Russia, EU, US trade threats on trade sanctions

posted at 10:01 am on March 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

It’s a busy day on the Ukraine front, but action appears to have given way to a confused mass of chatter. The West still struggled to come up with a unified response to Russian aggression in Crimea before it spreads to eastern Ukraine, while Vladimir Putin tried a few threats of his own to split his opposition. Ukraine’s new government offered up a concession to attempt to move Russia out of its country. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today, attempting to, er, reset the crisis before it hits critical mass:

Kerry and Lavrov are expected to meet on the sidelines of a long-planned conference on Lebanon, which is likely to be overshadowed by ongoing tensions in Ukraine, according to the BBC.

The top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., Britain and France are not necessarily all at the same table, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said everyone has been working non-stop for a diplomatic solution over the crisis in Ukraine.

Not all at the same table, eh? Now there’s an analogy of the last couple of weeks in a nutshell. Lavrov warned ahead of the sideline klatch that Russia would not tolerate a “coup” in Ukraine, a point that they’ve made rather forcefully over the past week:

“If we indulge those who are trying to rule our great, kind historic neighbor, we must understand that a bad example is infectious,” Lavrov said.

In Washington, Congress is looking for a formula for sanctions that will push Russia out of the Crimea, but once again, the West is not at the same table:

Members of Congress are leaning on Europe to back meaningful sanctions on Russia, making personal phone calls to convince allies that the Kremlin should be punished for its incursion into Ukraine.

The members are worried about signs that Great Britain and Germany oppose deep sanctions, and say they won’t work without cross-Atlantic unity.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The president is very right to keep the focus on Europe, because we cannot influence Moscow on our own,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told The Hill on Tuesday as he ran to make phone calls with German lawmakers.“It’s unfortunate the Europeans are not taking a stronger stand on this,” said Murphy, the chairman of a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe.

He said the countries of Eastern Europe will be watching closely, wondering who is next.

“If Russia gets away with this, in the same way they feel they got away with the Georgia incursion [in 2008], I don’t know why other countries that are former client states of Russia would feel that they’re safe,” he said.

Russia’s parliament has a message for Washington and Europe on sanctions, too:

Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers were working on a draft law to allow the confiscation of property, assets and accounts of European or U.S. companies if sanctions are imposed on Russia, RIA news agency said, according to Reuters.

This is what is inelegantly known as “crapping the bed,” and perhaps a measure of just how far Russia has gone in its imperialist orientation. Moscow had to spend billions of rubles to keep its currency afloat this week just with the hint of possible sanctions, and its MICEX stock market took a bath. If Russia returns to Soviet-era expropriation, they can forget about large-scale investment from the West for the near- and mid-term future, and the standard of living under Putin’s regime will plummet.  That means less money for everything, including military adventures in eastern Europe and — more critically — domestic security in the Caucasus. Such a move will impoverish everyone, but Russia more than most, and gone are the days when Moscow could control media access to fool its subjects into thinking the West was worse. Normally one would consider this an empty threat, but the only rationality one can find in Russian policy at the moment is imperialist expansion, and that would fit reasonably well into that context.

Meanwhile, current Ukraine leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk wants to find a way to negotiate an end to the crisis. He’s willing to let Crimea operate more on its own if it means Russia backs off:

Ukraine’s new prime minister, in his first interview since taking office, told The Associated Press that Crimea must remain part of Ukraine, but may be granted more local powers.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the AP Wednesday that a special task force could be established “to consider what kind of additional autonomy the Crimean Republic could get.”

That could give Putin enough of a win to claim victory and depart the field. On the other hand, even if that works, it probably wouldn’t be long before Putin comes back and demands the same deal for eastern Ukraine, too. Not to carry the pre-WWII analogies too far, but this sounds a lot like what happened with the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia in 1938. When a military power decides it needs lebensraum, it’s usually not satisfied with these kinds of concessions for long.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Just moving troops that were already there around. No, you do not know that additional troops came in, all you know is that Russian Troops in Ukraine and Crimea were mobilized.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM

“Peddle crazy someplace else, we’re full up here.”

“What we have here is a failure to communicate. Some folks…”

LOL

This denial of yours is evident… I hope you eventually figure out who the troops with full military gear – but no insignia – that seized control of sooo many places in UKRAINE Crimea were.

The fact that you feel the need to separate Ukraine and Crimea is telling. OOOH I’m so mad I could just pinch you!

That’s not a threat by the way, just thought it was new speak for expressing frustration.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM

So why don’t we just give the money to Moscow?

better yet, why don’t they just borrow from china, why do they need intermediaries

runner on March 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Dude, please, those truck carry about 16 troops each, co0ming from Sochi, where the Olympics were just held. Under 200 troops, the Crimea forces who were at the Sochi Olympics.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Damn good thing they weren’t Navy Seals! Oh wait… what if they were the Russian version of the same?

And now we are changing from none to just a few… predictable and weak.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Actually, the first casualty of Politics in any form, whether internal or international, is truth…just to get that out of the way.

