US intel: Russian spies, saboteurs infiltrating Ukraine

posted at 2:41 pm on March 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Think of this as a successful plan … redeployed. After the Euromaidan protests overthrew the Viktor Yanukovich government, Crimea suddenly filled up with military forces without insignias that began seizing buildings, roads, and eventually the entire peninsula. The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reports that US intel has seen Russian special forces and mercenaries infiltrating eastern Ukraine as well as Crimea, and expect more trouble for Kyiv soon:

Russia’s activities in Crimea have been widely described in the west as an invasion. But while some Russian military forces did cross into Ukrainian territory,  the Moscow government still claims that all of its military forces in Crimea are abiding by the terms of its agreement with Ukraine.

This, U.S. officials believe, is because Russia is invading Ukraine with its Spetsnaz — the special operations units and battalions attached to both the military and the country’s intelligence agencies.

U.S. intelligence officials now say Russia’s Spetsnaz  are expanding into eastern and southern Ukraine, as well. The intelligence report from February assessed that Russian provocateurs would look to instigate low-level street brawls or “skirmishes” in eastern and southern Ukraine. The report also  predicted that Russia’s shadow warriors would seek to pay off Ukrainians to attend pro-Russian rallies and in general fan the flames of separatism. And since then, eyewitnesses say, that’s exactly what’s happened.

One U.S. official said the U.S. military intelligence analysts suspect elements of the 45th Spetsnaz regiment of Russia’s military intelligence service known as the GRU were conducting the provocations in Ukraine.

“This is the use of deniable special operators under GRU control to create provocations and really these are quasi-deniable operations,” added John Schindler, a retired NSA counter-intelligence officer and specialist in Russian affairs who now teaches at the U.S. Naval War College.

The intel community warned in late February of an infiltration strategy being deployed, even if they did send mixed signals on their analysis of Russian intent. That doesn’t mean, though, that Russia will rely only on those forces. Their force build-up on the border is “large, and getting larger,” CBS News reported last night after troop movements within Russia looked as though it would double those forces. Russia claims these are only “exercises,” but gave “no firm timetable” on the exercise’s conclusion (via Freedom’s Lighthouse):

These two developments go hand in hand with each other. The purpose of infiltration and sabotage is to provoke a reaction from the Kyiv government in the heavily ethnic-Russian regions, or failing that, to create as much anarchy and chaos as possible. Russian then would claim the need to restore order and protect the Russian-speaking communities in the east, the same pretext for their intervention and seizure of Crimea. It would not be long before the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions would then declare enough autonomy to hold their own plebescites for independence and absorption into the Russian federation.

In case Ukraine is still thinking it can count on Western military assistance in the case of an invasion, the White House made sure to put those hopes to rest:

Obama administration officials said Thursday that they are not considering arming the Ukrainian military, even as they raised alarms about the deployment of Russian forces along that country’s southern and eastern borders. It amounted to another iteration of a pattern observed in the two-year debate over Syria’s civil war, an emerging “Obama doctrine” in which the only pressure tools contemplated in a crisis are nonlethal aid and economic sanctions.

“Nobody wants the outcome here to be a full-bore military conflict between Ukraine and Russia,” said a senior administration official in a conference call with reporters, although he earlier indicated the president was “deeply concerned by the positioning of Russian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine.”

That may well be the correct policy to follow. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and the US has little interest in securing it against Putin by military force — although that certainly runs counter to the spirit of the Budapest Memorandum, if not the letter of the document. However, it’s at least debatable about whether we should proclaim that policy from the White House while Russia builds up its troops on the border. What are the odds that Putin will take that as a green light? I’d say very high indeed.


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VDH has an excellent article about perceived strengths and weaknesses. As long as Clown Nose Obozo is president Putin will continue to expand Russia’s territory.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/171246

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Got any evidence for these claims? No? Then don’t report it as fact.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Their force build-up on the border is “large, and getting larger,” CBS News reported last night after troop movements within Russia looked as though it would double those forces.

Don’t worry, our intelligence gurus will ease our minds by telling us they won’t invade because they don’t have enough disposable diapers for an invasion, or something like that.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Got any evidence for these claims? No? Then don’t report it as fact.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

What are you, a Russian Moby?

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 2:53 PM

That may well be the correct policy to follow. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and the US has little interest in securing it against Putin by military force — although that certainly runs counter to the spirit of the Budapest Memorandum, if not the letter of the document.

