Ukraine: Another 3 AM wake-up call going unheeded

posted at 1:01 pm on March 8, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

When Condoleezza Rice became national security adviser and then Secretary of State, critics snickered at her background as an expert on the Soviet Union. What relevance would that have, they snickered, in a post-Soviet world? The George W. Bush administration got criticism for supposedly living in the Cold War past in regard to Russia, with the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton going so far as to offer a “reset button” to repudiate previous US policies toward Russia — while it still occupied the Georgia provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it does to this day.

Fast forward five years, and suddenly Rice looks … very, very relevant. In today’s Washington Post, the former Secretary of State points out that Vladimir Putin may not be a new Soviet premiere, but he’s every bit as anxious to expand Russian domination as his communist predecessors — and that the West’s repeated signals of weakness are what encourages him to act to do so:

After Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, the United States sent ships into the Black Sea, airlifted Georgian military forces from Iraq back to their home bases and sent humanitarian aid. Russia was denied its ultimate goal of overthrowing the democratically elected government, an admission made to me by the Russian foreign minister. The United States and Europe could agree on only a few actions to isolate Russia politically.

But even those modest steps did not hold. Despite Russia’s continued occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the diplomatic isolation waned and then the Obama administration’s “reset” led to an abrupt revision of plans to deploy missile defense components in the Czech Republic and Poland. Talk of Ukraine and Georgia’s future in NATO ceased. Moscow cheered.

The seizure of Ukraine is a wake-up call, but Rice isn’t sure anyone’s answering:

The notion that the United States could step back, lower its voice about democracy and human rights and let others lead assumed that the space we abandoned would be filled by democratic allies, friendly states and the amorphous “norms of the international community.” Instead, we have seen the vacuum being filled by extremists such as al-Qaeda reborn in Iraq and Syria; by dictators like Bashar al-Assad, who, with the support of Iran and Russia, murders his own people; by nationalist rhetoric and actions by Beijing that have prompted nationalist responses from our ally Japan; and by the likes of Vladimir Putin, who understands that hard power still matters.

These global developments have not happened in response to a muscular U.S. foreign policy: Countries are not trying to “balance” American power. They have come due to signals that we are exhausted and disinterested. The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership. If it is not heeded, dictators and extremists across the globe will be emboldened. And we will pay a price as our interests and our values are trampled in their wake.

The essay is almost too good to be excerpted. Be sure to read it all, as suddenly we’re discovering the consequences of the return to moral relativism in US foreign policy. It’s eerily similar to the Carter years, where an American President scolded his countrymen over their “inordinate fear of communism” in an attempt to “reset” the Cold War, and even kissed Soviet premiere Leonid Brezhnev on the cheek to show friendship after the SALT II agreement in June 1979. Brezhnev responded by invading Afghanistan in December 1979 to rescue a socialist revolution that had taken power in 1978. Carter’s response? A boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

Weakness never produces good results. History repeats itself, too, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce.


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You don’t expect Barry to interrupt his vacation, do you? He’s got an early tee time!

myiq2xu on March 8, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Vacation time!!!

John the Libertarian on March 8, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Honestly, though, is this the “flexibility” Obama was talking about?

John the Libertarian on March 8, 2014 at 1:10 PM

What the hell good is this guy . . . he does nothing but waste our money and vacation.

rplat on March 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

The Ukrainians would have done well to recall Prince Sirik Matak’s letter to the US Ambassador as Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge:

“I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion. As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky. But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.”

He was executed by the Khmer Rouge two weeks later.

I’d advise the State Department to not plan on any diplomatic efforts that are based on convincing foreign countries to rely on the US to ever take action. Europe, you may want to reconsider your defense v. social programs expenditures. Oh, and that nuclear non-proliferation effort? let’s not waste any funds on that.

Over50 on March 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

These global developments have not happened in response to a muscular U.S. foreign policy: Countries are not trying to “balance” American power. They have come due to signals that we are exhausted and disinterested. The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership. If it is not heeded, dictators and extremists across the globe will be emboldened. And we will pay a price as our interests and our values are trampled in their wake.

…JugEars
………….F O R E !

