Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Russia launches armed invasion of Crimea region of Ukraine

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

Russian troops moved into Crimea Friday, U.S. officials told Fox News, prompting Ukraine to accuse Russia of an “armed invasion.”

At the White House, President Obama said the U.S. government is “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian “military movements” and warned any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would be “deeply destabilizing.”

“There will be costs” for any military intervention, he said, without specifying what those costs might be.

U.S. officials told Fox News they see “evidence of air and maritime movement into and out of Crimea by Russian forces” although the Pentagon declined to officially “characterize” the movement.

Agence France Press quoted a top Ukranian official as saying Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula.

“Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one,” Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president’s special representative in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, according to AFP. He accused Russia of an “armed invasion.”

The new developments prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” — a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

[Republican] Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement late Friday saying, “It appears that the Russian military now controls the Crimean peninsula.  This aggression is a threat not only to Ukraine, but to regional peace and stability.  Russia’s latest action is yet another indicator that Vladimir Putin’s hegemonic ambitions threaten U.S. interests and allies around the world.”

Why would Russia be so bold about landing troops in the Ukraine? Well, what have they learned about Obama?

Obama mocked the idea that Russia was our enemy

Remember when Obama said this about Romney?

“The 1980s are calling to ask for their foreign policy back” Obama told Romney, in one debate. And this lack of seriousness about Russia caused Obama to bungle the European missile defense deal with Russia, such that Obama basically gave away the store.

The radically leftist UK Guardian explains in this September 2009 article:

Barack Obama has abandoned the controversial Pentagon plan to build a missile defence system inEurope that had long soured relations with Russia.

In one of the sharpest breaks yet with the policies of the Bush administration, Obama said the new approach would offer “stronger, swifter and smarter” defence for the US and its allies. He said it would focus on the threat posed by Iran’s short- and medium-range missiles, rather than its intercontinental nuclear capabilities.

Obama announced the reversal officially at a news conference today. “This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems to offer greater defences to the threat of attack than the 2007 European missile defence programme,” he said.

He phoned the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic last night to tell them he had dropped plans to site missile interceptors and a radar station in their respective countries. Russia had furiously opposed the project, claiming it targeted Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.

Here is the former director of the CIA James Woolsey, who served in the Clinton administration:

President Barack Obama’s administration recently threatened to veto the defense budget, citing “serious concerns” over provisions that limit the U.S. missile defense know-how that the White House is permitted to share with Moscow. This is the sort of information that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in his earlier days, would have assigned his spies to steal. Through its single-minded pursuit of “resetting” relations with Russia, the Obama administration may simply be willing to hand over this information and, in doing so, weaken U.S. national security.

Only two days after issuing the veto threat — and as Obama tried to warm Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to U.S. missile defense plans at the G-8 Summit in Deauville, France — the House of Representatives passed the defense bill. It included the provision that the president’s team finds so offensive: Section 1228 requires that no funds can be used to provide the Russian Federation with sensitive U.S. missile defense technology.

[...]They’re right to be concerned. Tehran is thumbing its nose at Washington and doubling down on its missile program. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, told a congressional panel in March that Iran “would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon” and that the Islamic Republic “continues to expand the scale, reach and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload.”

Russian assistance has contributed to the progress made by Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Should the United States share critical information about its missile defenses with the Russians, a Russian entity — official or otherwise — could pass that information along to Tehran, enabling the Iranians to capitalize on the weaknesses in the U.S. system.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration continues to demonstrate its penchant for bargaining away missile defense, and the United States is not currently developing and deploying missile defense technology at the rate and quantity the threat demands.

Here is the leftist Washington Post in March 2013:

The Pentagon is canceling the planned fourth phase of an anti-missile system that had been scheduled for deployment in Poland in 2022. The SM3 IIb missile was significant for two reasons: It was the only interceptor planned for the Europe-based system that could have defended the United States against an attack from Iran; and it was the component of the system most decried by Russia, which claimed that it could be used against its intercontinental missiles.

As it did when it canceled a previous European missile plan in 2009, the administration insisted that its decision had nothing to do with Russia or its objections. The phase-four missile was dropped, officials said, because Congress had cut some of its funding, meaning it could not have been completed in the next decade, even while the timeline of possible ICBM threats is shortening. Officials say the money can be better spent on deploying more interceptors in the United States and improving their components. As proof that Moscow has not been appeased, the White House pointed to statements by Russian officials saying they are still unsatisfied with U.S. missile defense plans and continue to demand binding legal assurances that the system can’t be aimed at Russia.

