The Democratic revolt continues: Key senator calls for Obama to arm Ukraine

posted at 12:31 pm on September 1, 2014 by Noah Rothman

The revolt among key Democrats in the Senate’s foreign policy establishment expanded to another front on Sunday as members of the president’s party grow ever more anxious about Barack Obama’s confused and rudderless approach to crises overseas.

On Sunday, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told Meet the Press host Andrea Mitchell she believed Obama had been “too cautious” in his approach to combating the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. She noted that, contrary to administration officials, the success that ISIS had in capturing territory in Iraq took American planners by surprise. Finally, Feinstein directly contradicted the president when she said that ISIS was certainly not al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team.”

“I think it’s a major varsity team, if you want to use those kinds of monikers. But I see nothing that compares with its viciousness,” the Senate Democrat said.

Feinstein’s mutiny was joined this weekend by another key Senate Democrat, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). New Jersey’s senior senator was not objecting to Obama’s lethargic approach to the ISIS threat, but his lethargic approach to the Russian threat. With Russo-Ukrainian war entering its seventh month, Russia has abandoned the pretense that an organic rebellion is conducting an insurgent war against Kiev’s authority. Last week, Moscow inserted Russian regular troops into Ukrainian territory with orders to engage forces loyal to the government.

On Sunday, Menendez told CNN’s Candy Crowley that it was past time for the United States to begin providing Ukrainian forces lethal aid in support of their resistance toward Russian aggression.

“We should be providing the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon Putin for further aggression,” the senator said. “We have to give the Ukrainians the fighting chance to defend themselves.”

Menendez went a step further and, like his colleague from California, used the word “invasion” to describe the course Russia is pursuing in Ukraine. That matters.

On August 6, President Barack Obama suggested that the administration would take a firmer approach to the crisis in Ukraine if “you start seeing an invasion by Russia.” The word disappeared from administration officials’ vocabulary after United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power warned on August 8 that the U.S. would consider an incursion by a Russian aid convoy into East Ukraine as an “invasion.”

When the White House refused to make good on yet another violated red line, the administration started referring to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict as anything but an “invasion.”

There is clearly some concern among Senate Democrats that Obama’s approach to foreign crises will not adequately address those threats. Both Feinstein and Menendez are relatively popular representatives of deep blue states, and neither politician will face their state’s voters this year. Their concerns are not political, but representative of genuine apprehension that the security of the United States and its allies are being jeopardized by the leader of their party’s paralysis.


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In other circumstances I’d be truly enjoying this spectacle.

Drained Brain on September 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Arm the Ukraine huh? Well sorry that really is none of our business nor is it a major threat to us. Where is this senator on our open border fiasco? Where is this senator on ISIS?

bgibbs1000 on September 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Election year BS. These politicians care nothing about Ukraine or anything other than keeping their personal gravy trains rolling.

If they cared about this or any other country, there are many acts and stands they could have taken these last 6 years to at least lessen the devastation inflicted by our incompetent/malevolent ruler.

MistyLane on September 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Isn’t Bob Menendez the one who was traveling to Honduras or the Dominican Republic to have sex with underage girls?

vityas on September 1, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Donna Brazile Insults Most Of America: Concerns That Obama Have “Strategy” On ISIS Are “Craven Political Ravings Of Hillbillies”

Resist We Much on September 1, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Now there’s a statement a 6th grade educated individual would make. Well no not really, 6th graders are more intelligent. Isn’t that right Jethro?

bgibbs1000 on September 1, 2014 at 12:59 PM

It’s not an invasion. It’s a visit.

Mason on September 1, 2014 at 1:08 PM

The Democratic revolt continues

They’ve always been revolting. This isn’t news.

Wino on September 1, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Democrats are revolting.
There.
It was obligatory.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on September 1, 2014 at 1:11 PM

They’ve always been revolting. This isn’t news.

Wino on September 1, 2014 at 1:10 PM

.
Damn.
Beat me by seconds

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on September 1, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Democrats “revolting” looks more like them talking out of their Azz but voting in lockstep.

Mord on September 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Pretty soon the dems are going to start the impeachment process.

