Obama calls meeting of G-7, EU to discuss Ukraine; Update: Ukraine claims soldier killed by Russian forces in Crimea

posted at 12:01 pm on March 18, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Will the West get serious about sanctions on Russia, now that Vladimir Putin has completed his seizure of Crimea? We may soon find out … relatively soon, anyway. The US , Japan, and European nations already had a nuclear summit on the schedule next week, and Barack Obama has now requested a side meeting of the G-7 and EU to discuss the response to the crisis in Ukraine. The call appears to signal that the G-8 may subtract Russia from its membership:

President Barack Obama is gathering allied leaders for a meeting in Europe next week to discuss further action in response to Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama on Tuesday invited leaders of the G-7 and European Union to meet on the sidelines of a nuclear summit next week in the Netherlands. Hayden said it will focus on what steps the group can take to respond to developments in Ukraine.

The official response of the G-7 nations has only been to cancel some preparatory meetings to the G-8 summit in Sochi, scheduled for June. At least officially, that meeting is still on. That leaves a pretty wide range of responses available for the G-7 nations, from kicking Russia out of the G-8 to … a strongly worded letter or two, with a formal cancellation of Sochi somewhere in between.

To which end of the spectrum will the West lean? Earlier I linked to the French response to the Crimean annexation, which was … less than resolute (via Olivier Knox):

France might cancel a controversial deal to sell two state-of-the-art warships to Russia but only if Britain also acted against Russian oligarchs in London, according to the French foreign minister.

Speaking after Russian president Vladimir Putin approved a draft bill for the annexation of Crimea before the parliament in Moscow, Laurent Fabius warned he “could envisage” blocking the €1.2bn (£1bn) sale.

France is due to deliver two high-tech Mistral warships to Russia. The first, christened the Vladivostok, has already undergone sea trials from the port of Saint-Nazaire. A second, called the Sevastopol, is due to be completed by the end of next year.

“If Putin continues doing what he is doing we could envisage cancelling the sales,” Fabius told TF1 television on Tuesday. “This would be part of a third level of sanctions. For the moment we are at the second level.

“But we will ask others, and I’m thinking namely the British, to do the same with the assets of the Russian oligarchs in London. Sanctions have to be shouldered by everyone.”

Well, sure, but there is a qualitative difference to leaving personal assets unmolested and arming someone who just seized territory from another state. This will cost the French government (they own most of the company building the two helicopter carriers), but that is in large part their own fault. They contracted for this sale after Putin’s similar seizure of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and invasion of Georgia in 2008, which was supported in large measure by helicopter gunships of the kind this two carriers will support.

Besides, sanctions always damage both sides economically. The point of sanctions is to provide an alternative to military conflict or abject surrender. Ronald Reagan used economics as a key part of his strategy to drive the Soviet Union into collapse, which certainly cost the US plenty in spending but accomplished the goal of freeing eastern Europe from the Soviet grip.

Thus far, the G-8 nations can’t even agree on a suspension for Russia, let alone giving Putin the boot:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Tuesday said G-8 leaders have decided to suspend Russia’s participation because of its incursion into Crimea, although other member countries said no decision has been made about Russia’s future in the group.

Britain’s Foreign Office said Tuesday that Russia is still part of the G8 — but did not rule out a suspension.

Obama has a real opportunity to provide some leadership in this crisis, because no one else seems to want to do so. He is marching in the right direction, if belatedly and at a slow speed, but that might be because our allies have little desire to keep up. If the West’s response continues to be this weak, don’t expect Putin to stop at Crimea.

Update: The Washington Post editorial board is not exactly impressed with the sanctions thus far, either:

THE SANCTIONS President Obama announced Monday to punish Russia and its collaborators in Ukraine are intended to inflict economic pain. So a fair measure of their adequacy was the reaction Monday of the Russian stock and currency markets: Both spiked upward in celebration.

While Vladi­mir Putin matches or exceeds the most pessimistic expectations of his belligerence — over the weekend, Russian forces extended their invasion from Crimea to an adjacent area of Ukraine — the United States and its allies so far are delivering less than they threatened, or than markets expected, in retaliation. Unless the West quickly steps up measures against the oligarchs, bag men and banks that prop up the Russian regime, the result will likely be more aggression. …

Mr. Obama has been holding back on tougher measures while offering Mr. Putin face-saving ways to de-escalate. While that is not an unreasonable policy, it can’t succeed if Mr. Putin is determined, as he seems to be, to crush Ukraine while ignoring Western reaction. It’s not too late to force Mr. Putin to reconsider his course, but that will require the West to get ahead of him in adopting measures that inflict real pain, rather than waiting to react to his next act of aggression.

Mr. Obama said Monday he will “calibrate our response based on whether Russia chooses to escalate or de-escalate.” Since a de-escalation looks at this point like wishful thinking, we’ll know that the president’s calibrations are adequate when they cause Russia’s markets to plunge rather than rally.

That’s not the only measure, and some of that exuberance may well be irrational and soon regretted. But clearly it’s not stopping Putin, and the real measure may be Ukraine’s eastern border.

Update: The situation in Crimea is deteriorating into war:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Tuesday that the conflict in its Crimea peninsula, now under Russian control, had entered a military phase after an Ukrainian officer was killed in an alleged Russian shooting at a Crimea base.