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

So, lets start with the bottom and go up to the real bottom.

Debie Washerwoman Schultz leader of the hate America commie Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi loon left Global Warming Wind Mill brain.

Harry Reid crooked lawyer on the take.

Dumber than dirt VP Biden of shot gun wife fame.

Drumk half with Sec. of Defensless “No Name” .

Traitor/Liar/Fraud Sec.of State Lt. for life John F. Kerry

Hate America, Marxist, dope smoking, raceist, redistribution Obama the unPresident

What would you expect other than a knife in the back?

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

off the grid

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

But this is SMART Power!!!111!!!elebinty

With SMART Power!!!111!!!elebinty results do NOT matter. Those with SMART Power!!!111!!!elebinty just know they are right.

Nero didn’t have a thing on Obama, Hilary, or Kerry.

jukin3 on March 8, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Honestly, though, is this the “flexibility” Obama was talking about?

John the Libertarian on March 8, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Obama did the heavy lifting in his first term. Now he finds a need to kick back, relax, vacay, and simply unwind from a feverishly excruciating first term. He delegated all his responsibilities to the HSC, FBI, and all the other alphabet bureaus to get him through his second term. Life is good.

timberline on March 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM

all through this obama supporters try to use the georgia issue as proof bush did nothing yet he actually did.
the failure came after obama took over, what a shock huh ??

dmacleo on March 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM

History repeats itself, too, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce.

How fitting. Seeing as the current occupant of the White House is a fool.

GarandFan on March 8, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Presidenting is hard work.

rbj on March 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Obama retreating in Iraq. Afghanistan.

Ticking off our allies.

Unable to even get a pipeline from Canada to the US, thus ticking off Canada which is hard to do.

Withdrawing help from the Poles and Czechs.

Sending arms to drug cartels via BATF and State Dept.

Making big words about Libya, supplying arms that get into al Qaeda hands and then arrive in Syria. Making big words in Syria, signifying nothing. Ditto about Ukraine.

You know, this sounds like an isolationist President to me.

Even his multi-lateral stuff is faceplants.

Didn’t the Left used to warn us about the dangers of this stuff?

You know the old ‘weak and vacillating US leading to global instability and world wars’ sort of thing? Who knew they were FOR THIS STUFF? Just goes to show you that everything the Left says is bad when others do it is what they want to do, themselves. Who knew they really wanted another global war? The joke is on everyone who ever believed them on anything dealing with ‘peace’ the last 50 years… they don’t want peace. And their work to destabilize the world shows that.

ajacksonian on March 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Barry gets a pass on a frivolous weekend vaca while the old Soviet Union re-forms…and this story will disappear from the front page by the end of the week.

Putin just did whatever he wanted, got away with it, punked barry out on the world stage, and the media will ignore it by Thursday latest.

…The End is almost here…

a5minmajor on March 8, 2014 at 1:38 PM

It was clear very early on.
A pastor named Rick Warren had a little chat with both B.O. and Senator McCain.

Warren asked both when does life begin, and B.O. replied “That’s above my pay grade.”

Well, pretty much everything else been above his pay grade, too.

Galtian on March 8, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Europe, you may want to reconsider your defense v. social programs expenditures. Oh, and that nuclear non-proliferation effort? let’s not waste any funds on that.

Over50 on March 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

And Japan as well.

Kaffa on March 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

OT

Wheres the coverage of this story? Obama’s pastors daughter convicted of stealing grant money?

http://tinyurl.com/nvgztbs

Fathom on March 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

My family has fought every war since the first. My great,great, grand was “Samuel Culper Jr.”, for General Washington. ~~~~~> Red Arrrow Brigade in WWII.

Hell, I served 6 years USN.

You’re right, Ed. It will be a farce. I won’t fight in a farce.
Instead, I’ll fight the creators of said farce.

I just inherited a Garand. Impecable timing.

wolly4321 on March 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Ms. Rice mentioned the XL pipeline .
Drop in oil price hurts Putin ergo we
don’t approve pipeline .
Yup , that must be it .