What do you think that Putin learned from Obama’s continuous appeasement and withdrawal from Europe? Well, he learned the same lesson that Hitler learned by watching the naive pacifists who opposed him – he learned that you can bully great nations if they are lead by weaklings. And that is what caused World War II – the refusal of peaceful nations to check the aggression of a tyrant early. 

What has Obama been telling Russia?

Here he is with Medvedyev:

The best way to avoid war is to make aggressors understand that there is a cost for aggression. Obama’s many foreign policy blunders – failing to help the Iranian pro-democracy forces, failing to speak out for Georgia, failing to be tough with Russia, failing to help the right people in Syria – have made it clear to Putin that aggression will go unpunished. When Democrats re-elected this man in 2012, we basically abandoned freedom-loving countries like Ukraine to the Russian tyrant. But did Democrat voters care? Of course not. They were thinking of the 1 trillion dollars of government checks that would be handed out to them in exchange for re-electing Obama. Foreign policy and the peace of the free world was the last thing on their minds.

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12 Responses

  1. What do you want Obama to do? What would Romney have done? Do you want the US to go to war with Russia over the Ukraine? (I don’t.)

    • Well, I gave some examples of things not to do in the post.

      Don’t do this:
      http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-scraps-bush-missile-defense-plan/print?id=8604357

      Don’t do this:
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-skips-national-security-team-meeting-russia-ukraine_783659.html

      Don’t do this:
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/abject-surrender-united-states_768140.html

      Don’t do this:
      http://news.yahoo.com/israelis-suspect-obama-media-leaks-prevent-strike-iran-172438650–abc-news-topstories.html

      Don’t cut the defense budget. Don’t make red lines and then when they are crossed, do nothing. Don’t leave your people to die in Benghazi. Don’t fail to support pro-democracy forces in Iran and Syria. I could go on, but the best answer is – don’t be Obama. Listen to alternative points of view when you make decisions, don’t just be a naive, narcissistic egomaniac.

      When you are faced with aggression, being anti-war is what causes the war. Aggressive people are aggressive because they begin to see that the pacifists won’t do anything to stop them. That’s what happened with Chamberlain and Hitler in World War 2. Being ready to fight a war is what causes peace, and being anti-war / pacifist is what causes war. What conservatives propose in the face of threats like this is not start a war, it’s to stop a war by making tyrants believe that there will be a price to pay for aggression. This is what the Hollywood celebrities, humanities professors and mainstream media talking heads do not understand about the way the world really works. You can’t make the basis of policy be your feelings or peer approval – we have to be more practical than that.

      It’s to not ignore the problem for 5 years and make jokes about people with “Cold War” mentalities when we draw attention to the problem:
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/kristol-podcast-ukraine-after-5-years-weakness_783658.html
      (Some ideas of what to do NOW in this podcast)

      More on Obama’s weakness:
      http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/demint-blasts-obama-weak-statements-russia-ukraine_783665.html

      And still more:
      http://blogs.cfr.org/abrams/2014/03/01/ukraine-and-iran/

      • I’m not talking about the alleged mistakes Obama has made in the past. My point is this. For better or worse, we are in the situation we are in. So if you were Obama, what would you do RIGHT NOW to deal with Russia on the Ukraine? Pointing out his past mistakes, if they are mistakes, isn’t helpful NOW. So, again, what would you have him do?

        Consider the following proposal:
        1. Increase missile defense budget.
        2. Consistently attend all national security meetings.
        3. Enforce the “red line” he previous set on Syria.
        4. Etc.

        Taken together, I don’t see how all of those things would actually change anything with Ukraine. The fact is that, with or without Obama, the U.S. has no leverage over Putin with Ukraine. There is zero political support for U.S. military action in the Ukraine, and Putin knows it. If McCain or Romney were president, I can imagine them talking tougher than Obama. But at the end of the day the U.S. would still be left with the same set of bad choices for Ukraine.

        Politics really isn’t my thing, but I have the distinct impression that a lot of people like to criticize what they don’t like about a politician’s decisions without defending an alternative course of action. It’s easy to say what you don’t like about something. It’s harder to pick a specific alternative course of action and argue that it’s better.