“The conflict is moving from a political one to a military one because of Russian soldiers,” he told a meeting at Ukraine’s defense ministry. “Today, Russian soldiers began shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and this is a war crime without any expiry under a statute of limitations.”

Yatseniuk said he had ordered Ukraine’s defense minister to call a meeting with his counterparts from Britain, France, and Russia – signatories to a 1994 treaty guaranteeing Ukraine’s borders to “prevent an escalation of the conflict”.

Earlier, a military spokesman said a Ukrainian officer was killed in a shooting at a military facility on the outskirts of the Crimean capital Simferopol, but it was unclear who was behind the incident.

I don’t think the West has a week to save the rest of Ukraine.


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Bmore

Schadenfreude on March 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Earlier, a military spokesman said a Ukrainian officer was killed in a shooting at a military facility on the outskirts of the Crimean capital Simferopol, but it was unclear who was behind the incident.

Of course it is “unclear”, because the Ukrainians are behind it. They are doing their best to draw the U.S. into the conflict with Russia that they provoked.

I doubt Putin is going to go after the rest of Ukraine. Why should he? The Crimea has the strategic value, and was easy. Putin has been eager to operate in a legalistic fashion, while accusing the impotent West of hypocrisy (Kosovo anyone?). The blatant use of force is not his style. It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

The Guardian:

• A Ukrainian serviceman has died after being shot dead in the storming of a Ukrainian military base in Simferopol, Crimea, according to a military spokesman. He said a captain was also injured and taken to hospital and other Ukrainian servicemen were arrested.

•The Ukrainian military spokesman described the attackers as “unknown forces, fully equipped”. Russia reportedly said that Crimean self-defence fighters were shot by a sniper.

• Following the shooting, the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, accused Russia of a “war crime”. He also said the conflict had moved from the political to the military stage.

So now the argument will be who shot first. Not that it matters. Both sides will spin it their way.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Milli Vanilli could at least LOOK convincing pretending to be pop artists.

Obama can’t convince anyone he’s actually a President.

ConstantineXI on March 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I’d say he’s exactly like Milli Vanilli. They, like him, faked it all the way to the top. Once there, the fraud unraveled. Just like Milli Vanilli, he was convincing enough to enough people to “appear” Presidential, but lip-syncing or teleprompter reading can only take you so far. Hopefully obozo will suffer the same fate as Milli Vanilli.

Flange on March 18, 2014 at 1:14 PM

So now the argument will be who shot first. Not that it matters. Both sides will spin it their way.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

True that.

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 1:14 PM

“Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.”

well, the joke is on them — look who’s in the oval office!

/talk about a lose-lose situation

ABreitbart on March 18, 2014 at 1:15 PM

I doubt Putin is going to go after the rest of Ukraine. Why should he?

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Resources. Coal, iron, food, you name it. Rail and road connections to the West.

If this was the game of Risk, there’s no reason not to take it.

BobMbx on March 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Of course it is “unclear”, because the Ukrainians are behind it. They are doing their best to draw the U.S. into the conflict with Russia that they provoked.

I doubt Putin is going to go after the rest of Ukraine. Why should he? The Crimea has the strategic value, and was easy. Putin has been eager to operate in a legalistic fashion, while accusing the impotent West of hypocrisy (Kosovo anyone?). The blatant use of force is not his style. It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

What are they putting in vodka these days?

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now…

Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

How will he be stopped? Sternly worded letter?

BobMbx on March 18, 2014 at 1:09 PM

If Turkey were unwise enough to shut down the Bosphorus unilaterally, the US will remind the Turks that all those ships flying the Stars and Stripes in the Mediterranean will do nothing to stop Russia from seizing Constantinople.

(Though we probably would seize it ourselves via a nice little orchestrated coup d’etat.)

The point is, it wouldn’t stay closed for long. Even O’Bama would see that there is no other course of action.

Nomennovum on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

<blockquoteWhat are they putting in vodka these days?

corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 PM

I can’t wait until Russia starts threatening NATO members like Poland. I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,” “The Polish should have known better than to provoke a fight with Russia,” etc.

Doomberg on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

prezidentin’ is hard…

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The rat-eared wonder skipped a security team meeting about Ukraine for a White House film festival (really). He botches foreign policy for six years and then thinks he can fix it by having a few drinks and mini-quiches with the G-7 as a snub to Putin. The bastard doesn’t know the first thing about prezidentin’

And by the way Putin don’t care.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

The rat-eared wonder skipped a security team meeting about Ukraine for a White House film festival (really). He botches foreign policy for six years and then thinks he can fix it by having a few drinks and mini-quiches with the G-7 as a snub to Putin. The bastard doesn’t know the first thing about prezidentin’

And by the way Putin don’t care.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

nice summary

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now…

Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Israel, for example.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM

As for Russia taking Lithuania or the Bosporous (Constantinople) from Turkey and NATO being a deterrent: Forget it. The only reason why Putin went into Crimea is he doesn’t think the United States with Obama as President to be a credible deterrent. We aren’t going to war under ANY circumstances. We aren’t even sending Ukraine any weapons.