It’s not just about Ukraine. If I’m Israel, or Japan, or South Korea; I’m wondering if the rat-eared wonder is going to provide the help promised in treaties not unlike the Budapest Memorandum. If I’m China, North Korea, or some Muslim state, I’m wondering just what I can get away with when a filthy coward is in the White House providing zero leadership. Obama’s dithering, fecklessness, and failed foreign policies have made the world a much more dangerous place to live.

Happy Nomad on March 21, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Russia is acting rationally in its self-interest.

I highly doubt McCain serving a 2nd term or Romney serving his first term would have stopped such a thing.

Russia is looking East to partner with China and accept another currency for payments of its oil. Once that happens, the US dollar is mortally wounded.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Got any evidence for these claims? No? Then don’t report it as fact.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Yes, I remember my first hangover too.

Old Fritz on March 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The elected government of Ukraine wasn’t overthrown by “protests” but by armed and violent thugs given moral and material support by America and the EU, and given diplomatic support by the same sources, including refusal to honor the agreement of February 21st. Instead, Putin was supposed to simply accept a fait accomplis, that is the end of the democratic process and the violent imposition of an extremely anti-Russian fascist junta.

There is going to be decades and possibly centuries of unnecessary bitterness between Ukrainians and Russians because of this needless and trouble-making interference.

There is no reason why ethnic Russians would like or accept this. The history is that whenever they win an election, the result gets set aside by undemocratic means, and now violently, and the constitution is ignored. It doesn’t take Russian agents to create trouble in a situation like this (though I’m sure Putin sends them in anyway); the situation itself makes trouble.

David Blue on March 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM

The report also predicted that Russia’s shadow warriors would seek to pay off Ukrainians to attend pro-Russian rallies and in general fan the flames of separatism. And since then, eyewitnesses say, that’s exactly what’s happened.

The electoral history of the Ukraine suggests that the divide is very real, not a Russian invention. The Russians probably are attempting to create a series of incidents as a pretext to invade, but the divisions are already there.

The purpose of infiltration and sabotage is to provoke a reaction from the Kyiv government in the heavily ethnic-Russian regions, or failing that, to create as much anarchy and chaos as possible.

The Ukraine is raising gas prices by 40%, they have suggested enforcing a visa regime with Russia when 3.5 million Ukrainians work in Russia, as well as a wealth tax on those who have more than $5,000 in the bank. They are also seized KAMAZ trucks bound for Kazakhstan, attack people in the streets, have thugs force TV producers and politicians ‘resign’ by force, and stormed a vodka factory.

The Kiev government doesn’t need help creating chaos, but it looks like they are going to get it.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM

As I posted yesterday, Kiev is looking to tax all deposits in banks over $9,600. They might cut pensions.

The people who split off in Crimea do not have to worry about such things.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Who knew there were Kremlin apologists posting on Hot air?

dforston on March 21, 2014 at 3:03 PM

‘Red Storm Rising’

reddevil on March 21, 2014 at 3:03 PM

What’s the over/under timeframe on Barry “unfriending” Vlad on Facebook?

philw1776 on March 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Old Fritz on March 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM

What would the reaction be on HotAir if Iran made baseless claims of Israeli infiltration and attempts to encourage Iranian Jews to protest so that Israel can jump in and “liberate” Jewish Iranians by overthrowing the government?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

What would the reaction be on HotAir if Iran made baseless claims of Israeli infiltration and attempts to encourage Iranian Jews to protest so that Israel can jump in and “liberate” Jewish Iranians by overthrowing the government?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Well, that depends. Did Israel just annex part of Iran and amass a large force on Iran’s remaining border?

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

US intel: Russian spies, saboteurs infiltrating Ukraine

…no problem!…there are TV shows to go on…and golf to play!

KOOLAID2 on March 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

The ideal for America is to have a strong, engaged leader like Eisenhower, who knows what he is doing, firmly controls his subordinates, and is 0% bluff when it comes to military issues, and everyone knows it. A leader like that can get deals done even with Korea.

Obama doesn’t control his subordinates or lead his alliances. That’s why he jogged along after the French and the British in imposing regime change on Libya, and why Victoria Nuland was able to impose her government of preference on Ukraine. That’s how Obama’s weakness leads to aggression.

This aggression generally ends badly, for the same reason it started: because the President is not engaged or in control. The Libyan endgame was and is years of disaster, Ukraine is a new cold war over nothing, and the strike on Syria fortunately never happened at all.

