Quotes of the day

posted at 11:01 pm on March 3, 2014 by Allahpundit

“Create a democratic noose around Putin’s Russia,” urged Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “Revisit the missile defense shield,” suggested Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “Cancel Sochi,” argued Representative Mike Rogers, the Michigan Republican who leads the Intelligence Committee, referring to the Group of 8 summit meeting to be hosted by President Vladimir V. Putin. Kick “him out of the G-8” altogether, said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic whip.

The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?

“It’s the most important, most difficult foreign-policy test of his presidency,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat who became under secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration. “The stakes are very high for the president because he is the NATO leader. There’s no one in Europe who can approach him in power. He’s going to have to lead.”

***

During his 90-minute phone conversation with President Obama on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that Russian military intervention in Ukraine could go beyond Crimea, the region now under effectively occupied by Russia…

“Vladimir Putin stressed that in case of any further spread of violence to Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russia retains the right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population of those areas,” it said.

***

Behind the scenes, Obama administration officials are preparing a series of possible battle plans for a potential economic assault on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, an administration source close to the issue told The Daily Beast. Among the possible targets for these financial attacks: everyone from high-ranking Russian military officials to government leaders to top businessmen to Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine. It’s all part of the work to prepare an executive order now under consideration at the Obama administration’s highest levels…

“The expectation that this is going to change in 24 hours, that’s not real world,” a third senior administration official said. “This is a serious situation that the Russians have created, it’s going to take serious efforts to unwind it, and we are absolutely seriously engaged in the effort to do that.”

***

For all Obama’s hopes of creating an economic threat, there are relatively little trade or productive diplomatic ties between the United States and Russia. He’s largely dependent on being listened to by the world’s leaders, populations, businesses and international organizations from the European Union to the World Trade Organization…

Already, there’s a crack. The morning after Secretary of State John Kerry began floating the idea of kicking Putin out of the G-8, the German finance minister told a German news service Monday that he wasn’t sure this was a good idea.

Even small developments like that matter in Moscow, where the Russian leader is gauging his next move based on what kind of international response he thinks he’s likely to get…

“We’re now living in the era of the Putin Doctrine: Mother Russia has a right and an obligation to protect her children on the other side of international borders,” Talbott said. “We’re going to have to make very clear that it isn’t going to fly.”

***

Putin’s inner circle no longer fear the European establishment. They once imagined them all in MI6. Now they know better. They have seen firsthand how obsequious Western aristocrats and corporate tycoons suddenly turn when their billions come into play. They now view them as hypocrites—the same European elites who help them hide their fortunes.

Once Russia’s powerful listened when European embassies issued statements denouncing the baroque corruption of Russian state companies. But no more. Because they know full well it is European bankers, businessmen and lawyers who do the dirty work for them placing the proceeds of corruption in hideouts from the Dutch Antilles to the British Virgin Islands…

When Russia sees Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal outbidding each other to be Russia’s best business partner inside the EU (in return for no mention of human rights), they see America’s control over Europe slowly dissolving.

***

At stake is not only the future of Ukraine, where the chaotically disorganized opposition to Yanukovich is waiting and wondering, but in the Middle East and throughout Asia, where many leaders have taken to questioning America’s commitment to the world. After pledging and then backing down from strikes against Syria last year, and staking his presidency on the withdrawal from America’s wars, Obama now has something to prove: He can take aggressive action. Whether he likes it or not, Putin and other world leaders appear to view him as indecisive and unwilling to take risks.

The only reasonable response, then, must be a powerful diplomatic thrust to isolate Putin and make immediately clear the costs of moving beyond Crimea into the rest of Ukraine. The risks for Obama in this are huge but he has no choice but to take them. Despite the fact that he needs the good will of Moscow in order to resolve the nuclear talks with Iran and peace negotiations over Syria, Obama must gamble that if he leads a decisive, united world response to the Crimean incursion, it will at once impress the Russian president and make Putin worry about his and Russia’s international image, a concern of the Kremlin’s that was so obvious during the just-concluded Sochi Olympics. Putin must be made to calculate that further recalcitrance not only over Ukraine but over Iran and Syria as well will only isolate him further.

***

Much depends on how clearly the West conveys to the dictator in the Kremlin — a partially comical imitation of Mussolini and a more menacing reminder of Hitler — that NATO cannot be passive if war erupts in Europe. If Ukraine is crushed while the West is simply watching, the new freedom and security in bordering Romania, Poland and the three Baltic republics would also be threatened.

This does not mean that the West, or the United States, should threaten war. But in the first instance, Russia’s unilateral and menacing acts mean the West should promptly recognize the current government of Ukraine as legitimate. Uncertainty regarding its legal status could tempt Putin to repeat his Crimean charade. Second, the West should convey — privately at this stage, so as not to humiliate Russia — that the Ukrainian army can count on immediate and direct Western aid so as to enhance its defensive capabilities. There should be no doubt left in Putin’s mind that an attack on Ukraine would precipitate a prolonged and costly engagement, and Ukrainians should not fear that they would be left in the lurch.

Meanwhile, NATO forces, consistent with the organization’s contingency planning, should be put on alert. High readiness for some immediate airlift to Europe of U.S. airborne units would be politically and militarily meaningful. If the West wants to avoid a conflict, there should be no ambiguity in the Kremlin as to what might be preciptated by further adventurist use of force in the middle of Europe.

***

In recent years, one of Russia’s greatest points of contention with the West has been over NATO’s plans to build of a missile shield in Europe. Russia has seen this as a major threat to its security, as the shield could wipe out Russia’s ability to launch nuclear missiles at the West. The long-standing nuclear deterrent that has protected Russia from Western attacks for generations – the Cold War doctrine of mutually assured destruction, or MAD – could thus be negated, Russia’s generals have warned. But after Russia decided to unilaterally invade its neighbor to the west this weekend, any remaining resistance to the missile shield project would be pushed aside by the renewed security concerns of various NATO members, primarily those in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Whatever hopes Russia had of forestalling the construction of the missile shield through diplomacy are now most likely lost.

No less worrying for Putin would be the economic sanctions the West is preparing in answer to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Depending on their intensity, those could cut off the ability of Russian companies and businessmen in getting western loans and trading with most of the world’s largest economies. Putin’s allies could also find it a lot more difficult to send their children to study in the West or to keep their assets in Western banks, as they now almost universally do. All of that raises the risk for Putin of a split in his inner circle and, potentially, even of a palace coup. There is hardly anything more important to Russia’s political elite than the security of their foreign assets, certainly not their loyalty to a leader who seems willing to put all of that at risk.

***

First, we don’t know how far he will go — and he probably doesn’t know either. Whether he will seek to break Ukraine in two or place a pro-Putin government in power may depend on the costs we impose. Whether he will in the coming months and years seek to destabilize the Baltic nations — which were also once part of the USSR — may depend on what we do now. It’s wrong to assume Putin has an elaborate plan for 2014 and 2015 that he will follow religiously, and logical to believe that Putin takes advantage of opportunities and weighs costs and benefits.

Second, there is more than Putin to think about. Tyrants in places from Tehran to Beijing will also be wondering about the cost of violating international law and threatening the peace and stability of neighbors. What will China do in neighboring seas, or Iran do in its tiny neighbor Bahrain, if actions like Putin’s go without a response?…

All this is important for American interests even if the Crimea situation is viewed as nearly irreversible. In fact, if we think Putin will keep the Crimea, it’s even more important that we make him pay as high a price as possible for his aggression.