Lucano on March 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

I “King Obama” don’t need no phone call at 3:00 AM, I GOT TWITTER.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Barry won’t do anything. He does low hanging fruit, no heavy lifting.

steveracer on March 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I’m sure Dear Leader is in fact being crafty—he plans to beat Russian military fists with our faces, until they tire and withdraw.

What a tactician, that Barry.

orangemtl on March 8, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Putin has a 3-year window, and he knows it, as do other hostile governments. I suspect we have not begun to understand what they will do during those 3 years.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 8, 2014 at 1:53 PM

“Wasteing away in Twitter Ville”

APACHEWHOKNOWS on March 8, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Obama at 3AM: “Rescue some Ukranians? Colonel, why do you always call me when someone needs rescuing?”

faraway on March 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

A lot of people don’t understand how what happens in other countries affects them.

crankyoldlady on March 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Read the article at the W.P. site. Comments were full of bigotry, ignorance, sexism and hate towards MS. Rice. From I am sure those who are not qualified to wash out her stockings at night.

Whiterock on March 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM

A lot of people don’t understand how what happens in other countries affects them.

crankyoldlady on March 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

…OH!…they will………….when it’s too late!

KOOLAID2 on March 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Nation of idiots – нация идиотов

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2014 at 2:18 PM

obama makes Carter shine.

The old coot lived long enough to realize his 2nd worst place in history.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.

Schadenfreude on March 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Read the article at the W.P. site. Comments were full of bigotry, ignorance, sexism and hate towards MS. Rice. From I am sure those who are not qualified to wash out her stockings at night.

Whiterock on March 8, 2014 at 2:04 PM

That’s my cue. Here’s some of the Low-IQ Dem COndi Love in the comments:

From the woman who ignored the warning about Al Qaeda attacking on our soil before 9/11

Great. Who is next, WaPo? An op-ed from GW Bush?

Clinton shot cruise missiles at AQ while the GOP paralyzed the country over Monica.

Why aren’t we having hearing about all the embassy attacks that happened when Condi was Secretary of State?

Can anyone name one thing she accomplished?

Yes. She effectively helped sell Bush’s war in Iraq so that Dick Cheney could get even richer through Halliburton. She was a very effective patsy.

And check out this hallucinatory exchange:

Hillary didn’t lie us into a useeles $2 trillion war. Bush and Rice did.

Another poster then puts up this speech from 2002:

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members…

It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well, effects American security.

This is a very difficult vote, this is probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. Any vote that might lead to war should be hard, but I cast it with conviction.”

Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat, New York)
Addressing the US Senate
October 10, 2002

Oh, and one idiot blasts Rice based on what…Rachel Maddcow had to say!

After watching Rachel Maddow’s documentary “Why we did it” (go to war in Iraq) it is clear that Condoleeza Rice has no credibility to speak about anything, including the weather.

Del Dolemonte on March 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Electing the Kenyan Pharaoh was a wakeup call for America.

So was Harvard hiding their little IQ 20 Affirmative-action imbecile’s grades.

… and Sleazy Eric Holder giving his “my people” Black Panthers a get out of jail free card.

Revrum’ Wrong’s sermons were a wakeup call.

Scare Force One was too.

The 40 million dollar Moochelle Spain vacay orgy and her parasite mother sponging daily at the White House Moochidental Suite.

Calling punk Trayvon his son was another wakeup call.

Then the NSA eavesdropping, IRS harassment, TSA groping, veterans being called terrorism risks…

Ukraine was just another indicator of a lazy bum who thinks he’s queen of England sans culture.

viking01 on March 8, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Barry won’t do anything. He does low hanging fruit, no heavy lifting.

steveracer on March 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Reggie Love resents your implications.

viking01 on March 8, 2014 at 2:33 PM

I am sure Obama is staying abreast of everything on Twitter.

He’s the man with the plan!

Sherman1864 on March 8, 2014 at 2:34 PM

In an odd twist of events, the left makes me understand burning selective service draft registration forms.

wolly4321 on March 8, 2014 at 2:36 PM

The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership. If it is not heeded, dictators and extremists across the globe will be emboldened. And we will pay a price as our interests and our values are trampled in their wake.