Whatever the initial actions (and I love a good conspiracy theory as well as the next guy) we now have what could be understatedly be called “a problem.” So…what do we really think will happen!

I have heard for mor than 5 years now that Mr. Obama is the smartest guy in the room. Well, I am not too sure how big the room is, or how many people are in it…or, for that matter, how smart the other guys are (and, of course, women). And regardless of the truthful answer to who is the smartest, I would offer the concept that “smarts” isn’t really the criteria for who is going to prevail.

Consider the concept that it is “focus”, not “smarts” that will carry the day.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, President Obama clearly (from his track record) suffers from ADD. If he can focus on a foreigh policy element for more than an hour (and then, only if he is giving a speech), it is a miracle. I would wager more than a house or two that after making some public utterance on anything to do with foreign policy, he turns immediately to domestic campaigning for how is is going to fundementally transform America.

Meanwhile, Putin is totally focused on his foreign policy aims, remains focused at all times and it never leaves his mind: he intends on restoring Russia to the empire that it used to be, and it will be ruled just as he ruled the KGB.

And Puting will succeed for the rest of Mr. Obama’s term in office. Without a strongly lead American desire to meaningfully react, the other European nations will do nothing…it would be too risky to go it alone and they are totally aware that any promises of support from the United States will disappear just as soon as the TV sound bite is over and the President goes back to what he feels is “really” important.

TKPedersen42 on March 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

The protestors started peacefully, they decided to throw molotovs at the APC’s attempting to crash their gatherings after the government decided that using snipers was a really awesome idea.

Self defense must be an old fashioned idea.

Bishop on March 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

That’s nonsense. Before the snipers were used the “protesters” had already started killing policemen, including burning several alive after trapping them in their vehicles. Then a truce and agreement for early elections was reached, which the “protesters” violated by rushing the retreating police with Molotov cocktails and other weapons (the “protesters” have admitted they are the ones who broke the truce, that’s not in dispute). At that point the police responded with snipers.

You can argue that police overreacted in their response to the violent mob, but the idea that these were just “protesters” peacefully chanting and holding signs when police opened fire on them is disconnected from reality.

And it’s a fact that if the “protesters” had just honored the truce and the early elections agreement, Ukraine would still have Crimea.

Jon0815 on March 5, 2014 at 12:19 PM

TKPedersen42 on March 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

***Applause***

You sir, win todays final Jeopardy round. Your prize will be a one week all expenses paid excursion to a deserted Island where you and oscarwilde or Jon0815 can play a game of survival!

After the first 15 minutes you will probably be bored, so we are also sending a wet bar and various super models to fill the void.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Hilarious to hear putin blaming bush too. Guess the dems aren’t the only ones.

Bush’s foreign policy has undermined US credibility by an insane amount.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:30 PM

And it’s a fact that if the “protesters” had just honored the truce and the early elections agreement, Ukraine would still have Crimea.

Jon0815 on March 5, 2014 at 12:19 PM

And if that b!tch didn’t dress like that she wouldn’t have been raped…. yep, blame the victim.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

U.N. representative in Ukraine Robert Serry was seized by armed men in Crimea.

“He was not kidnapped but he was seriously threatened,” Eliasson told reporters in New York by telephone from Kiev, adding that “this action should be seriously condemned.”

Path of envoy’s car blocked by protesters chanting Putin Putin. #Crimea

Crowd chant Russia Russia as UN envoy leaves coffee shop and scrambles into waiting car#Crimea

The UN gets no respect in Crimea.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Hilarious to hear putin blaming bush too. Guess the dems aren’t the only ones.

Bush’s foreign policy has undermined US credibility by an insane amount.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:30 PM

In my best Shatner impersonation: “BOOOOSHH!”

When the horse is dead, reason dictates abusing it is no longer useful.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Tell that to putin. He’s the one quoting dubya to justify his actions. Seems like that horse is very much alive.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Tell that to putin. He’s the one quoting dubya to justify his actions. Seems like that horse is very much alive.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Well it seems like Putin and Obama have common ground after all. Who would have thunk it?

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Flashback: Senator Obama pushed bill that helped destroy more than 15,000 TONS of ammunition, 400,000 small arms and 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles in Ukraine

Obama traveled to Ukraine with Sen. Dick Lugar in 2005 just seven months after he became a senator, touring surplus weapons stockpiles.

Most of the small arms and ammunition were left over when Soviets withdrew from Eastern bloc nations, and later dumped in Ukraine
The two senators secured U.S. funding to help destroy the weapons instead of leaving them intact

Ukraine exported more than 700,000 small arms in 2004-2007, including 101,000 each to Libya and the UK, and 260,000 to the U.S.
But most of the ammunition stockpiles – crucial for keeping a standing army battle-ready – were destroyed
Ukraine is in a staring match with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has designs on recapturing portions of the former Soviet nation

Obama’s gun control program for Ukraine.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

The UN gets no respect in Crimea.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

They don’t deserve respect – anywhere.

