Western nations begin cutting economic ties with Russia over Ukraine

posted at 8:01 am on March 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The US and EU did some saber-rattling yesterday over the Russian invasion of Crimea, but few took seriously the notion that either would go to war over Ukraine. John Kerry warned that “all options are on the table” yesterday before flying to Kyiv, but the US has no strategic or military interest in Ukraine, let alone the Crimean peninsula, and Europe wouldn’t have the logistical infrastructure to fight the Russian Army on the Dnieper River.

On the other hand, the West can wage economic and diplomatic war — and that started yesterday, as the G8 cancelled a meeting that was to take place in Sochi, with Vladimir Putin as host. The US and EU threatened to kick Russia out of the G-8 altogether, and started cancelling a slew of other economic engagements as well:

The Obama administration on Sunday worked to isolate Russia on the world stage even as its president, Vladimir Putin, showed no signs of rolling back his military intervention in Ukraine.

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President Obama spoke by phone with leaders from Great Britain, Germany and Poland, and he dispatched Secretary of State to Kiev on Tuesday for a show of solidarity with the new Ukrainian government.

After suspending preparations for an upcoming Group of 8 summit in Sochi, the administration began canceling lower-level diplomatic and economic meetings with Russian counterparts. And senior administration officials warned that Russia could be booted from the G8 altogether and that its economy would suffer because of Putin’s decision to occupy the Crimean peninsula following the ouster last week of Ukraine’s pro-Russia president, Viktor Yakunovych.

The strategy, described in a briefing senior administration officials on the condition of anonymity, was aimed at demonstrating to Putin that his intervention in Crimea would not go unpunished while also offering him “an offramp” if he chose to reverse course.

“It is Russia’s choice to behave in this manner,” one senior administration said, or whether it wants to return “to the community of civilized nations.”

If that didn’t get Putin’s attention, it got the attention of investors in Russian markets. The ruble plummeted to “historic lows” against the dollar and euro today and the MICEX fell more than 10% as Moscow investors panicked:

 Russian stock markets Monday crashed almost 10 percent and the ruble plunged to historic lows in value against the dollar and euro, as alarm grew over the potentially disastrous economic consequences of military intervention in Ukraine.

Russia’s central bank hiked its main interest rate in an emergency move to stem capital flight and the losses for the ruble, amid what risks becoming at least Russia’s worst economic crisis since 2009. …

Military intervention will drain further resources from a Russian budget already stretched by costs like the Sochi Olympics, alarm already nervous investors, limit Russia’s economic ties with the West and force Russian companies into huge write-offs in Ukraine.

“Sochi was already expensive. Military adventures and strained relations with the West can be much more expensive than that,” said economist Holger Schmieding at Berenberg Bank in London.

“Russia cannot afford that in the long run,” he added.

Can the West, though? Bloomberg’s editors point out that an economic war won’t be cost-free for the West either — but it may be the only option left:

In 2011 alone, Russians spent $12 billion buying properties outside Russia. The lawmaker who in 2012 introduced a bill in the Russian parliament to outlaw officials from holding foreign assets estimated that they were keeping $100 billion abroad. Putin’s purpose in pushing this bill was precisely to reduce a point of leverage that might one day be used against him. Western leaders should not hesitate to use it now.

By the same token, both the U.S. and the EU could do a great deal more to investigate illicit financial transactions by Russian banks and in bank accounts from Cyprus to the City of London to the Caribbean. The threat of such inspections and what they would reveal about Russia’s kleptocracy, as well as eventual asset freezes, would also help concentrate minds in Moscow. Juan Zarate, a former assistant secretary to the U.S. Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes, has described how this could be done to pressure Russia over its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A threatened takeover in Ukraine is further powerful reason to act.

There is no doubt that even talking about such actions would further sour the relationship between Russia and the West. Putin could end Russia’s cooperation in Afghanistan, complicating the military withdrawal there, and undermine international efforts to deal with Iran and Syria. There would be costs in lost business for banks in London, Germany and elsewhere, and Putin surely would retaliate against Western companies operating in Russia. Yet if troops march into Ukraine, all this and more will happen anyhow.