***

The 1980s are calling. They want to know if we want their foreign policy back…

If President Reagan could see what Russia is doing today, he would cock his head and say, “Well, there they go again.” And then he would deploy the whole panoply of resistance we used against Moscow in his day. He might start with the fact that Poland has strong ties to Ukraine’s pro-European majority and a direct interest in opposing Russia, making the Poles an obvious conduit for support to the new government in Kiev—both open and covert, and both economic and military. The Baltic states are also freaking out, given their own vulnerability to Russian aggression, and they can be counted on for extensive support. The urgent priority is to rapidly convert Western Ukraine into a “porcupine state”—one that may not be able to win a war with Russia outright, but can make such a war too painful to be appealing…

But we know what it looks like when American weakness and uncertainty allow an aggressive dictatorship and its allies to advance across the world. To avoid that outcome, we need to reverse course and do it fast.

If we don’t, pretty soon the 1970s will be calling.

***

But then we should not be surprised if Russia, to compensate for economic losses, and for the loss of prestige, would sign a security agreement with Iran, and would supply Iran with S-300 or perhaps S-400 missiles. You should not be surprised if Russia would do considerably more to support President Assad. And most obviously, you should not be surprised if Russia would introduce a new element of global instability by signing a security agreement with Beijing, and there is a considerable interest in Beijing in strengthening security ties to Russia. So far, Putin has not wanted to pull in that direction, because he wants to have a western option, because he wants to have an American connection. He also does not want to be Beijing’s junior partner. But if you deprive him of the European-American connection, we may alter the geopolitical balance by putting Russia closer to China. There are already discussions in Russia about how they would stop supplying their gas to Europe. They have storage facilities. They can reduce the production of natural gas. You know, this would be a situation very, very painful to Russia. But that would be a situation which may be in many respects worse than anything we have witnessed during the Cold War. We would hear the echoes of 1914…

We are speaking very loudly. We are carrying a small stick. We are not really disciplining the Russians. We are not clearly defining what is important to us. We are acting like King Lear. We are issuing pathetic declarations which nobody is taking seriously. When I saw Secretary Kerry on television yesterday, I think it was a very sad performance. He was visibly angry. He was visibly defensive. He was accusing Russians using very harsh language of violations of international law. His description of the political process in Ukraine which led to this situation was incomplete and disingenuous at best. And then, after he said all of these things, he did not say, “Well, because of the Russians violating international law, threatening international security, that because of that the President of the United States is moving our naval assets in the Black Sea!” With the language he was using, that’s what you would expect him to do. But he was carrying a small stick.

Rhetoric is not policy and sounding tough doesn’t roll back Russia’s advances.

***

If the EU and U.S. accept Russia’s land grab, they weaken the foundations of today’s international order, born out of the ashes of World War II and enshrined in the U.N. charter…

In the past, it was the U.S. that promoted and guaranteed the U.N.-order. In the role of a global quasi-sovereign, and faced with major threats, it sometimes violated this principle itself. But these were exceptions to the overall beneficial role the U.S. played in the promotion of a liberal democratic order.

Nowadays, however, Washington is diminishing its global footprint, with its taxpayers no longer willing to bear the biggest chunk of the burden to uphold world order.

The Kremlin has sensed a power vacuum and is stepping in.

***

“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you,” supposedly said Lev Bronstein, as Leon Trotsky was known when he lived in the Bronx, before he made the Red Army, the parent of the forces Putin is wielding. Barack Obama, who involved the United States in seven months of war with Libya, perhaps because the project was untainted by U.S. national interest, is seeking diplomatic and especially economic leverage against Putin’s ramshackle nation in order to advance the enormous U.S. interest in depriving him of Ukraine.

Unless Obama finds such leverage, his precipitous slide into Jimmy Carter territory will continue. As an expression of disdain for a U.S. president, Putin’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula is symmetrical with Leonid Brezhnev’s invasion of Afghanistan late in Carter’s presidency. Large presidential failures cannot be hermetically sealed; they permeate a presidency. Putin’s contribution to the miniaturization of Obama comes in the context of Obama’s self-inflicted wound — Obamacare, which simultaneously shattered belief in his competence and honesty, and may linger as ruinously for Obama as the Iranian hostage crisis did for Carter.

This may be condign punishment for Obama’s foreign policy carelessness and for his wishful thinking about Putin as a “partner” and about a fiction (”the international community”) being consequential. It certainly is dangerous.

***

***



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Good evening…

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:13 AM

I agree..Enjoyed his comments very much..Hope he comes back..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:24 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:18 AM

I believe you but I just don’t see any of those things you describe. One of us might be misunderstanding the tone in which some comments are made. That is certainly easy to do in text. I seldom see comments where I attach ill will and you seem to find many. We may be disagreeing on nothing more than perception.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:25 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Hey! How’s out west?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:26 AM

live mardi gras web cams…

http://www.earthcam.com/events/mardigras/

going2mars on March 4, 2014 at 1:27 AM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:25 AM

Cindy, don’t engage this idiot. The first thing Mr Anti-Misogynist did early one morning several weeks ago when he first showed up was attack Antwerp. Called her a terrible mother and everything but a child of God.

And let’s try and remember that people can represent themselves as anything they want from behind a computer keyboard. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into what he claims.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:28 AM

Schadenfreude on March 4, 2014 at 1:21 AM

I’m afraid to hope for these people. After those people in Iran were ignored by Obama, I just don’t see a happy ending. Since Obama won’t let us use our resources, these people are at the mercy of Russia for their energy. That’s a no win situation.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:29 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:24 AM

Hey! How’s out west?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:26 AM

Well, it didn’t rain today… That’s good I suppose…

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:28 AM

Yes, I remember that. Very judgmental for someone gathering snippets of random comments. Very unfair to twerp.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:30 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 12:41 AM
I could, but then I’d have to kill you.
Ignore the paranoia, which, funnily enough, isn’t even coming from those harassing you. Some people see a threat around every corner, makes ‘em feel special and important.
NativeTexan on March 4, 2014 at 12:44 AM

For real! What’s up with the Alex Jones conspiracy behind every blade of grass bit? It’s weird.

My own theory is that there is a special little snowflake here who is, at the root, a base hypocrite. That being said, as a special little snowflake, folks will contort themselves into every position imaginable in order to defend that which is, and will always be, indefensible.

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:32 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Double edge sword, you really need the rain. We had a drought in VA in the 80′s that was just awful. They said it was going to take eleven years for the aqua firs to replenish. And then it started to rain and it rained from October to March. It was incredibly depressing but at the same time, it didn’t take eleven years.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:33 AM

…….do any of you have any better reasons why HA IGNORED this Story?

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:10 AM

HA has ‘ignored’ the story of the Muslims in China knifing 130 people.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:12 AM

…”Zactly – so, my question stands there, as well……..however:

While the human toll in lives is greater – The Media Obsession, including HA, with DENIGRATING Sarah Palin is SOOO Deep, Wide and Frequent — the Story of Her Correctly Predicting The Future Being “Blacked Out” her impacts The History of Media Abuse SOOOOOO Much More…….

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:32 AM

Would you like to expand on that? I thought you were all about protecting people, especially women.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:29 AM

Double edge sword, you really need the rain. We had a drought in VA in the 80′s that was just awful. They said it was going to take eleven years for the aqua firs to replenish. And then it started to rain and it rained from October to March. It was incredibly depressing but at the same time, it didn’t take eleven years.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:33 AM

Our so called drought, is more man made than anything. Typical democrat run government. Drain a 5 year water suppy6 to appease some nutty enviro-Nazi’s, then scream that we are out of water, so now we will have to raise taxes.

