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Crisis in Ukraine
Obama Blinks

The President’s recent remarks at West Point show that he doesn’t understand the rules of the game he’s playing with Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

Published on: June 3, 2014
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  • Pete

    ” …nor will I argue what U.S. foreign policy should be. This is not my piece of cake. Besides, being a Russian citizen, I feel that it would be inappropriate to deliberate on what America’s interests are and how Washington should defend them. ”

    You got that right.

  • Andrew Allison

    “Obama Blinks” is news? The foreign relations skills of this Administration are, to be kind, sadly lacking.

  • Michael Garrood

    Oh, but please!
    The sending of 600 troops is a “very serious move”.
    And it has shown President Putin that “we are very serious now”.
    And it is a move that he has “taken very seriously”!
    I mean, that was why he moved out the troops, surely?
    Welcome to the world of “western alternate reality”…

  • wigwag

    Lilia Shevtsova is right. Tom Friedman is an idiot.

  • Boritz

    “Imagine how the Kremlin might react to Obama’s recent rhetoric: “He
    wants to look as if he won? Fine with us. Now he can’t admit failure.
    This means he’s ready to look for a deal to save face. Or maybe he’ll
    just ignore what he can’t influence anyway, which is also fine by us!”’

    That’s what is going on.

    “But if the President really believes what he said on Ukraine and Russia…”

    No. He believes 40+% of us will continue to. Good enough for government work.

  • Julie Leighton

    Obama’s 1 billion dollar proposal is called the “European Reassurance Initiative” (ERI). According to the White House issued “Fact Sheet”, the ERI plans to 1) increase American ground and air force presence in Europe; 2) heighten American cooperation with NATO; 3) build “partner capacity” of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

    Is this likely to be approved by Congress? It’s doubtful. Arguments for cutting the defense budget are becoming more common, and the fact that the US already contributes 4.4% of its GDP to NATO, while some allies–France and Britain–only contribute 2% or less, will not help. More importantly, if this initiative was passed, would it have any concrete effect? Probably not. The proposals are too vague and seem generally misdirected. All and all, this seems to be an empty symbolic action.

    However, it seems that NATO has already mobilized to match Obama’s efforts. Last night, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a statement saying that the organization was developing a “readiness action plan” (RAP) that would enhance Euro-Atlantic security and cooperation.

    Rasmussen had first called for the RAP in April at the Seminar for Allied Command Transformation. He insisted that the Russia-Ukraine crisis posed “a serious challenge to our common security. And we stand united in our firm response.” He called for an increase in joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, missile defence, and cyber intelligence gathering. This plan has a concrete application, and combined with it’s April conception date, largely negates both the problems of misdirection and empty symbolism that are easily pegged to the ERI.

    Obama, despite his upbeat and optimistic points in both the West Point and NPR statements, has failed to lead a collective Euro-Atlantic effort for Ukraine. The actions that he did take had minimal overall effect; and his proposals for the future seem unpromising. Back to the drawing board Mr. President.

    • Larusmarinus

      Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Therefore the NATO has no comittment to make “effort for Urkaine”.

  • Hal O’Brien

    “President Obama views Putin as a leader who “was operating from a position of weakness.” This is right, but only if you take the long view: This type of regime is destined to fall eventually, but for the time being Putin has an 82 percent approval rating; he hardly looks or feels weak.”

    No, Russia, and Poutine (I use the French spelling, because it more closely matches the Russian pronunciation) are incredibly, tactically weak.

    Why did Poutine take Crimea? Because he wanted to protect the Black Sea “Fleet,” and thought it was a valuable enough asset to cause a fuss over. Have you looked at the Black Sea “Fleet”? It’s about the size of a single US Navy carrier group. Mark Galeotti has said he thinks it could lose a fight against the Italians. The fact that Poutine invaded another country to be certain to hold on to such an asset that is both, so valuable to him he doesn’t feel he can afford to lose it, yet so weak it has no real tactical value, says volumes. It says his other assets are even worse.

    The Russians fought Chechnya — and it took years to get to a standoff. The Russians fought a virtually disarmed Georgia — and it still took a week. And that’s before we talk about Afghanistan, which provides a fine illustration in the difference between withdrawing (what the US is doing), and retreating (which the USSR was forced to do, leaving tons of materiel behind).

    Poutine is an Emperor without any clothes.

  • Michael Howard, Dayton Alumni

    Dear Mr.President,
    I have always considered myself a Harry Hopkins type of guy. I have aspired to work in Washington on the staff of a person whom can make a real difference for America. I am available for consultation or employment. I know that you really care! Sincerely,
    Michael Howard

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