David Blue on March 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Gee Federati IF Israel had JUST DONE THAT VERY THING IN THE GAZA ATRIP, I think the “reaction” would be one of “Here we go again.”

Or did you miss out on what appended in the Crimea?

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM

It’s OK…

Obowma is planning another vacation.

All is well…

Seven Percent Solution on March 21, 2014 at 3:12 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

What about governments like Lebanon (which constantly accuses Israel of military infiltration without a peep on HotAir)?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

As I posted yesterday, Kiev is looking to tax all deposits in banks over $9,600. They might cut pensions.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:01 PM

This is to satisfy the IMF like they did in Cyprus. See: Bank Deposits Confiscation: The “Cyprus Experiment” and the Launch of a Global Trend.

EU membership may not be all it’s cracked up to be. If your bank account is about to be confiscated, Russian annexation might start to look like the best of two evils.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Gee Federati sometimes they DO infiltrate Lebanon, but so far they haven’t claimed the area Sidon to Tyra as a part of Isreal, invaded the place, and then held a “referendum.”. Glad needs to hire better trolls.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM

So Snowden moved to Ukraine?

jp on March 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Kaffa, like the Russian system isn’t even MORE corrupt than the EU, system?

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:17 PM

What would the reaction be on HotAir if Iran made baseless claims of Israeli infiltration and attempts to encourage Iranian Jews to protest so that Israel can jump in and “liberate” Jewish Iranians by overthrowing the government?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Well, that depends. Did Israel just annex part of Iran and amass a large force on Iran’s remaining border?

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

And just how large is that Jewish population in Iran?

Oh, and on what hard evidence do you have that the US Intel reports of Spetsnaz infiltration into southern and eastern Ukraine are ‘baseless’?

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

W

hat about governments like Lebanon (which constantly accuses Israel of military infiltration without a peep on HotAir)?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Is this Paul Krugman?

Maybe you haven’t noticed, but most of us around here are strong Israel supporters. We generally don’t take issue with Israel’s incursions into Lebanon because we know they are done to defend Israel. Is Ukraine sending terrorists and missiles across its border into Russia?

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM

It’s not just Obama. Kerry deserves a lot of blame too. He mumbles “whatever” and unleashes the neocon warmongers in a lot of conflicts that don’t help America; but when he has a “legacy” policy like the Monroe Doctrine that actually did relate to the American interest he goes out of his way to declare it dead.

A good, strong Secretary of State could have saved Obama from a lot of the consequences of his personal disengagement.

David Blue on March 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Israel had total control of Southern Lebanon for two decades, and do you have any evidence that Russia has claimed the Ukraine as Russian territory?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

And just how large is that Jewish population in Iran?

Oh, and on what hard evidence do you have that the US Intel reports of Spetsnaz infiltration into southern and eastern Ukraine are ‘baseless’?

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Yeah! And remember when Hitler secretly agreed with Chamberlain to place nice for now on? Why would anyone doubt that!?!

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Israel had total control of Southern Lebanon for two decades, and do you have any evidence that Russia has claimed the Ukraine as Russian territory?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Crimean annexation…Crimean annexation…where have I heard that before? Never mind, you make a good point!

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

That may well be the correct policy to follow.

On that basis, the US would never have taken any firm steps beyond diplomatic to liberate Kuwait in 1991-2 after it was invaded by Iraq.

I’m not calling for US military intervention over the Soviet Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea, but the laughable sanctions and other empty gestures taken by Obama have done little to dissuade Putin from expanding his invasion of Ukraine – or preventing a possible invasion of the Baltic states.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

If any evidence is available let’s see it, otherwise “US intelligence officials say blahblahblah” is baseless.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

This is to satisfy the IMF like they did in Cyprus. See: Bank Deposits Confiscation: The “Cyprus Experiment” and the Launch of a Global Trend.

EU membership may not be all it’s cracked up to be. If your bank account is about to be confiscated, Russian annexation might start to look like the best of two evils.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

I think this aspect of the situation is totally ignored by HotAir and the usual pundits who merely view this as an opportunity to hurt the President domestically. Do not care a whit about him.

The choice isn’t between TruFreedom and Neo-Hitler. It is between Imperial Brussels, the IMF, wealth confiscation, and being absorbed back into Russia as an “autonomous republic.”

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

I highly doubt McCain serving a 2nd term or Romney serving his first term would have stopped such a thing.