Vince on September 1, 2014 at 1:20 PM

On Sunday, Menendez told CNN’s Candy Crowley that it was past time for the United States to begin providing Ukrainian forces lethal aid in support of their resistance toward Russian aggression.

Did Crowley respond with specific examples of how Obama had been providing such aid?

Occams Stubble on September 1, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Obama will ignore this like everything else. No one gets in the way of Obama when he’s being more flexible.

What are they going to do, help to impeach and convict him?

Dusty on September 1, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Barky would but Sleazy Eric Holder sold all the weapons to his drug cartel friends….

viking01 on September 1, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Pretty soon the dems are going to start the impeachment process.
Vince on September 1, 2014 at 1:20 PM
At this rate they might have to impeach him just let their party survive.

sorrowen on September 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Borders schmorders.

CW on September 1, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Too little, too late. We need to arm NATO and take back Ukraine.

kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Kabuki, that’s all.

Kraken on September 1, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Politicians follow the polls and the polls on the current US administration’s foreign policy are not good. These particular long time political veterans hardly need to pander though. It may well be that they are sincere.

KW64 on September 1, 2014 at 1:44 PM

I believe the Ukraine already has a significant military force, but it would an improvement if the US would at least support them diplomatically by being tougher on Russia.

However, “getting a strategy for the Ukraine” comes after “getting a strategy for ISIS” and you can’t hurry this president.

virgo on September 1, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Hello? Hot Air? There’s a Hot War going on in Golan

This is getting really very scary very quickly. They’re drawing Israel in.

/Jeevus

Key West Reader on September 1, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Used to be a fair number of Ukrainians in the Philadelphia area, so I’m betting there’s a good number in South Jersey.

Could it be that’s his concern?

Isn’t Bob Menendez the one who was traveling to Honduras or the Dominican Republic to have sex with underage girls?

vityas on September 1, 2014 at 12:43 PM

You got it.

formwiz on September 1, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Hello? Hot Air? There’s a Hot War going on in Golan

This is getting really very scary very quickly. They’re drawing Israel in.

/Jeevus

Key West Reader on September 1, 2014 at 1:52 PM

They haven’t crossed the Isreal/Syria border yet. They’re fighting over control of the border post though.

kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Oops…Israel not Isreal

kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The Democratic revolt continues: Key senator calls for Obama to arm Ukraine

So we give money to Al-Qaeda/ISIS/FSA/HAMAS, Israel, provide military protection for Europe, Eastern Asia, Australia, et al AND now the Ukrainians?

Well, I guess that’s OK…I just hope these pols are watching the numbers and don’t get us deep into debt.

LMAO

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM

With Russo-Ukrainian war entering its seventh month, Russia has abandoned the pretense that an organic rebellion is conducting an insurgent war against Kiev’s authority. Last week, Moscow inserted Russian regular troops into Ukrainian territory with orders to engage forces loyal to the government.

A) By this logic, the fact that that French troops and naval forces fought alongside the colonists means that the American revolution wasn’t an organic rebellion against British authority.

B) There is no proof of that Russian regular troops are involved (apparently neocons have learned nothing from the Iraq WMD debacle).

Jon0815 on September 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Donna Brazile, Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted this morning:

I am just outraged that Obama hasn’t pasted together an #ISIS “strategy” to satisfy the craven political ravings of hillbillies yet.
7:53 AM – 1 Sep 2014

Never thought of Feinstein or Menendez as “hillbillies”.

And isn’t “hillbillies” rather RACIST!?

GarandFan on September 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM

This is not a revolt, it is planned Democrat electioneering – a response to their position in the polls and yet another means of distracting the people from the flood of foreign nationals sprinkled with terrorists rushing through our border… which is also due to the words and deeds of Democrats*, especially the head Democrat in charge.

(* In farirness, GOP leadership and Marco “Career Toast” Rubio helped create and save the illegal-immigrant/terrorist flood…)

DrDeano on September 1, 2014 at 2:07 PM

But, but… Isn’t this Vlad’s post-election flexibility?

