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Rocky Rapprochement
Haley Blasts Russia at the UN

When a new surge of fighting broke out in Ukraine’s restive east early this week, all eyes turned to Washington to gauge the response of an administration that has seemed eager to mend ties with Putin. The answer, however, came not from Washington but New York, where U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley sent a clear message condemning Russia’s aggression in her first public statement at the Security Council. Reuters

“I consider it unfortunate on the occasion of my first appearance here I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia,” Haley said, making her first public remarks inside the Security Council since being sworn in as the United States’ representative to the United Nations last month.

“It shouldn’t happen, or be that way. We do want to better our relations with Russia. However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.”  […]

“Eastern Ukraine of course is not the only part of the country suffering because of Russia’s aggressive actions. The United States continues to condemn and call for an immediate end to the Russian occupation of Crimea,” Haley said.

“Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Our Crimea related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control of the peninsula to Ukraine.”

So much for kowtowing to Russia. Haley’s comments showed a degree of continuity with existing U.S. policy that may be surprising to some: continued recognition of Crimea as Ukrainian territory, continued support for sanctions against Russia, and commitment to the fragile Minsk peace agreements. Her tough stance is likely to come as a welcome clarification for Ukraine after days of uncertain signals, including a muted State Department release that declined to specifically blame Russia for the violence and a tepid statement from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who merely said that Trump was being “kept aware of developments” in Ukraine.

Haley’s statement is also a timely reminder that the U.S.-Russian rapprochement so feverishly anticipated by the press is far from a sure thing. Trump may be eager to explore improved relations with Putin, but the latest news suggest he will not be Putin’s lackey, nor will the U.S. immediately discard its longstanding policies on Russia and Ukraine. Trump’s relationship with Russia could be much rockier than is commonly (and simplistically) assumed.
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  • michaelantony

    And the continued bigoted assumption that the fascist army of Kiev is not the one constantly shelling the people of Donbass and committing brutal aggression against civilians. The Defence Minister of Kiev has just been seen on TV boasting of his army’s advances and BBC reporters have photographed Ukrainian army tanks in the demilitarized buffer zone.

    • Psalms564

      Can I call you Misha?

  • Dhako

    Two quick things to say about this, and they are: firstly, you notice this missive came from US’s representative in the UN and its New-York’s office, which means, no Gen. flynn at the national security council (NSC); and nothing from Tillerson at the State Department in foggy-bottom; and nothing from the White-house, or even from the tweet-happy chief in the Oval Office. Hence, how much what Nikki Haley has to say can be taking to represent the feeling of the White-House and how much it represent the usual hawkish Republican stand against Russia is something that we can’t tell at the present time. Also, notice, Gen. Flynn had the time to go the White House briefing room and informed the Iranian that they are notice on their misbehavior about their missile firing. And yet, he didn’t have a word to say about this issue of Eastern Ukraine, although, if he wanted it, he could of “signal” the White-House position, much more robustly, and it would have been taking seriously by the outside world, since, the world knows, Gen. Flynn speaks for his boss much more so than that Nikki Haley lady in New-York.

    Secondly, do you recall during the Obama’s presidency Ms Samantha Powers, who held for Obama the same position in which Ms Haley occupies for Trump’s administration have had numerous public pronouncement about some outrages or other usual condemnatory proclamation, while, the Susan Rice at the National security council (NSC), and John Kerry at the State Department, didn’t even seemed to have notice such declaration, whereby, the White-House, simply proceeded to deal with that nation in question, as if things were business as usual. Hence, I would take what Mr Nikki Haley condemn with a great pinch of salt, till I at least see Gen. Flynn or Mr Tillerson pronouncing, volubly, what the US position is in regards to that issue of the day. In other words, the day we see Mr Tillerson, or Gen. Flynn, reading the “riot act” on television of what the Russians are up to in Eastern Ukraine, will be the day, we will sit up and take notice. And, of course, that will be also the day, we will reappraise our “estimation” of Mr Trump in-terms of how a biddable sort of “political stooge” he is to his “financial benefactor” in Moscow, namely the said Mr Putin.

  • Disappeared4x

    Ukraine holds the UNSC presidency for February, as Reuters noted, as well as Russia’s response, which struck me as a response from someone who knew what was really going on, in part, get Ukraine’s support for the Syria cease-fire, and whatever else TeamTrump wants to get done in the UNSC during February.