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:36 AM

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

I heard just a touch of this on TV and have not seen any wide coverage. The attacker was Muslim?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:37 AM

Frank is actually a good guy, an Army vet, with generations in his family who’ve served the good land, lost a highly intelligent father, pilot in the services, family man…with an edge.
I’m not sure why, after all the years he says he’s watched HA, he hasn’t figured out that QotD is anything to all, or nothing. It will not change…why I send the extraterrestrials occasional updates. Or it c/b that he knows this and doesn’t like it. In the latter case, I say with good intentions – it will not change. It’s an open lodge, all come and go, sit around, drink, dance, play music, smoke or whatever…and leave.
Frank is not a troll and fights in his own way the travesties of our time, for the sake of his kids and the next generation/s.
Schadenfreude on March 4, 2014 at 12:

Thank you for actually reading my comments. My father, a pilot who was close to his phd in mathematics at the time of his death, was a triple headed monster. Google it and I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:37 AM

Why aren’t we hearing more about Obama’s “flexibility” comment? Obviously he’s doing not a dang thing about Putin, he accidentally told us so!

Jackalope on March 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

I’ve been thinking about that comment too, and wondering if the boy king was already aware of Putin’s intentions.

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 1:37 AM

Hey williamg, I asked you on an earlier thread, What is the probability that you think those new nuke plants will be constructed? What time scale?

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:14 AM

….it’s happening Right Now, As We Speak:

4 AP1000′s in China,

2 AP1000′s in Jaw-Jaw,

and 2 More in South Carolina….

Two of the China plants are beyond 80% complete in construction and are preparing to begin Startup Testing…….this year…..

The 4 here are quite a ways along in construction……

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:39 AM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:33 AM

Are you back in Florida??..How are the puppies??..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:39 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:36 AM

But don’t the Delta Smelt look nice? I thought these people bought into evolution. Cutting off a huge chunk of the human food supply for bait fish doesn’t ring true for survival of the fittest.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:40 AM

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:39 AM

Yes, I’ve been back since before the New Year. The puppies are great, a touch too tubby. How is everything with you and your family?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:40 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 12:41 AM

.
I could, but then I’d have to kill you.
Ignore the paranoia, which, funnily enough, isn’t even coming from those harassing you. Some people see a threat around every corner, makes ‘em feel special and important.

NativeTexan on March 4, 2014 at 12:44 AM

.
I wouldn’t be “paranoid”, if everyone would just stop trying to get me.

listens2glenn on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

Garcia, Weir, Kahn, Baez acoustic – Knockin on Heaven’s Door

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:31 AM

……love this version of this….

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

and 2 More in South Carolina….

Two of the China plants are beyond 80% complete in construction and are preparing to begin Startup Testing…….this year…..

The 4 here are quite a ways along in construction……

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:39 AM

The 2 in SC are Duke’s?

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

The 2 in SC are Duke’s?

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

No – SCANA

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

listens2glenn on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

Listening to Beck will do that to ya ;)

NativeTexan on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

HA doesn’t have every story. You’ll find a lot of tidbits on Instapundit and Drudge that you won’t find any place else.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

I thought these people bought into evolution. Cutting off a huge chunk of the human food supply for bait fish doesn’t ring true for survival of the fittest.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:40 AM

No, they are Marxists, environmentalism is just a vehicle for them to exercise control through.

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

Nuke plants as in energy plants? In S.C.? How did that happen?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Both Russia and China have closely studied the end of the Cold War and how the U.S. ultimately defeated the U.S.S.R. by bankrupting it. Two decades later, it looks like Moscow and Beijing are trying to return the favor.

So Obama, Russia and China will be the ABA (Axis of Bankrupting America). The three working together to achieve their common goal should be able to get it done in just 1/3 the time.

VorDaj on March 4, 2014 at 1:15 AM

I have heard that theory from more than a few people. The bottom line is whether obama intended to do things specifically to help Russia and China bankrupt us or not is not even important. The important thing to realize is that it has happened and this crisis is great example of how powerless we are to do any that Donks in power think they can afford. I’m not just talking about money either. They’ve painted themselves into a corner I think criticizing every single step and action of GOP in foreign affairs.

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Once you get up and running, follow Loxodonta, an old buddy of ours here.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 12:47 AM

A poem from many days past by Loxodonta:

Mine eyes have seen the gory
details of ObamaCare!
It will trample out our elders
and disabled, but who cares?!
ObamaCare’s so frightening,
from the first to the last word!
Death Panels should be gone!

Gory, gory, single payer!
Gory, gory, public option!
Gory, bureaucratic layers!
It’s Obama’s swan song!

Although of the Elephant species perhaps he is the most human of us all.

Cheshire Cat on March 4, 2014 at 1:45 AM

Yes, I’ve been back since before the New Year. The puppies are great, a touch too tubby. How is everything with you and your family?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:40 AM

Someday it would be nice to get the Florida people together. CL, New Tie, me, you, B9, Flora and whoever else.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:45 AM

oscarwilde on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

I bet they call themselves atheists.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:45 AM

I thought Duke and or Progressive(recently merged) had 1-2 nuke plants planned for construction. Family is involved, but they are adherent to opsec.

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

You are not upset with me are you??..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Although of the Elephant species perhaps he is the most human of us all.

Cheshire Cat on March 4, 2014 at 1:45 AM

I think I remember that. He was a wordsmith.

Like you!

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:40 AM

Good deal..we are all good..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:48 AM

You are not upset with me are you??..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

How could I ever be upset with you? I’m not upset with anybody. When I see one of our friends attacked, I just fight childishness with more childishness. They don’t understand anything else. Most of the time I’m chuckling.

I could no more get mad at you than I could at canop4 or Scrumpy :D

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:51 AM

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

HA doesn’t have every story. You’ll find a lot of tidbits on Instapundit and Drudge that you won’t find any place else.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:43 AM

…..the general sentiment of this kind of response is well and fine – but upwards of 12,000 comments on the Palin story lines on Breitbart makes it A LOT More than a “tidbit”………It’s kind of like ignoring Fukushima…..so – that line doesn’t wash here…..

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:52 AM

I could no more get mad at you than I could at canop4 or Scrumpy :D

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:51 AM

Good deal..I was picking at you earlier in thread..I used sarc tag..Just making sure..Carry on the good battle..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:52 AM

Good deal..I was picking at you earlier in thread..I used sarc tag..Just making sure..Carry on the good battle..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 1:52 AM

Heh. I saw you get mad (mad for you, that is) at the hagfish the other day. Thought you might lose it! :D

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:53 AM

I thought Duke and or Progressive(recently merged) had 1-2 nuke plants planned for construction. Family is involved, but they are adherent to opsec.

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Duke (which devoured Progress Energy) are looking at the Levy Site in Florida for 2 plants and the William States Lee Site for 2 plants………they’re still fuddling around…..PSC has been an issue…..

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM

I always say “If you’re able to try Dire’s patience, there’s something seriously wrong.”

I think I’ve seen you become perturbed about three times. Once you called someone a kook. Might have been Dr. T.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:45 AM

Ready, more than willing and certainly able. It really shouldn’t be that hard. kathy the mean old lady and there is a gentleman here in Jax that I’m drawing a blank on his name.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:56 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:46 AM

Now wouldn’t that just be something?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:58 AM

Jen Psaki
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
March 3, 2014
**************

Index for Today’s Briefing
***************************

UKRAINE
********

Secretary’s Travel to Kyiv, Ukraine / Meetings
Assistant Secretary Nuland’s Meetings in Vienna
1994 Budapest Memorandum
Russia / Threats of Force

UKRAINE

Secretary’s Travel to Kyiv, Ukraine / Meetings
Assistant Secretary Nuland’s Meetings in Vienna
1994 Budapest Memorandum
Russia / Threats of Force

UKRAINE

Moving Forward / Military Action is Not Preferred

UKRAINE

Yanukovych / Focus on Steps Forward for New and Interim Governments
Off-ramp for Russia / February 21 Agreement

UKRAINE

EU / International Efforts / Impact on Russia / Monitoring Situation Closely
Range of Treaties and Memorandums

TRANSCRIPT:

12:48 p.m. EST
**************

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon from a snowy day in Washington. I don’t have anything at the top, and obviously want to get to as many questions as possible. While we’re doing this briefing over the phone, it is on the record, as per usual. So why don’t we go directly to questions?