The interests of the EU and the U.S. aren’t just democratic values and the desire to avoid war. There is also the need to end Putin’s assumption that he can trump international law and the treaties he has signed — the idea that Russia can invade without penalty any country it perceives to be mistreating expatriate Russians, and change its borders. If Putin is willing to launch a war to seize Ukrainian territory, he may also be prepared to move on other ex-Soviet states with large ethnic Russian populations, including Estonia and Latvia. Europe and the U.S. should be willing to bear costs in order to draw the line.

Given the relationship with Hamid Karzai, our withdrawal from Afghanistan is practically already a fait accompli anyway … but that’s another post for today. Since the West isn’t interested in going to war to save Ukraine, we will have to force Russia to deal with these consequences regardless of the costs involved to the West.


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Would this be a good time to install the missile defense in Poland?

birdwatcher on March 3, 2014 at 8:11 AM

f I’m ever a victim of armed robbery, I will cut off all economic ties with said thief.

mjbrooks3 on March 3, 2014 at 8:11 AM

and he dispatched Secretary of State to Kiev on Tuesday for a show of solidarity with the new Ukrainian government.

At which point the new government promptly called Putin and told him the entire nation of Ukraine was his.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:11 AM

But yeah, wow, think if there were a nation somewhere in the world which had massive natural gas deposits to exploit that would sink Russia’s main export business.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Meh
-putin

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 8:15 AM

“It is Russia’s choice to behave in this manner,” one senior administration said, or whether it wants to return “to the community of civilized nations.”

Hey! The 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back. /

NATO and the EU needs to see strong US leadership and instead we have a guy who conspired with the Vietnamese and a rat-eared idiot who is as incompetent as he is lazy and stupid. Crimea might as well get used to being part of Mother Russia again.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Western nations begin cutting economic ties with Russia over Ukraine

…until they need Russian oil and gas…then they’ll forget what all the cutting was about!

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2014 at 8:18 AM

No one is serious unless they cut off buying Russian Gas and Oil. this is all bluster and political theater so they appear to be doing something to the big bad bear. Until that happens, Russia is not going to back off. 90% of their foreign revenue comes from Gas and oil and Europe isn’t going to cut their own energy throats over this.

Johnnyreb on March 3, 2014 at 8:22 AM

When do the Russian Hackers chime in?

reddevil on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

But yeah, wow, think if there were a nation somewhere in the world which had massive natural gas deposits to exploit that would sink Russia’s main export business.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Hot Air Public service announcement:

To those who read Hot Air but are not yet members and empowered to comment here, disregard the rantings from this madman. There is no natural gas available from any other country in the world that people can safely remove from their deposits without completely reversing the polarity of Earth’s magnetic fields which would send us hurling into the sun. There just isn’t.

Conservative Extremists such as Mr. Bishop are only concerned with reboring their assault weapons to greater caliber’s, engineering their magazines to hold an ever increasing volume of deadly death bullets and killing baby seals to line their winter jackets.

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Putin: “Obama, go happy hour and pound sand, okay? Loser.”

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Russia was already bypassing the weak EU/NATO economic pressure by making their own deals with Iran, China, and South American countries. Lucky for the EU winter is almost over… will they let their citizens freeze if Russia turns off the gas pipelines? Puny strategy at best!

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 8:29 AM

EU not seen matching US threat of sanctions against Russia

The European Union is unlikely to match the United States in threatening sanctions against Russia when its foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine on Monday (3 March), instead pushing for mediation between Moscow and Kiev, officials say.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Too little too late. Once the Russians felt they could invade the Ukraine this was over.

For years, we’ve heard Mr. Obama and Mrs Clinton’s foolish ruminations on Russia- even as they marched with armies and intervened in former Soviet satellites like Georgia. They’ve failed to adjust based on responses and have only encouraged Putin to take bolder, more autocratic steps. Their naive worldview and lack of a wise, consistent and firm foreign policy has caused this.

Failing to learn from past events and suggesting that President Reagan winning the Cold War was some type of “cowboy adventurism” just shows how bereft of wisdom and common sense this administration has been.

The lesson that is also being overlooked is this: don’t give up either your nuclear weapons or aspirations for any type of “guarantee” from Western powers. They will dawdle and speak strong, empty words as your foes sweep across your nation and subject you to autocratic rule.