Russia is looking East to partner with China and accept another currency for payments of its oil. Once that happens, the US dollar is mortally wounded.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Maybe Romney would have used a little “80s foreign policy…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2a44F5TgM

/s

cs89 on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:19 PM

No but they are oppressing ethnic Russians.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

And just how large is that Jewish population in Iran?

Oh, and on what hard evidence do you have that the US Intel reports of Spetsnaz infiltration into southern and eastern Ukraine are ‘baseless’?

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Oops, I misread your post. Apologies.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Israel had total control of Southern Lebanon for two decades, and do you have any evidence that Russia has claimed the Ukraine as Russian territory?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:20 PM

The Russians will in fact probably invade and establish an Eastern Ukrainian Republic which will then apply for CIS membership.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Maybe Romney would have used a little “80s foreign policy…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS2a44F5TgM

/s

cs89 on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Cannot watch YouTube here. Summarize please?

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 PM

No but they are oppressing ethnic Russians.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Yep, yep. Repressed ethnic Germans Russians all over the place.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 PM

What about governments like Lebanon (which constantly accuses Israel of military infiltration without a peep on HotAir)?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Oh, the government that tolerated being a military-occupied province of Assad’s Syria? Or the one that permitted Hizbollah to take over the southern third of the country?

I suspect that in your worldview, as warped as it appears, Hizbollah has far more credibility than a nation like Israel…which faces regular missile attacks from southern Lebanon and Gaza while the UN blue helmets in southern Lebanon are little more than hostages who feed and care for themselves.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:25 PM

All this talk about the Russkies invading with secret forces is just a bunch of tin foil hat garbage from the usual belligerent kooks who want to start stupid wars.

Another Libertarian on March 21, 2014 at 3:26 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Russians in a part of the Ukraine overwhelmingly (90%+) exercising their right to self-determination is not proof that Russia claims the Ukraine is Russian territory.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Friday afternoon news dumps are done to limit coverage of a topic.

I wonder if Putin is going to do the opposite and launch the invasion Monday morning to rub Obama’s nose in it.

agmartin on March 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Here’s a print/online article about it. Romney recognized the threat Russia posed, Obama sarcastically responded about 80s foreign policy (and his SOS Clinton gave Russia a “reset” button the next spring).

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/23/obama_the_80s_called_they_want_their_foreign_policy_back/

Your contention that McCain or Romney’s foreign policy probably wouldn’t lead to a different outcome ignores both history and context.

cs89 on March 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

The choice isn’t between TruFreedom and Neo-Hitler. It is between Imperial Brussels, the IMF, wealth confiscation, and being absorbed back into Russia as an “autonomous republic.”

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

For the people on the ground there are no good choices — a corrupt Ukraine or a corrupt Russia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

No but they are oppressing ethnic Russians.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM

If any evidence is available let’s see it, otherwise “US intelligence officials say blahblahblah” your claim is baseless.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Russians in a part of the Ukraine overwhelmingly (90%+) exercising their right to self-determination is not proof that Russia claims the Ukraine is Russian territory.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Yep, yep. A referendum under occupation in Austria Crimea is the most legitimate thing in the universe.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Ah yes, the inevitable reference to Hitler; if this is your best argument, I’m not going to bother debating you in this thread.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Nobody said anything about Hezbo, stop dodging the question.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Ah yes, the inevitable reference to Hitler; if this is your best argument, I’m not going to bother debating you in this thread.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:31 PM

So you admit Hitler was in the wrong?

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:32 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Got any evidence they were coerced into voting yes? Because all evidence points to Crimeans openly welcoming the “occupiers” with open arms.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:33 PM

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:32 PM

About what?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:34 PM

What’s the over/under timeframe on Barry “unfriending” Vlad on Facebook?

philw1776 on March 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

I don’t think Barry has the guts to go that far.

It is interesting to think that Putin has Snowden under his finger considering what information he may have. Also interesting in the Russian moves into Cuba recently and strengthening relations with Venezuela. So the Russian allies include but are not limited to China, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, maybe North Korea, Iraq…

tej on March 21, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Yes, I agree Federati, the claims against Crimea, Estonia, and the Eastern Ukraine mean NOTHING, and the fact that this very thing happened in the Crimea, well what does that prove….

Another Libertarian, you are winning the satire post if nothing else…because it’s not like this very thing did not happen just a few days ago in Crimea…. of course that was all just in foil conspiracy.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Nobody said anything about Hezbo, stop dodging the question.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Actually, you are the one who is dodging. You made the asinine comparison to Lebanon – clearly when you don’t know squat about Lebanon or its history.