With the Untied States not being considered a credible threat then neither is NATO, because NATO=United States except for a few brigades coming from Germany and Britain. And right now they won’t go WITH us, much less without us. NATO is dead. And Putin would LOVE to humiliate and end NATO.

ConstantineXI on March 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Monday of being guided in its foreign policy not by international law but by the “rule of the gun.”

“Our Western partners headed by the United States prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun,” he told a joint session of parliament.

“They have come to believe in their exceptionalism and their sense of being the chosen ones. That they can decide the destinies of the world, that it is only them who can be right.”

…while LilliPutin’s masked thugs killed a Ukrainian today.

Schadenfreude on March 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

What are they putting in vodka these days? corona79 on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 PM

In slightly more words you could have actually commented on that post. Please at least address how the US attacking Kosovo was legal, by any standard of law you wish. Please address the civilian casualties too. Thanks.

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

I can’t wait until Russia starts threatening NATO members like Poland. I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,” “The Polish should have known better than to provoke a fight with Russia,” etc.

Doomberg on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Besides Poland has only been in the club since 1999, it isn’t like we’re all attached to them to begin with!

Seriously, this whole Crimea thing has made a strange alliance of radical leftists like Obama and Paulbot libertarians.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 1:28 PM

…while LilliPutin’s masked thugs killed a Ukrainian today. Schadenfreude on March 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM

A Ukrainian? As in one? Do you have the thug’s confession?

How many Yugoslavian civilians has the US killed, and what did they do to us?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Putin will not stop until the Iron curtain rises again

ConservativePartyNow on March 18, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Putin acts, the West dithers……………..

GarandFan on March 18, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Thanks, Obama voters. If you’d set out to purposefully humiliate the country, you couldn’t have done a better job than electing this tool.

Resist We Much on March 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I can’t wait until Russia starts threatening NATO members like Poland. I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,” “The Polish should have known better than to provoke a fight with Russia,” etc.

Doomberg on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

It’s absurd that NATO even still exists, let alone that it’s been expanded all the way up to Russia’s border. Why the hell are we treaty-obligated to go to war with a nuclear great power to defend Estonia?

Fortunately, Putin probably isn’t crazy enough to attack a NATO member, but we can’t be absolutely sure of that, which is one reason expanding NATO was crazy.

Jon0815 on March 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

No one will invade any Europe.. seems you forget the human factor and the modern realities (aka guerrilla warfare). Not from Russia, at least, from ME is another matter.

What it is extremely probably right now, is a civil unrest in Ukraine between Ukrainian and Russian nationalists, if eastern cities choose to secede as well, as the population is not as homogenous as in Crimea.

It can be really messy, and I find it ironic that in the early ’90 they had no problems being allies during the 1990 Transnistrian War, including the extreme-right from Ukraine. (back then, it was Moldovans/Romanians who got the “fascist” treatment from both sides)

Only thing I cannot quantify, is how many Ukrainians are willing to part with Russia in these terms.

As for the Bosporus, nothing will please me more than to see the turks back from where they come.

Rookie on March 18, 2014 at 1:36 PM

There is not much love between Turkey and the rest of NATO. Look for Russia to take the long term view on controlling the Black Sea and its approaches.

1. Russia helps pry Turkey from NATO.
2. Russia forges closer ties to the ambitious Turks (the dudes who are getting more and more interested in restoring the glories of the Ottoman Empire).
3. Russia-Turkey alliance = control of the Black Sea and a good chunk of the eastern Med.
4. War –> Europe (minus the usual suspects … like maybe France, Greece, and Germany) and the US vs. Russia-Turkey.

Nomennovum on March 18, 2014 at 1:40 PM

It’s absurd that NATO even still exists, let alone that it’s been expanded all the way up to Russia’s border. Why the hell are we treaty-obligated to go to war with a nuclear great power to defend Estonia?

Fortunately, Putin probably isn’t crazy enough to attack a NATO member, but we can’t be absolutely sure of that, which is one reason expanding NATO was crazy.

Jon0815 on March 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

I think Putin sees an EU collapse and is preparing for it.

workingclass artist on March 18, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Fortunately, Putin probably isn’t crazy enough to attack a NATO member, but we can’t be absolutely sure of that, which is one reason expanding NATO was crazy.

Jon0815 on March 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Yeah, drawing the former Soviet and Yugoslav blocs into the West by a diplomatic, economic and military alliance. Just how stupid was that? What were they thinking.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Yeah, drawing the former Soviet and Yugoslav blocs into the West by a diplomatic, economic and military alliance. Just how stupid was that? What were they thinking.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM

You have no idea how much money we spend on Western products, mostly German, French and UK, after Eastern bloc industry was pulverized. Cheap, disciplined and moderately qualified labor too, for them, so a win-win situation.

USSR also had huge advantages, especially in the earlier years under occupation (until the 60s)

Besides, most of the countries in the Eastern bloc wanted to get security against the Russian neighbors which so often carved parts of their countries.

But remember, we did not entered NATO during 0bama reign, that would be stupid. US changed, not us.

Yugoslavia was a huge, nasty mistake and media covered for bosniacs big time. Maybe some time, the history will be written the right way.

