Russia and others: testing the limits?

posted at 11:21 am on March 17, 2014 by Bruce McQuain

One of the foreign policy promises Barack Obama made was that during his presidency, America would have a “light footprint” on world affairs.  Our first indicator of what that meant was the action in Libya when the US “led from behind”.  The Obama administration belived that pulling back from our strong presence and position in the world would help mollify other powers and usher in a new era of peaceful cooperation with America as a partner and not necessarily the leader.

How has that worked out?

Ask Russia, China and a few others:

The White House was taken by surprise by Vladimir V. Putin’s decisions to invade Crimea, but also by China’s increasingly assertive declaration of exclusive rights to airspace and barren islands. Neither the economic pressure nor the cyberattacks that forced Iran to reconsider its approach have prevented North Korea’s stealthy revitalization of its nuclear and missile programs.

In short, America’s adversaries are testing the limits of America’s post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan moment.

“We’re seeing the ‘light footprint’ run out of gas,” said one of Mr. Obama’s former senior national security aides, who would not speak on the record about his ex-boss.

What we’re actually seeing is naivete in foreign policy head toward a predictable conclusion.  Foreign policy isn’t bean bag and it has been established many times in history that the retreat of a great power from the world’s stage will see other seemingly lesser powers attempt to fill or take advantage of that power vacuum.  The “light footprint” didn’t “run out of gas”, the light footprint was foreign policy destined for failure from its inception.  Mr. Obama and his foreign policy team were warned about that constantly and preferred to ignore both the warnings and history.

Mr. Obama acknowledges, at least in private, that he is managing an era of American retrenchment. History suggests that such eras — akin to what the United States went through after the two world wars and Vietnam — often look like weakness to the rest of the world. His former national security adviser Thomas Donilon seemed to acknowledge the critical nature of the moment on Sunday when he said on “Face the Nation” that what Mr. Obama was facing was “a challenge to the post-Cold War order in Europe, an order that we have a lot to do with.”

But while Mr. Donilon expressed confidence that over time the United States holds powerful tools against Russia and other nations, in the short term challengers like Mr. Putin have the advantage on the ground.

Mr. Obama is managing “an era of American retrenchment” he initiated.  And it doesn’t look like a period of weakness to the rest of the world, it is a period of weakness that is compounded by our weak leadership.  We’re engaged in bringing our military down to pre-WWII levels and we’ve made it clear that we’re not interested in fulfilling treaty obligations with the likes of the Ukraine.  How else would one interpret our actions?

And, of course, one of the best ways we could address this particular crisis is to up our shipments of natural gas to Europe so they weren’t dependent of Russian pipeline supplies that flow through the Ukraine.  That would give Europe some leverage because they wouldn’t be held hostage by their need for Russian petro supplies.  But on the domestic front, the Obama administration has made building the necessary infrastructure to cash in on our growing natural gas boom almost impossible.

Are Russia and others testing the limits?  You bet they are and all of those interested in those limits are watching this drama unfold.  To this point, it appears Russia sees no downside to its action.  Should that continue to be the case, you can be assured other nations will also “test the limits.”

This is Mr. Obama’s 3am phone call.  And it appears he has let it go to the answering machine.

~McQ

Q and O


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This is Mr. Obama’s 3am phone call. And it appears he has let it go to the answering machine.

Heh…

OmahaConservative on March 17, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Russian Stocks surging and the Ruble is strong.

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

The White House was taken by surprise by Vladimir V. Putin’s decisions to invade Crimea, but also by China’s increasingly assertive declaration of exclusive rights to airspace and barren islands.

It’s odd how a government with the ability and resources to monitor so much about it’s own citizens.. from TSA to NSA.. knows so little about things like embassy attacks, Russian invasions and airliners that disappear in dangerous areas of the world.

JellyToast on March 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM

But the DOW something something!!

rogerb on March 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Iran has reconsidered its approach? Explain that one to me. So far as I can tell they’ve survived Stuxnet, played rope-a-dope well enough to get the most painful of sanctions lifted, and can more or less continue doing what they were doing before.

Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like Metternich.

I’d say giving up root Internet’s basically his Panama Canal, but I’m betting that if it really looks like the Dems are going to lose the Senate big-time we’re gonna see this administration conducting a fire-sale on core US interests everywhere.

Every day it gets a little harder to believe that this guy is NOT some kind of Manchurian Candidate. How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?

JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

The “light footprint” didn’t “run out of gas”, the light footprint was foreign policy destined for failure from its inception.

Just like everything else King Barack touches. After all, he and his minions know everything!

GarandFan on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

The only thing to stop Putin is the use of the military or the threat of it. War weary? Wait till we have WW3 over Poland. Then we’ll see war weary. Use a small military action now or a real big one later.

Banshee Leader on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Are Russia and others testing the limits? You bet they are and all of those interested in those limits are watching this drama unfold. To this point, it appears Russia sees no downside to its action. Should that continue to be the case, you can be assured other nations will also “test the limits.”

The Russians (and soon the Chinese) will discover there ARE no limits. If China was to bomb Tokyo into rubble tomorrow morning, the Obama administration would do absolutely nothing (except try to figure out how to blame a Republican for it).

It’s odd how a government with the ability and resources to monitor so much about it’s own citizens.. from TSA to NSA.. knows so little about things like embassy attacks, Russian invasions and airliners that disappear in dangerous areas of the world.