Frankly, you’re morally, ethically, and intellectually bankrupt – and little more than someone who wants to make excuses for Putin’s expansionism. I suspect that you also had similar viewpoints towards not wanting to liberate Kuwait after Saddam’s invasion. Feeding the croc in the hope that he eat’s you last is a lesson that leads to conflict faster than standing up for freedom.

Ah yes, the inevitable reference to Hitler; if this is your best argument, I’m not going to bother debating you in this thread.

Clearly you never learned from history have you? You will believe only what you want to see.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Soccer hooligans are taking over Ukraine for Putin?

If Ukraine had a functioning military, not even soccer hooligans could threaten it.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Got any evidence they were coerced into voting yes? Because all evidence points to Crimeans openly welcoming the “occupiers” with open arms.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I can provide antidotal evidence from people on the ground in Sevastopol that there was no coercion. The majority of people were excited to go to the polls and vote to rejoin Russia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

I can provide antidotal evidence from people on the ground in Sevastopol that there was no coercion. The majority of people were excited to go to the polls and vote to rejoin Russia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Yes, and 123% of those registered to vote did just that.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

So, Federati a referendum that gives two choices, join Russia today or declare independence and join tomorrow is a valid referendum…

And yes Federati, the Sudenten Germans and other Volk Deutsche welcomed their fellow Germans, doesn’t mean Germany had the right to dismember their neighbors to help out a minority of that nations citizens…

Or do you hold that Mexico can make a valid claim to California, simply because lots of Mexicans live there and might welcome a Mexican occupation?

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Yes, and 123% of those registered to vote did just that.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Russians in the Crimea were eligible to vote who were NOT eligible to vote when the Crimea was part of the Ukraine.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Got any evidence they were coerced into voting yes? Because all evidence points to Crimeans openly welcoming the “occupiers” with open arms.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I can provide antidotal evidence from people on the ground in Sevastopol that there was no coercion. The majority of people were excited to go to the polls and vote to rejoin Russia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

The same was true in Austria under the Nazis. That doesn’t make any of it right. Division may have been inevitable because Western Ukraine really is of a different mind then Eastern Ukraine, but they could have solved that problem themselves without Russia. Instead Russia uses the opportunity of division to annex part of the Ukraine, and most likely more of it in the near future.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

I suspect that you also had similar viewpoints towards not wanting to liberate Kuwait after Saddam’s invasion.

I did. What of it?

Feeding the croc in the hope that he eat’s you last is a lesson that leads to conflict faster than standing up for freedom. Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

So the croc was gonna come over here and take Florida? Maine? California?!

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:44 PM

About what?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:34 PM

About his choice in hair care products…

Scratch a Federati find a little Fascist, I guess.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Yes, and 123% of those registered to vote did just that.

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I haven’t seen that figure. Maybe you’re thinking of Obama’s vote in Philadelphia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Your contention that McCain or Romney’s foreign policy probably wouldn’t lead to a different outcome ignores both history and context.

cs89 on March 21, 2014 at 3:28 PM

I am not sure Romney or McCain in practice would have had any difference in Russia policy from Obama, despite what was said during the debates. What might be different is how they react now. But if they acted like Bush did to Georgia, there would be no real difference in outcome. Perhaps different talking points, but I seriously doubt we would be arming people or going to war.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Yes, and 123% of those registered to vote did just that.
Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:38 PM

That’s officially Not Your Problem.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM

I’d like to know why you say these things.

How is Russia acting in its self Internet, for example? Since when is imperial behavior “self interest”? It already owned its naval ports. It already was, by far, the most important political force in Crimea. Why is violating multiple treaties dating back to the Ottoman Empire rational? It isn’t.

Then you go on to refer to Russia’s desire to take payment for oil in something other than dollars, and blithely claim that success there will mortally wound the US dollar. In what way, and how would that work?

Then you assert that neither McCain nor Romney could have prevented Putin taking Crimea or, presumably, Ukraine or the Baltic states (if that is next). None of this is with any evidence.

My own opinion is opposite to yours: any President who wanted to continue spending on a robust military force, ie, pretty much anyone other than Obama, would have been in a considerably better position to stop Putin than Obama. When Obama and Clinton “reset” relations, what they did was undo Bush’s actions to freeze oligarch money, end the nasty leaks about Putins looting of the national treasury and secreting of billions in Swiss banks, and end the endless number of annoying actions aimed at keeping Putin from taking center stage in the world. Obama ended all of that effort, even reversed it, in a naive effort to be “friends” with the KGB.