America has lost all global credibility under Mr. Obama and this is just one more sign on the road to ruin.

Marcus Traianus on March 3, 2014 at 8:30 AM

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

———-

Generated my first grin of the day. Thanks.

29Victor on March 3, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Conservative Extremists such as Mr. Bishop are only concerned with reboring their assault weapons to greater caliber’s, engineering their magazines to hold an ever increasing volume of deadly death bullets and killing baby seals to line their winter jackets.

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

heh I just had a flashback of dennis leary song “I’m an ahole” where he talks about baby seal wheel covers.

dmacleo on March 3, 2014 at 8:31 AM

“It is Russia’s choice to behave in this manner,” one senior administration said, or whether it wants to return “to the community of civilized nations.”

My how we’ve fallen from the days of Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. The above statement is more akin to a scolding parent making the empty threat of pulling the car over. Whoever this unnamed official is, they seem to think that the rat-eared bastard is the one that is driving. That simply isn’t the case and the world knows it.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Putin: “Obama, go happy hour and pound sand, okay? Loser.”

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Yeah, except with all the snow and ice here in DC today, the rat-eared wonder may have to declare happy hour via that phone of his.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Economic sanctions never work with thugs and dictators because they are not personally harmed by it… Thugs and dictators fear one thing and one thing only, Force…

mnjg on March 3, 2014 at 8:35 AM

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Aha, I thought there was something strange about that fellow! :)

OldEnglish on March 3, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Only fools use baby seal fur to line their jackets. I use Ermine while the baby seals are thrown live to the dogs for my amusement.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Pics, or it didn’t happen. :)

OldEnglish on March 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

No one is serious unless they cut off buying Russian Gas and Oil. this is all bluster and political theater so they appear to be doing something to the big bad bear. Until that happens, Russia is not going to back off. 90% of their foreign revenue comes from Gas and oil and Europe isn’t going to cut their own energy throats over this.

Johnnyreb on March 3, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Yep!

This is all BullSh*t.

Putin is protecting his Southstream Pipeline and he has the advantage since the EU abandoned the Nabucco Pipeline in 2013

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/Nabucco_Gas_Pipeline-en.svg/1100px-Nabucco_Gas_Pipeline-en.svg.png

Meanwhile China has been funding the Siberian Project…so Russia can get it’s oil and gas to China.
First stages of the Pipeline was completed in 2010.

Map link:

http://ytilaerniereh.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/2010-03_china2-map.jpg

http://ytilaerniereh.com/2010/08/30/russia-opens-pipeline-sending-their-siberian-oil-to-china/

Putin has the EU over a barrel because…Coal and the Ukraine sits on the largest Coal deposits in Europe.

The Windmills and the Solar just hasn’t panned out…

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Yeah, except with all the snow and ice here in DC today, the rat-eared wonder may have to declare happy hour via that phone of his.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:34 AM

Dang! That’s going to play hell with his golf.

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

EU not seen matching US threat of sanctions against Russia

The European Union is unlikely to match the United States in threatening sanctions against Russia when its foreign ministers meet to discuss Ukraine on Monday (3 March), instead pushing for mediation between Moscow and Kiev, officials say.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Why would they with Buffoon in the Oval Office?

It’s not likely that his economic brain trust will allow the US to ramp up feeding,fueling,coaling and heating the EU now will it?

Because…that would upset the ecofascists or something…

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:41 AM

By the same token, both the U.S. and the EU could do a great deal more to investigate illicit financial transactions by Russian banks and in bank accounts from Cyprus to the City of London to the Caribbean. The threat of such inspections and what they would reveal about Russia’s kleptocracy, as well as eventual asset freezes, would also help concentrate minds in Moscow.

If too many oligarchs are threatened by Putin’s actions, Vlad will be seen less of a tsar and more of a Rasputin. A threat that needs to be dealt with.

rbj on March 3, 2014 at 8:43 AM

It seems this administration thinks it can “shame” the rest of the world into behaving as if as some overwhelming moral authority.

News Flash!

Your race card is null and void. Your gay card will not get your picture taken or your cake baked. In essence this whole administration thinks they have a Royal Straight Flush… but at best they have a couple of dunces.