BKeyser on September 1, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Donna Brazile Insults Most Of America: Concerns That Obama Have “Strategy” On ISIS Are “Craven Political Ravings Of Hillbillies oooo oooo ooo ooo ah ah aaaah ahh aaahhh eeee eeeeee!”

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 2:18 PM

We need to arm NATO and take back Ukraine. kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Yes, someone please hurry and give NATO some weapons so it can take back Ukraine, of which it never had possession.

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Yes, someone please hurry and give NATO some weapons so it can take back Ukraine, of which it never had possession.

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Ukraine had possession of Crimea and the Donbass. NATO, or just America if it comes to that, should help them take it back before Putin attacks them.

kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Ukraine had possession of Crimea and the Donbass.

Since Krschev ceded it to him in the 50′s, a meaningless gesture. As I recall, ukraine was not part of NATO then, or ever.

NATO, or just America if it comes to that, should help them take it back before Putin attacks them. kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Ukraine can’t stop Russia, and according to your earlier remark, NATO has no arms so it will need time to acquire some and learn how to sue them.

If you want the US to liberate eastern Ukraine, then the first thing you should do pursuant thereto is sign up at your local recruiter. I suggest the Marines, since they’ll probably be among the first to go in, thereby sating your blood lust.

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 2:48 PM

If you want the US to liberate eastern Ukraine, then the first thing you should do pursuant thereto is sign up at your local recruiter. I suggest the Marines, since they’ll probably be among the first to go in, thereby sating your blood lust.

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 2:48 PM

My blood lust was sated a few decades ago, thanks.

kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Just remember, the democrat party is a party of war hawks as long as the president is a democrat.

When the president is a republican, the democrats side with enemies of the country, since 1953 or so.

Joseph OHenry on September 1, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Arm Ukraine? If we aren’t going to defend Ukraine in accordance with the treaty that we made with them, then we should give them back the nuclear weapons that they got rid of because we promised to defend them in the event of Russian aggression.

Ordinary American on September 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

It’s one thing to mispronounce the word strategy, for which GWB was pilloried. It’s quite another thing to not even know the meaning of the word, or to have the ability to develop one in conjunction with so many military minds in the Pentagon.

Never has such a great nation been led to the brink of ruin by such a pathetic fool, voted in on the whims of a biased media and so many unintentionally suicidal uninformed voters.

ZeusGoose on September 1, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Senators Feinstein and Menendez keep being so polite and cute. The Dictator President and his administration are idiots and need to be called that if you want any action. Stop putting your Democratic party before the country’s interests and provide some direction to the country.

leader4hru on September 1, 2014 at 3:09 PM

It’s not an invasion. It’s a visit.
Mason on September 1, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Too busy with fund raisers to acknowledge the differences among “visit”, “invasion”, “incursion”, “international-place violence”.

Maggot and Co.

RL on September 1, 2014 at 3:19 PM

The Democratic revolt continues: Key senator calls for Obama to arm Ukraine

The Ukraine has massive quantities of arms.

Over 2,000 T-64 tanks alone.

T-80 300+
T-72 1,300
BMP-1 1,500
BMP-2 1,400
MT-LB (apc) 2,300
BTR-60/70/80 (apc) 2,500
SA-13 SAM 300
at least 60+ SA-11 ‘Buk’ SAM

500+ MRL rocket launchers, over a 1,000 towed artillery pieces, 1,100 self-propelled artillery, 2,000 mortars, and thousands of anti-tank missiles launchers.

They don’t lack for weapons.

What they lack is something else…not weapons.

sharrukin on September 1, 2014 at 3:26 PM

we promised to defend them in the event of Russian aggression.

Ordinary American on September 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Nobody promised any such thing.

What was promised was a visit to the UN if they got nuked.

Short of a nuclear strike any violations of the Budapest Memorandum required the signatories to consult (ie:talk).

sharrukin on September 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM

They don’t lack for weapons.