    Observers of Trump foreign policy need to learn how to read the new playbook.

    • Dhako

      You just confirmed for me that this was an empty “gesture” intended to placate (or mollify) the Ukrainian side at the UN’s Security Council, so that they will not nag and create sting at the council meetings, when other important issue (such as Iran’s latest behavior) would be the issue that is on the microscope of the council’s meetings. Also the the presence of the Russians at the UNSC and the need the Americans have in getting the full co-operation of the Russians on the Iran’s issue at the council, reinforce the view that says this was nothing but “diplomatic gesture” at its most banal and anodyne kind, in which both the US and the Russian’s delegations at the UNSC will be happy exchange.

      • Disappeared4x

        Dhako wrote: “…that Nikki Haley lady in New-York…Hence, I would take what Mr Nikki Haley condemns with a great pinch of salt…” Such complete disrespect for Ambassador Haley merits no acknowledgement, or a response to be lost in translation.

  • Psalms564

    I think there’s a lot less here than meets the eye. Does anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, take the UN seriously?? I’m genuinely asking.

    • Dhako

      Well, most small countries around the world take it seriously, And more specifically in this situation Ukraine does. Which why the US’s ambassador at the UN (i.e., Ms Nikki Haley) felt the need to “placate” the Ukrainian with this sort of empty “declaratory denunciation” of the Russian’s action.

      In other word, where Ukraine is concern, it seems, that, the Trump’s administration seems to be “echoing” that old “Melian Dialogue”, which was: “That right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.

      Hence, the cruelty of given hope to Ukraine, as if the US’s government will come to their rescue, when in fact, the US is cooking “deals”, left and right, with their tormentors, regardless of what Ukraine is expecting from the USA to do for them.

      • Psalms564

        That was reasonable length. Good.
        “”That right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.” I never heard that before. Effin brilliant. This is exactly what is happening. But I would argue that is a good thing. See, I believe in free markets, where the market determines the quantity and the quality, not some random dude like Comrade FriendlyGoat. Same thing in international politics. Let’s the real power determine who stands where.
        Putin cares more about Ukraine than anybody else in the world. He has the final and the only say. That is a fact. Accept it.

        • Disappeared4x

          Is it possible that he is taking a break to read “Pride and Prejudice” in Mandarin? heh.

  • Maybe Ukraine and Russia should become one nation again…at least it would resolve the Crimea sovereignty dispute, would it not?

    • FluffyFooFoo

      Ha ha.

  • FluffyFooFoo

    Putin is going to be Trump’s lackey. Has this not always been clear? America is back to be the sh%t it truly is.

  • Andrew Allison

    “Trump may be eager to explore improved relations with Putin, but the latest news suggest he will not be Putin’s lackey, . . .” seems likely. I’m not so sure about the policies on Russia and Ukraine. As a pragmatist, President Trump is probably well aware that Crimea is a lost cause and Ukraine will not be permitted to enter the EU orbit. U.S policy has not heretofore recognized this reality, and will likely change (resulting in much tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth on the part of the punditariat).
    p.s. it’s my understanding that it’s usual for the first reference to the president in a story to include his title.

    • RedWell

      Perhaps, but the more likely interpretation is not that Trump is taking a stand against Russia, but that people with independent political lives, like Haley and Mattis, are going to pursue a traditional GOP foreign policy. Since Trump is ill-focused, they are filling in the margins where the chaos does not touch.

      In other words, no, Trump won’t be Russia’s lackey, though not because he has a coherent, pragmatic and strong approach to the world. Rather, his management style is too chaotic to fundamentally undermine America’s basic approach to the world.

      • Andrew Allison

        Do you seriously think that Haley and Mattis are independent? Strangely, President Trump’s “ill-focus” and “chaotic management style” have managed to not only make him a very successful businessman, but President. Could there be cognitive dissonance here?

        • Disappeared4x

          Cognitive dissonance indeed: Politico so rattled they misspelled strategy: “Donald Trump’s first two weeks have been a frenetic sprint that has unsettled Washington and left a rattled world wondering what’s next. …“Remember when Trump and Clinton talked about stamina during the debate? Turns out it was a question for the rest of us,” said Ann Marie Lipinski, curator at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. “You can’t walk away from your phone without fear of missing something significant that’s just transpired. None of it feels like normal figuring out. It all feels like a traumatic condition.”