I miss American… she died too young.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Map link of winter wheat in the Ukraine…Most of which is located…in the pro-russian side of East and Southeastern Ukraine.

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2009/05/ukr_20may2009/wheatarea_map.htm

So Wheat is playing into this as well.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:46 AM

Dang! That’s going to play hell with his golf.

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Not when you have a Boeing-757 at your disposal.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:50 AM

So Wheat is playing into this as well.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:46 AM

The US use to sell a large amount of wheat to Russia. I’m not sure if that is still true.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 8:50 AM

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM
Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Its a crappy situation, made even more egregious by our Smart Diplomacy TM crowd. Thanks for the smiles.

Gebirgsjager on March 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Dang! That’s going to play hell with his golf.

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Ha ha! No way! He has a pen and a phone… and more importantly a credit card with no limit! He will find a course with nice weather… or maybe he will have the Army Corpse Engineers build him one in more friendly nation.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

But yeah, wow, think if there were a nation somewhere in the world which had massive natural gas deposits to exploit that would sink Russia’s main export business.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

-
You are astute. And as a result of not exploiting our own natural resources, Putin will play his own energy card. A lot of Russian energy flows thru the Ukraine to the have not nations in the EU.

diogenes on March 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

but the US has no strategic or military interest in Ukraine, let alone the Crimean peninsula, and Europe wouldn’t have the logistical infrastructure to fight the Russian Army on the Dnieper River.

It would have been nice to foresee that radicals such as the Obama Administration would not help protect Ukrainian sovereignty before they gave up their nuclear weapons.

In that regard, the Budapest Memorandum will forever become a symbolic monument of American duplicity and weakness.

There is also a much more serious issue at hand. Any nation having or desiring nuclear weapons will see this as a sign they should not give them up or cease aspirations to build them. Watching the Russians march across a sovereign nation unrestrained by any threat should take care of that.

Marcus Traianus on March 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Commodities pricing link for the Ukraine:

http://www.apk-inform.com/en/prices

Ukraine ups grain exports 28% to Asian countries.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

So Wheat is playing into this as well.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:46 AM

The US use to sell a large amount of wheat to Russia. I’m not sure if that is still true.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 8:50 AM

We use to contribute our surplus grain to the International Food bank as well.

We’ve had drought issues.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that Corn is Food.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM

But yeah, wow, think if there were a nation somewhere in the world which had massive natural gas deposits to exploit that would sink Russia’s main export business.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

-
You are astute. And as a result of not exploiting our own natural resources, Putin will play his own energy card. A lot of Russian energy flows thru the Ukraine to the have not nations in the EU.

diogenes on March 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Putin is a clever bastard…No doubt about it.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:00 AM

One thing that hasn’t changed is that Corn is Food.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM

True, but we’re burning that in our cars! Makes sense to me./s

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:04 AM

..G8 cancelled a meeting that was to take place in Sochi.

Well, it’s a pretty minor point, but the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games do open on Friday – you know “Hot. Cool. Yours.”

climbnjump on March 3, 2014 at 9:06 AM

From The Guardian (Scroll down):

Russian wires reporting that PM Dmitry Medvedev issued an order to build a bridge across the Kerch straights linking Russia and Crimea.

Sounds like the Russians are there to stay.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:09 AM

The ruble plummeted to “historic lows” against the dollar and euro today and the MICEX fell more than 10% as Moscow investors panicked

MICEX down more than 13% now… freefall

Norwegian on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Jane Harmon blaming bush right now

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

The world has drawn a pink line, so there’s that.They waited until the Oscars for guidance.

docflash on March 3, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Obama and the EU are idiots if the think they have ANY economic power. Our credit cards are already overdrawn to the Bank of China. A sad state to be in, but China is the best hope for drawling down Russian expansion.

(tin foil hat on)

Imagine this:

Russia and China decide to work together and make a deal. Russia gets Europe and China gets the US when the war is over. Then the two remaining big boys on the block live with an uneasy truce… for as long as they can.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Global Crop Monitor Site:

http://www.geoglam-crop-monitor.org

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:15 AM

The ruble plummeted to “historic lows” against the dollar and euro today and the MICEX fell more than 10% as Moscow investors panicked

MICEX down more than 13% now… freefall

Norwegian on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Putin has Gas and Bread for his citizens…if some die till this plays out…well that’s the way it goes…The Russian way.