OPERATOR: And ladies and gentlemen, if there are any questions from the phone lines at this time, please press * followed by the 1 on your touchtone phone. You’ll hear a tone indicating you’ve been placed in a queue, and all questions will be pulled in the order they are received. And once again, if there are any questions at this time please press * followed by the 1 on your touchtone phone. And one moment please for our first question.

And our first question today comes from the line of Matt Lee from the Associated Press. Please go ahead.
**********************************

OPERATOR: And we do have a question from the line of Anne Gearan with The Washington Post. Please go ahead.

MS. PSAKI: Hi, Anne.

QUESTION:

Hi. So can you just give us the best case for what the Secretary hopes to accomplish in Kyiv? I mean, he won’t be seeing, it seems to me, the people who matter most here, who would be the Crimean officials or Russian officials there, right? He will only be seeing the interim government leaders? Is that right?

MS. PSAKI:

That’s right. Well, he will be seeing, of course, members of the transitional government, members of the Rada, members of civil society, including interfaith religious leaders. So we’re still finalizing the schedule. I know it’s tomorrow, but as you all know, this trip just came together over the course of the last 72 hours. But broadly speaking, Anne, he’s going to be discussing, of course, Ukraine’s economic and political needs, seeing what additional support we can provide, and really sending a strong message that we support the people of Ukraine, the voices of the people of Ukraine. And obviously, they’re going through their own transition here, so he’ll discuss all of those issues and really be looking forward.

Just a couple of other updates for all of you. I think some of you have seen it, but Assistant Secretary Nuland is in Vienna today meeting with senior officials of the OSCE and representing the United States at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Ukraine. While she’s there, she’s also meeting with member states to work towards an OSCE monitoring mission for Crimea and eastern Ukraine. This mission would provide accurate facts and information about what is happening in these regions and would reduce tensions. She’s also made some public comments; I would also point you to where she repeats our support for the OSCE launching a full-scale monitoring mission, which is obviously what they’re discussing.

We’re also – we also support and we’re working towards a high-level meeting of the signatories to the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. That, of course, would include Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. And so that is something we’re working towards, so I don’t have anything on the schedule to announce yet over the course of the next coming days.

QUESTION:

Do you expect him to have public remarks on the subject of Ukraine before he goes?

MS. PSAKI:

He just did a spray with the Moldovans, so I obviously wasn’t there because I’m here with all of you. But I believe he may have touched on Ukraine there.

QUESTION:

Hi, Jen. Interfax quoted a Ukrainian defense ministry official as saying that the Russian fleet gave Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 0300 GMT to surrender or face attack. One, do you have any reason to believe that the Russian Defense Ministry coupled with the Russian fleet has indeed given the Ukrainian forces in Crimea a deadline by which to surrender or be attacked?

And secondly, regardless of whether you know for sure whether there’s been such an ultimatum, how – what do you think of such an ultimatum being given or threatened?

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. Well, I don’t have any independent information on that. I’ve seen the same reports as you, and thank you, of course, to you and others who sent those over. But of course these reports today of threats of force against Ukrainian military installations would, if true, in our view constitute a dangerous escalation of the situation for which we would hold Russia directly responsible. You’ve seen over the course of the last 72 hours that the international community has been very unified in steps we’ve taken, and whether that’s the statement – the strong statement made by the G7, statements coming out of NATO, obviously there’s the meeting of the OSCE today – and that coordination and cooperation will continue. And as Russia takes steps, the international community will look closely at taking steps as well. So I don’t have anything independently for you on those reports. If that changes, we will, of course, provide an update. But that is certainly where we stand at this point.

QUESTION:

Okay. Can I just go back to clarify on the question of whether the Secretary will be meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov? He did actually announce he would be – last week that he would meet on Wednesday with the Russian foreign minister. From your reply to Anne, are you now saying that may not happen as the Secretary had already previewed?

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. On the first question, I just don’t want to get ahead of where we are in terms of finalizing items in the schedule. So it’s not a stepping back from anything; it’s more we’re obviously balancing a number of priorities and we’re working through scheduling logistics, so I expect we’ll have more of an update in the next 24 hours on that. But I did not mean to be an alarmist in any way, shape, or form.

QUESTION:

Oh, okay. It’s just that we already have in copy that they’re meeting, so, I mean, I suppose the issue is, for most people, do we still say that they’re going to meet or do we say that it hasn’t been finalized?

MS. PSAKI:

I would – it’s accurate to say it hasn’t been finalized at this point.

QUESTION:

It’s a common error, and I’m not going to hold that against anyone. So Jen, how many Russian troops do you estimate are in Crimea right now? And how many of those are from outside of the Black Sea Fleet? So how many do you think they’ve brought in?

MS. PSAKI:

Justin – and I could have said this at the top – I’m just not going to give and not in a position to give an update on what is happening on the ground in terms of the military movements. Obviously, we’re incredibly concerned about that. We are unified with the international community in our view that these steps have been illegal. We’ve taken steps in response, of course, to that. But I’m not going to be able to provide you with a ground game, military update.

QUESTION:

Okay. Well, because – the reason I ask is because everybody here just says, “We’re closely watching, we’re closely watching.” So if you’re closely watching, you probably know those numbers, my guess is. But if you don’t want to provide them, that’s fine.

MS. PSAKI:

Maybe I can help you better with a different question.

QUESTION:

Okay. Great. So there was a story today in The New York Times that provided some readout from a phone call between Obama and Chancellor Merkel. And for whatever reason, the White House pointed us to the State Department to comment on some of that. I’m not sure if you can, but one of the things she said apparently is that he, Putin, is not in touch with reality and that he is, quote, “in another world.” Is that something you’re prepared to comment on? Did – was that expressed by Merkel to –

MS. PSAKI:

Even if we were – had participated in that call, we wouldn’t speak to the comments of another foreign leader. So I would point you to the Germans on the validity of comments and what comments were made.

I mean, I will say that obviously, we’re working closely with all of the members of the G7, including Germany, on what the appropriate next steps may be. And that’s something that obviously the President’s been closely in touch with his counterparts on, Secretary Kerry’s been closely in touch with his counterparts on. There are several layers of that that we’re discussing, including political steps, including economic steps. So that’s the primary focus of our engagement, but I would point you to the Germans on any readout or confirmation of Chancellor Merkel’s comments.

QUESTION:

Okay. And last question: The Paralympics are upcoming in Sochi in March. I’ve seen reports that British officials and perhaps U.S. officials are (inaudible) these games. What’s the official stance here? Are any athletes not going to go or any government officials? What can you say about the Paralympics?

MS. PSAKI:

I’ve seen that announcement coming out of the White House. It’s a good question, so let me check on the more detailed specifics in terms of what it means if we’re not participating or not – or taking steps. So I’ll do that, Justin, and I can get that around to you and others who are interested.

I will say, broadly speaking, the Russians invested upwards of 50 – is it 50, I think, million[2] dollars in the Olympics. Their – the view of the world of Russia matters to them. They’ve taken steps to rebuild their reputation, to engage with the West, and that’s one of the reasons we believe that political steps and sending a political message in coordination with the international community will be effective in cooperation and in partnership with economic steps. But let me check on the specifics for you.