What they lack is something else…not weapons.

sharrukin on September 1, 2014 at 3:26 PM

That’s interesting. I didn’t know they had that much hardware. I suppose the West could supply them with signal intelligence.

dave c on September 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

About the coalition summit next week:

The United Nations has announced that the Philippines will pull out of UNDOF. Austria, Japan and Croatia have also pulled their troops out of the force because of the deteriorating security situation as the civil war in Syria reaches the Golan.

Fair weather friends. Halp us, Johhn Kerrrrrrey. How about forming a coalition of the willing?

You dumbasses. Any country that would put their troops under the control of Obama (as Commander in Chief, of course) isn’t worth a warm fart.

Would put your military in harms way at the request of the guy who doesn’t have a strategy?

BobMbx on September 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Their concerns are not political, but representative of genuine apprehension that the security of the United States and its allies are being jeopardized by the leader of their party’s paralysis.

I’d ask for proof of this, especially in an election year, but then again the Noah blog that used to be HotAir often leans “Dem-lite” in its arguments and in its persuasions, and so can probably be chalked up to a “go along to get along” outlook.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Arm Ukraine? If we aren’t going to defend Ukraine in accordance with the treaty that we made with them, then we should give them back the nuclear weapons that they got rid of because we promised to defend them in the event of Russian aggression.

Ordinary American on September 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

THIS!

Our country made a defense treaty with Ukraine, we have an obligation, a duty to honor it. Or, is being a deceitful, cowardly nation something to be proud of?

captnjoe on September 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM

That’s interesting. I didn’t know they had that much hardware.

dave c on September 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

They are one of the most well armed nations on the planet.

They have a bunch of crooks in charge who loot the public treasury, sell the stockpiles for profit, refuse to fund maintenance, refuse to pay the troops, refuse money for training, sell US donated MREs on the black market while the soldiers go hungry (officers get MREs, the men don’t).

The conscripts they are sending into battle are barely trained and poorly motivated. The oligarchs have raised their own units to fight because the army is so dispirited. The Right Sector fascist groups control the National Guard who are well motivated, but poorly trained, and poorly officered.

Regular army officers don’t want to fight, and there aren’t enough people who want to be soldiers, so they have taken to mass conscription. They are on their fourth conscription call up and protests, and evasions are common.

An entire battalion of Territorials the 5th Carpathian, deserted and went home.

On the rebel side they have seconded Russian officers (my opinion) and around 3-4,000 ‘vacationing’ Russian volunteers from the Cossack organizations, some biker gang volunteers from the ‘Night Wolves’, pro-Russian Chechens, and soldiers volunteers.

The bulk of the rebel forces are from the older set, being around 30 years of age. These are all men who did national service in the old Soviet Union/Ukraine facing young Ukrainian recruits with almost no training and led by politically reliable officers who aren’t very capable. The younger recruits from the rebel side are being trained in Rostov in Russia, and they may be returning in increasing numbers. I suspect that the young male refugees in Russia are also being encouraged by Russia to join that training as well. That is just my speculation.

What happened was that the rebels let the Ukrainians expend themselves in attacks while they gave ground and bled them white. Then comes the counter-attack. That is a typical Russian tactic used in many wars. Both Napoleon and Hitler experienced it.

The Ukrainians were encircled several times in Bn strength, and twice in multiple Brigade encirclements.

The Saboteur-Reconnaissance Groups (SRG) are I suspect the ‘polite men in green’ who operate independently striking at the Ukrainian forces while the rebel line units hold the front.

Ukrainian prisoners have been treated well and then sent back to the Ukraine which I suspect is a tactic to spread the word of how badly things are going which the Ukrainian government has tried to keep out of the news.

sharrukin on September 1, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Our country made a defense treaty with Ukraine, we have an obligation, a duty to honor it.

captnjoe on September 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Could you quote the passage in this mysterious defense treaty that spells out any such obligation?

sharrukin on September 1, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Pretty soon the dems are going to start the impeachment process.

Vince on September 1, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Ahahahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Oh, stop! You’re killin’ me! That’s too funny!

theotherone on September 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

I wish I could credit these folks for thinking of the country first for once, but I am afraid they are just doing this to cover their own buts. soone or later they will revert to the democratic mean and just not make any sense anymore.

warmairfan on September 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

If these democrats had the slightest hint of character and principles, they’d be the ones demanding his impeachment or resignation.

