Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on March 9, 2014 by Allahpundit

If there is a new cold war with Russia, many observers believe the U.S. is losing it.

First under President George W. Bush and now under President Obama, the U.S. and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have engaged in a series of foreign policy battles — and Putin has repeatedly got his way.

The Russian president’s objective is clear. He wants to reassert Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe while preventing NATO’s further expansion toward Russia, said Erik Brattberg, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council…

“Putin sees Obama as a weak leader. I would point to Syria in particular. We drew a red line and didn’t back it up,” he said.

***

When Mr. Putin made his first public remarks on the crisis on Tuesday, he said that Russia would not support Crimea’s efforts to secede. On Friday, the Kremlin allowed a mass pro-secession rally in Red Square while senior lawmakers loyal to Mr. Putin welcomed a delegation from Crimea and pledged support to make it a new province of the Russian Federation.

An examination of the seismic events that set off the most threatening East-West confrontation since the Cold War era, based on Mr. Putin’s public remarks and interviews with officials, diplomats and analysts here, suggests that the Kremlin’s strategy emerged haphazardly, even misleadingly, over a tense and momentous week, as an emotional Mr. Putin acted out of what the officials described as a deep sense of betrayal and grievance, especially toward the United States and Europe.

Some of those decisions, particularly the one to invade Crimea, then took on a life of their own, analysts said, unleashing a wave of nationalistic fervor for the peninsula’s reunification with Russia that the Kremlin has so far proved unwilling, or perhaps unable, to tamp down…

“It seems the whole logic here is almost entirely the product of one particular mind,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, a Russian analyst and editor of the quarterly journal Russia in Global Affairs.

***

But then, President Obama announced sanctions against Russia, banning travel of key officials, freezing assets, and suspending international forums. The question that no one appeared to acknowledge, much less ask or answer: How is it possible to do escalation and de-escalation at the same time?…

[Now] Putin can sit and wait. He has the upper hand in this game—and the more the West plays on his terms, the stronger his hand will seem. Sanctions won’t change his behavior, except to stiffen it—and once that becomes clear, Putin will seem stronger, the West will seem weaker, and a solution to the Ukraine crisis will recede in the distance…

Sanctions do have a place in this sort of confrontation, but Obama got the sequencing wrong. The “costs” and “consequences” of Russia’s actions should have been laid out on the table as measures that he would take if Russia didn’t take steps to wind down the crisis. If possible (and maybe it isn’t anymore), this warning could have been conveyed in private, and in any case there should have been no public demands on precisely what winding-down steps the Russians must take. Whatever leverage we might have had is lost, once the chips are already spent—and are shown to have no value…

When this crisis got underway two weeks ago, it seemed absurd that the United States and Russia might go to war over the fate of Ukraine. But both of their leaders have stumbled and bumbled so badly in the meantime, and the exit-ramp is so littered with bombs and barricades, nothing seems impossible.

***

The longer-term task is to answer Putin’s statement about Europe’s post-Cold War future. He is saying that Ukraine will never be free to make its own choices — a message meant to reverberate in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states — and that Russia has special interests it will pursue at all costs. For Putin, the Cold War ended “tragically.” He will turn the clock back as far as intimidation through military power, economic leverage and Western inaction will allow.

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…

This time has to be different. Putin is playing for the long haul, cleverly exploiting every opening he sees. So must we, practicing strategic patience if he is to be stopped. Moscow is not immune from pressure. This is not 1968, and Russia is not the Soviet Union. The Russians need foreign investment; oligarchs like traveling to Paris and London, and there are plenty of ill-gotten gains stored in bank accounts abroad; the syndicate that runs Russia cannot tolerate lower oil prices; neither can the Kremlin’s budget, which sustains subsidies toward constituencies that support Putin. Soon, North America’s bounty of oil and gas will swamp Moscow’s capacity. Authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and championing natural gas exports would signal that we intend to do precisely that. And Europe should finally diversify its energy supply and develop pipelines that do not run through Russia.