        • I think the point that I am trying to make is that at the time that these mistakes were being made, there were people like me warning about the costs. We now see the costs. I blogged about the majority of those foreign policy blunders as they were being committed and warned about the costs we would pay. Well, we are paying them. Or rather, the pro-democracy factions in places like Iran and Ukraine are paying them. Nine trillion dollars added to the debt and we are cutting military spending and crippling our intelligence-gathering capabilities. It’s insane, and don’t think that the other side doesn’t see that.

          Here is an example of what strong leadership in foreign policy can do:
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3335965.stm

          Without a shot being fired.

        • If you are going to have an election and choose a President, it’s important to choose someone who sees threats clearly, and not someone who just makes you feel good.

          In this case:
          http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2008/10/22/russia_might_invade_ukraine_if_obama_wins_palin_warns

          That is Sarah Palin, in 2008, claiming that if Obama is elected, Russia would invade Ukraine. Why? Because Obama’s weak foreign policy emboldens aggression from tyrants.

          She could just as easily have said that people would lose their health plans, lose their doctors, that their premiums would increase, and so on. But were the American people listening?

          Watch the video. Just because leftists can do foreign policy, it doesn’t mean that conservatives can’t.

        • And to answer your specific question about what we should do now, after President Pothead has bollixed up the situation, there is this:
          http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/03/8-things-obama-must-do-about-ukraine-104128.html

          We need to put serious people in charge, not community organizers / voter fraud enablers.

  2. J.W. Wartick says:

    I don’t at all consider myself knowledgeable in foreign policy, but I so feel pretty smart for saying–in high school, no less (too long ago)–that Russia and China certainly weren’t acting like the Cold War was over. I predicted increased aggression from both. My high school foreign policy > US foreign policy.

    • Oh you should be National Security Advisor, you’re more qualified than Susan Rice. All she did was blame Benghazi on a Youtube video, and it turned out that it was a lie. But that was useful enough to get her appointed to the post.

  3. Smithborough says:

    The Ukraine situation is quite depressing due to the distinct lack of options to punish Russia for its actions.

    I would note, however, that the similar Russian actions in Georgia happened during George W Bush’s presidency, not Obama’s. Bush wasn’t able to stop Russian actions, even though it would have been much more feasible for the US militarily as the main route for Russian troops into Georgia was through a tunnel, which could have been bombed closed. What Bush did do was to fly “humanitarian aid” into Tblisi (the Georgian capital). This aid was accompanied by US troops, and at that stage Putin was worried enough by their presence to stop his advance before he got to Tblisi.

    My fear is that Obama has proved that inept at international affairs that Putin has no fear of upsetting him. After all, every showcase foreign policy of Obama’s terms of office have been disastrous. His “reset” of relations with Russia involved ending even verbal criticism of Russia, a policy which recent events have shown to be hoplessly naive. Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world seems to have led to the Arab spring, where (in similar fashion to the 1979 Iranian revolution) secular idealists go and lay down their lives in a revolution against a dictatorship, only to see the worst types of religious extremist taking advantage of their revolution and taking power.

    A big problem with a lot of “liberal” (for want of a better word) foreign policy initiatives is an inability to accept the existence of human evil in any non-western society. Tyrants and terrorists are often thought of as poor misunderstood individuals who will do the right thing if we just listen to their concerns. Similarly the liberal mindset vastly overestimates its own moral authority, believing that people like Putin will listen attentively to moralising liberal sermons and see the error of their ways etc.

    • “What Bush did do was to fly “humanitarian aid” into Tblisi (the Georgian capital). This aid was accompanied by US troops, and at that stage Putin was worried enough by their presence to stop his advance before he got to Tblisi.”

      I think that’s the kind of immediate, boots-on-the-ground action that is needed in Ukraine. But Obama’s not going to do it.

  4. damoksta says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Ukraine

    The problem is that US, Britain and Russia had promised to protect Ukraine in exchange for giving up nukes. Obama is not just inept in foreign policy, he renegaded on past promises that obligated him to act.

  5. […] Russia Launches Armed invasion of Crimea region of Ukraine- Some interesting analysis of the foreign policy issues at play here. The development of this has implications for people of faith, and we should be praying for those in the region, whatever our political affiliations or thoughts. The acting President of the Ukraine recently spoke of seeing God’s hand in the events in the region. As Christians, we should be seeking for God’s aid and intercession on behalf of the innocent; we should be praying for peace and the freedom of the oppressed. […]

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