Russia in Ukraine
The Noose Tightens
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  • Boritz

    Other coverage of the story:

    Why John Kerry Is Right About Ukraine – William Saletan, Slate

    Vladimir Putin’s Catastrophic Error – David Ignatius, Washington Post

    Got it. Kerry right, Putin in error. Perhaps soon we’ll be treated to “Ukraine a Win-Win for Obama, Kerry and Clinton” and “Tea Party Pounces on Negative Coverage of Ukrainian Situation”.

    • Jim__L

      Kerry rides forth to follow Obama’s orders to “advance defensively”, all the while shouting, “Haffily gaffily gaffily gonward!”

      This is a circus. Putin is the ringmaster, and this administration supplies the clowns.

      • Corlyss

        I don’t watch a lot of Sunday opinion shows. However, I never fail to catch Fox Report with Harris Faulkner, IMO the best interviewer on the Fox Team of some pretty good interviewers. She has increasingly engaged 3 “Insiders” in the last half-hour of her show. They are John Leboutillier, R former NY congressman and fierce critic of Republicans failures, Pat Caddell, old-fashioned hawkish Dem, and Doug “Bottom Line” Shoen, Dem pollster who is very disillusioned with Dem progressivism. Pat Caddell refers to Obama’s foreign policy as the “send in the clowns foreign policy.”

  • ameryx

    Perhaps I’ve missed something, but I’ve not seen or heard any discussion of why Putin has invaded. Crimea was not part of Russia before the Ukrainian revolt, and yet the Russian fleet had access to the Black Sea. Did Putin have reason to believe that a new Ukrainian government would revoke that access? Not that that would justify the invasion. But at least it would make a little sense. As it is, the invasion seems capricious.
    Is Putin testing for a reaction, as the Soviets did when they put up the Berlin Wall?

    • He might have had reason to believe that the access might be revoked. Some of the incoming revolution leaders were making loud noises about canceling Russia’s lease on Sevastopol. If you read Russian: http://www.rbcdaily.ru/society/562949990668333

      And that doesn’t even get into the emotional reasons: authorities have been assiduously cultivating the story of Sevastopol naturally belonging to Russia for a domestic audience for a while now. Here’s a great backgrounder by Charles King from our pages from a few years ago:
      http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2009/05/01/city-on-the-edge/

      • Andrew Allison

        Crimea was part of Russia from the late 18th Century until 1954, and is still more Russian than Ukrainian.

        • I don’t disagree. Reader was perplexed why Putin invaded.

          • Andrew Allison

            Huh? “Russian authorities have been assiduously cultivating the story of
            Sevastopol naturally belonging to Russia to a domestic audience for a
            while now.” It’s not a “story” it’s the reality.
            p.s. glad to see adoption of my suggestion to differentiate between protests and military action on the map!

          • Yup, good advice on the color coding, Andrew.

            As for my choice of the word “story”, I didn’t mean to suggest it was a fairy tale or anything. But the fact that Russian politicians in Moscow were spending millions to cultivate Russianness within Crimea shouldn’t be discounted as a political project either.

          • Andrew Allison

            Not to be a boor, but “the fact that Russian politicians in Moscow were spending millions to cultivate Russianness within Crime” needs support. I would argue that, as recent events have made clear, the past 60 years has failed to make Crimea Ukrainian in anything but name.

        • Corlyss

          “is still more Russian than Ukrainian”
          Maybe both you and Damir should check out the map with ethnic pie charts about half way down the article.

          http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21597974-can-ukraine-find-any-leaders-who-will-live-up-aspirations-its-battered-victorious

    • Pete

      Putin thinks ahead — unlike Obama and the our foreign affairs ‘experts.’

      If the Ukraine cozies up to the EU, it will eventually be after membership in both the EU and then NATO. Putin sees this and acts accordingly.

      Juxtapose this with the U.S.

      We allow tens of millions of Third World illegal aliens into the country, showed them with rights and welfare privileges and give nary a thought of the adverse affect this invasion will have on America in a generation or so.

      • Corlyss

        Mike Lee: The Russians are playing chess and we’re playing marbles. (A come-down from the usual checkers.)

        • Andrew Allison

          I think we’re playing with ourselves!

    • Andrew Allison

      Putin has not (yet) actually invaded. What he has done is taken control of Crimea, which was actually part of Russia until given to Ukraine in 1954. The simple explanation is that he could, thereby demonstrating the impotence of the Ukraine and the West. The reason that he could is that Sevastopol is the home port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is to all intents and purposes Russian, as is the rest of Crimea to a lesser extent. There was never any possibility of Russia relinquishing its de facto control of Sevastopol, and the installation of a pro-EU government in Ukraine had a predictable result. As I’ve commented previously here, if the new government had had the sense to give Crimea back to Russia it would have both eliminated a major source of opposition and made it much more difficult for Putin to look beyond Crimea.

      • Corlyss

        “Putin has not (yet) actually invaded.”