China takes roughly the same approach and Putin is guaranteeing Grain?

We’ll see what the EU does…but they aren’t in a strong position…and neither is the US.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

-
You are astute. And as a result of not exploiting our own natural resources, Putin will play his own energy card. A lot of Russian energy flows thru the Ukraine to the have not nations in the EU.

diogenes on March 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

He’s more than astute for a Conservative extremist.

Think of this also. Big Hollywood vocal opponents to tracking and Keystone XL.

Julie Louise Dreyfus.

Who know how her father made his billions?

Louis-Dreyfus earned his estimated net worth when he worked at the law firm of Dewey Ballantine and later, he joined the family conglomerate Louis-Dreyfus Group in 1965. The family business has interests in citrus, agricultural commodities, energy (crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas, petrochemicals and plastic resins), agricultural financial risk management, manufacturing, real estate, shipping, and telecommunications. He served as the chief executive officer of the group which he passed in 2006 to his nephew, Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Robert is also a high-profile businessman who worked for Adidas, pharmaceutical research firms, IMS, and ad giant Saatchi & Saatchi. Gerard still remains as the chairman of the group that he inherited from his great-grandfather.

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 9:21 AM

fracking … not tracking

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Jane Harmon blaming bush right now

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

For what, exactly? After five years in office you’re pretty much responsible for foreign policy. GWB left a free Ukraine, a missile defense program for Eastern Europe, and a strong military to back up foreign policy decisions (if necessary). This is all on Obama.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

For what, exactly? After five years in office you’re pretty much responsible for foreign policy. GWB left a free Ukraine, a missile defense program for Eastern Europe, and a strong military to back up foreign policy decisions (if necessary). This is all on Obama.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Because… Shut up racist!

/s

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 8:50 AM

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Yeah, another trip to Hawaii, that’s the ticket.

dogsoldier on March 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM

HN apparently bush was lax with Putin…I don’t get it

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Jane Harmon blaming bush right now

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

For what, exactly? After five years in office you’re pretty much responsible for foreign policy. GWB left a free Ukraine, a missile defense program for Eastern Europe, and a strong military to back up foreign policy decisions (if necessary). This is all on Obama.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

This administration isn’t responsible for anything because…Historical Preezy

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine

Russia has said China is largely “in agreement” over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country.

Both countries are on the UN Security Council. No action will be coming from the UN.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine

Russia has said China is largely “in agreement” over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country.

Both countries are on the UN Security Council. No action will be coming from the UN.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Yep!

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

HN apparently bush was lax with Putin…I don’t get it

cmsinaz on March 3, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Well, in all honesty Bush did say he saw Putin’s “soul” in his eyes or something in that respect. Meh, Bush was building consensus and didn’t want/need Russian interference.

Lucky for us Obama is a Jedi Master that will use smart power to assure our eventual victory over the evil Empire.

/s (just in case it’s needed)

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine

Russia has said China is largely “in agreement” over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country.

Both countries are on the UN Security Council. No action will be coming from the UN.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Maybe I didn’t need my tin foil hat after all?

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine

This gives China an opportunity to start some sh!t in the South China Sea. Yesterday North Korea fired “test” missiles toward South Korea. We use to have 30,000 troops in South Korea. I don’t know how many Obama has drawn down.

I guess this puts the lie to Hagel’s strategy of we don’t need to be able to fight two conventional wars at once.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

IMO the lack of conventional military capability makes a nuclear conflict more likely as we run out of options.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Not if Obama doesn’t intend to fight any wars, though.

OldEnglish on March 3, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Well, it seems Gloabl Warming snuck into the Crimea disguised as Russian soldiers. After all, according to John F-ing Kerry, THAT is the primary threat to peace.

PJ Emeritus on March 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

PJ Emeritus on March 3, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Well, Putin has got everyone all hot and bothered, so there’s that.

OldEnglish on March 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

hawkdriver on March 3, 2014 at 8:23 AM

I haven’t commented in a long time, but this one got me. Haha. Thanks for the laugh.