JellyToast on March 17, 2014 at 11:27 AM

That’s because our left-wing government views its critics as its primary enemies, and is focused and ready for “right-wing” terror attacks that will never come. They STILL haven’t figured out that Putin is their enemy and not their friend.

Doomberg on March 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

See? Putin’s not anything at all like Hitler. Hitler just kept going, whereas Putin is smart enough to stop if the West does anything that could seriously set him back.

Fenris on March 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

What we’re actually seeing is naivete in foreign policy head toward a predictable conclusion.

This is NOT “naivete”. It is 100%, unadulterated, America-hating retardation.

Barky and his junta are not naive, in the least. They just hate America with a passion and are about the dumbest bunch of turds to ever disgrace the national political scene. Sadly, their idiocy doesn’t affect much since all they are about is destroying America (which they have done) and Americanism. Even a total retard can accomplish copious amounts of destruction if given the power. Any 3 year old can run the most advanced nuclear submarine into a reef if allowed the power. Any idiot can destroy a Van Gogh masterpiece with nothing more than a rusty knife. Destruction is the perfect job for morons and destruction of America and the West is all that Barky and his third-world worshipping retarded junta are about. It’s all they’ve ever been about, as anyone with a brain knew back in 2007-2008 when the third-world dog-eater was first running and showing what a pea-brained America-hater he is.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Use a small military action now or a real big one later.

Banshee Leader on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

War with Russia wouldn’t be a small military action.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Putin is forcing Merkel’s hand on a partition of Ukraine…China needs Wheat.

“Pro-Russian Protesters Seize Government Buildings In Eastern Ukraine…

Secessionist fever spread across eastern Ukraine Sunday as the Crimean peninsula overwhelmingly approved a referendum to rejoin Russia and ethnic-Russian protesters across a wide swath of the increasingly divided country demanded a similar secession vote in their own regions.

Chanting “Rossiya, Rossiya” and “Putin, Putin,” thousands of protesters took to the streets and stormed government buildings in the major frontier cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv, even as the United States condemned the Crimea vote as illegal and the threat of sanctions by the West loomed over Moscow.

The Russian government-run RIA-Novosti news agency quoted exit polls that showed 93 percent of voters had supported the referendum in Crimea, a strategic peninsula that is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet. Another state-run news agency, Interfax, said turnout had been 80 percent in Crimea, which was part of Russia until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred it to Ukraine in 1954.

The Ukrainian government, installed last month after street protests drove out the pro-Moscow president, dismissed the Crimea vote as a “circus” held at gunpoint, in a reference to the thousands of Russian troops occupying Crimea…”

http://weaselzippers.us/179656-pro-russian-protesters-seize-government-buildings-in-eastern-ukraine/

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Every day it gets a little harder to believe that this guy is NOT some kind of Manchurian Candidate. How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?

JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Choom

Walter from Colorado

Walter L. Newton on March 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Yes, obama’s destruction of America is intentional. We are getting glimpses of the real obama, who will appear in all of his glory after this November’s elections.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

and we’ve made it clear that we’re not interested in fulfilling treaty obligations with the likes of the Ukraine.

What treaty would that be?

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?

JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Genes. That 84 IQ of his didn’t show up out of nowhere.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Neither the economic pressure nor the cyberattacks that forced Iran to reconsider its approach

Economic sanctions and cyberattacks forced Iran to reconsider? The islamic terrorist regime in Iran is laughing at us because Obama gave them everything they wanted and they did not give anything in return… The centrifuges are still turning and producing weapon grade Uranium…

mnjg on March 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Liberalism has many faults but one of the root faults is the insistence on its adherents is to live in the world as they wish it to be rather than the world as it is.

They are naive and childish in their approach to every issue but none so as much as foreign policy. They really believe that we can all just get along if we hold hands and sing kumbaya.

Putin is a nasty, brutish, thug but he is acting out of what he believes to be the strategic best interest of RUSSIA. Our Liberal leaders rarely seem to want to act in our best interest but instead regularly sacrifice our interests to advance other nations.

Liberalism is a sickness that will kill us all.

Charlemagne on March 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Russia and others: testing the limits?

I wonder if there are limits? I’m not trying to be facetious here. I think Obama may squawk a lot but I doubt he would do anything until Russia went beyond it’s former Soviet territory. Sanctions need to be done as symbols but they are silly. In heavily bureaucratized economies like Europe the real money is made off the books. Avoiding sanctions are their bread and butter.

Rocks on March 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Russian Stocks surging and the Ruble is strong.

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

LOL

This the path of the Ruble over the past year

Now worth about 2.5 cents

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Liberalism is a sickness that will kill us all.
Charlemagne on March 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Use a small military action now or a real big one later. Banshee Leader on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, the truth is not always a pleasant thing, but it is necessary now make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless, distinguishable post-war environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Are Russia and others testing the limits? You bet they are and all of those interested in those limits are watching this drama unfold. To this point, it appears Russia sees no downside to its action. Should that continue to be the case, you can be assured other nations will also “test the limits.”

Such as Malaysia, and wherever that plane landed?

Steve Z on March 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I think deep down Obama actually likes this. It takes the US down a peg.

We have the “Down Peg” President.

Oil Can on March 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Liberalism is a sickness that will kill us all.

Charlemagne on March 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Western leftists are nihilists. That’s their goal.