QUESTION:

Thanks for doing this. I have a question on the Mideast, and then I have a question on the possible sanctions against Ukraine, which you probably got into on the top, but I was upstairs with the Secretary.

MS. PSAKI:

No, no, no. It’s okay. Go ahead.

QUESTION:

On Ukraine – I mean, we understand that there are, like, a lot of preparations being done, like, a kind of teed-up for the President in terms of executive orders and possibly targeting of specific individuals. But I mean, what’s the trigger for these sanctions to take place? I mean, does he have to do – if he doesn’t –

MS. PSAKI:

Are you talking about sanctions against the Russians?

QUESTION:

Yeah, yeah, sorry. What is the trigger here? Does he – if he doesn’t withdraw within the specific amount of time, if he goes any further into eastern Ukraine? I mean, what is going to be the ultimate determinant of whether you’re going to make a decision on sanctions?

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. It’s a good question. Well, first let me say that obviously, as the Secretary said over the weekend, there is an alternative path and Russia does not need to proceed on this path. They can engage directly with Ukraine, withdraw troops back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere. And that’s a path they can take. But if they continue on the path they’re taking, including the steps they’ve taken in Crimea, the steps the military has taken, all of the issues that we’ve expressed concerns about, we will continue to take steps on our own.

So at this point, we’re not just considering sanctions given the actions Russia is taking. It is likely that we will put those in place, and we are preparing that right now. So we have a broad range of options available, as you know. We’re looking at the best way to hold people accountable. Obviously, we’ll make those decisions and those decisions will be made at a high level, but we are preparing options and we – and it is – we are likely moving down that path if things proceed.

QUESTION:

But I just want to talk about – I understand that you’re preparing options and you’ll proceed if they continue to go down this path. So if they don’t pull back, are you going to put sanctions on? If they move farther? I just want to kind of nail down what does – do they have to do or not do in order for these sanctions to kick in?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, just to be clear, if I didn’t make it clear enough, we are far more forward on this than we were even yesterday. So we’re continuing to make decisions day by day on questions like what sanctions we may or may not put in place for the Russians. There’s not a scientific answer that I can give you, and obviously, I’m not going to spell out discussions that are happening internally. It’s not as if there is a secret checklist. The question is: What are the most appropriate steps, what is the best way to hold people accountable and send the economic messages we need to send, send the political messages we need to send?

So the factors we are taking into account is certainly whether Russia proceeds in their military intervention here or whether they draw back troops, whether they engage with Ukraine or they don’t. Obviously, there are a range of factors we’re looking at, but I think we can all see the steps they’re taking on the ground which have raised concerns, and that’s why we’re proceeding down this path.

QUESTION:

So you would say it’s highly likely that in the absence of any change in the situation, that you would impose these sanctions?

MS. PSAKI:

Yes. And then you said you had a Middle East question?

QUESTION: Two questions: You might have covered this at the top because I missed the first, like, three minutes, but Moscow is talking about a return to the February 21 agreement which would have included Yatsenyuk in – I mean, Yanukovych still in this government until the new elections. Now, I’m aware that the Russians didn’t even sign that deal, but there was that deal. And then the Rada took the steps it did. So one, do you think there is any sort of off-ramp, as you all were talking about yesterday, in that?

And two, do you think in general the new Ukrainian government or the interim Ukrainian government could be doing more to reach out to the political leadership in the Russian-speaking eastern portions?

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. Well a couple of things, and if I don’t answer every one, I’m sure you’ll tell me.

One, on Yanukovych, we’ve been pretty clear that we believe he lost his – the legitimacy as the leader of Ukraine when he abdicated his responsibilities by fleeing during a political crisis, and also before, signing the legislation necessary to implement the February 21st agreement. And events since then, which you’re familiar with and have been reporting on, have obviously surpassed the circumstances at the time. As you noted, there was a near-unanimous vote of the Rada, including virtually all members of Yanukovych’s own party to elect a new speaker and to move forward on the path.

So look, our focus here is on encouraging both the new government and the interim government to take steps forward, which they are doing. That includes being inclusive, which they are doing; it includes moving forward to elections in May; it includes taking the economic reforms – putting in place the economic reforms necessary, and the IMF will soon be on the ground to engage with that and assess the situation.

But there is an off-ramp for Russia. We – and we very much encourage them to take that off-ramp. They can engage directly with Ukraine, they can withdraw troops back to bases, they can refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine and support international mediation. There are many ways to protect the interests of Russian – of the Russian people, and that’s a discussion that of course is being had at the OSCE. We support international mediation, and that’s a discussion they’re having there as well.

QUESTION:

But, I mean, are you saying that he fled before the Rada did anything, and that therefore it was his fleeing that precipitated what the Rada did? And more to the point, I’m just asking, whether in the interest of keeping Ukraine a whole country, whether there could be more being done by that interim government other than sending these oligarchs back to the east to make those regions feel included and that their points of view are being taken into account.

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. Well, I think, one, again, it’s now been February 21st, so we’re over – we’re about 10 days ago. And obviously, there have been a range of events that have happened since then. When Yanukovych fled, he did leave a void of leadership. The Rada and others did take steps to move forward and determine how to best govern Ukraine in the interim as they try to keep a unified and stable Ukraine together. But that doesn’t mean there’s not an off-ramp. Of course, there’s an off-ramp, which is what I mentioned. And there have been steps taken since then, as you know, by the Russians that have been not just of great concern but have unified the international community in opposition to them. So those are all events that have happened since February 21st.

In terms of more that can be done, obviously engagement and inclusiveness over the long term is certainly something that we’re not only encouraging, we are working, of course, with the new government on taking steps to implement. But remember there is a lot happening on the ground. Right now, their priority, of course, is keeping the country unified and taking economic reform steps that are necessary, and we’re working with all of them on that as well.

QUESTION:

But you don’t fault them for not doing more on that front?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, there’s a long path forward, Margaret. And I think they have taken remarkable steps and been – in light of the circumstances. And again, it’s important about where we go from here as well, and we’ll be working with them, as will many members of the international community.

QUESTION:

Being talked into a second round here. But your answer to Margaret Warner on – so is it the Administration’s position that the February 21 deal is no longer valid? It’s no longer –

MS. PSAKI:

Well, I mean, Matt, I think – look, since then Yanukovych left the country, he didn’t put in place new legislation that was necessary for it. Obviously, since then, the acts of aggression from the Russians have proceeded rapidly. So there are a lot of events that have happened since then. I’m just referring to the reality of what’s happening on the ground.

QUESTION:

I understand that. But do those steps – is the Administration saying that those steps nullify the February 21 deal? I mean, I just – if you could just say in plain, straightforward plain English the United States does not or does believe that the February 21st deal constitutes a basis for a potential resolution, that would be helpful – I mean, not just to us, but I think to the Russians as well – to know where you’re coming down on this.

MS. PSAKI:

Well, look, I mean, Matt, I think the point here is that the events have transpired since then that have – and I think the Secretary even said this last week – that have meant we’ve had to deal with the circumstances as they exist on the ground. So any agreement can be a basis, but obviously, we’re dealing with aggression from the Russians, we’re dealing with steps that have been taken that were not in place on February 21st.

QUESTION:

Well, I understand that. So are you saying that the steps that have happened – what has happened post-February 21st means that that February 21st agreement is no longer an option?

MS. PSAKI:

I’m not saying it’s not an option. Obviously, any agreement can be a basis for moving forward. But the point is that the circumstances have changed dramatically since then, so we can’t just pick up that agreement –

QUESTION:

Right, okay. So – but with modifications, then, it could be – you’re saying as a basis it could be – it is doable or it’s workable?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, sure. Pieces – but well, look, I have – I’ve got to talk to our team about this again. I just don’t want to speak out of turn. I mean, that was an agreement that was agreed to when Yanukovych was still in the country. He is no longer in the country, right? He has abdicated his power. There is a new government in place. So I think circumstances have actually surpassed what was in that agreement, but I will have to talk to them more specifically about whether there is a basis that can be used moving forward.

