Obama: The media’s misleading people by reporting this Russian invasion of Crimea as a clever strategic move

posted at 2:01 pm on March 4, 2014 by Allahpundit

Before we get to the substance of it, here’s a wider shot of the backdrop for today’s statement. Kneel before Zod, Vladimir.

Anyway. Is O right that the Crimea walkover is more a sign of Russian weakness than of strength? And is there any way to answer that question dispassionately knowing how self-serving his spin here is? There’s nothing more Hopenchangey than watching this guy try to frame western impotence in the face of Russian aggression as some sort of image problem that can be corrected by his pals in the media, especially knowing that his “red line” humiliation last year in Syria surely emboldened Putin internationally. Plus, I don’t quite follow his read on what Russian satellites are apt to do now that Moscow’s brought a boot down on Ukraine. If you’re a Russian border state that’s intrigued by closer ties to the EU, what does Moscow have to offer you except the threat of invasion (or, at a minimum, turning off the gas/oil tap) if you get too frisky with the west? Clamping down on Crimea is a quintessential “pour encourager les autres” move by Putin, and surely his best bet to keep those satellites in Russia’s orbit.

But then, that’s Obama’s point. Only a state with comparatively little to offer economically would feel obliged to roll into Crimea when there was no Ukrainian threat to the peninsula and certainly no Ukrainian threat to Russia’s base in Sevastopol. They can’t offer their satellite states a more attractive political model than the EU so they’re reduced to gratuitous muscle-flexing to keep them in line. Like Ross Douthat said a few weeks ago, the striking thing about Putin is that, despite his reputation as a geopolitical grand master, he struggles to keep Ukraine in line in a way that earlier Russian autocracies never did. The fact that the Euromaidan was able to chase Yanukovych, his puppet, across the border is proof enough of his blundering. Putin’s near-term grand ambition is to build a Eurasian Union with Russia’s satellites as an economic counterweight to the EU, but not even the prospect of that was enough to lure Kiev to Russia’s side peacefully. He runs a fantastically corrupt, rapidly depopulating kleptocracy — George Will likes to call Russia a third-world country with a first-world army — and, go figure, his neighbors aren’t keen to gamble their national futures on an alliance with it unless they’re forced. (If you believe a poll taken in mid-February, before Yanukovych was toppled, only 41 percent of Crimeans want to become part of Russia.) That’s what Obama means by weakness, and that’s why you see him here hammering the point that nations should be free to choose their destiny via elections. Given a truly free choice, how many of Russia’s neighbors would opt to partner with the Moscow Mussolini instead of the EU? He can’t win the battle of ideas. He can only win wars.

But that’s what makes Putin dangerous. The more insecure he feels, the bolder he might get. And the bolder he gets without paying a price for it, the bolder other powers might get. That’s really why O’s mumbling about sanctions and other penalties — not because he cares much about Ukraine but because the things he does care about, like making a deal with Iran, get harder every time something like this happens.

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Vladamir’s greatest power over Europe, expecialy if he takes over Eastern Ukraine, is Europe’s dependency on Russian Natural gas / energy. If Omaba held a press conference and announced, “The United tates has no other option but to begin drilling for more oil, increasing our shale processing, and production of natural gas to provide to Europe and break their dependency on Russian energy”, it would severely damage Russia. Putin would have a … what’s the Russian word for ‘cow’?! We don’t even have to DO it…we would just have to THREATEN to do it, and the declaration would do all the work, affecting the markets, rippling through Europe, Russia/Putin, etc!

Instead, Obama’s #1 option is to announce that we will not attend a ‘Super 8’ Meeting PLANNING MEETING.

easyt65 on March 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Obama sings : I’m so Ronery / So ronery / So ronery and sadry arone / There’s no one / Just me onry / Sitting on my rittle throne / I work rearry hard and make up get prans / but, nobody listens, no one understands / Seems rike no one takes me serirousry / And so, I’m ronery / A rittle ronery / Poor rittle me / There’s no one I can rerate to / Feewr rike a biwd in a cage / It’s kinda siwry / but, not reawry / because, it’s fiwring my body with rage / I’m the smartest, most crever, most physicawry fit / but, nobody erse seems to rearrize it / When I can the worrd maybe they’rr notice me / And untiwr then, I’wr be ronery / Yeaaaaah, a rittle ronery / Poor rittle me…

GKChesterton99 on March 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Unfortunately, I cannot hear the laughing in the Kremlin; any possibility is drowned out by the laughter in the United States and the countries between here and Russia. No one sees Mr. Obama’s protestations as any more significant than Chicken Littles claim that ” the sky is falling.” He has lost credibility in the World with his Syrian fiasco, just as he lost credibility in the United States with his lie, “You can keep your policy…period!”

TKPedersen42 on March 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

he struggles to keep Ukraine in line in a way that earlier Russian autocracies never did.

Read about the Cremean wars, educate yourself.

The fact that the Euromaidan was able to chase Yanukovych, his puppet, across the border is proof enough of his blundering

Yanukovych was the one to sign the EU bailout agreement for the first place, something even Yuschenko didn’t dare to do. He bailed out because of Kremlin’s pressure and counter-bailout later, but a “Russian puppet”? What? That’s a truly ignorant statement

Masih ad-Dajjal on March 5, 2014 at 3:37 PM

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