Barky is a ticked-off, third-world, talentless, inept retard who wants nothing other than to exact some delusional revenge against the first world and bring pain and destruction to (what was) the US and the West. Nihilistic, self-hating, suicidal American leftists chose Barky the Retard as the mechanism of our national suicide. But, worse than plain national suicide, to be killed off by such an incompetent, imbecilic joke of a sub-person is the real insult. This last population fo Americans will go down in history as the most pathetic, insane people to have ever walked the face of the Earth. There has never been a population so stupid and self-destructive as our “countrymen”.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Putin and the rest of the world, friend or foe, are calculating their window of operating without strong American leadership…right down to the day.

Is it surprising that those who want to accomplish things that would hitherto have been off the table because of the United States involvement in regard to protecting our interests and those of our allies, as well as defending the rights of those who would be free, would choose to take advantage of a period of weakness and indecisiveness in American leadership?

Obama has created a vacuum, an absence of authority in the world. Nature abhors a vacuum, as do human beings, and that vacuum will be filled. The only real question is who will step in seize that abandoned and abrogated authority.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

I wonder if there are limits? I’m not trying to be facetious here. I think Obama may squawk a lot but I doubt he would do anything until Russia went beyond it’s former Soviet territory.

Rocks on March 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

There are no limits. Obama would just do the same feeble whimpering if Putin invaded Germany.

I don’t see how a new president is going to dig us out of this, really. The groundwork has been laid for the collapse of the postwar order and WW3, our economy has sunk into a depression, and our healthcare system has been ruined.

Doomberg on March 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

The “light footprint”

Sorry Bruce, but you got the wording wrong with this one.
With respect to 0bumble and, well, ALL of his policies the proper wording is “light in the loafers”.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM

The White House was taken by surprise by Vladimir V. Putin’s decisions to invade Crimea, but also by China’s increasingly assertive declaration of exclusive rights to airspace and barren islands.

Taken by surprise=read in newspaper.

Really, you mean the combined O’Barry team couldn’t see the writing on the wall after Georgia?

Sven on March 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say… no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh… depended on the breaks.

Akzed on March 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Just like everything else King Barack touches. After all, he and his minions know everything!

GarandFan on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Obama is a communist, the dreams of his real father are a dominate Soviet Union and no America…..

redguy on March 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Our dear President is more concerned with getting his bracket picks in than he is with Putin’s aggression……priorities.

Rovin on March 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Well, hey, foreign policy is expensive. We’ve got a welfare state to feed./

Aitch748 on March 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Obama has created a vacuum, an absence of authority in the world. Nature abhors a vacuum, as do human beings, and that vacuum will be filled. The only real question is who will step in seize that abandoned and abrogated authority.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

And just like a vacuum, Obama sucks.

redguy on March 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM

What Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have collectively created is huge, historic opportunities for our adversaries in the world to take advantage of a weakened America. By their own admittance, they sought to downplay our role in world affair, our influence gained through strength and foolishly downsize out military which buttressed and underwrote our entire foreign policy.

Now those policies are coming to a logical conclusion most other people foresaw and they are…surprised?

Our adversaries don’t know what comes next. But they do know what the polices are now. It is not curious at all why this is being done at this particular time, It is predictable.

All of this was and is essential to America’s greatness. Anybody who wasn’t blinded by ideology, partisan politics or personal political aspirations would have noticed. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton didn’t or perhaps, didn’t care.

Yet now, even in the midst of these dangerous events Mrs Clinton seeks to redefine her role. She wants to put her performance in an obscured, jaded and dishonest light. Not surprising- being the political ladder climbing opportunist she has developed into over the years.

Still, despite all the evidence and potential dangers, Democrats tell us she is the correct choice for president? They must be kidding.

Marcus Traianus on March 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Really, you mean the combined O’Barry team couldn’t see the writing on the wall after Georgia?

Sven on March 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

King Putt was busy out on the golf course and all of our intelligence agencies are focused on US citizens, especially anyone connected to the TEA Party.
No clue and no concern about what other countries are doing.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 11:53 AM

Well, hey, foreign policy is expensive. We’ve got a welfare state to feed./

Aitch748 on March 17, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, Obama is playing Robin Hood while the rest of the world seizes what it wants.
Maybe the welfare folks can throw their 6 packs and cigs at the invaders.

redguy on March 17, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Doomberg on March 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM

It’s easy to see how to dig ourselves out of this, as a smart lady once said: drill baby, drill!

I don’t see us actually doing that though. The apparatchiks like to milk the system to the edge of disaster, attempting to walk a tightrope over the void rather than unleashing the power of individual liberty.

Fenris on March 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Russian Stocks surging and the Ruble is strong.

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:25 AM

LOL

This the path of the Ruble over the past year

Now worth about 2.5 cents

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Just reporting what happened today….not the last year. The oligarchs said they pulled their assets already.

Bloomberg did the chart…

Despite no move in gold, silver, or US Treasuries, US equities (and JPY crosses) remain bid. But perhaps the most intriguing reaction to Obama’s escalation is the surge higher in Russian stocks and rally in the Ruble… Putin and his oligarch friends must be pleased…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-17/russian-stocks-ruble-respond-obamas-sanctions-extending-gains

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?
 
JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

 
Because his ideological vision is 30/20.

rogerb on March 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Our dear President is more concerned with getting his bracket picks in than he is with Putin’s aggression……priorities.

Rovin on March 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

He probably thinks THAT’S where he’ll kick Putin’s butt – and he’ll be wrong there as well….