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Tell that to putin. He’s the one quoting dubya to justify his actions. Seems like that horse is very much alive.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Also kind of interesting, if you think about it. Putin didn’t pull this B.S. while Bush was president… he waited like a true predator to find the weakest of the herd. Cull, stalk and devour. Little boots is less than useful to us now.

The narrative is already being floated, it was Ukraines fault.

Remember it however you will, but I will always remember it the way it actually happened, not the way it is revised.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Hilarious to hear putin blaming bush too. Guess the dems aren’t the only ones.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 12:30 PM

You don’t get that Putin is likely just giving 0bumble another noogy?
Given how long 0bumble has been blaming Bush for everything, Putin is just throwing that in 0bumble’s face – and libtard useful idiots don’t get the joke.

Who would have guessed Putin was capable of Bishop worthy sarc….

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 1:01 PM

They don’t deserve respect – anywhere.

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 12:57 PM

They need to go the way of the League of Nations.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Also kind of interesting, if you think about it. Putin didn’t pull this B.S. while Bush was president… he waited like a true predator to find the weakest of the herd. Cull, stalk and devour

He pulled this same BS in georgia while bush was president.

And bush did nothing.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 1:16 PM

They need to go the way of the League of Nations.
NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Yes.

The UN – “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 1:20 PM

He pulled this same BS in georgia while bush was president.

And bush did nothing.

everdiso on March 5, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Bush was on the way out already, he graciously followed Little Boots policy KNOWING little boots would work his own will once the rudder was under his hand.

Had Bush actually thrown the gauntlet down all Putin had to do is wait till little boots was at the helm. Little boots probably would have thrown in Poland as a bauble in all efforts to appear to be the Anti-Bush.

Your premise is extremely flawed…

Next?

As a general rule I do my best thinking late at night, apparently the day trolls are just as mentally weak. :-)

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Obama will probably want to extend welfare benefits to all the folks in Ukraine….

After all Obama was behind the effort to disarm them…..

redguy on March 5, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Obama’s gun control program for Ukraine.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Yeah, now Obama is trying to disarm Americans…..

Watch out – Mexico will invade us next.

redguy on March 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

This whole thing is the fault of the neocons who encouraged the Molotov cocktail-throwing “peaceful protesters” in Kiev to overthrow their elected government, instead of just waiting a year to replace it at the ballot box.

Jon0815 on March 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Have you seen the pictures of the personal mansion Yanukovich built himself? He was not going to “lose” the 2015 election and there is no way Putin was going to allow him to lose. After looting the country for three years, Yanukovich and his allies were not going to permit figure to take power and start investigating his abuses in office.

The protesters knew this was their last chance to rid themselves of Putin like dictator who had no intention of giving up power.

newbyj99 on March 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Have you seen the pictures of the personal mansion Yanukovich built himself?

newbyj99 on March 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

We have a lot of nicer houses in Scottsdale. No boats in the backyard as far as I know.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Time magazine reports a really warm reception for international observers arriving in Crimea.

Simon Shuster @shustry
Follow
About 40 angry Pro-Russian protesters waiting for OSCE delegates outside hotel in Crimea. “Black-ass” is the nicest thing they called Obama

11:55 AM – 5 Mar 2014

International Observers respected as much as UN representatives in Crimea.

Kaffa on March 5, 2014 at 2:21 PM

We have a lot of nicer houses in Scottsdale. No boats in the backyard as far as I know.”

And no private zoos either, I assume?

http://mydesignstories.com/yanukovich-house/

If by nicer, you mean more tasteful than I would have to say my house in Virginia is much nicer.

newbyj99 on March 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Murphy is the chairman of a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe? He’s a neophyte partisan dingbat, who gave him the big boy chair? God help us.

jnelchef on March 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM

Just moving troops that were already there around. No, you do not know that additional troops came in, all you know is that Russian Troops in Ukraine and Crimea were mobilized.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM

“Peddle crazy someplace else, we’re full up here.”

“What we have here is a failure to communicate. Some folks…”

LOL

This denial of yours is evident… I hope you eventually figure out who the troops with full military gear – but no insignia – that seized control of sooo many places in UKRAINE Crimea were.

The fact that you feel the need to separate Ukraine and Crimea is telling. OOOH I’m so mad I could just pinch you!

That’s not a threat by the way, just thought it was new speak for expressing frustration.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM

What do you mean no insignia? They were dressed in standard issued Black Sea Fleet uniforms.

Dude, please, those truck carry about 16 troops each, co0ming from Sochi, where the Olympics were just held. Under 200 troops, the Crimea forces who were at the Sochi Olympics.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Damn good thing they weren’t Navy Seals! Oh wait… what if they were the Russian version of the same?

And now we are changing from none to just a few… predictable and weak.

NiteOwl on March 5, 2014 at 12:17 PM

They were Crimean Black Sea Fleet troops who attended the Sochi Olympics, nothing more.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

They were Crimean Black Sea Fleet troops who attended the Sochi Olympics, nothing more.

oscarwilde on March 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Yeah, just tourists passing through. Pay no mind.

slickwillie2001 on March 5, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Comment pages: 1 2