QUESTION:

Last question: So when the Boston bombing took place in U.S. last year, you described it as coward act of terrorism. And then there was this attack in Russia last year, you also condemned it as terrorist attack. So this time, when it comes to China, 29 innocent people died. Why, at the first time, the first day, you didn’t – the statement of U.S. Embassy in China, they didn’t describe this as a terror attack?

MS. PSAKI:

I don’t have anything to outline for you there other than to convey to you that, of course, we look at every situation separately, and depending on information available. And again, I think I’ve been pretty clear that based on the information available, this appears to be an act of terrorism targeting random members of the public.

QUESTION:

Hi. Thanks for doing the call. I just was wondering if you could speak a little bit to, like, the role of the EU here. They called an emergency meeting for Thursday – which doesn’t sound very emergency to me – but they called an emergency meeting for Thursday for the heads of state and government of the EU member states. And they’ve been so far, I would say, pretty cautious in their public statements about, like, how they would provide consequences for Russia for this. I’m just wondering if you can speak a little bit to what you guys are hoping the EU will do here and whether there’s any updates you can provide as to what they are planning.

MS. PSAKI:

Well, obviously the EU will announce what the EU may or may not do, but, I mean, I would point you to the coordinated, strong statements coming from everyone from the G7 to NATO, to comments made over the weekend by individual leaders, whether that’s the French or Foreign Secretary Hague condemning the actions that have taken place in Ukraine and calling for international efforts and coordinated efforts, whether that’s economic assistance to Ukraine that’s needed or steps to hold the Russians accountable.

So I think that speaks to how committed European countries are. We work in lockstep with them. EU High Representative Ashton has been on the ground numerous times in Ukraine over the past couple of months, and we work closely with them as we look to take steps, whether that’s sanctions, whether that’s economic assistance, whether that’s efforts to support the IMF, or whether that’s efforts to hold others accountable. So they’ve been an important and vital partner, and we expect that to continue.

And remember, regardless of when meetings are called, there are meetings virtually every day, if not multiple meetings, about the situation on the ground in Ukraine. If you look at just this past weekend, you saw (inaudible) all the calls that President Obama made on Saturday. Secretary Kerry held a meeting – or held a conference call, I should say, with a number of his counterparts from Europe. And there are meetings that will be ongoing. So I would point you to the day-by-day, and not look for just one that’s been announced or identified for a couple of days from now, because in all likelihood, all of those officials will be speaking in advance of Thursday anyway.

QUESTION:

Yeah, thank you very much for doing this. First of all, is there any time scale on the sanctions that you’re preparing? What sort of time scale are you looking at? Is – sanctions tend to take and economic pressure tends to take time. Military action happens very quickly. Is there any sign the Russians are taking notice?

And also, and I’m sure you might have seen this, but there’s a report from Britain that the UK Government has ruled out trade sanctions. Are you worried that some EU nations aren’t worried about their economic relationship with Russia and may not go as far as you would like?

MS. PSAKI:

Sure. Well, obviously, the situation, as you know, Mark, is incredibly fluid, and we remain in very close contact with our counterparts around the world on various steps we’re considering, what they’re considering, and to make sure that we’re coordinated throughout this process.

I would say that the steps that we are taking are having an impact, even just the impact of the political steps we’re taking, including the announcement by the G7 about not participating in preparations for the G8 in Sochi, including messages that have been sent about how opposed the international community is to the actions of the Russians. If you look at just factually the sharp decline of the value of the Russian ruble, if you look at the Russian stock market today, those are just two examples.

Obviously, in terms of specific steps on sanctions – sorry, that’s a tongue twister – steps on sanctions, I don’t have any timeframe for you, but I would just say that we’re looking at a broad range of options. Whether that’s individuals, whether that’s institutions, whether that’s officials, those are all under consideration. But there’s a dual impact of the economic sanctions as well as the political steps we’re taking, and we’re already seeing that have an impact on the ground.

QUESTION:

Any sense of disappointment or worry that the EU may not come on board?

MS. PSAKI:

Look, I think, again, we’re in – working in lockstep with our European counterparts. We’ve been working with them in lockstep for months on this, long before the events of the last week. We will keep them informed of what we’re considering; they keep us informed of what they’re considering. We’re obviously working closely on efforts such as economic assistance to complement the IMF. And in this case, I’m not indicating an announcement coming today. I’m indicating that this is a step that we’re very prepared to move forward on. But of course, we’ll be briefing our counterparts and allies on that as well.

QUESTION:

Hi. I have just two questions, one on Ukraine. What – my colleagues staying in Brussels are saying the Russians are moving ahead with actions. They have put – as an earlier question from Reuters, they have given deadlines. They are on the ground, the boots on the ground, while the West and the U.S. is just words and words and words. And so do you think that we are ready to do something more than just words?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, I would refute the notion of that question. I mean, as I said earlier, certainly reports, which I think you’re referring to, of threats of force against Ukrainian military installations would, if true, constitute a dangerous escalation of the situation for which we would hold Russia directly responsible. No one wants to see a military intervention be the step here. That’s why we’re using all of our economic, diplomatic, and political levers to put the necessary pressure on. And we’re already seeing an impact on the ground, whether that is the crashing of the ruble, the impact on the stock market, or even just reputationally after Russia invested so much in building their reputation through the course of the Olympics. You see the international community unified in coming out against them. So we’re seeing all those efforts take place.

We’re evaluating this day by day. I just talked a little bit about additional steps that we are considering, but I would refute the notion that we are talk, talk, talk. We are very much walk, walk, walk, and we will continue to evaluate this day by day.

QUESTION:

And on – this is on Ukraine. Are you seeing any evidence of Russian mobilization or intentions to go beyond the Crimean peninsula into the eastern parts?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, again, obviously, we’re watching and monitoring this closely, as I mentioned earlier. I’m not going to give a play by play of what we’re seeing on the ground. Clearly, any escalation of the situation – rhetoric, but certainly, more importantly, movements – would be of great concern. We’d hold Russia directly responsible, and we are watching that very closely on the ground. But I’m not going to give a play by play on military steps and what we’re seeing, obviously (inaudible) for our own sources as well.

QUESTION:

Just quickly, what are – are there any U.S. or NATO obligations to Ukraine or treaty obligations under the Partnership for Peace?

MS. PSAKI:

Well, under – I’d have to check on that specifically for you, Margaret. I mean, there are obviously a range of treaties and memorandums. I mean, even with the Budapest Memorandum, the signatories, as you know, reaffirmed their commitment to respect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine. That also means an obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity. But I’d have to check with our team on the specifics of the range of treaty obligations we have, and we can get that around to you, of course.

QUESTION:

That would be great. Thanks.

MS. PSAKI:

Great. Well, thanks, everyone. I’ll be here all day, so let me know, and we’ll get around some follow-ups to those of you who have those as well.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:45 p.m.)
=========================================

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/03/222806.htm

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

Now wouldn’t that just be something?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:58 AM

There’s a bunch of us, that’s for sure. Did williamg indicate he’s here in Florida as well?

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:41 AM

Nuke plants as in energy plants? In S.C.? How did that happen?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:44 AM

BOOM!! – AP1000!!…..okay, perhaps the “BOOM” was inappropriate, there….

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:01 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:18 AM
You’re a real badass, frankie. and a war hero to boot.
Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:19 AM

I’m no hero. But I did serve. When duty called, what Sayeth you?