***

Where others saw the agitprop of an emboldened authoritarian, the White House chose to see hope. Administration officials seized on one sentence of his blather and expressed optimism. “Regarding the deployment of troops, the use of armed forces so far, there is no need for it.  .  .  . Such a measure would certainly be the very last resort,” Putin said. Obama national security officials saw this claim—which came days after Russian troops had been deployed—as evidence that Putin was looking for an “off-ramp.” And soon we had a name for this new Obama approach to the crisis: “de-escalation.”

It’s not de-escalation, it’s delusion. And it’s dangerous…

For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader…

Vladimir Putin, it turns out, is who we thought he was. Unfortunately, so is Barack Obama.

***

But grim as the headlines from Ukraine are, the feeling in the capital is nothing like the cold fear that gripped Washington when children were taught to “duck and cover” and to know the locations of fallout shelters whose ominous black and yellow logos still dot some federal buildings around town. POLITICO’s White House reporters have not been given instructions to report to a top-secret site in case of attack, as NBC’s Sander Vanocur was at the height of the Cuban missile crisis…

[E]ven at the height of the Cold War, the United States generally held back from direct confrontation with the Soviet Union in the face of its most provocative acts within its own sphere of influence — and no American president has ever had good options to the contrary…

“There’s all this posturing, all this talk of flexing our muscles,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek. “But happily, when push comes to shove, we show ourselves to be more restrained and sensible. We don’t really have all that many options, short of getting into war with them, and that would be incredibly stupid.”…

In at least one important respect, this crisis is not like those of the past. A Western Europe enriched and entangled in commerce with Russian capitalist oligarchs is less interested in confrontation with Putin than an earlier generation of European leaders were with Communist chiefs like Khrushchev. And a Russia still discomfited by the 1990s inclusion by NATO of its former Eastern European satellites is more belligerent than the old Soviet Union was without a competing security alliance adjoining its very border.

***

“People in Odessa, Mykolaiv, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk are coming out to defend their country,” Mr. Soboliev said. “They have never liked the western Ukrainian, Galician point of view. But they are showing themselves to be equally patriotic. They are defending their country from foreign aggression. Fantastical things are happening.”

This conflict could flare into Europe’s first major war of the 21st century, and Crimea may never again be part of Ukraine. But no matter what happens over the next few months, or even years, Mr. Putin and his vision of an authoritarian, Russian-dominated former Soviet space have already lost. Democratic, independent Ukraine, and the messy, querulous (but also free and law-abiding) European idea have won…

Mr. Putin is explicitly drawing on that [Soviet] heritage and fitfully trying to reshape it into a new state capitalist system that can compete and flourish globally. An alliance with Mr. Yanukovych’s Ukraine was an essential part of that plan.

That effort has now failed. Whatever Mr. Putin achieves in Ukraine, it will not be partnership with a Slavic younger brother enthusiastically joining in his neo-imperialist, neo-Soviet project.

***

Mr. Putin seems to be “following the old Soviet playbook,” in Ukraine, Strobe Talbott, an expert on the history of the Cold War, told me this week. “But back then, there was no concern about what would happen to the Soviet stock market. If, in fact, Putin is cooling his jets and might even blink, it’s probably because of rising concern about the price Russia would have to pay.”…

By contrast, today “Russia is too weak and vulnerable economically to go to war,” Mr. Aslund said. “The Kremlin’s fundamental mistake has been to ignore its economic weakness and dependence on Europe. Almost half of Russia’s exports go to Europe, and three-quarters of its total exports consist of oil and gas. The energy boom is over, and Europe can turn the tables on Russia after its prior gas supply cuts in 2006 and 2009. Europe can replace this gas with liquefied natural gas, gas from Norway and shale gas. If the European Union sanctioned Russia’s gas supply to Europe, Russia would lose $100 billion or one-fifth of its export revenues, and the Russian economy would be in rampant crisis.”…

And while the Cold War was a global contest between Marxism and capitalism, there is today “no real ideological component to the conflict except that Putin has become the personification of rejecting the West as a model,” Mr. Talbott said. “He wants to promote a Eurasian community dominated by Moscow, but that’s not an ideology. Russia’s economy may be an example of crony capitalism, but it is capitalism. There’s not even a shadow of Marxism-Leninism now.”