Rookie on March 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Vote to join Russia could leave Crimea without water, electricity

…Crimea’s electricity, freshwater and natural gas all flows in from the province of Kherson,…

The link shows a map. If Putin wants any more of Ukraine, he might take Kherson to protect Crimea. Just a thought.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Yugoslavia was a huge, nasty mistake and media covered for bosniacs big time. Maybe some time, the history will be written the right way.

Rookie on March 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Parts of it were nasty mistakes. I’d say that Slovenia and Croatia largely came about okay. But yeah, when you get up into Bosnia (where you can still see effects of the war) it was nasty- especially the ethnic cleansing. And pretty depressed economically.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Yugoslavia was a huge, nasty mistake and media covered for bosniacs big time. Maybe some time, the history will be written the right way. Rookie on March 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM

If I may ask Rook, what’s your nation of origin?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:08 PM

The link shows a map. If Putin wants any more of Ukraine, he might take Kherson to protect Crimea. Just a thought.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 2:02 PM

He’ll just continue the pattern he’s already started. Sow discontent by Russian troops unmarked and passing as local defense militias, foment violence, and then declare the need to go in for protecting ethnic Russians or something. Putin isn’t willing to settle for just Crimea.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Sen. Barrasso: ‘Nothing flies, nothing shoots, nothing works’ in Ukrainian military

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:11 PM

He’ll just continue the pattern he’s already started. Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM

How many repetitions constitute a pattern?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:14 PM

How many repetitions constitute a pattern?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Depends on just how much real estate Putin intends on stealing due to a worthless lazy stupid feckless rat-eared socialist in the White House.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Depends on just how much real estate Putin intends on stealing due to a worthless lazy stupid feckless rat-eared socialist in the White House. Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

I don’t think that future considerations come into play when one is trying to recognize a pattern.

For instance, please determine the pattern here based on future knowledge: 5

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:21 PM

discuss

…JugEars does not “discuss”…he “speaks”!

KOOLAID2 on March 18, 2014 at 2:25 PM

If this was the game of Risk, there’s no reason not to take it.

BobMbx on March 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

But if it were a game of Diplomacy, there would be very valid reasons not to take it.

Of course, those very valid reasons don’t (necessarily) outweigh the reasons for taking it…

JohnGalt23 on March 18, 2014 at 2:30 PM

The entire situation is a pathetic example of what happens when an ill prepared, ill tempered, incompetent, limp wristed, dishonest and untrustworthy community organizer with only one summer scooping ice cream at a Baskin Robbins for business experience and absolutely zero military training or knowledge is placed in the position of President of the United States. We all know what the future holds, here, and it ain’t pretty. Putin will take what he wants, when he wants it, and he will spit in the filthy Dog Eater’s eye while doing so. Barack Obama has no testicle fortitude to do anything save call meetings and beg someone else to stick their necks out to save the day. The Europeans are all a bunch of sniveling cowards, and they have bought the Obama pitch hook, line and sinker. Anyone who actually believes that the U.S. will do anything to force Putin to stand down is just as naive and gullible as the 53% who elected this crap-weasel and all the other moon bats who cover for him and blame anything and everything except Barack Obama for the perils we face today. In short…we are screwed, folks. Both at home and abroad. And you can thank your neighborhood libiot for all of this.

bimmcorp on March 18, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now…

Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

They know that paper is worthless, because Zero is a useless fool.

dogsoldier on March 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

About the best thing that could happen to the world now would be for Obama and Biden to resign. They are just not up to the job.

Besides, if poor Obama gets any more scared, he will wet himself, and that might mess up the crease David Brooks so admires.

Adjoran on March 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now… Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

What defensive treaty do we have with Ukraine? Or did Ukraine vote against having one?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Once Capt. Incompetence is out of office, whoever the next president is will have to cut our losses and help those we can.

(1) Focus on fortifying Poland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc. They can act as a bulwark against further Russian advances into Europe. The same goes for Japan, the Philippines, South Korea as a bulwark against Chinese advances into the Western Pacific.

(2) Ignore Serbia and Kosovo. If Russia wants to play around down there we should let them because it will draw them into a war with Sunni Muslims. I say enjoy!

(3) Ignore the Islamic world in general, unless they attack us first, and if they do, we should crush them with a massive bombing campaign. Ground forces should only be used as part of a retribution campaign in conjunction with the air campaign and nothing more. If we can deprive Iran, or help Israel deprive Iran of nukes fine, but nothing more. No more nation building Islamic countries! Also anything we can do to increase tensions and conflicts between Sunnis and Shia should be pursued. This includes Iran vs. Pakistan/Saudi Arabia. Stop trying to prevent conflicts between them!

(4) All Russian and Chinese involvement in the Islamic world should be ignored, unless it involves giving away weapons of mass destruction or some other critical (key word) American need. The more Russia and China are drawn into the Islamic world the more resources, both militarily and economically, they will have to use to subdue Jihadists who will resist their influence the same way they resist ours. This means we need to get out of Afghanistan. By staying there we are helping Russian national security more than our own. And yes, I know about 9-11, which happened because Saudi Arabia and Pakistan hand out money, training and weapons to every half-baked Sunni Jihadist group on earth. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are their creations and in some cases are still supported by them. Bush, followed by Obama, never did anything to punish them. In fact Bush was running around calling Pakistan our ally!