Other than an idealistic belief in natural God-given rights and so forth, we HAVE no interests in the Ukraine. I’m sorry for them, just like I’m sorry for the people in Afghanistan who are going to be wholesale slaughtered when we leave, just like I’m sorry for the Iraqis who’ve already been killed for supporting us and will continue to die as everything we fought and sacrificed for–and I’m one of the people who actually DID fight–is lost.

But Obama is not the problem. Democrats and Republicans aren’t the problem. The problem is the American electorate that can vote for war without the foggiest idea what it requires, vote for withdrawal with no care for the consequences because they were tired of HEARING about casualties–note, they didn’t actually suffer one goddamned iota, they just got tired of HEARING about suffering–and then vote for a lightweight Chicago community organizer to lead the free world.

Until we have an electorate capable of making adult decisions, then our national interest is to keep our head down and try not to implode from our continuing implementation of the most irresponsible economic policies in the history of the world. Sorry Ukraine, Japan, Iraq, murdered Syrians, Afghani women in particular, Venezualans, and everyone else soon to be murdered by despots and tyrants. We’ve got worries of our own right now.

Zoomie on March 8, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Weakness produces the results that Obama wants. A weaker America.

albill on March 8, 2014 at 3:17 PM

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger offers his perspective.

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil.

More here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/henry-kissinger-to-settle-the-ukraine-crisis-start-at-the-end/2014/03/05/46dad868-a496-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

bluefox on March 8, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissenger offers his perspective.

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

I agree with Dr. Kissenger. But this time Europe is toothless and the filthy lazy coward in the White House is doing all he can do to make our military just as impotent.

There are four tools for international relations. DIME. Diplomatic (Putin isn’t interested in that). Information (Putin is clearly in charge of his message and the West is divided in the contrary message). Military (not really an option thanks to years of Obama gutting the military but if it ever comes down to re-doing a barracks for the modern soldier well the US will be FABULOUS!). And Economic (which would require real sanctions, not the crap being proposed by Kerry and the lazy filthy stupid rat-eared coward).

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:40 PM

I agree with Dr. Kissenger. But this time Europe is toothless and the filthy lazy coward in the White House is doing all he can do to make our military just as impotent.

Happy Nomad on March 8, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Due to all you’ve stated, we are in no position to use any of the 4 options. Dr. Kissenger seems to think that the situation in Ukraine should’t be whether they side with the West or the East.
He believes a way should be found for both sides in Ukraine to solve their issues, thereby making Ukraine stronger. No one is trying that tho and I doubt it would work.

I did appreciate his article explaining the history of Russia regarding Ukraine. History wasn’t my strong suit:-)

bluefox on March 8, 2014 at 7:55 PM

America gets in trouble, because we assume the rest of the world thinks like us. Barky gets in bigger trouble, because he’s certain he’s smarter than the rest of the world and they should think like him. They don’t. He’s not.

AppraisHer on March 8, 2014 at 11:27 PM

Weakness never produces good results. History repeats itself, too, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce.

Well, if obama is anything, he’s weak and farcical.

Oh, and muslim.

And communist, socialist, progressive, and a sufferer of low I.Q. and puppet syndrome he caught from valerie ‘the persian demon’ jarrett.

Diluculo on March 9, 2014 at 3:12 AM

Obama…Putin acted stupidly then go on vacation

jaywemm on March 9, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Putin knows the “Progressives” in our current administration agree with the hateful comments after the article. The Democrat/Media Complex ginned-up “hate” for GWB, and Rice, overrides Any thoughtful reflection of the current situation. Many would rather Russia “recreate” the Eastern Bloc than admit we need “muscle” in our foreign policy.

RADIOONE on March 9, 2014 at 11:15 AM

I can’t wait to go over to the Washington Pot and read the comments. I can guarantee they will be calling Rice, stupid, dumb, out of touch, inexperienced, and “Know nuthin’”. Then. too, there will be attacks on the Bush administration. They people are nothing if not predictable.

RickCaird on March 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Weakness never produces good results. History repeats itself, too, the first time as tragedy, and the second time as farce.

The event of the repetition is always a tragedy as well.
That there is a repetition at all is the farce.

Sarah Palin channelled Twain’s supposed take, which was “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

AesopFan on March 9, 2014 at 11:07 PM