MTF on March 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

I haven’t seen that figure. Maybe you’re thinking of Obama’s vote in Philadelphia.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:45 PM

It comes from Pravda Ukraine.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Actually Sharrukin they DON’T blast out tremendous amounts of EM Radiation… they operate, often under EMCon…the PRC is not the first nation to try the IRBM attack on a CVN ploy… the USSR tried to do it too… and the HSN spent 40-50 years shaking shadowers and RORSats, to complicate Soviet targeting.

As to the PRC building the DF-21…sure why not? It most LIKELY won’t work, but if it’s the only game you have that MIGHT work you go for it.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

they could have solved that problem themselves without Russia. Instead Russia uses the opportunity of division to annex part of the Ukraine, and most likely more of it in the near future.
NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

(Pssst… you left out the western-inspired coup part that pissed Russia off to begin with…)

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Screwed that up, wrong thread…

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

– by Martin Niemöller

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

I think I know enough about Lebanon to know that when they make baseless anti-Israeli claims, HotAir either says they’re wrong or completely avoids even reporting it, but when unnamed, faceless US “officials” make a baseless claim about a US enemy, it is more often than not reported as fact – and by the way, if you think Kuwait was ever “liberated”, you have no clue what liberty is.

Kaffa on March 21, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Exactly, this is a great example of the right to self-determination.

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Who is this “hotair” this jackwagon keeps talking about?

Murphy9 on March 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM

In other news, the sky is blue

Brock Robamney on March 21, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Would this be the Russian or Ukrainian spring?

Brock Robamney on March 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Wow, where’d you find that? So inspiring. And about as relevant as the price of tea in Tanzania.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:55 PM

I’m very impressed by Ferrari’s definition of “self-determination” 20,000 Russian troops intervene, 80,000 mass on the border and then there’s self-determination… and again, the Sudenten Germans would have voted for Anschluss with Germany, but that doesn’t mean dismembering Czechoslovakia was right…

In fact, Czechoslovakia shows how this can be done… the Velvet Divorce…. in which you will note there were no outside troops involved in… merely Slovakia and the Czech Republic dissolving the bonds binding them….

Again, no German/Polish/Russian/Rumanian troops intervened to oversee the vote…. UNLIKE THE CRIMEA.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 3:56 PM

(Pssst… you left out the western-inspired coup part that pissed Russia off to begin with…)

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:49 PM

And also the Russian puppet Yanksoffsalot Yanukovych. But proxy fights aren’t armed invasions.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:57 PM

That doesn’t make any of it right. Division may have been inevitable because Western Ukraine really is of a different mind then Eastern Ukraine, but they could have solved that problem themselves without Russia. Instead Russia uses the opportunity of division to annex part of the Ukraine, and most likely more of it in the near future.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Actually that was in fact what Russia WAS doing until the western backed coup in Kiev.

That changed everything.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 3:58 PM

So, Federati a referendum that gives two choices, join Russia today or declare independence and join tomorrow is a valid referendum…

Got any evidence that’s what the refereendum’s questions were?

And yes Federati, the Sudenten Germans and other Volk Deutsche welcomed their fellow Germans, doesn’t mean Germany had the right to dismember their neighbors to help out a minority of that nations citizens…

How is 93% a minority?

[quote]Or do you hold that Mexico can make a valid claim to California, simply because lots of Mexicans live there and might welcome a Mexican occupation?[/quote]

Californians are not Mexican and have no desire to join Mexico, but Crimeans are Russian and voted 90%+ to join Russia.

The same was true in Austria under the Nazis. That doesn’t make any of it right. Division may have been inevitable because Western Ukraine really is of a different mind then Eastern Ukraine, but they could have solved that problem themselves without Russia. Instead Russia uses the opportunity of division to annex part of the Ukraine, and most likely more of it in the near future.

The state is subservient to and made of the people, not the other way around. If the Crimean people want to change their government then they have a right to do that, or do you believe the American Revolution was invalid and America is still technically owned by the British?