In the end this country has to focus it’s foreign policy and be more ruthless. I know the Democrats won’t do that, but it is the GOP that worries me because they have certain elements (the Bush wing) that just cannot get their heads out of the Islamic quagmire. They don’t seem to understand we don’t need their oil anymore and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were never, never, our allies.

William Eaton on March 18, 2014 at 3:01 PM

The EU will cave as they are addicted to Russian gas and oil. It all becomes very simple after you sell your soul to the Devil (Putin).

Krupnikas on March 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Obama has a real opportunity to provide some leadership in this crisis.

(I can’t think of anything witty to say right now. BRB maybe.)

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Wouldn’t it be funny if nobody showed up.

crankyoldlady on March 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Yea. Just Obama donning his Walmart Bicycle Safety Hat, painted U.N. Baby Blue.

Tsar of Earth on March 18, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Ed, howzabout a time stamp on the updates? It would be most helpful.

:>)

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I can’t wait until Russia starts threatening NATO members like Poland. I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,” “The Polish should have known better than to provoke a fight with Russia,” etc.

Doomberg on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Yep. I expect we will be told that the Polish government are now Nazis as well.

slickwillie2001 on March 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Update: The situation in Crimea is deteriorating into war:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Tuesday that the conflict in its Crimea peninsula, now under Russian control, had entered a military phase after an Ukrainian officer was killed in an alleged Russian shooting at a Crimea base.

Expect a strongly worded Tweet from The One Putin Was Waiting For anytime now.

hillbillyjim on March 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Would Britain nationalise all the Russian owned EPL teams?

goatweed on March 18, 2014 at 3:52 PM

I doubt Putin is going to go after the rest of Ukraine. Why should he? The Crimea has the strategic value, and was easy. Putin has been eager to operate in a legalistic fashion, while accusing the impotent West of hypocrisy (Kosovo anyone?). The blatant use of force is not his style. It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Who the heck ask you or the US to fight for anything? You people are on crack, you just talk as if anybody asked of obama to put troops on the ground, or unleash rocket attacks on Russi or something…take your chill pill already, all he and the West were asked was to put in place and enforce a set of tougher sanctions, that would really hurt the banana republic kleptocracy, known as Russia….unfortunately we know now the West are not serious about sanctions willing because they are in too much deep shite economically and way too dependent on the Russian mafia money that are laundered through and parked in the main European banks….read this article by Gary Kasparov by the way, he’s Russian and an exceptional analyst, so maybe he knows and understands a thing or two about their mindsets and Putin’s….more so than you anyways…. at times you sound like you are in Putin’s mind or at least his psychanalist or something…sure, if you doubt that Putin is going after the rest of the aukraine, it must be so :)

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Of course it is “unclear”, because the Ukrainians are behind it. They are doing their best to draw the U.S. into the conflict with Russia that they provoked.

I doubt Putin is going to go after the rest of Ukraine. Why should he? The Crimea has the strategic value, and was easy. Putin has been eager to operate in a legalistic fashion, while accusing the impotent West of hypocrisy (Kosovo anyone?). The blatant use of force is not his style. It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I wish my office allowed me to get drunk at lunch…

nextgen_repub on March 18, 2014 at 4:04 PM

The EU will cave as they are addicted to Russian gas and oil. It all becomes very simple after you sell your soul to the Devil (Putin).

Krupnikas on March 18, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Of course they will cabe, it’s what they do… two interesting articles I read the other day that pretty much reinforce your point:

Why Russia No Longer Fears the West

and

Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938
He’s not Hitler. But we’ve got to stop him all the same

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Cave that is….

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 4:16 PM

From Putin’s speech:

After the revolution, the Bolsheviks, for a number of reasons – may God judge them – added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic make-up of the population, and today these areas form the southeast of Ukraine. Then, in 1954, a decision was made to transfer Crimean Region to Ukraine, along with Sevastopol, despite the fact that it was a city of union subordination.

http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6889

agmartin on March 18, 2014 at 4:20 PM

After the revolution, the Bolsheviks, for a number of reasons – may God judge them – added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine. This was done with no consideration for the ethnic make-up of the population
agmartin on March 18, 2014 at 4:20 PM

I think the Bolsheviks (a category that includes Putin BTW) did a lot to change the ethnic makeup.

kcewa on March 18, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I can’t wait until Russia starts threatening NATO members like Poland. I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,” “The Polish should have known better than to provoke a fight with Russia,” etc.

Doomberg on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Yep. I expect we will be told that the Polish government are now Nazis as well.

slickwillie2001 on March 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Before he goes after Poland, the Baltics are probably higher on his agenda, though they have Kaliningrad as an ice free sea port, so they are pretty well covered in that area….but he can always use the excuse of the Ruski minorities that he’s trying to protect, not so much in Poland…funniest joke on the Jerusalem Post comments forums, ‘soo, will Putin attack/annex Israel next to protect the (really big) Russian minority there?’ :)…

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Resources. Coal, iron, food, you name it. Rail and road connections to the West.

If this was the game of Risk, there’s no reason not to take it.