ORconservative on March 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

But yeah, wow, think if there were a nation somewhere in the world which had massive natural gas deposits to exploit that would sink Russia’s main export business.

Bishop on March 3, 2014 at 8:13 AM

There you go again, applying rational thought.

(Plus, a Snail Darter or Slime Mold or a Drum Circle or something could be absolutely devastated.)

Tsar of Earth on March 3, 2014 at 9:59 AM

This gives China an opportunity to start some sh!t in the South China Sea. Yesterday North Korea fired “test” missiles toward South Korea. We use to have 30,000 troops in South Korea. I don’t know how many Obama has drawn down.

I guess this puts the lie to Hagel’s strategy of we don’t need to be able to fight two conventional wars at once.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

I served in A troop, 4/7 Cav in Korea. I hope they aren’t going to be cannon fodder now.

Something that always concerned me while I was there. The strategy was they sent us forward and blew up everything behind us to block easy entrance for OP forces. We were suppose to slow them down until reinforcements arrived… never happened while I was there, but makes one think. With little boots in charge I assume we would have had a Bengazi ending. :-(

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Well, Putin has got everyone all hot and bothered, so there’s that.

OldEnglish on March 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

And nobody is madder than Obama.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Russia And China ‘In Agreement’ Over Ukraine

This gives China an opportunity to start some sh!t in the South China Sea. Yesterday North Korea fired “test” missiles toward South Korea. We use to have 30,000 troops in South Korea. I don’t know how many Obama has drawn down.

I guess this puts the lie to Hagel’s strategy of we don’t need to be able to fight two conventional wars at once.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 9:48 AM

China has already started it…those folks are squabbling over the Offshore Gas Fields (Most of which China is claiming and drilling….and their squabbling over Fish.

Map Links:

http://thehanoist.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/vietnam-offshore-blocks.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PrYeOnewM8k/UBsUGIBCZZI/AAAAAAAAFWY/j5pKsxbyBuE/s1600/5%2BChinese%2Boil%2Bfields.png

Territorial Claims in the south china sea…Map at the link.

“The United States is criticizing new Chinese provincial regulations that aim to restrict fishing by foreign vessels in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

Under the rules passed by China’s southernmost province of Hainan, all foreign fishing boats must seek permission before entering waters claimed by Beijing.

The law, which went into effect January 1, covers more than half the 3.5 million square kilometer South China Sea, including parts claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam…”

http://www.voanews.com/content/us-chinese-fishing-regulations-provocative-dangerous/1827142.html

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 10:01 AM

The security and safety of the American people have depended not one wit on the status of the Russian-speaking Crimea. Should the local population now choose fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev, what’s to matter! Worse still, how long can America survive the screeching sanctimony and mindless meddling of Susan Rice and Samantha Power? Barry, just send them back to geography class; don’t draw any new Red Lines. This one has been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of our damn business.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on March 3, 2014 at 10:03 AM

“Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying defended the move as unremarkable.

“China is a maritime nation, so it is totally normal and part of the routine for Chinese provinces bordering the sea to formulate regional rules according to the national law to regulate conservation, management and utilization of maritime biological resources,” said Hua.

Sam Bateman, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, tells VOA if Beijing were to follow through with the restrictions, there is a “good chance” of heightened tensions.

But he says it would be difficult for China to enforce the policy because of the massive effort needed to patrol the area.

Bateman said, “This is not just surface ships, but also air surveillance of the area, because normally maritime surveillance and fishery surveillance of that nature is primarily carried out by air and then you use surface vessels to respond to any suspicious sighting.”

Bateman, a retired rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, says the regulations go “beyond anything acceptable under the International Law of the Sea,” making China vulnerable to legal challenges.