Federati on March 21, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Putin Sings ‘Come Back Barry, When You Grow A Pair’

timberline on March 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM

I suspect that you also had similar viewpoints towards not wanting to liberate Kuwait after Saddam’s invasion. Athos on March 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Once I found out that the Kuwaiti “nurse” testifying about babies being dumped out of incubators etc was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, and not a nurse, but a liar, a propagandist trying to get American kids to die for her country, I sorta felt vindicated.

And Jessica Lynch was BS too.

Why should I care what happens to pretend countries with borders drawn by Brits onto maps on a whim 100 years ago?! Please!

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 3:59 PM

But proxy fights aren’t armed invasions.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Well…obviously, sometimes they are. That was the mistake that Obama and the Europeans made. They were like…”21st century new skool”, and that Putin dude was like… “19th century old school”.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

My own opinion is opposite to yours: any President who wanted to continue spending on a robust military force, ie, pretty much anyone other than Obama, would have been in a considerably better position to stop Putin than Obama. When Obama and Clinton “reset” relations, what they did was undo Bush’s actions to freeze oligarch money, end the nasty leaks about Putins looting of the national treasury and secreting of billions in Swiss banks, and end the endless number of annoying actions aimed at keeping Putin from taking center stage in the world. Obama ended all of that effort, even reversed it, in a naive effort to be “friends” with the KGB.

MTF on March 21, 2014 at 3:46 PM

When the friendly government in Kiev was toppled, the country was no longer a reliable ally. Thus Russia acted to secure ports in the Black Sea. It was also convenient that these ports were concentrated in a single, markedly pro-Russian pseudo-autonomous region. Must keep access at all costs.

Was the US acting it its self-interest when it bought Louisiana? Or when it grabbed Florida and instituted the Monroe Doctrine?

If Russia-China accept payments in a currency other than the dollar, it will weaken the appeal of the USD as global currency. If the value of the dollar fell, it would harm our ability to pay interest on our debts and people would be less likely to buy our debt. Since our country exists only because we have people willing to buy our debt… this is bad.

Why would there be no difference between the GOP contenders and Obama? Well, this is my opinion because: 1. Russia probably wouldn’t care because keeping Crimea is do or die for them. 2. It knows the USA has no appetite for war.

We know all too well that any GOP action that would be considered provocative to Russia now or Syria earlier would be opposed by the Dems. Add to the fact the EU doesn’t want to act and we have a situation where the charismatic Romney, (who I voted for), or McCain would have to rally the country and go it alone into war.

Just don’t see it happening.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Federati, they ARE NOT A MAJORITY IN THE UKRAINE…. see how that works, just like the Sudenten Germans weren’t a majority in Czechoslovakia, get it… you can’t use minority support to dismember your neighbors.

Akzed, the people of Kyiv spoke out against the government…. how is that a “Coup?”

I’m very impressed with the Lew Rockwell Libertarians and the Slavo-Fascists here

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Well…obviously, sometimes they are. That was the mistake that Obama and the Europeans made. They were like…”21st century new skool”, and that Putin dude was like… “19th century old school”.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

The problem is that 21st century new school was already 20th century old school, and the ignorant fools in the WH had no idea how to play the game because they always thought the Cold War was entirely American aggression.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Five years ago, a good friend who is an ethnic-Russian native of Ukraine told me that Putin was “trying to recreate a Stalinist dictatorship”. Three days ago, the same friend (who lives in one of the cities in Ukraine’s southeast) sent me the following e-mail (copied verbatim):

“Really situation is quite difficult due to the Russia behavior. As soon our revolution won they sent troops without any serious reason. Their explanation of protecting russian speaking people just excuse. In fact they are still living in the Soviet past and afraid of the revolution export out of our country. As for us we all exiting because the border to Crimea just 150 miles to our home. We hope that war will not start otherwise it will be desister not only to Ukraine. We envy the American people.You shold be proud enjoing the democracy and human rights what you have.”

Putin WANTS us to view this as an ethnic conflict between Russian and Ukrainians. It’s way more basic than that. It’s about a people (of all ethnic groups) who got sick of living under corrupt government and who are trying to drag their country into the modern world. This is an existential threat to Putin because if Ukraine figures out how to fix their government and shows that a country with so much shared history with Russia can move modernize, his own people aren’t going to put up with the Russian government’s corruption for very long.

We spent 45 years fighting a cold war to try to free these people. We really need to be on the right side on this one.

Northside on March 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I seem to recall that we took all or part of eight current US states from Mexico because there were Anglos scattered in those territories who were being abused by their Latin overlords.

