 6 times (Soviet puppets) and be bombed Qadaffi’s camel tent. Those people were Soviet trained with Soviet advisors on hand. We put ships off of their coast, followed their subs, parked in their “sovereign territory” and generally pointed out that if you want to act like a bully, we can too, but we win and have no qualms about doing so. The Soviets got the message.

Pansies like those in charge now think “we’ll reset relations by being nice, because we were so MEAN!!!” and presume it’s going to work. Well guess what? It doesn’t work as proved by the last six years. We are weaker than we have been in decades and because of the feckless (lack of) leadership displayed by this pig and his academic frauds, we have nothing which we can do to resolve this situation. And the sad part is I foresee many more American lives will have to be lost in the future because of this. And for every one of them, Barack Obama should be punished.

I still have friends who are in harms way, and have lost a member of my family to combat over this. Because of this excrement and his administration’s behavior, his death has been rendered a waste. I will not forgive that. Ever.

USNCVN on February 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Pansies like those in charge now think “we’ll reset relations by being nice, because we were so MEAN!!!” and presume it’s going to work. Well guess what? It doesn’t work as proved by the last six years. We are weaker than we have been in decades and because of the feckless (lack of) leadership displayed by this pig and his academic frauds, we have nothing which we can do to resolve this situation. And the sad part is I foresee many more American lives will have to be lost in the future because of this. And for every one of them, Barack Obama should be punished.

USNCVN on February 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

My son just returned from his second deployment. Obama’ rules-of-engagement have cost more military lives than people know. Obama is a treasonous idiot who hates America.

Kaffa on February 28, 2014 at 5:20 PM

I presume you don’t understand the nuances of “try your luck, and I’ll kick the everloving sh!t out of you” game which we played. For a refresher: Libyan fighters were splashed 6 times (Soviet puppets) and be bombed Qadaffi’s camel tent. Those people were Soviet trained with Soviet advisors on hand. We put ships off of their coast, followed their subs, parked in their “sovereign territory” and generally pointed out that if you want to act like a bully, we can too, but we win and have no qualms about doing so. The Soviets got the message.

Pansies like those in charge now think “we’ll reset relations by being nice, because we were so MEAN!!!” and presume it’s going to work. Well guess what? It doesn’t work as proved by the last six years. We are weaker than we have been in decades and because of the feckless (lack of) leadership displayed by this pig and his academic frauds, we have nothing which we can do to resolve this situation. And the sad part is I foresee many more American lives will have to be lost in the future because of this. And for every one of them, Barack Obama should be punished.

I still have friends who are in harms way, and have lost a member of my family to combat over this. Because of this excrement and his administration’s behavior, his death has been rendered a waste. I will not forgive that. Ever.

USNCVN on February 28, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Oh, if only we could force every anti-american progressive to see the damage they have done by weakening this country and allowing evil to run free while they are punished for treason.

UnstChem on February 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Lol, another ‘red line’ for this preezy :) ..l

jimver on February 28, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Several points:

1) Vlad recognizes only Yanukovych as Ukraine’s legal president.
2) Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine with its own prime minister and legislature and constitution, recognizes only Yanukovych as Ukraine’s legal president.
3) The troops spotted thus far on video are said to be “contractors” using Russian gear. Which is the same gear as Ukrainians and other ex-Soviets use.
4) If the invading “contractors” are acting on the orders of Yanukovych, the legal president of Ukraine, then all their actions will be lawful under a state of emergency and it will all be lawful in Crimea where the prime minister and local government all recognize Yanukovych as lawful president.
5) Russian legislators are rushing through passport liberalization for Ukraine’s Russian speaking population. Much as happened in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008.

Just because a president leaves the capital or the country and some mob declares them deposed doesn’t mean that they are deposed legally. And he becomes a valuable pawn in any game, at least until a new national election is held and a new president takes the oath.

Once Yanukovych’s “contractors” are in place in Crimea, Vlad will have all sorts of ways that he can respond to requests for military assistance from Yanukovych who is battling an overthrow by neo-Nazis. And, it just so happens, there are a lot of the fringe rebel groups that like to carve swastikas on things and bewail that Hitler was just tragically misunderstood.

Toocon on February 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM

As Russia takes over Crimea, Kerry, Carney warn Putin not to cross the “line”

And just what is Kerry going to do if he crosses that line. Slap him? Putin knows between Kerry and Obama there are no guts, courage, back up. Putin can sit back and laugh at these paper tigers.

logicman_1998 on February 28, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I seriously doubt Putin gets overly concerned when the Obama administration starts warning about crossing lines…

zoyclem on February 28, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Has anyone blamed this invasion on G.W. Bush yet?

I haven’t channel-surfed over to MSNBC. That’s probably the only reason I haven’t heard somebody trying to make that case.

s1im on February 28, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Putin: The Crimea is ours. Step into this at your own risk

Kerry: You know, If I had a bigger sail on that board, I could have gotten some serious air time………..

WryTrvllr on February 28, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Maybe Kerry and Carney can join Obama for his next lap dance/twerk session for Putin.

This is just embarrassing.

Adjoran on February 28, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Putin to Kerry: “I fart in your general direction, Botox Boy! Whaddya gonna do about it?”

pilamaye on March 1, 2014 at 9:11 AM

How does one get out played by a cold blooded killer like Putin? Act like Obama…

sorrowen on March 1, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Where was this line drawn, in the sand trap of the first hole? I believe that Obama also declared by presidential order that it was happy hour for the Democrats after drawing that line.

savage24 on March 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Send in VP Gunsmoke with DOCTOR Jill Biden’s shotgun.

philoise65 on March 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Looking at his picture, I can only wonder if he licks it after he picks it?

Old Country Boy on March 2, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I double dog dare ya!……………..That ought to stop this…..B.O.

geezerintraining on March 2, 2014 at 6:33 PM

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