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:01 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

I don’t know, I really have a hard time keeping people straight, let alone where they live. I bet Bmore would come down. And I wonder if we might get Southern Gent to visit?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:02 AM

Duke (which devoured Progress Energy) are looking at the Levy Site in Florida for 2 plants and the William States Lee Site for 2 plants………they’re still fuddling around…..PSC has been an issue…..

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM

The Levy County plant has been cancelled. After I’ve been paying an $8 fee for construction of the damn thing every month for the past 10 years.

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:02 AM

I’m no hero. But I did serve. When duty called, what Sayeth you?

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:01 AM

Wouldn’t know it from the way you run your mouth. But then, Markos Moulitsas ‘served’ too.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:03 AM

There’s a bunch of us, that’s for sure. Did williamg indicate he’s here in Florida as well?

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

…..WISH I was in Florida!………I have had Winter Snow Blizzards Up To HERE!

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:04 AM

I don’t know, I really have a hard time keeping people straight, let alone where they live. I bet Bmore would come down. And I wonder if we might get Southern Gent to visit?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:02 AM

I don’t even know where B.More lives. He won’t tell me. And SG ain’t that far away, either.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM

I think Dire would staunchly stick up for Rubio. I’m willing to give Rubio a chance still but other than Dire I don’t think I’m in good company with others who like him.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:53 AM

I agree with you..It hasn’t gotten past AnninCa crazy posts and I didn’t know you could get past that..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

I don’t think Bmore’s general location is a secret. Although I met him in Virginia, he’s right next door to us here in Florida.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM

To no one in particular. First, don’t take anything I say as hall monitoring. I’m nothing to look to as any example of how to act on Hot Air and I’m certainly no authority. If you read still at all, just consider it observations and nothing else.

As to all the side bars, I will just say that QOTD is generally accepted to be no format and free-wheeling as Cindy has said. The folks that do try to format or regulate the comments in this particular forum on Hot Air are just going to disappoint and frustrate themselves. I think the other side of the coin is any group of folks who are so entrenched in the forum that think they can bully other folks from commenting here are as wrong. I have a young friend I know in real life and whom I still email with who at one time asked what he did to get a reputation as and then be treated like a troll. I haven’t seen him comment in a while. I don’t ask him about it anymore.

On the other other side of the coin, if you just come here to poke regulars in the eye who are respectful regular members of this group, you’ll find very little sympathy in that regard as well. You can’t make people exchange with you. There are folks on Hot Air for whatever I might have said to them, will never answer even a direct question I might ask. They just don’t and it’s only a big deal if I can’t accept that group dynamics are like that. I didn’t think I’d ever be a point where I’d treat someone in kind but there are folks I just will not address for one reason or the other myself. So, I try, but I’m no better.

If you want to look to people who have always treated both Conservatives and Liberals reasonably and exchanged even with trolls with grace, look to folks like Dire Straits and Cindy Munford. There are many many more that do, but these guys are just very rarely if ever out of their element as decent folks.

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM

While I was doin Sate Breifing:

Putin orders a Reset,..er,..Military ReCall:
=============================================

Russia
49m
Russian troops on military exercises on Ukraine’s borders ordered to return to their bases by President Putin, spokesman says – @BBCBreaking
see original on twitter.com
===========================

Interfax: Putin ends army drills in western Russia
Mar. 4, 2014 1:43 AM EST
************************

MOSCOW (AP) — The Interfax news agency says Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops participating in military exercises in western Russia near the Ukraine border to return to their permanent bases.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax early Tuesday that Putin had ordered the troops to return to their usual stations. Putin issued the order almost a week after Russia began massive exercises involving most military units in western Russia, stoking fears that the Kremlin might use the troops to seize territory in pro-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine.

Russian troops said to be 16,000 strong tightened their stranglehold on Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula over the weekend, openly defying calls by the U.S. and European Union to withdraw from the region.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/interfax-putin-ends-army-drills-western-russia

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM

…..WISH I was in Florida!………I have had Winter Snow Blizzards Up To HERE!

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:04 AM

You mentioned Progress. I’m on Progress. Definitely bothers me knowing that part of my power bill goes to fund the ‘rats. But I don’t have a choice.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM

Each step to the present Ukrainian predicament was in and of itself hardly earth-shattering and was sort of framed by Obama’s open-mic assurance to Medvedev to tell Vladimir that he would more flexible after the election.
Indeed, Obama, as is his wont, always had mellifluous and sophistic arguments for why we had to take every soldier out of Iraq after the successful surge; why we needed to drop missile defense with the Poles and Czechs; why we needed both a surge and simultaneous deadline to end the surge in Afghanistan; why we first issued serial deadlines to Iran to ask them to please stop proliferation, then just quit the sanctions altogether just as they started to work; why we needed to “lead from behind” in Libya; why the Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular and legitimate and then later not so much so; why we issued redlines and bragged about Putin’s “help” to eliminate WMD in Syria, and were going to bomb and then not bomb and then maybe bomb; why we kept pressuring Israel; why we cozied up to an increasingly dictatorial Turkey; why we reached out to Cuba and Venezuela; and why we sometimes embarrassed old allies like Britain, Canada, and Israel.
Schadenfreude on March 4, 2014 at 1:

Putin’s a game changer. A real man cut out of the cloth of real men. So foreign to our pols he may as well be an alien.

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

live Ukraine web cams…
I don’t see Russian choppers or jets yet..

http://sd.ua/webcam

going2mars on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:55 AM

We all can lose our cool..Just have to try to step back and use the “ignore” button..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

I don’t think Bmore’s general location is a secret. Although I met him in Virginia, he’s right next door to us here in Florida.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM

Then B.More could come as well

I agree with you..It hasn’t gotten past AnninCa crazy posts and I didn’t know you could get past that..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM

I gave up on that. Same thing with Lourdes. Annin could make a thread completely unreadable. Lourdes isn’t that bad. But I just scroll through until it ends.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

(I’d have to add williamg to the “always” nice guy list too.)

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:10 AM

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

Oooh, you’re gunna be in trooooooouble for the long copy and paste post when you know who gets here in a few hours. :-)

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:10 AM

(I’d have to add williamg to the “always” nice guy list too.)

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:10 AM

He punched me in the man-uterus once.

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 2:12 AM

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM

Thanks..But Cindy is one of the best..We have a lot of great engaging posters on HA of which you are definitely one..Glad to see you back posting more..:):)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:10 AM

I was thinking the same thing. Link is your friend in that situation. Sternly worded email to follow.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

********** Warning Shots Fired ?? ****************************

Ukrainian political crisis
4m
Photo: Russian and Ukrainian forces standoff at Belbek air base in the Crimea region of Ukraine – @AnshelPfeffer
see original on twitter.com

https://twitter.com/AnshelPfeffer/status/440740928463327232/photo/1/large
=========================================================================

Ukrainian political crisis
7m
Russian forces at Belbek air base fire warning shots in the air as Ukrainians march on checkpoint – @shustry
end of alert

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:15 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

I don’t know if I would classify him as a real man, but I agree that he is alien to our current crop of pols.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:25 AM
Cindy, don’t engage this idiot. The first thing Mr Anti-Misogynist did early one morning several weeks ago when he first showed up was attack Antwerp. Called her a terrible mother and everything but a child of God.
And let’s try and remember that people can represent themselves as anything they want from behind a computer keyboard. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into what he claims.
Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 1:28 AM

Step 2.

How far can we be from step 8- threatening to reveal home address?

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

He punched me in the man-uterus once.

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Geez! Really?

Murph, I don’t know what to do now. We can edit or delete incorrect comments we’ve made. (williamg, is this true?)