BobMbx on March 18, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Fascinating. Every time I won at Risk, I initially possessed Ukraine, or seized it early in the game. For me it was the strategic key to victory! Who knew that Risk’s designer was so savvy!

hawkeye54 on March 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Seeing Obama in the middle of a table in a war room …

It just screams “I’m just a file clerk but they made me sit here to look impotent”

sic

Dude needs to be tossed out on his ears – unqualified, unable to do anything but read a teleprompter and take money from po peeps.

Shame on him.

Key West Reader on March 18, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Now that Russian forces in Crimea are killing people, the G-7, lead by Pres O’BoutMe, will demand that we send the Ukraine more…

Wait for it…
Wait for it…

FOOD! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

WestTexasBirdDog on March 18, 2014 at 6:02 PM

So Russia authorizes the use of force… the modern day Declaration of War… and… people are getting shot.

Well, that sort of thing happens when you authorize the use of force, now, doesn’t it?

ajacksonian on March 18, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Of course it is “unclear”, because the Ukrainians are behind it. They are doing their best to draw the U.S. into the conflict with Russia that they provoked.

Yes, Ukraine “provoked” Russia by getting rid of one of their corrupt puppets. “Don’t hit back maaan, you might, like, provoke him or sumthin *snorts another line*”

while accusing the impotent West of hypocrisy (Kosovo anyone?)

Yeah, ethnic cleansing and mass murder sure is comparable to what Ukraine was doing to Crimean Russians (nothing).

It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

If there’s one thing America is famous for, it’s fighting for the liberty of Eastern Europe. That’s what Ukrainian nationalists are counting on. Nailed it.

Congrats, your comment is the dumbest and most ignorant thing I’ve read all day.

Darth Executor on March 18, 2014 at 7:03 PM

World War 3 began with Obama’s handling of Syria. It’s just a matter of time now.

petunia on March 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Why doesn’t the American Establishment stop meddling in affairs that are none of their concern?

Another Libertarian on March 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Obama: Can I be excused from this meeting about the Ukraine? I have some brackets to work on.

Sherman1864 on March 18, 2014 at 8:16 PM

” I am eagerly awaiting statements from the pro-Russia “libertarians,” such as, “Poland is Russia’s territory,” “Poland is Russia’s back yard,” “The US has no business intervening in Poland’s internal affairs,”

I am eagerly awaiting statements from patriots who will start standing up to the bullies in this country who are driving us to war in order to cover up their own incompetence.

When are the traitorous “Neo Cons” going to be driven from power?

Another Libertarian on March 18, 2014 at 8:17 PM

“…take your chill pill already, all he and the West were asked was to put in place and enforce a set of tougher sanctions,”

Sanctions simply hurt the common people in both countries and bother the power elite in either country not at all. Sanctions are also an act of war imposed by a corrupt government, by grandstanding politicians on the people it rules over. They deprive people of their right of free association to do business as they see fit.

What kind of person would ever support politicians attacking the personal lives of citizens they dominate in this manner?

A just government does not impose sanctions on its own people.

Another Libertarian on March 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM

The Charge Of The Light Brigade

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1809-1892

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1809-1892

This poem was written to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War (1854-56). 247 men of the 637 in the charge were killed or wounded. Britain entered the war, which was fought by Russia against Turkey, Britain and France, because Russia sought to control the Dardanelles. Russian control of the Dardanelles threatened British sea routes.

Many in the west best know of this war today because of Florence Nightingale, who trained and led nurses aiding the wounded during the war in a manner innovative for those times. The War was also noteworthy as an early example of the work of modern war correspondents.

The Charge Of The Light Brigade

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854
Written 1854

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Some one had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack & Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
Shatter’d & sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse & hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Just another historic moment, one of many, from the Crimea and Ukraine.

thatsafactjack on March 18, 2014 at 8:50 PM

Today, Russian soldiers began shooting at Ukrainian servicemen and this is a war crime without any expiry under a statute of limitations.

Sorry, how is a soldier shooting another soldier a warcrime? I don’t follow.

They can maybe make the argument that not wearing a country identification patch is a crime. Or at least, I know it means the geneva convention protections aren’t afforded to you. But I have no idea how it could be a warcrime.

ebrawer on March 18, 2014 at 9:05 PM

When are the traitorous “Neo Cons” going to be driven from power?

Another Libertarian on March 18, 2014 at 8:17 PM

They have cost too much and lingered too long for any good that they have done.

David Blue on March 18, 2014 at 9:23 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now…

Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Israel, for example.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Bibi has been on top of this situation since the fall of 2008. Israelis can’t afford to live in Utopia riding unicorns blowing fairy dust. They live in the real world unlike 51.8% of America. Plans are in place.

Franklin100 on March 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Sorry, how is a soldier shooting another soldier a warcrime? I don’t follow.

They can maybe make the argument that not wearing a country identification patch is a crime. Or at least, I know it means the geneva convention protections aren’t afforded to you. But I have no idea how it could be a warcrime.

ebrawer on March 18, 2014 at 9:05 PM

They probably meant an act of war, as in a provocation…might have been lost in translation.

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 10:56 PM

I bet every country around the world that has a defensive treaty with us is feeling a very cold shiver down their spine right now…

Seven Percent Solution on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Israel, for example.