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I have long tried to explain to natural born Americans that the only thing that Europeans hate more than a strong American foreign policy and formidable military is the lack of same. They may be ‘war averse,’ but they know that 1) they are incapable of defending themselves against a strong foe, 2) they would have to give up part of their luxurious welfare states in order to pay for the defence that would no longer be available – one that they’ve enjoyed courtesy of the generosity of the American taxpayers, and 3) Nature abhors a vacuum. The decline of the United States as a superpower doesn’t mean that we will all be playing on a level field. On the contrary, someone or a multitude of people be they states, international criminal organisations, and/or terrorist groups. The world is a much more dangerous place when America ‘leads from behind.’ Without America’s military might and its implications for bad actors, there would be nothing to prevent Putin from reconstituting the old USSR with a few new satellites such as France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. There would be nothing to stop China from invading and occupying its own Sudetenland (Taiwan), Austrian Anschluss (South Korea), and Poland (Japan) before devouring as much of the Pacific, Sea of Japan, and South China Sea as possible – and since there are 19 Chinese men for every one Chinese woman, the Party may find war an attractive way of culling the herd, so to speak, and alleviate the domestic unrest that is beginning to erupt. In 2011, there were over 100,000 protests – and that number comes from the government so you can only imagine what is really happening on the ground.

I don’t believe that the US should be the world’s policeman or follow the Wilsonian doctrine of making the world safe for democracy and spreading it to the four corners of the world (if you listen to the Left, you might just mistakenly identify the Wilson Doctrine for the – supposedly – ‘unprecedented’ Bush Doctrine). I do, however, believe enthusiastically in peace through strength, leadership, and, should we make them, following through on our ‘red lines.’ Further, I understand that, for better or worse, America’s national security, economy, and domestic interests are dependent and/or impacted by what happens outside of our borders.

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Because Obama has endangered not only this nation but the entire free world with his abrogation of American authority abroad, it is vital that this nation elects a strong, forceful, qualified, experienced, and competent president to succeed him.

If we’re going to fill the vacuum created by Obama, let’s fill it with a president who is cognizant of the mistakes made by the previous administration, who will admit those mistakes,rectify them, and restore this nation to its former position of authority and influence, for the good of this nation and our allies in the world.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Every day it gets a little harder to believe that this guy is NOT some kind of Manchurian Candidate. How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?

JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

By smoking the choom pipe and dreaming of Daddy in his 20′s, and playing community agitator in the Daley machine in his 30′s, and not really paying attention while Reagan was winning the Cold War, and even Clinton was cutting back welfare benefits and bombing Serbia.

Obama is still a confused little boy seeking for his identity between his “typical white” grandmother and his revolutionary father, a 1970′s hippie trying to “find himself”. While Obama gazes at his navel, our enemies are using it for target practice.

Steve Z on March 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Use a small military action now or a real big one later.

Banshee Leader on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

War with Russia wouldn’t be a small military action.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Wouldn’t happen…..our military now has more important tasks to deal with…….such as staging the next All-Services Fund Raising Drag Show and coordinating the appropriate fashion and housing arrangements for new transgender recruits and existing transgender personnel soon to feel free to come out.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Just since January; the Ruble is down more than 10% against the dollar. It’s one of the worst performing currencies this year.

The Russian stock market (MICEX) is down 15% in just the last couple of weeks. That makes the Russian market the single worst performance of any national indice in the past month.

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Just since January; the Ruble is down more than 10% against the dollar. It’s one of the worst performing currencies this year.

The Russian stock market (MICEX) is down 15% in just the last couple of weeks. That makes the Russian market the single worst performance of any national indice in the past month.

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM

The Ruble is being introduced in Crimea next month.

Lucky them!

Resist We Much on March 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

He probably thinks THAT’S where he’ll kick Putin’s butt – and he’ll be wrong there as well….

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM

So he would. Putin would kick Bammy’s butt in bracket picks, or pretty much anything else considered manly.

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

So he would. Putin would kick Bammy’s butt in bracket picks, or pretty much anything else considered manly.

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Well, Putin could send a few troops into the various arenas to make sure the games went the right way….

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

One of the foreign policy promises Barack Obama made was that during his presidency, America would have a “light footprint” on world affairs.

Mis-transcription. He was actually admitting that he was “light in the loafers”.

slickwillie2001 on March 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Russia will have to play quick – long term there is nothing in their favor. So more of the Ukraine must be swallowed along with any area of the Baltics that has strategic significance. We will protest but do nothing. Long term the cards are going to start turning against him.

The Senate is now gone as looking like a weakened fool internationally is always disaster for an adminstration. If Mr. Trende’s analysis is correct Obama will be below 40% approval and the GOP will pick up about 10 seats. The slush fund will be getting cut. Obama’s ability for Reid to save him is disappearing.

Hillary is toast and whoever is the GOP nominee for the WH will be strong foreign policy type, who will trigger a energy development campaign that will dry out Russia’s bank account.

Russia is still a third world nation. They make nothing of value and China is sitting on a real estate bubble that puts ours to shame. China is rapidly no longer a low cost producer and is getting very old before it gets close to wealthy. All the economic problems we complain about with Obama are larger there. They are not the future. SO yes, Taiwan they need and will take, soon.

Europe is really screwed.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Just since January; the Ruble is down more than 10% against the dollar. It’s one of the worst performing currencies this year.

The Russian stock market (MICEX) is down 15% in just the last couple of weeks. That makes the Russian market the single worst performance of any national indice in the past month.