So bam! We went and got us a few gzillion square miles of new territory and if Mexico wants it back they can try and take it. One can only hope that if they do, we are better able to defend that territory than Ukraine defended Crimea. After killing a bunch of Mexicans and Spaniards we gave em some money for that land, but before we killed half of em they weren’t in no selling mood, no siree!

Then we decided that Spain had them Philippines long enough, so bam! we took em! After killing a bunch of Spaniards we ponied up some cash, but the Spaniards were not in a selling mood until we killed half of em.

And that’s just the way the world works. And no US Marines have to die to prove it to you.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I seem to recall that we took all or part of eight current US states from Mexico because there were Anglos scattered in those territories who were being abused by their Latin overlords.

So bam! We went and got us a few gzillion square miles of new territory and if Mexico wants it back they can try and take it. One can only hope that if they do, we are better able to defend that territory than Ukraine defended Crimea. After killing a bunch of Mexicans and Spaniards we gave em some money for that land, but before we killed half of em they weren’t in no selling mood, no siree!

Then we decided that Spain had them Philippines long enough, so bam! we took em! After killing a bunch of Spaniards we ponied up some cash, but the Spaniards were not in a selling mood until we killed half of em.

And that’s just the way the world works. And no US Marines have to die to prove it to you.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

So what? That was then, this is now. Russian = bad, EU + the West = good.

Simple.

Walter L. Newton on March 21, 2014 at 4:13 PM

and the ignorant fools in the WH had no idea how to play the game because they always thought the Cold War was entirely American aggression.

NotCoach on March 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM

I think they are smoking their own liberal Utopian product. They actually believe the ridiculous nonsense that violence is an artifact of history. Of course they reserve the right to use it themselves when they feel justified as all liberals do, but get outrageously outraged when others return the favor.

The elites in the west are simply disconnected from reality. Merkel gets rid of nuclear energy, pushes the pathetic green energy nonsense and magically expects results from that. Then she turns around and starts mouthing threats to Russia when her own policies prevented the bimbo from following up on any of them.

sharrukin on March 21, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Akzed, the people of Kyiv spoke out against the government…. how is that a “Coup?”

Speaking out against a govt is not a coup. I grant you that.

I’m very impressed with the Lew Rockwell Libertarians and the Slavo-Fascists here JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Well having exposed yourself as having nothing further to argue, I’ll expose your idiocy further by asking you how often I’ve gone to such web sites as you mention, how many such books I’ve read, and so on.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 4:14 PM

One thing that bothers me about this is that some have an attitude like History is over and nothing will change from here. Borders will stay what they are, (no matter how artificial), and no one will try to take land for any reason.

I reject this notion and say human nature is what it is.

antisense on March 21, 2014 at 4:14 PM

The news just keeps getting worse for Obama but he sucks so that isn’t shocking.

sorrowen on March 21, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Breaking: The intel community has just released info that Republicans are raaaaacists!

vnvet on March 21, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Oh Akzed so you want to admit to being a Salvo-Fascist or a Lew Rockwell Libertarian? And just tell me more about Murray Rothberg and Anarcho-Capitalism…Me I was talking about Another Libertarian and Federati…but hey if the shoe fits and you want to loudly proclaim you’re wearing it, drive on.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Northside on March 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Your friend’s problem is his country has no functional military. If the govt had merely bought everyone an AK-74 and a thousand rounds of ammo, Russia would be licking its wounds today had it invaded.

If Ukraine wants to whimper and wish as a national defense policy, fine, just don’t expect American kids and treasure to bail your sorry asses out.

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Oh Akzed so you want to admit to being a Salvo-Fascist or a Lew Rockwell Libertarian? And just tell me more about Murray Rothberg and Anarcho-Capitalism…Me I was talking about Another Libertarian and Federati…but hey if the shoe fits and you want to loudly proclaim you’re wearing it, drive on. JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM

I don’t know what any of that means. Did they tell you they read such things or do you have ESP?

Akzed on March 21, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Actually Akzed, I think the Ukrainians are being smart/realistic…they can’t hold the Crimea & probably can’t hold Eastern Ukraine… just like China couldn’t hold Manchuria in 1931…so they are falling back.

I don’t see anyone in the Ukraine asking for US troops nor do I see a bunch of folks offering them… but you keep burning that straw man.

JFKY on March 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

I think the best investment Putin ever made was in Russia Today. It has allowed him to saturate the United States, Europe, and beyond with propaganda and disinformation.

Resist We Much on March 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

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