Kaffa on March 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Bibi has been on top of this situation since the fall of 2008. Israelis can’t afford to live in Utopia riding unicorns blowing fairy dust. They live in the real world unlike 51.8% of America. Plans are in place.

Franklin100 on March 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Yep, but they are a tiny country with limited resources and manpower, on the other hand, and who relies heavily on the US support if they are to fight a war effectively and successfully.

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 10:59 PM

It’s the Ukrainian nationalists who want war, as long as we fight it for them.

Joseph K on March 18, 2014 at 1:10 PM

If there’s one thing America is famous for, it’s fighting for the liberty of Eastern Europe. That’s what Ukrainian nationalists are counting on. Nailed it.

Congrats, your comment is the dumbest and most ignorant thing I’ve read all day.

Darth Executor on March 18, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Lol :)

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 11:00 PM

FYI, in addition to the claim of a Ukrainian soldier being killed, we also have the following report:

Pro-Russian Forces Attacked in Crimea, One Dead – Report
http://en.ria.ru/world/20140318/188552565/Pro-Russian-Forces-Attacked-in-Crimea-One-Dead–Report.html

john.frank on March 18, 2014 at 11:01 PM

“…take your chill pill already, all he and the West were asked was to put in place and enforce a set of tougher sanctions,”

Sanctions simply hurt the common people in both countries and bother the power elite in either country not at all. Sanctions are also an act of war imposed by a corrupt government, by grandstanding politicians on the people it rules over. They deprive people of their right of free association to do business as they see fit.

What kind of person would ever support politicians attacking the personal lives of citizens they dominate in this manner?

A just government does not impose sanctions on its own people.

Another Libertarian on March 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM

Oh puh-lease, what kind of nonsense is that…do you even know anything about current Russia?? How do seizing the assets & money and going after the business interests of the bloody Russian oligarchs in W Europe and in the US hurt the Russian people? Pls explain. If anything it delivers them from the slavery that they are currently in, slaves to the corruptocrats and oligarchs. so yeah, cry me a river cuz the West stops doing business with the bastards who stole all that there was to steal from the Russian people…

jimver on March 18, 2014 at 11:09 PM

What about the Tatar children?!!! Isn’t anyone thinking of the Tatar children?

BL@KBIRD on March 18, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Depends on just how much real estate Putin intends on stealing due to a worthless lazy stupid feckless rat-eared socialist in the White House.

Happy Nomad on March 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Maybe we should discuss the stupid feckless rat-eared socialist allies in NATO for a moment.

America alone provides 75% of all NATO power.

The other 27 members provide less than 25% of all NATO power. They average less than 1% of NATO’s cost each, despite Europe being quite wealthy and having a larger population than America.

DefenseNews: Gates Laments NATO’s Military, Political Flaws

Gates issued a stark warning to European leaders: “The emotional and historical attachment U.S. leaders had with allies is ageing out. Decisions and choices [in the future] will be made more on what is in the best interests of the U.S. The drift of the last 20 years can’t continue if we want a strong trans-Atlantic relationship.”

Gates also noted that only five of the 28 NATO allies currently exceeded the agreed NATO benchmark of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. “Regrettably, the situation is highly unlikely to change. The question is how these dwindling resources are allocated,” he said.

Our EU allies took this warning by Gates so seriously that they promptly cut defense spending across the board, even Britain/France/Germany.

Apparently, the role of Europe is to sit helplessly until we defend them from their own pacifism.

NATO without America is a bad joke. It became undeniable after their ridiculous failure to knock off Libya (another failed neocon enterprise of Arab Spring).

If Europeans want to live under Comrade Vlad by choosing to be deliberately helpless and spend their money on domestic consumption and their failed Green energy schemes, that is their choice. They have made it freely. Just don’t pick up that transatlantic phone and dial 911 because I don’t see any reason to fight Russia for Europe when Europe refuses to defend itself in any way. They can. They just won’t.

Toocon on March 19, 2014 at 1:41 AM

If I may ask Rook, what’s your nation of origin?

Akzed on March 18, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Maybe is not to late to reply and you’ll read this:

I’m Romanian, and still living in Romania when not abroad working. My country used to border with a whole bunch of countries (including Poland and Czechoslovakia) before WW2 and big powers drawing new borders at a tip of a pencil.

I lurk on conservatives sites for more than a decade now, I was pretty much convinced that the US degenerating into the mess it is now politically will have an immediate effect on the whole world.

Looking at the arab “springs”, Syria and the whole situation, I feel I was right. The opinion in the East shifted greatly from the post-communist enthusiasm towards the West to a worried state of confusion regarding the economic and specially the social engineering now in progress.

Regarding the topic at hand, it was obvious to those even vaguely familiar with the region that Crimea will secede at first opportunity. While I give 0bama and his advisors credit to be so stupid not to foresee it, regarding Merkel I have my doubts they could not.

The whole thing looks like a back-stage deal and a lot of smokescreens. Could be the deal went sour and more confrontation will arise. You don’t poke Russia and expect it to stop, especially when European countries downsized their military capabilities to a minimum.