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM

So what?

Do you not think that Putin has considered all these financial options before he started this? He’s well aware of the possibilities.

But when he has the backs of a oppressed society to ride out any financial storm, he doesn’t give two sh*ts how any stock market report, or ruble slide or sanctions effect his country.

When you have a country that is willing to sacrifice or be sacrificed, you hold all the cards.

Walter L. Newton on March 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

First, Obama destroyed the south side of Chicago.
Second, Obama destroyed the economy of the USA.
Third, Obama destroyed the health care industry of the USA.
Fourth, Obama is destroying the free world.

I’m beginning to sense a pattern with this Obama chap.

jukin3 on March 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM

It has actually gotten so bad, the French are laughing at O’Barry.

Sven on March 17, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Russia and others testing the limits? Nope, they’re done with that. Testing’s over. It’s for real now. Barky’s been weighed, measured, and found wanting. All of our allies had better be on guard, until Dummy is out of the White House, there’s no cavalry coming.

smfic on March 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Walter L. Newton on March 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Nope – he has a very tenuous grasp on any of it.

When he cannot meet his balance of payments to import food, its over. Just like before. And in isolation it will come quickly.

He has made his gamble – a lot of Europeans will have an opportunity to have a real cruddy six months.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Do you not think that Putin has considered all these financial options before he started this?

Walter L. Newton on March 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

He obviously doesn’t care, but you have to keep in mind that Russia is basically a banana republic at this point.

Energy accounts for 2/3rd of all exports and makes up a huge chunk of the country’s GDP. If oil and gas prices were to fall, the Russian economy would be even more of a basketcase.

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Wouldn’t happen…..our military now has more important tasks to deal with…….such as staging the next All-Services Fund Raising Drag Show and coordinating the appropriate fashion and housing arrangements for new transgender recruits and existing transgender personnel soon to feel free to come out.

/SNARK

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I saw that.

Its a shocker that other nations don’t seem to have as much respect for the US military as they used to? /sarc

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM

….flexible….Smart Power!

KOOLAID2 on March 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM

If oil and gas prices were to fall, the Russian economy would be even more of a basketcase.

Norwegian on March 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

So, essentially, Obama is shoring up Putin’s expansion plans by refusing to increase gas and oil exports from the United States, deliberately not pursuing trade agreements that focus on energy, and stonewalling unleashing US exploration and production.

Oil and gas prices are not going to decrease as long as the LEFT is hamstringing exploration and production, and OPEC is fixing prices.

Putin has spent a great deal of time and energy ( no pun intended) making certain that his European neighbors are dependent on Russian gas and oil production and exports. Europe was more than happy to go along since they preferred to pursue their ‘green agenda’, rather than develop their own viable energy sources. Hence, fearing Putin would cease exports of gas and oil to them, Britain’s reluctance to join in US sanctions.

Obama had to promise to see that their energy supply wasn’t disrupted. There is no certainty yet, given current conditions, the US can supply enough to offset and end to Russian supply without either tapping US reserves, or significantly increasing US production and export. Neither option is considered tenable by the US LEFT.

Looks like it’s time for the LEFT, both in the US and Europe, to decide whether they want to take responsibility for supplying enough energy…hang onto their ‘green alternatives’… or let Russia take that responsibility… and advantage.

thatsafactjack on March 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

America would have a “light footprint” on world affairs.

Mis-transcription. He was actually admitting that he was “light in the loafers”.

slickwillie2001 on March 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM

“Light in the loafers” seems to be Bammy’s plan in changing our military too….so, yeah, he is serious about our having a “light footprint” alright.

hawkeye54 on March 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM

“State-oil firms had higher-volume term crude contracts starting up in January with such suppliers as Iraq and Russian to feed new refineries coming online in the first quarter.

China has boosted its annual purchase of Iraqi crude by more than two-thirds to 882,000 bpd this year, trade sources said last year in November.

Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft said this month it would ship an additional 180,000 bpd of oil this year to China and is continuing talks to further ramp up eastbound crude supplies.

Part of the Russian crude will feed PetroChina’s $6 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in Sichuan province in the southwest, with 200,000 bpd in capacity, company officials have said.

State-run Sinochem Corp’s new refinery, the 240,000 bpd Quanzhou plant, started test runs from mid-January. The plant is processing sweet crude from West Africa for test runs before switching to sour crude from the Middle East once it goes into normal operation, traders have said.

China’s crude oil imports last year rose 4 percent, down from a 6.8 percent increase in 2012 as demand was hit by a slowing economy. Crude demand this year could rebound slightly as new refineries open, although growth may be capped by a lack of momentum in the broader economy.

China overtook the United States in September as the world’s biggest net oil importer, a trend the U.S Energy Information Administration said would continue through 2014.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/12/china-crude-import-idUKL3N0LG26320140212

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 12:39 PM

“As I write this, President Obama is announcing a list of limited sanctions against specific individuals in the Russian government meant to punish them for “violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.” The idea is to go after the personal finances of top Russian and Ukraine officials, including the former president of Ukraine and members of Putin’s inner-circle. Putin, though, is not on the list.
Greg White, the Moscow Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal reports that news of the White House sanctions did not have the intended effect. Relieved over how limited they are, the Russian market enjoyed a rally:

greg white ✔ @whitegl
Follow
Strong signal? Russian markets rally on relief that sanctions lists limited #ukraine

9:37 AM – 17 Mar 2014

“President Obama made clear in his statement that he is giving himself room to increase the pain through further sanctions. But Russia also has the power to retaliate financially against a Europe and Ukraine that relies on Putin’s growing empire for energy.

