As they so often do, The Washington Free Beacon has posted a must-see clip taken from a recent interview in which PBS host Charlie Rose quizzed National Security Advisor Susan Rice over the deteriorating international security environment. Apparently, it was a laugh riot.
In the process of discussing the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe and NATO’s response to Russian aggression, Rice was interrupted when Rose submitted that it was “humiliating” to see a group of unspecified troops surrender. Rice was apparently confused, but why she was taken aback is unclear. Has there been another mass surrender of troops in Europe other than those Ukrainian soldiers who laid down their arms after being surrounded by pro-Russian forces in Debaltseve? Is that hitherto unknown mass capitulation a secret? If so, Rice didn’t maintain her poker face for very long.
Having apparently been caught off guard by this question regarding the return of war to the European continent, both Rice and Rose succumbed to a chummy moment of collegial laughter. How humanizing.
“I was just simply saying we’re taking very serious steps to reinforce NATO’s presence, air, land and sea, in the NATO countries that are on the eastern flank,” Rice finally said after regaining her composure.
It isn’t entirely clear what is so humorous in this moment, but both the host and interview subject seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Of slightly less comic value is the situation in Ukraine following the collapse of the latest attempt to secure a ceasefire.
For the first time in weeks, Ukraine reports suffering no troop deaths in the last 24 hours. Since the last ceasefire agreement was reached, heavy fighting has resulted in significant casualities on both sides of the conflict and the fall of a strategic railway hub to pro-Russian forces. Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that neither said of the conflict had “come close to complying with their commitments” associated with honoring the ceasefire agreement.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s decision to reduce gas supplies to some areas of the country under rebel control may result in the deepening of this crisis. Russian president Vladimir Putin called the move a decision that would exacerbate a “humanitarian catastrophe” in that part of the country.
“What do you call that?” he asked. “That already smacks of genocide.” If Putin wanted to step up the intervention into the border regions of Ukraine, he has his pretext.
And, if a Russian report that alleges to have reproduced Moscow’s plans for Ukraine is to be believed, the Kremlin will not limit its provocations to two Ukrainian oblasts along the border. “[Russian journalist Dimitri Muratov] said the overall strategy included plans on how to break Ukraine into autonomous sectors, immediately attaching now war-torn southeastern Ukraine to Moscow’s tax union, with a longer term plan for annexation,” one report on the leaked plan read.
Given these conditions, it’s hard to see what’s so funny.