“I think if China tried to start enforcing the regulation, and particularly if it arrested a vessel, it would run fairly quickly into a legal dispute, which frankly I don’t think China would have any chance at all of winning,” said Bateman….”

http://www.voanews.com/content/us-chinese-fishing-regulations-provocative-dangerous/1827142.html

Because the UN is so effective…or something…

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 10:04 AM

With little boots in charge I assume we would have had a Bengazi ending. :-(

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Unfortunately that may still happen. My son just returned from his second deployment. Obama’s rules-of-engagement are getting our people killed. Obama is a traitor and should be treat as one, IMHO.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:05 AM

The security and safety of the American people have depended not one wit on the status of the Russian-speaking Crimea. Should the local population now choose fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev, what’s to matter! Worse still, how long can America survive the screeching sanctimony and mindless meddling of Susan Rice and Samantha Power? Barry, just send them back to geography class; don’t draw any new Red Lines. This one has been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of our damn business.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on March 3, 2014 at 10:03 AM

The security and safety of the US won’t be effected until Russia and China finishing upgrading their navies.

They are busy building up…and we are busy downsizing.

Who ever has the seas controls the trade.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The Guardian:

The people of Crimea are to be asked in a referendum whether Crimea should move on to Moscow time, the Russian state news agency Itar Tass is reporting, citing Crimean parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov.

An independence referendum is scheduled for 30 March.

Crimea to get a new time zone and a new bridge across the Kerch Strait. Digging in to stay.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

The Guardian:

The people of Crimea are to be asked in a referendum whether Crimea should move on to Moscow time, the Russian state news agency Itar Tass is reporting, citing Crimean parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov.

An independence referendum is scheduled for 30 March.

Crimea to get a new time zone and a new bridge across the Kerch Strait. Digging in to stay.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Wait till everybody sees Putin’s new map of the Crimea.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Wait till everybody sees Putin’s new map of the Crimea.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 10:10 AM

I assume it will be somewhere just beyond Poland? Ah, a new Warsaw PAC?

Maybe I need to go buy new tin foil??? I hate when the real world screws with my utopia. Well, at least my EBT got replenished!

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Putin ‘Didn’t Create’ Crisis, ‘Had No Choice but to React’

Brzezinski and Albright said, for example, that the current government in Kiev is legitimate. Putin says it’s not legitimate. I would argue that if you had on your show a panel of constitutional international lawyers, they would be hard-put to explain how a government which a week ago overthrew the entire Ukrainian constitutional order, deposed the elected president and has been passing anti-Russian legislation in Kiev, and which is at least partially controlled by very extremist forces in the streets, is legitimate. That would be hard to explain.

Putin has his supporters at Princeton.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Guardian (Scroll down):

Interfax is quoting a Ukrainian defence ministry source as saying the Russian fleet has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 3am GMT to surrender or face “storm”.

This needs to be treated with caution given the only source is an unnamed official.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I wonder if the words “You idiot!” come up often at Obama’s foreign policy briefings?

No doubt Val Jar has everything under control though.

Hell, we don’t need Hill Dawg! We already have our first female pResident. I wonder if she tweerks?

Ok, I need eye bleach now…

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 10:32 AM

again… why do we care? Does anyone seriously believe Putin aims to restore the international socialist movement? Or is he rather a nationalist concerned with a quasi-fascist upheaval on his front door step that just led a coup d’etat against an elected (albeit corrupt) government?

theblackcommenter on March 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Or is he rather a nationalist concerned with a quasi-fascist upheaval on his front door step that just led a coup d’etat against an elected (albeit corrupt) government?

theblackcommenter on March 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM

I pick this one.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

No one is serious unless they cut off buying Russian Gas and Oil. this is all bluster and political theater so they appear to be doing something to the big bad bear. Until that happens, Russia is not going to back off. 90% of their foreign revenue comes from Gas and oil and Europe isn’t going to cut their own energy throats over this.

Johnnyreb on March 3, 2014 at 8:22 AM

Which is why WE need to be building LNG plants to export some of our abundant natural gas, and the Germans need to tell Die Grunen (the Greens) to go pound sand and re-develop their nuclear and coal-fired power plants. Already Great Britain is fracking for natural gas both under its own land and in the North Sea, and France has used mostly nuclear power plants for decades. It’s time for the US and EU to develop their own energy, so they don’t need Russia’s energy.