Overall, the Obama White House and much of the mainstream media seem to believe that economic pressure against Putin is some sort of silver bullet to stop his empire building. Russian history says different. Putin is a student and acolyte of his predecessors, Stalin and Lenin. Marxist-Leninist thinking is long-term, not based on that day’s poll or focus group.

For decades, Stalin, Lenin, and Trotsky labored for the Revolution under the belief they would not live to see it — that it was a generation or two away. October of 1917 surprised them as much as anyone. Afterwards, the Russian peoples were allowed to suffer in unspeakable ways for decades as a way to fulfill the Revolution.

If past is prologue, Putin is more than willing to let his people suffer in furtherance of a hundred-year goal to rebuild the Soviet Empire.

Thus far, Putin has been wildly unpredictable, but only to an American government and media that failed and continues to fail to understand the way a former KGB officer longing for the good old days of the Soviet Union would think. Obama and the West, though, seem to be working off a predictable template. If that template has surprised Putin at all it is likely only due to how slow and weak the roll-out of that template has been….”

http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/03/17/Report-Weak-White-House-Sanctions-Rally-Russian-Market

workingclass artist on March 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Use a small military action now or a real big one later.

Banshee Leader on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

War with Russia wouldn’t be a small military action.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Putin is not stupid. He recognizes and repects power and the will to use it. If you show him a big stick and it is clear you will use it, he will behave. If you throw away the stick and hold out your hand and say “nice doggie”, he will not only bite it, he will bite it off. He will not only steal your pants he will strip you and eat you. What is more, he will believe this is as it should be because the weak do not deserve to survive unless they are useful slaves for the strong. Listen to what he says and watch what he does.

Peace through strength was not an empty slogan. It reflects reality; just as Kissingers position that power without the will to use it means nothing and thus his “pitiful helpless giant” description of the US at the time also reflected reality.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Enough airpower moved to eastern European allies combined with providing real military capability to Ukraine might avert a move by Putin. The old Nixon doctrine of providing the means to fight for freedom to those who are willing to do the fighting themselves for it had a lot going for it. Unfortunately, while Ukraine can provide men, it cannot provide the necessary equipment or air power to deter a Russian move. Those pieces have to be placed on the chess board for Putin to see by the West.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Putin is not stupid. He recognizes and repects power and the will to use it. If you show him a big stick and it is clear you will use it, he will behave.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Not over the Ukraine on Russia’s doorstep.

Peace through strength was not an empty slogan. It reflects reality; just as Kissingers position that power without the will to use it means nothing and thus his “pitiful helpless giant” description of the US at the time also reflected reality.

Except it isn’t peace that we are talking about but attempting to bring the Ukraine into the EU/NATO alliance. The US would not sit idle while Mexico pondered joining the Russian Federation, or joining China… and Russia won’t sit idle either.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Unfortunately, while Ukraine can provide men, it cannot provide the necessary equipment or air power to deter a Russian move. Those pieces have to be placed on the chess board for Putin to see by the West.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

They cannot provide the men.

The army is in a shambles, they are not considered reliable by the Kiev government and they are having trouble raising even 60,000 militia.

Half the Ukraine wants out and the remaining half are bickering about who should be in charge.

http://www.rnbo.gov.ua/news/1619.html

Ukrainians now can send a text message to support their national army as a campaign has been launched by the new authorities in Kiev. A text message will charge a donor around $0.5, while the National Security Council’s website also lists several bank account numbers. Soon after President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted from his post by a coup, the treasury was proclaimed almost empty. A short promo movie supporting the campaign says 40,000 have been mobilized and require aid to keep up operational capabilities.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:12 PM

The eastern members of the NATO alliance question right now whether the US will even honor its committment to their defense. What we have moved in air power so far is of only token amounts. Europe is over an energy barrel but also doubts that if they stand up, the US will back their play. So far we are playing the game of being naked and afraid and thus not being provocative with the idea that this will bring a peaceful Russian response. Naked and afraid does not deter aggression and it does not inspire followers. You do not have to say what you will do; but you do need to put some options on the board and reassure our wavering allies.

We also need to start signing long-term contracts to supply energy to Europe. This will threaten a money source Putin will not want to lose and would mean a lot more than penalties on a few oligarchs.

Like Lenin, Putin may well keep moving forward until he finds steel. Right now he sees nothing but mush.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Not even half of Crimea really wants out.

17% of the Russians do however.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Exactly. Obama has none to show however, and Putin knows it.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:31 PM

The eastern members of the NATO alliance question right now whether the US will even honor its committment to their defense.

Those committments should never have been given. The Baltic States cannot be defended. It is the same reason that Georgia should never be allowed into NATO. It cannot be defended.

Like Lenin, Putin may well keep moving forward until he finds steel. Right now he sees nothing but mush.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

If you think that there is nothing over which the Russians will go to war you are mistaken. The EU/US are the ones pushing east.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Except it isn’t peace that we are talking about but attempting to bring the Ukraine into the EU/NATO alliance. The US would not sit idle while Mexico pondered joining the Russian Federation, or joining China… and Russia won’t sit idle either.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Some Ukrainians may have said they wanted union with the EU but I did not see Europe or the US pushing that as it would have been a financial burden and source of cheap labor competition EU unions would not want. If Ukraine gets allowed in, it would be because of Putin’s actions.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I must admit Crimea doesn’t really surprise me, I said as much on these boards before Putin ever tried to take it – but I am shocked at how feckless Obama has been to realize he could keep the Crimea as the only loss to Putin and shore up the rest of the Ukraine to pursue EU/NATO membership. Instead, he has proven himself even more stupid that I expected.