          Trump’s team has sought to use such Democratic rhetoric against their opponents. “You can’t even — there is no
          gradation of hysteria,” Conway said on Fox on Thursday. “It’s everything makes them cry and scream.”

          At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, the president positioned himself once again as the healer of what
          he described in his inaugural address as a state of “American carnage.”

          “The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out, okay? That’s what I do. I fix things. We’re
          going to straighten it out,” he said, with full 206 weeks remaining in his first term. “Believe me.” ”

          http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-startegy-as-president-234613
          [as if Redwell is redeemable…]

        • RedWell

          Cognitive dissonance, huh? I’m sure it’s a one-way street.

          As for for Haley and Mattis, of course they are independent political actors. Mattis had a long and successful military career and doesn’t need this job. On his fist international trip, to Asia, he was careful and diplomatic and, in effect, contracted the tone and, in some ways, the substance of Trump’s talk about renegotiating our alliances.

          Haley was a successful governor and is probably looking at a presidential run. She doesn’t need Trump, either, for her political life. The UN posting will leave her with some foreign policy experience, and in her fist major statement, she took a hard line on Ukraine. That sort of thing is consistent with standard GOP policy, but not with Trump’s nationalist dollar diplomacy and America first rhetoric.

          Trump’s skill as a manager is being the chaos at the heart of stability. He lets other people do the hard work. And that is what he is doing, here.

          He is also successful because people would rather believe easy lies than sort through political rhetoric. His foreign policy, to date, is all rhetoric and inconsistency.

          What we are left with, if we are lucky, is Trump as bad cop with the big kids doing the hard work of diplomacy. If we are unlucky, the big kids will leave and we are left with Trump’s rhetoric and people who actually believe it.

          • Andrew Allison

            Ask Sally Yates about that. Haley and Mattis didn’t need the jobs, but took them and, having taken them are under the direction of the President.

  • Philip K

    I always thought that the poor Russian people could not catch a break. From being virtual slaves in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries under the “House of Romanov”, to be sold by propaganda as cannon fodder in WWI by Czar Nicholas II, then by the Bolsheviks for “farm plans” – so called – in the 20th century, to a chance at freedom in 1990. And now, back to propaganda serfdom in 2014.

    The vain KGB dictator & Russian imperialist, can put an end to all this bloodshed and economic punishment quite quickly by simply ordering his Russian troops, ‘volunteers’, FSB/GRU/spetsnaz agents, and pro-Putin Chechen and Ossetian mercenaries back to Russia. He controls it. He fired the original leader of this incursion planned by Moscow, Russian fascist GRU colonel Igor Girkin back to Moscow. Yet, he won’t. He does need the west and specifically, the US, as an enemy to stay in power.

    Russia is dying. Stunning rates of alcoholism, corruption, infant mortality and Putin spends his time on imperialist wars and interventions instead of taking care of his own people and many Russian people, sadly, accept this arrangement. Europe returning to normal depends on civilizing Putin – but Putin can’t be civilized!

    • Kev

      And US and Europe are Ssoo full of life, are they? LMAO

      • Philip K

        We have freedom of press, speech, religion, the highest living standards in the history of the world (the poorest of the pour in the US still make twice the income that the “average” person in USSR, er, Russia earns, at about $1600/month. In Mother (so-called) Russia, the middle class earning stream is about $800/month. Why do you think there are millions of Russian bride websites where the females of Mother (so-called) Russia sign up to marry men from the west? 😉 My lord, there are millions of these Russian Bride sites. And, these girls in their teens or 20’s even, don’t give a damn if the man from England or Germany is 50 years old. They just want OUT!

  • Kev

    Very disingenious of the new US ambassador to admonish Russia for the violence that American puppets started. Ukrainians violated the ceasefire by pushing into DMZ zones, separating the regime positions from the rebels, Ukraine admitted as much.

    Now, lest we forget, Ukraine is not really a soveregn nation. It currently has a puppet “government”, installed by the US in 2014. So, if Trump admin actually wanted to end this latest round of fighting all they had to do is make a phone call…

    All of which leads me to think: what if its actually Trump admin, which is testing Putin by greenlighting new round of violence in East Ukraine? Could the Donald really be this devious? Doubtful, but perhaps, someone else, someone smarter is making these decisions for him.

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