The United States, the EU, and NATO also have another trump card, if they can find the opportune time to play it. Turkey, a member of NATO, controls the straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. If we can persuade the Turks to prevent all Russian ships (including merchant ships) from leaving the Black Sea, Putin will be blocked into the Black Sea, and will have to go around Scandinavia to access the Atlantic. Food for thought…

Steve Z on March 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

If we can persuade the Turks to prevent all Russian ships (including merchant ships) from leaving the Black Sea, Putin will be blocked into the Black Sea, and will have to go around Scandinavia to access the Atlantic. Food for thought…

Steve Z on March 3, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Would Turkey really fire on a Russian ship? NATO could not save them from massive destruction.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM

NATO is an organisation that has outlived its usefulness and is basically just around to be the enforcer of Anglo-American foreign policy and to tweak Russia. There was a time when such an anti-Soviet alliance made since like, oh back when there was a Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Now what does NATO do other than antagonize and serve as an enforcement arm of neo-imperialism? We should look at these things from other than US perspective sometime. Since the end of Cold War, which hello? Russia lost — we have basically been encircling Russia for no good cause. A harsh peace, a ruined economy, leading to a revanchist, ultra-nationalistic political movement anxious to reclaim territory and its pride of place among the world nations. Where have we seen this script before?

theblackcommenter on March 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

NATO is an organisation that has outlived its usefulness…

theblackcommenter on March 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Yes and so has the muslim dominated UN.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Yes and so has the muslim dominated UN.

Kaffa on March 3, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I agree. If Islam were a religion I would probably feel different. They are not a religion in the modern day concept of religion. They are a death cult and should be treated as such.

Christian, Shinto, Jews, Pagan, and even Satanists do not fight wars over their religion anymore. (Feel free to add to that small list)

Give people info on your beliefs and let them decide what they wish to believe.

What’s the worse that can happen if you choose the wrong one? I guess going to hell… shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t believe in it.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Russia and China decide to work together and make a deal. Russia gets Europe and China gets the US when the war is over. Then the two remaining big boys on the block live with an uneasy truce… for as long as they can.

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Just finished reading an old sf novel by Frederick Pohl (c.1985) with something close to that premise! (Atomic war destroys US & USSR – the usual.)
“Black Star Rising” — not the best thing he’s ever written, by the way.

AesopFan on March 3, 2014 at 11:57 AM

With little boots in charge I assume we would have had a Bengazi ending. :-(

NiteOwl on March 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

ISWYDT.

AesopFan on March 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM

The ruble plummeted to “historic lows” against the dollar and euro today and the MICEX fell more than 10% as Moscow investors panicked

MICEX down more than 13% now… freefall

Norwegian on March 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Putin has Gas and Bread for his citizens…if some die till this plays out…well that’s the way it goes…The Russian Communist way.

workingclass artist on March 3, 2014 at 9:20 AM

FIFY.

Because, who needs capitalism, right? Or something…

Norwegian on March 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Heh, obama won’t send people to the Sochi paralimpics.

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Putin is made a very, very bad move by seizing Crimea. The western world is slowly coming to the realization that Putin needs to be punished by harsh economic policies. I don’t want war, but much can be done to isolate Russia and make it hurt financially. The Russian economy is terrible now, just wait until they can no longer trade with the outside world.

SC.Charlie on March 3, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Putin is made a very, very bad move by seizing Crimea. The western world is slowly coming to the realization that Putin needs to be punished by harsh economic policies. I don’t want war, but much can be done to isolate Russia and make it hurt financially. The Russian economy is terrible now, just wait until they can no longer trade with the outside world.
SC.Charlie on March 3, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I agree, but does the West have the leadership and cohesiveness to do it?

EssieLou on March 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Cool THRONE in the picture, dude! Of course now Obama is going to demand to have his own!

easyt65 on March 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

If I’m ever a victim of armed robbery, I will cut off all economic ties with said thief.

mjbrooks3 on March 3, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Does that mean you’re not going to pay income taxes anymore?

Christian Conservative on March 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Niteowl, in many ways, our Dear Leader reminds me of Caligula.

Tinker on March 3, 2014 at 8:05 PM

A local Twin Cities conservative/libertarian talk show host said something interesting. He thinks Putin isn’t trying to bring back the old Soviet Union. He wants to re-establish Tsarist Russia.

Any opinions about that … positive or negative?

wutzupdak on March 3, 2014 at 9:15 PM