Until then, they can suck it. Hard.

CurtZHP on September 1, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Arm Ukraine? If we aren’t going to defend Ukraine in accordance with the treaty that we made with them, then we should give them back the nuclear weapons that they got rid of because we promised to defend them in the event of Russian aggression.

Ordinary American on September 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

THIS!

Our country made a defense treaty with Ukraine, we have an obligation, a duty to honor it. Or, is being a deceitful, cowardly nation something to be proud of?

captnjoe on September 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM
It appears that for Obama, being decietful IS something to be proud of, Taqiyya is perfectly normal for a Muslim and not at cowardly.//

Bakokitty on September 1, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Well, at least the seas stopped rising and the planet is healing.

profitsbeard on September 1, 2014 at 5:25 PM

My blood lust was sated a few decades ago, thanks.
kcewa on September 1, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Then your comments are puzzling.

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Our country made a defense treaty with Ukraine, we have an obligation, a duty to honor it. Or, is being a deceitful, cowardly nation something to be proud of? captnjoe on September 1, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Would you please link to a copy of this treaty?

Akzed on September 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM

What kind of “guns” would anti-gunner Feinstein permit being sent to them?

Obviously, not full auto. Or anything that looks like an “evil black gun” would be permitted by her.

Maybe, just maybe, some old muskets? She’s probably got some laying around from her youth. (obligatory snark)

*sigh*

NOW guns are OK, but not for U.S. citizens who have recognized Right to them, but to foreigners? (B*tch.)

With Obama, all things are possible, as long as they result in the diminishing and weakening of the U.S.

ProfShadow on September 1, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Don’t agree with this article. The Dems walk shoulder to shoulder with their liberal loon leader and occasionally attempt to say a word or 2 that is not representative of ‘him’, however, they will either walk it back the following day or pretend they didn’t say it

And for the record ALL of them have voted with him since the day he took office. Not ONE Democrat has voted against him.

The Democrats are 100% unified.

Redford on September 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM

Of course we should send both arms and support personnel to Ukraine. It has broad bipartisan support in Congress and is just a matter of time before it is implemented.

And hey, according to the Kremlin propagandists, we already are arming Ukraine. So why not prove these liars right for once?

Norwegian on September 1, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Redford on September 1, 2014 at 8:08 PM is exactly right!

What we have here is another attempt to fool the American voter with Democrats making statements that seem to distance them from the Incompetent One when in fact they continue to march in lock step with their beloved Tyrant.

Won’t the fooled feel stupid when Democrats shut down the Federal Government again, this time with their effort to push through Amnesty, the most egregious attack on Americans since the passing of DemocratCare. Exactly how will that put a stop to the terrorists who have already entered the US through the Democrat’s wide open borders?

Liberals are liars. The people who do not understand that simple fact should not be allowed to vote because they are as incompetent as 0bama.

DannoJyd on September 2, 2014 at 12:16 AM

Menendez, the sexual tourist and pro-immigration dolt should not be listened to on any topic. His “fauxtrage” can hardly be taken seriously. Asking to arm the well-armed Ukrainians is a further demonstration of his ignorance. We can only speculate that he hopes to put some distance between himself and the president, as he appears to be circling the drain on foreign policy.

virgo on September 2, 2014 at 1:53 AM

Obama is good at taking decisive action, as long as he thinks most everybody will praise him, and as long as he doesn’t have to do much to convince anyone that the decision is right who isn’t already in his corner.

Both the ISIS challenge and the Russia/Ukraine conflict are far to hazy and risky for him to make a commitment.

I think he sees inaction as the lowest risk choice. If he doesn’t do anything he can more easily deflect the blame to others. Regardless of how things turn out, at the end of the day he can always blame G.W. Bush, Congressional Republicans, etc., and we all know there is a huge segment of the American public who will buy it.

s1im on September 2, 2014 at 8:13 AM

I wonder if Senator Menendez did any whoring mongering while he was ‘investigating’?

Missilengr on September 2, 2014 at 3:45 PM