Rookie on March 19, 2014 at 6:08 AM

My take.

kingsjester on March 19, 2014 at 6:56 AM

I expect more violence in Ukraine, mostly directed at Russian ethnic civilians in non-Crimean Eastern Ukraine, who don’t want to live in a state where, when they win an election, it is negated by violence.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk has already promised to “burn the Earth” under them. The junta is virulently anti-Russian. It’s not going to take the most lenient view of who is a separatist.

Meanwhile, after his fifteen billion dollar sweetener for Ukraine was slapped in his face by the coup, Putin has gone to “no more mister nice guy” mode.

Meanwhile again, Arseniy Yatsenyuk wants to escalate everything, as he came to power with US support, and the more the US gets involved, the better for him.

This is not a situation that will calm itself.

David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Regarding the fecklessness of NATO apart from the US…

They correctly understand that the Russians are not coming. If you used to be part of the Soviet Union, you might have a problem, but likely not. If you used to be part of the Warsaw Pact, you can at least remember what Russian (or really Communist) domination was like, and that it was not sweet. Outside of that, forget it. Russia doesn’t have the men, the money or the ambition. It is a regional power now, not a global superpower.

While the Russians are not coming, the Muslims definitely are, and the Africans, and the third worlders of all sorts. But the EU is bringing them. The greatest threat to the EU countries is the EU. A bigger army will not help a country with open borders.

The same is true for America. America’s biggest threat is its own government, which refuses to enforce the borders or even let state governments such as Arizona do so. The Russians are not coming to California; the Mexicans are.

That means military strength has only a limited and distorted link to national self-protection. It provides you with a sense of being a great power, perhaps, but not security against being decapitated like Lee Rigby, by enemies your own government imported.

David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 7:31 AM

David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 7:31 AM

I think your analysis is correct. EU is about this, 24/7/365:

Invasion

Wonder how long will take until the whole EU boat will sink. Taking migrants from conflict-ridden countries (many with blood on their hands) which Morocco and other countries bordering EU (including Turkey) willingly let them slip into Europe.

Rookie on March 19, 2014 at 7:43 AM

Wonder how long will take until the whole EU boat will sink. Taking migrants from conflict-ridden countries (many with blood on their hands) which Morocco and other countries bordering EU (including Turkey) willingly let them slip into Europe.

Rookie on March 19, 2014 at 7:43 AM

Soros issued that rather dire warning that Crimea and Ukraine could undo the entire EU, possibly NATO as well.

Since NATO is just America in reality, that part is already true. NATO Europe failed miserably at deposing even a minor tyrant like Libya’s Ghaddafi. We finished off his regime. So together, NATO has caused a very nasty impoverishing civil war in Libya that will drag on for perhaps decades before some new dictator like Ghaddafi rises again. After exhausting themselves in Libya including running out of missiles and parts, NATO EU celebrated their defeat by sharply cutting defense spending even more than Obama recently did to us. Meaning that the only real NATO there is is America. And pretty much nobody else.

If Scotland (a Labour party stronghold) secedes and causes permanent Conservative majorities in Britain again, you may see Britain pull out of the EU and dump the euro, either fully or partially. The likely upcoming secessions of Venice and Catalonia pose further threats to the EU’s stability. Naturally, all these new potential NATO members have no intention of defending themselves in any way. That will be America’s job, not the EU’s.

Toocon on March 19, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Rookie on March 19, 2014 at 7:43 AM

That YouTube made your point.

David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 9:24 AM

So together, NATO has caused a very nasty impoverishing civil war in Libya that will drag on for perhaps decades before some new dictator like Ghaddafi rises again.

Toocon on March 19, 2014 at 9:17 AM

I agree.

They have been similarly reckless in Ukraine, with their support for a Russophobic, violent opposition to overthrow the elected government, which as a practical matter tears the country in two: the Western half, and the Eastern half, which might as well not vote, as whenever it wins the vote the result gets set aside.

I call that reckless because it’s not just a security problem on Russia’s borders, it’s a security problem on their borders too, and they are not willing to pay for security against such threats.

Why are these self-disarmed governments so reckless? I think in part because they count on America to do all the fighting, if it comes to that.

I’ve criticized Victoria Nuland, and pointed to her “smoking gun” telephone call, where she chooses who will be in government according to her own ideas. But I don’t object to the “scandalous” part, where she says “…and f*** the EU”. Why would she respect free riders who act irresponsibly because they don’t intend to do any necessary fighting? Nobody respects people like that.

David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 9:40 AM

…I’ve criticized Victoria Nuland, and pointed to her “smoking gun” telephone call, where she chooses who will be in government according to her own ideas. … David Blue on March 19, 2014 at 9:40 AM

BTW, you did notice that the same puppets Nuland chose to run Ukraine … actually did end up running Ukraine? Yeah, me too.

Toocon on March 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM

BTW, you did notice that the same puppets Nuland chose to run Ukraine … actually did end up running Ukraine? Yeah, me too.

Toocon on March 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Exactly.

David Blue on March 20, 2014 at 3:07 AM

Since we are currently a LAUGHING STOCK THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, OPENLY MOCKED BY RUSSIA / PUTIN, I would probably let someone with bigger b@lls than Obama sit at the head of the table and lead the conference….someone like German Chancellor Angela Merkel!

easyt65 on March 20, 2014 at 7:56 AM

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