***

Skip to 1:49.

***


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I’ll bid you goodnight, going2mars.:) Sleep well.

thatsafactjack on March 10, 2014 at 5:53 AM

thatsafactjack on March 10, 2014 at 5:53 AM

it also depends on the SIZE of the explosion…
and smaller bits sink faster..
the smaller they are the harder to find..
im sure someone is breaking out the minesweepers
and listening for the ping….
lots of sea to listen to…out there.

going2mars on March 10, 2014 at 5:56 AM

here too ms J…be safe
and thanks for sharing your thoughts…cheers

going2mars on March 10, 2014 at 5:57 AM

Not that it would happen under a filthy worthless coward like Obama but the US should immediately propose Ukraine for membership in NATO. That would shake things up. Big time.

Happy Nomad on March 9, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Not sure if anyone here’s mentioned it yet, but Ukraine WAS OFFERED NATO MEMBERSHIP ALREADY and turned us down. They turned down membership in the EU as well. Not our problem.

BemusedMalkinite on March 10, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m expecting 60 degrees today which is good but I have to take my truck in to be looked at. The back is listing. But at least no earthquakes here. I was in one in LA years ago.

crankyoldlady on March 10, 2014 at 6:16 AM

mika calling a multimillion dollar moron selling her message to the extreme right. No clip shown.

priceless to mikas facial contortions while she speaks about Sarah.

I’d love to see Sarah run if only to give mika a heart attack.

renalin on March 10, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Good Morning, Patriots! And, Trolls.

“I do not like this kind of hope, and we won’t take it nope, nope, nope.” – Sarah Palin, CPAC 2014

My take: McConnell Disses TEA Party. Palin Blasts Establishment Republicans

kingsjester on March 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM

My favorite HA whiners are those who accuse Bmore and alt of posting personal stuff, things about their days, activities…then later the mopers do the same.

Or, the ones who whine about whatever while never quitting the whining. Can’t stand grown ups who act like children, unless they’re having fun.

Schadenfreude on March 9, 2014 at 11:43 PM

I have no qualms with someone talking about personal stuff or their activities, however I worry that alt reveals too much. If some whacko were of a mind to, it would take them less than a day to find out exactly where she lives, just from the information she has shared on HA.

And believe me, they will.

Several years ago I used to use my real first name and the town where I live on my Twitter profile. Some leftist took offense at one of my tweets about Obama. I then started getting threatening phone calls and mail sent directly to my home. They were quite explicit in what they wanted to do to me and my grandchildren.

I had to have my phone number changed and turned the mail over to my local law enforcement. It took them almost 6 weeks but they were finally able to track down who it was. After the leftist whacko received a visit from their local law enforcement the letters stopped.

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 7:22 AM

fascinating to see mika argue on behalf of charter schoools with bill diblasio. the commie starts talking about “fairness” and he needs to be concerned about the 95 percent of kids who aren’t in charter schools.

mika aint buying his leftist rant.
embrace the suck mika.

renalin on March 10, 2014 at 7:33 AM

Skip to 1:49.

Yeah, baby.

Cleombrotus on March 10, 2014 at 7:40 AM

Not sure if anyone here’s mentioned it yet, but Ukraine WAS OFFERED NATO MEMBERSHIP ALREADY and turned us down. They turned down membership in the EU as well. Not our problem.

BemusedMalkinite on March 10, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Having an occupying force on your soil and a new government in Kiev changes the dynamics some, no?