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

We all can lose our cool..Just have to try to step back and use the “ignore” button..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

Agree with that. But I can’t remember the troll that really got to me. Like the hagfish. If you notice, I speak of her in the third person, never answer her and I never read her comments. But she adds absolutely nothing. Quite the contrary.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

can’t edit …

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

..Glad to see you back posting more..:):)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

Roger that!!!!

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:17 AM

I agree with you..It has gotten past AnninCa crazy posts and I didn’t know you could get past that..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:06 AM
I gave up on that. Same thing with Lourdes. Annin could make a thread completely unreadable. Lourdes isn’t that bad. But I just scroll through until it ends.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:09 AM

Sorry..Fixed..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:17 AM

Step 2.

How far can we be from step 8- threatening to reveal home address?

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

But….! You’re a war hero! You fought for your country!!!

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:18 AM

(I’d have to add williamg to the “always” nice guy list too.)

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:10 AM

…..well – Bless Your Heart!! Thank You!

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:18 AM

Tweets

Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 10m

Face off between Ukraine base commander Col. Yuli Manchur and Russian officer at occupied Belbek airbase pic.twitter.com/6N10wuezef

https://twitter.com/shustry/status/440744877916438528/photo/1/large
====================================================================

Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 12m

Russians back down, allow 10 Ukraine soldiers to take up positions at occupied base, but still awaiting orders from Moscow
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Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 20m

Russians call commander to negotiate. Troops have RPGs and machine guns trained on the column of unarmed Ukrainian soldiers. Belbek, Crimea
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Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 26m

Ukraine column has reached Russian checkpoint. Russians begin firing in the air. Ukrainians keep marching
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Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 39m

@AndronOcean @RedcliffeScott brotherhood
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Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 51m

The column of troops, carrying the Ukraine and Soviet (!) flags, about to march on the Russian occupied airstrip. pic.twitter.com/prR9rfP7Fp

https://twitter.com/shustry/status/440734434686689280/photo/1/large
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Simon Shuster ‏@shustry 56m

Incredible. Half the Ukraine troops from Belbek base now marching to airstrip occupied by Russians. Unarmed. To take it back.

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:19 AM

You mentioned Progress. I’m on Progress. Definitely bothers me knowing that part of my power bill goes to fund the ‘rats. But I don’t have a choice.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:07 AM

I live one county away from where they were going to build the new plant in Levy. There were already folks living here waiting for construction to begin. When they suddenly decided to cancel the plant several businesses had to close up shop because of the lost revenue when the workers beat a hasty retreat.

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:20 AM

He punched me in the man-uterus once.

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Hey! That’s not true!……You were Waving that Tasty Bootleg around in the air, and I finally couldn’t control myself – so I tried to Grab It!……..I’m a Sucker for Bootlegs….you Know That!

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:20 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 1:32 AM
Would you like to expand on that? I thought you were all about protecting people, especially women.
Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 1:35 AM

That I am, kind lady. That I am.

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:21 AM

You know, frankie, you should be more like our other military men, here. Like Hawkdriver. He’s never felt the need to post a resume. If we have a question for him about his service, he answers. I give whatever you say all the credence it deserves – none. Excepting the fact I’m speaking to you now.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:22 AM

I was thinking the same thing. Link is your friend in that situation. Sternly worded email to follow.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

Actually I was thinking of the fish. It always give canopfor a scolding for long copy and paste posts.

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

Geez! Really?

Murph, I don’t know what to do now. We can edit or delete incorrect comments we’ve made. (williamg, is this true?)

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

lol!

Hey! That’s not true!……You were Waving that Tasty Bootleg around in the air, and I finally couldn’t control myself – so I tried to Grab It!……..I’m a Sucker for Bootlegs….you Know That!

williamg on March 4, 2014 at 2:20 AM

and…lol!

Murphy9 on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

When they suddenly decided to cancel the plant several businesses had to close up shop because of the lost revenue when the workers beat a hasty retreat.

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:20 AM

That was probably the ‘rat party defaulting on that loan they got from them for the convention in North Carolina.

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:16 AM

You compared me to Wendy Davis. You DID attack me.
My son-you know the one I supposedly ‘abandoned’-was thisclose to logging in and calling you out on it!

annoyinglittletwerp on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:18 AM

Please don’t give out his home address. Do you know his home address?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:24 AM

Flora Duh on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

I could be mistaken but I believe management gets huffy about it also. Fair usage and such.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:25 AM

Please don’t give out his home address. Do you know his home address?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:24 AM

I would never give out anyone’s personal information, Cindy. Even if I had it. After the libtard4life fiasco, I wouldn’t even think about posting someone’s public info.

You compared me to Wendy Davis. You DID attack me.
My son-you know the one I supposedly ‘abandoned’-was thisclose to logging in and calling you out on it!

annoyinglittletwerp on March 4, 2014 at 2:23 AM

Impossible, you! He’s a champion of female virtue! Know how I know? He said so!

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:27 AM

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:14 AM

You guys are still different. And it’s tough to throw out a comment like that to just a couple people when there are so many great Conservative commenters here. But I set you apart from me and other troll engagers like me in this one regard. You comments never read like you’re attacking and being mean-spirited. You get your points in and you’re civil. I honestly try to not sound like Señor Richard Noggin but look back on comments sometimes and think, wow, that was over the top and how many times do I tell that to other folks.

I’ll put it this way. I’m 55 and will probably not change the way I comment as hard as I try. There are other folks, some here, that are more like me and I admit I enjoy lurking sometimes and watching them completely destroy a troll. I admit it, I just do.

You guys are the balance and I hope you don’t ever change either.

hawkdriver on March 4, 2014 at 2:28 AM

I think Dire would staunchly stick up for Rubio. I’m willing to give Rubio a chance still but other than Dire I don’t think I’m in good company with others who like him.

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:05 AM

I have tried to stick up for him..I think he made a mistake and I don’t want to see him run out of town on a rail for a mistake..I honestly think he has big potential for the future..He can sell the GOP message..imho..:)

Dire Straits on March 4, 2014 at 2:28 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:27 AM

You know I was kidding. Is twerp the “special little snowflake”?

Cindy Munford on March 4, 2014 at 2:29 AM

Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:27 AM

So much for my lurking.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 4, 2014 at 2:29 AM

I’m no hero. But I did serve. When duty called, what Sayeth you?
frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:01 AM
Wouldn’t know it from the way you run your mouth. But then, Markos Moulitsas ‘served’ too.
Lanceman on March 4, 2014 at 2:03 AM

What Sayeth you?

frank on March 4, 2014 at 2:29 AM

Ukrainian political crisis
6m
Russian and Ukrainian forces agree to compromise at Belbek air base, contingent of Ukrainians will be allowed to maintain aircraft – @AnshelPfeffer
===============

Tweets

Anshel Pfeffer ‏@AnshelPfeffer 9m

Standoff not over yet @ #Belbek #Russia & #Ukraine facing each other, not moving Dozens of guns trained on Ukrainians pic.twitter.com/7fqJ01mwOs

https://twitter.com/AnshelPfeffer/status/440747805725163520/photo/1/large
=========================================================================

Anshel Pfeffer ‏@AnshelPfeffer 15m

Compromise reached – 10 #Ukraine soldiers will be allowed to maintain the aircraft #Belbek
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Anshel Pfeffer ‏@AnshelPfeffer 21m

Correction -Colonel Yuli Mamchur
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Anshel Pfeffer ‏@AnshelPfeffer 34m

Colonel Mamchuk talks with Russian officers, demanding to be allowed access to the planes pic.twitter.com/ul7mT3hspe

https://twitter.com/AnshelPfeffer/status/440741508510396416/photo/1/large

canopfor on March 4, 2014 at 2:30 AM

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