Eastern Ukraine is effectively gone, perhaps the whole country, and so will be part of the Baltics I would guess – though I’m not as certain there.

Smart Power!!

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Sharrukin – it isn’t the Russians going to war he is talking about. He doesn’t believe the Russians will find any desire for them to just keep moving west.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Sharrukin – it isn’t the Russians going to war he is talking about. He doesn’t believe the Russians will find anyone opposing their desire to just keep moving west.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I guess I don’t understand the basis for your comment that certain countries should not have been offered NATO and/or EU membership.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Some Ukrainians may have said they wanted union with the EU but I did not see Europe or the US pushing that as it would have been a financial burden and source of cheap labor competition EU unions would not want. If Ukraine gets allowed in, it would be because of Putin’s actions.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM

On 21 March 2005, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld noted that Poland will, in every way, promote Ukraine’s desire to be integrated with the EU

In October 2005, Commission president José Manuel Barroso said that the future of Ukraine is in the EU

According to the Ukrainian authorities, the ENP is not an adequate political instrument, since joining the EU was one of principal objectives of all governments since 1994

Relations between Ukraine and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started in 1995. Ukraine is as of January 2008 a candidate to join the NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP)

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Meant 17% of population/the Russians – not 17% of Russians.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM

I guess I don’t understand the basis for your comment that certain countries should not have been offered NATO and/or EU membership.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:41 PM

If we cannot defend a country why make the commitment to do so?

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:53 PM

“testing the limits?”

What limits?

Today: The Crimea
Tomorrow: Eastern Ukraine
Weds.: Western Ukraine
Thus: Belarus
Fri: Latvia………

By that time Cupcake-In-Chief will be threatening ‘no more White House dinners!’

MaiDee on March 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

He doesn’t believe the Russians will find any desire for them to just keep moving west.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM

I would say worry about that when Putin starts to move west. The Ukraine is Putin reacting to the US/EU actions in the Ukraine.

What is wrong with the comments? First it was the double-post problem and now its slow as hell.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:56 PM

If we cannot defend a country why make the commitment to do so?

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:53 PM

King Putt just likes to draw lines, for no apparent reason.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Yeah its bad at the moment.

We could defend the country if we wished to. Obama doesn’t wish to – and he could have said so before he re-upped the previous agreements. Putin is forcibly reacting to actions by independent countries to curtail his influence in the region. So I guess by your reckoning we should quit trying to move countries into our sphere where historically the opportunity for war and violence is much lower than if we allow them to re-attach to a dictorship/totalitarian state. It was in our national interest to promote this. And Putin is demostrating why.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

And Putin is moving west – whether you choose to acknowledge that or not. So far he isn’t running into much interference. So he will keep moving.

Wonder where Obama’s current red line is?

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

King Putt just likes to draw lines, for no apparent reason.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

The problem is that at some point a nation will cross one of those lines when it is an actual line that shouldn’t be crossed, but with no credibility as far as backing up his cheap talk they won’t realize that its real this time.

Weak men like Obama start wars because no one can reliably predict their behavior.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Wonder where Obama’s current red line is?

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

The front edge of the green on hole 6?

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

The problem is that at some point a nation will cross one of those lines when it is an actual line that shouldn’t be crossed, but with no credibility as far as backing up his cheap talk they won’t realize that its real this time.
sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:29 PM

You mean like Syria?
That’s the problem – he has no credibility.
And Putin knows it, so he’s doing whatever he wants to do.
Others will follow suit.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:34 PM

So I guess by your reckoning we should quit trying to move countries into our sphere where historically the opportunity for war and violence is much lower than if we allow them to re-attach to a dictorship/totalitarian state. It was in our national interest to promote this. And Putin is demostrating why.

Zomcon JEM on March 17, 2014 at 2:27 PM

The US doesn’t have the military strength, or the will to extend influence into the Ukraine, or Central Asia. US public opinion is against, the European allies will not back that play, and trying to force the issue will result either in a humiliating political defeat or a war. Both China and India have quietly hinted that they are more in Russia’s camp than the western alliance.

There are limits to power.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:36 PM

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:43 PM

The Ukraine is Putin reacting to the US/EU actions in the Ukraine.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 1:56 PM

The US, UK and Russia committed to Ukrainian territorial sovereignty in the 1994 agreement they all signed; so that applecart that Russia is upsetting was already in place not some new Western aggression. EU membership was quite a different matter and was not in any immediate prospect despite 9 year old comments that you cite. For Russia to claim it was acting in self-defense would require some real showing that it was under threat. It was not. It just took what it wanted and may take more. To claim the Black Sea base is essential to Russian defense may have some validity but it is not at all clear that their use was under threat; so even that is a dubious justification. Their justification for seizing eastern Ukraine with less than half Russian ethnicity is even weaker.

Blaming the coming humanitarian nightmare in Ukraine on the US and Europe rather than on its true author, Vladimir Putin is misplaced.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 2:37 PM

You mean like Syria?