This not our problem crap spewed by isolationist Paulbots and morons like Michael Savage really is becoming grating. We have a moral obligation to help Ukraine no matter what idiots like you want to believe.

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 7:43 AM

I saw that too, renalin. Reap what you sow, Mika!

She just LOVES the idea of full-day pre-school though. Gotta start indoctrinating them early!

Naturally Curly on March 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM

I’d love to see Sarah run if only to give mika a heart attack.

renalin on March 10, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Palin lives rent free in Mika’s head. Which is quite the bargain since Mika’s head is quite roomy without the brain and all. ;0

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 7:49 AM

She just LOVES the idea of full-day pre-school though. Gotta start indoctrinating them early!

Naturally Curly on March 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Full day pre-school, the children of parents on EBT getting three meals at the school, after-school care for all………..

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had a private notion of children, your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.

So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s we start making better investments.”

Melissa Harris Perry said it first but dolts like Mika would agree.

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

Missing plane similar to Lockerbie bomb tragedy: official

Other troubling details emerged when a telephone operator on a China-based hot line for KLM airlines confirmed Sunday that the passengers traveling with the stolen passports had booked one-way tickets on the same KLM flight from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday.

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Oil slick found in the sea is not from missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, local media reports – @XHNews
read more on xinhuanet.com

Murphy9 on March 10, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s we start making better investments.”

Melissa Harris Perry said it first but dolts like Mika would agree.

Happy Nomad on March 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

Why do you think they get hysterical when you try to take more snow days and if someone tries to take their kid out of school for something even a dentist appointment and never mind home schoolers. It’s all about getting a certain amount of money for how many kids are in school and for how many hours.

crankyoldlady on March 10, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Flora Duh on March 10, 2014 at 7:22 AM

Thanks for sharing that. I can see we have to be more careful. I am nervous about Facebook.

crankyoldlady on March 10, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Bananas yo!

Chiquita, Irish company Fyffes agree to merge, creating world’s largest banana company; deal valued at $1.07 billion – @WSJ
read more on online.wsj.com

Murphy9 on March 10, 2014 at 9:19 AM

The Establishment Republicans are so out-of-touch with their constituencies, that they actually believe their own press releases, while living in their secluded “Beltway Bubble”..

…you think they would get the hint kj…but they don’t!
…just as ignorant as JugEars!

KOOLAID2 on March 10, 2014 at 10:56 AM

KOOLAID2 on March 10, 2014 at 10:56 AM

That’s it! No more last words for you!

HA!

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Flora, indeed. I have told alt that, in friendly ways, often.

Schadenfreude on March 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Duplicate comments test…

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Duplicate comments test 2

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Duplicate comments test 3

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Duplicate comments test 4

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Duplicate comments test 5

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Duplicate comments test 61

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Duplicate comments test 7

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Flora, indeed. I have told alt that, in friendly ways, often.

Schadenfreude on March 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Duplicate comments test 8

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Duplicate comments test 9

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Duplicate comments test 10

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Duplicate comments test 11

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Duplicate comments test 12

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM

ha…I figured it out!

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

It works like this

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:33 PM

or this

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

or this?

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

ha…I figured it out!

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Figured what out? If you so much as change the spacing of two words it’s not a duplicate comment.

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 3:56 PM

ha…I figured it out!

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Figured what out? If you so much as change the spacing of two words it’s not a duplicate comment.

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 3:57 PM

See?

Lanceman on March 10, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Figured out why I keep getting the false message.

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:37 PM

see

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:38 PM

i think

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:40 PM

hmmm

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Dire Straits on March 10, 2014 at 1:28 AM

and he did too… just off turn two.. last lap..
he has a win and two seconds..so JR should be thrilled

going2mars on March 10, 2014 at 1:31 AM

maybe

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:43 PM

huh

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:44 PM

nope

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:47 PM

type

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 9:56 PM

ok

kcewa on March 10, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Comment pages: 1 6 7 8