        You have a career in State awaiting you. You even contradicted yourself in the very next sentence, which might qualify you ultimately for the WH staff . . . 😉

        • Andrew Allison

          I didn’t contradict myself. The Russian invasion of Crimea took place in the late 18th Century! What just happened might possibly be described as a coup, but by no stretch of the imagination was it an invasion. An invasion will have occurred if and when Putin moves beyond the Crimea.
          Unhappily, despite the fact that I couldn’t possibly do a worse job than the incumbent, not being native-born I can’t aspire to something higher that the WH staff, [/grin].

          • Corlyss

            Well, if Ukraine was taken away from Russia, and now Russia sends in troops to take it back, how is that not an invasion? You’re rising higher and higher in the WH staff with each answer . . . 😉

          • Andrew Allison

            Corlyss, you’ve got to stop speed-reading [/grin]. Crimea (not Ukraine) wasn’t taken away from Russia, it was a gift from Russia to Ukraine in 1954. Russia has not sent in any troops. It already has, with the concurrence of the Ukrainian government, a significant number of them there. Last but not least, I thought I’d made it clear that I had no interest in a STAFF position in the WH. LOL

          • Corlyss

            But Crimea is part of Ukraine by virtue of the “gift.” The Russians only had basing rights there.

          • Andrew Allison

            The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is a parliamentary republic within Ukraine, and its parliament has just voted to hold a referendum on joining Russia. What will you position be when the people of Crimea vote to do so? That, as in Ukraine as a whole currently, elections don’t matter?

  • BobSykes

    I doubt it’s technically an invasion. The Crimean government, which has some autonomy and was democratically elected, is fine with the Russian moves.

    Putin’s ultimate goal is probably the establishment of a Russian-friendly government in Kiev once the current transitional and illegitimate government is replaced some months from now.

    No further violence is likely unless the delusional, self-righteous and arrogant US/EU/NATO leadership provokes it, which is always a possibility with idiots like Obama.

    • Jim__L

      It’s clearly an “incident”, not a war.

      War has been abandoned as a tool of international diplomacy.

      Obama’s name will go down in history with Kellogg and Briand as ridding us of the scourge of war forever!

  • qet

    Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this: if Obama manages it right, this whole situation could be the perfect, never to be seen again opportunity for doing a whole lot of things that up until a couple of weeks ago we could not have done: expand NATO, install missile defenses all over Eastern Europe, take more aggressive action against Syria, other things. How can “the world” possibly complain about US or Western imperialism, provocation, etc. in the face of Putin’s behavior? One might even come to believe that Obama had brilliantly orchestrated this whole situation just to provide himself with such an opportunity.

    • rheddles

      Expansion of NATO (to Russia’s border) would be a fairly provocative act. And are you ready to send Americans to die for Ukraine?

      The missile defences were going to go in to Eastern Europe, but Baraq Obama cancelled it.

      What aggressive action would you like to take in Syria? That ship sailed two years ago.

      It would take a lot of recreational drugs for me to believe Baraq brilliantly orchestrated anything more than the Iowa caucus.

      But keep looking for that silver lining.

      • qet

        NATO troops (a) don’t have to be US, and (b) don’t have to be sent at all, just membership status to bordering countries. I realize Obama cancelled the missile deployments but now might be a good time to reverse that decision as a decent pretext has helpfully been provided by Putin, but this window won’t stay open for long. On Syria, I don’t know, but think perhaps something can be done (wouldn’t have to be “aggressive” necessarily despite my original post) to exploit Russia’s compromised international position. And Obama need not have planned the whole thing to be able to seize the opportunity that has presented itself. I’m not saying I think he will, just that he could, and not look like he was being the “aggressor” which is the image he seems to have wanted to avoid at all costs.

    • Jim__L

      Let’s not get carried away, qet.

      I agree that there are opportunities that present themselves here. The idea that Obama would take them strains credulity; the idea that he orchestrated them is quite possibly one of the least true statements I have ever seen on the Internet.

      • qet

        My initial phrasing of the thought conveyed its improbability. It just seems that the “world opinion” that the Administration is so afraid of upsetting could be decidedly, but only temporarily, in our favor, to take some NATO-ish actions that Russia would rather we not take. Even if the Admin has blundered its way into this opportunity, which it almost certainly has, it ought to salvage the chance for the win here.

        • Jim__L

          I know you’re trying to look on the bright side, and I honor that, but somehow the existence of a hope that this administration will fumble just makes me tired all over.

  • Anthony

    Western commentary (generally) and various media gives impression of passion play but that largely distorts context and geographical history; there’s much more to ongoing Ukraine crisis…

    • Corlyss

      IAW, journalism business as usual: the ignorant explaining the incomprehensible to the indifferent.

      • Anthony

        I concur and we seem read/hear more noise than signal.

  • Corlyss

    Anyone else shocked to see WaPo dismiss Obama’s foreign policy as based in “fantasy?”

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