No, I mean like China invading Taiwan and the US responding militarily. The Chinese may think that Obama would do nothing and take the opportunity presented. Obama is then forced to act by domestic political pressure and the fun begins.

If Obama hadn’t been so weak and indecisive then the Chinese may never have taken such a gamble.

That’s the problem – he has no credibility.
And Putin knows it, so he’s doing whatever he wants to do.
Others will follow suit.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:34 PM

I agree, but we also need to understand that there are some things we can do, and some things we cannot. Even if we can do something…like overthrow the Egyptian leader, doesn’t mean we should.

We thought we could turn Iraq and Afghanistan into democracies. It didn’t work and no amount of cash, soldiers, or nation building will make it work.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:41 PM

How do you get to fifty years old and end up so intellectually blind?

JEM on March 17, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Obama grew up amongst leftists. Their version of “critical thinking” is as follows: They tell you “if you are intelligent, you will believe this” (referring to whatever concept they want you to believe). Then they think “well, I want to be intelligent, so I will believe that” even if it is a complete crock of fertilizer.

The leftist then cannot really think, but can only regurgitate the results of canned thought patterns. When all those false beliefs hit the concrete wall of reality, it ain’t pretty. This is what has been happening for the past 5 years.

SubmarineDoc on March 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

The US, UK and Russia committed to Ukrainian territorial sovereignty in the 1994 agreement they all signed; so that applecart that Russia is upsetting was already in place not some new Western aggression.

Only if nuclear weapons are used.

EU membership was quite a different matter and was not in any immediate prospect despite 9 year old comments that you cite.

On December 3, 2008 NATO decided it will work out an Annual National Programme of providing assistance to Ukraine to implement reforms required to accede the alliance without referring to MAP.[3] Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko intrepertated this as a de facto obtaining of the NATO Membership Action Plan.

For Russia to claim it was acting in self-defense would require some real showing that it was under threat. It was not.

Russia isn’t acting in self-defense. It is acting in its own self-interest.

It just took what it wanted and may take more. To claim the Black Sea base is essential to Russian defense may have some validity but it is not at all clear that their use was under threat; so even that is a dubious justification. Their justification for seizing eastern Ukraine with less than half Russian ethnicity is even weaker.

Blaming the coming humanitarian nightmare in Ukraine on the US and Europe rather than on its true author, Vladimir Putin is misplaced.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Russia doesn’t need justification. It just needs the tanks and troops to make it happen.

This isn’t a courtroom and truth, justice and the nobler virtues are not part of geopolitics.

The question at hand is whether Russia is willing to fight for the Ukraine and it looks like they are. It also looks like the Europeans are not willing to fight, and I doubt the US is either.

The wisdom of a fight over the Ukraine is dubious at best. Even if the ability and the will to fight was there, does it make any sense to start this fight? I don’t think it does.

The EU/US helped to overthrow a democratically elected Ukrainian government which chose Russian bribe money over their cheaper bribe. The Russian countered with military force which the western alliance didn’t expect.

Its a power play on both sides.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

You mean like Syria?

No, I mean like China invading Taiwan and the US responding militarily. The Chinese may think that Obama would do nothing and take the opportunity presented. Obama is then forced to act by domestic political pressure and the fun begins.
sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:41 PM

What I meant about Syria was King Putt theoretically drew a “red line” for chemical weapons – and they were used anyway – and he did nothing about it – thereby destroying any little bit of credibility he may have had up to that point.
And yes, as a result, other countries like China will likely start doing things they’ve wanted to do for a long time, but couldn’t because of the US – because now they expect the US will likely do nothing regardless of existing treaties.

True – there are some places where we just shouldn’t get involved anyway – and I agree that includes Egypt, as well as Syria, Libya, and many others. I also happen to think Crimea might be one of them – since it was Russian territory in the past and has a large ethnic Russian population. I understand there are many other issues about it, but we sure wouldn’t want Russia getting involved in anything we might deal with on or around our own borders either. It’s a no-win situation for us – especially because of the overall foreign policy position King Putt has put us in.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I understand there are many other issues about it, but we sure wouldn’t want Russia getting involved in anything we might deal with on or around our own borders either.

Powerful nations have speheres of influence for a reason, and it doesn’t have anything to do with morality. We wouldn’t tolerate certain actions and neither will they.

It’s a no-win situation for us – especially because of the overall foreign policy position King Putt has put us in.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Separating out Obama’s idiocy from what should be done if there wasn’t an idiot in the White House is difficult.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Separating out Obama’s idiocy from what should be done if there wasn’t an idiot in the White House is difficult.

sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Yes – and that’s the biggest problem we have – in my view.
I have no doubt our military could still beat anyone – IF they were turned loose to do what they’re armed and trained to do, without a bunch of political ROE tying their hands.
But there are places and situations where that’s not what we should be doing.
I just seriously doubt our current “leadership” has the ability to make the right decisions to “do what’s right”.

dentarthurdent on March 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM

The question at hand is whether Russia is willing to fight for the Ukraine and it looks like they are. It also looks like the Europeans are not willing to fight, and I doubt the US is either. sharrukin on March 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

If Ukraine is easy, they may seek more. Giving weapons to Ukraine could make it more expensive to take. If the West does not put adequate air power in adjoining areas, even giving military aid and training would be risky. Reinforcing Europe’s frontline states and giving military aid to Ukraine makes sense in my opinion.

KW64 on March 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM