Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama to Ukraine: if you like your Crimea, you can keep your Crimea

Stephen F. Hayes explains (in the Weekly Standard) how screwed we really are with the Democrats running our foreign policy.

Excerpt:

On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.

Wow, I’m shocked that the Youtube video caused Benghazi liar didn’t see the invasion of Ukraine coming.

But it’s not just her:

On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.”

Hours later, television screens across the world displayed images of Russian soldiers infiltrating Crimea and Russian artillery rolling through Sevastopol. Obama administration officials told CNN’s Barbara Starr that the incursion was not “an invasion” but an “uncontested arrival” and that this distinction was “key” to understanding the new developments.

Oh yes! Just like Hitler was helping out Poland with their economic problems.

Why is this happening? Well, a better question would be, why didn’t it happen sooner:

For five years, the Obama administration has chosen to see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. In this fantasy world, the attack in Fort Hood is “workplace violence.” The Christmas Day bomber is an “isolated extremist.” The attempted bombing in Times Square is a “one-off” attack. The attacks in Benghazi are a “spontaneous” reaction to a YouTube video. Al Qaeda is on the run. Bashar al-Assad is a “reformer.” The Iranian regime can be sweet-talked out of its nuclear weapons program. And Vladimir Putin is a new, post-Cold War Russian leader.

This foreign policy failure didn’t come from nowhere. There’s a whole list of failures that made Putin believe that the Democrats are weak on foreign policy.

Look:

Let me be clear. When Obama halted the scheduled missile defense shield in Europe, that was the end of Ukrainian sovereignty. We have to understand that Democrats are not just totally inept at fiscal policy and on social issues. They are also horrible at foreign policy. How many screw-ups must we witness before we understand that these people are not serious, and we shouldn’t be electing them?

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What should the United States do now to punish Russia for invading Ukraine?

 

FairTaxNancy tweeted this list of seven responses for Obama to choose from Fox News columnist K. T. McFarland.

Here are some:

First: I will reverse my decision to halt the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.  America will go ahead as originally planned and build the missile shield, but an accelerated basis.  That means U.S. military personal will be working alongside Polish and Czech military to construct and operate the systems. The missile shield is designed to protect Europe from Iranian missiles, but you get the point. Uniformed U.S. military will soon be stationed near the Russian border.

Second: I will reverse course on the defense budget.  Your defense minister just announced Russia is negotiating basing rights in seven nations around the world. He also said you were rebuilding old Soviet era military bases in central Asia.  Your parliament has just voted unanimously to invade Ukraine.  In light of that, this is no time for my Secretary of Defense to announce we’re gutting our military.

Fifth: I will send a trade delegation to Poland and other countries in Central Europe to explore ways of helping them use fracking technologies to develop their own gas reserves.  Chevron and Shell have already signed a $13 billion deal with Ukraine.  I expect others to follow.

At the same time I will throw roadblocks in front of any American energy company that seeks to develop your eastern Siberian fields.  Your existing oil fields in western Siberia have, maybe, a decade left.  You need our technology to develop new ones.  You’re not getting it.

Investors Business Daily had another list of seven energy policies that would deter Russia from aggression.

Here are some:

2. America should expand fracking. The U.S. is enjoying an energy renaissance, thanks to fracking, horizontal drilling and other technological advances.

But almost all of the gains in oil and natural gas production have been on private lands. Obama should move to open up public lands to energy exploration.

3. Promote LNG [Liquid Natural Gas] exports. LNG facilities are expensive to build. But the biggest obstacle is regulatory. The U.S. requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as an export license from the Energy Department. DOE licenses can take months, with the last four permits taking more than two years. It can take five years before an Energy Department OK turns into real exports. The Obama administration should work to streamline the regulatory process.

More LNG exports will bring down the price of natural gas worldwide. Many European LNG import facilities have been idle or running at low capacity. Exporters are sending shipments to Asia, where prices are even higher than Europe.

LNG exports will further reduce America’s trade deficit. Some argue that the U.S. should keep natural gas at home to give America an energy advantage. Chemical firms in particular want cheap natgas for fuel and as a raw material. But if domestic natgas prices rise, it should encourage more production. Shale output can be ramped up or down relatively quickly.

4. Allow U.S. petroleum exports. America has banned petroleum exports since the Arab oil boycotts of the 1970s. But with the U.S. poised to be the world’s No. 1 producer, whatever logic the prohibition once had is long gone.

The ban helps keep a wide gap between U.S. light sweet crude vs. London-based Brent — $6.28 a barrel as of Monday.

An export ban hurts U.S. producers and discourages output. It mostly benefits refineries, which are ramping up exports of refined fuels — at the global price.

Lifting the export ban in particular would have speedy impact on global crude prices, dealing a quick hit to Putin’s pocketbook.

5. OK Keystone XL pipeline. There are many reasons to back the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It would create thousands of jobs, lower oil prices and reduce the risk of crude-by-rail accidents. The oil is going to be produced anyway, which even the Obama administration admits.

That would hit Putin in his pocketbook, and show him that we are serious about deterring future aggression.

And finally, in yesterday’s post on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I linked to an article with 8 responses, written by moderate Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

He had eight recommendations, and here are three of them:

Second, President Obama should dispatch Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Kiev to show U.S. support for Ukraine’s transitional government, and urge our allies in the European Union and NATO to send representatives there as well. The United States should convene an emergency meeting of NATO to develop a strong united response from the trans-Atlantic alliance. And we should send high-level delegations to our allies in Central and Eastern Europe to reinforce the fact that we are standing by them. As part of this work with our allies, we should develop a series of economic and security assurance measures to help the transitional government in Kiev remain stable and carry out a democratic transition.

[...]Seventh, the Obama administration should immediately add more Russian officials to the Magnitsky list, which places travel bans and other sanctions on them – something President Obama failed to do in December. Living in Miami, I have seen in recent years the wave of Russian tourists coming to our city and state to spend money and buy property. Many are government officials or allies whose wealth stems from allegiance to Putin, and we should limit their ability to travel here.

Finally, in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid should immediately halt his effort to force a Senate vote on Rose Gottemoeller next week to be under secretary of state for arms control and international security. As I, Sens. John Cornyn and Jim Risch said yesterday, we shouldn’t even be thinking about arms-control negotiations with Russia anytime soon. And especially not negotiations led by a State Department official, such as Ms. Gottemoeller, who has tried to play down and potentially kept information from Congress and our allies about Russian violations of arms-control agreements.

So there are three lists of things that we could do, if we as a nation were serious about protecting democracies from tyrants. In the 1991 Gulf War, America landed an entire army to kick Saddam Hussein out of peaceful Kuwait. But does Obama have the balls for that? I don’t even think he’ll do one thing from the three lists I presented above. He is not that kind of man. He just doesn’t care.

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In 2008, Sarah Palin predicted that if Barack Obama were elected, Russia would invade Ukraine

Radically leftist CNN reports. (H/T Letitia)

Excerpt:

In 2008, when she was the GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin questioned in a speech whether then-Sen. Barack Obama would have the foreign policy credentials to handle a scenario in which Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

“After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” she said in Reno, Nevada on October 21, 2008.

The former Alaska governor was happy to highlight her prediction on Friday and scold those who criticized her 2008 comments.

[...]On Facebook, Palin continued to explain how she anticipated a growing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, where there has now been an uncontested arrival of Russian military forces by air at a Russian base in Ukraine’s Crimea region. They are believed to be Russian land forces, according to a U.S. assessment.

Now let’s review the events that caused Putin to believe that Obama would do nothing to stop his aggression.

Why is Russia so aggressive?

Russia learned from repeated failures by Obama that there would be no price to pay for aggression.

Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time

Neville Chamberlain Obama: peace in our time

Let’s make a list of failures, just off the top of my head.

Investors Business Daily documents more of Obama’s 5 years of foreign policy weakness.

Even the leftist Washington Post agrees

That’s not just me saying that, it’s the radically leftist Washington Post!

Excerpt: (links removed)

For five years, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”

That’s a nice thought, and we all know what he means. A country’s standing is no longer measured in throw-weight or battalions. The world is too interconnected to break into blocs. A small country that plugs into cyberspace can deliver more prosperity to its people (think Singapore or Estonia) than a giant with natural resources and standing armies.

Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.

[...]The urge to pull back — to concentrate on what Mr. Obama calls “nation-building at home” — is nothing new, as former ambassador Stephen Sestanovich recounts in his illuminating history of U.S. foreign policy, “Maximalist.” There were similar retrenchments after the Korea and Vietnam wars and when the Soviet Union crumbled. But the United States discovered each time that the world became a more dangerous place without its leadership and that disorder in the world could threaten U.S. prosperity.

[...]Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.

As Mr. Putin ponders whether to advance further — into eastern Ukraine, say — he will measure the seriousness of U.S. and allied actions, not their statements. China, pondering its next steps in the East China Sea, will do the same. Sadly, that’s the nature of the century we’re living in.

Everyone admits that Obama’s weakness has caused these foreign policy problems. We elected someone who wants our influence abroad to decline. The people who elected him just did not understand foreign policy and national security concerns, and now Ukrainians are going to pay with their freedom, and possibly with their lives, because of our inability to project power abroad. This is the high cost of isolationism for our peace-loving, pro-democracy, pro-capitalism allies.

What should we do now?

Speaking of Politico, they published an 8-point plan for responding to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, authored by moderate Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

Here are numbers two, seven and eight:

Second, President Obama should dispatch Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Kiev to show U.S. support for Ukraine’s transitional government, and urge our allies in the European Union and NATO to send representatives there as well. The United States should convene an emergency meeting of NATO to develop a strong united response from the trans-Atlantic alliance. And we should send high-level delegations to our allies in Central and Eastern Europe to reinforce the fact that we are standing by them. As part of this work with our allies, we should develop a series of economic and security assurance measures to help the transitional government in Kiev remain stable and carry out a democratic transition.

[...]Seventh, the Obama administration should immediately add more Russian officials to the Magnitsky list, which places travel bans and other sanctions on them – something President Obama failed to do in December. Living in Miami, I have seen in recent years the wave of Russian tourists coming to our city and state to spend money and buy property. Many are government officials or allies whose wealth stems from allegiance to Putin, and we should limit their ability to travel here.

Finally, in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid should immediately halt his effort to force a Senate vote on Rose Gottemoeller next week to be under secretary of state for arms control and international security. As I, Sens. John Cornyn and Jim Risch said yesterday, we shouldn’t even be thinking about arms-control negotiations with Russia anytime soon. And especially not negotiations led by a State Department official, such as Ms. Gottemoeller, who has tried to play down and potentially kept information from Congress and our allies about Russian violations of arms-control agreements.

But we have no reason to expect that Obama will do any of these things. Why? Because the real enemy we face is global warming.

John Kerry: global warming is “a weapon of mass destruction”

Meanwhile, John Kerry gave a speech in which he asserted that among the biggest threats to national security was global warming – “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”.

I fully expect Kerry to blame global warming for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Obama administration has already blamed our record cold temperatures on global warming. 17 years without significant warming, according to the UN IPCC, and yet that’s what our government is focused on. Behold, the superstition and credulity of the secular left.

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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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If militant atheists could form a country, what would it look like?

Nancy Pearcey posted this story about North Korea from the UK Telegraph on Facebook, and I think it’s well worth looking at, because we need to be thinking about how big government impacts our ability to do our jobs as Christians.

Excerpt:

Christian missionaries have set up an extraordinary network of front companies – including tour agencies, bakeries, factories, farms, schools and orphanages – in order to spread the Gospel inside North Korea.

For nearly two years, Kenneth Bae, a father of three and an American citizen, ran a successful travel company offering tours of North Korea.

But as the 44-year-old passed through the Wonjong border crossing in November 2012, he was suddenly arrested. Convicted of “hostile acts” towards North Korea, he is currently serving 15 years in a labour camp.

What exactly happened remains a mystery. Mr Bae had taken at least 15 other tour groups into North Korea without incident. However, it seems clear that his mission to spread the Christian gospel was at least one major factor that landed him in trouble.

Mr Bae is not alone in using his company, Nations Tour, to evangelise inside North Korea. While precise numbers are impossible to pin down, the network of well-financed front companies, missions operating as businesses, is extensive.

North Korea, the most hostile country in the world to organised religion, has a strong pull for a certain stripe of evangelical Christians, and the 288 sq mile “Special Economic Zone” outside the city of Rason, where Mr Bae was detained, is Ground Zero for these modern apostles.

[...]According to one American who once travelled with Mr Bae, but who asked to remain anonymous, their group was able to carry bibles with them into the zone. Possession of bibles by North Koreans can lead to imprisonment, torture and perhaps even death.

The source said a delicate dance had played out on their arrival, with their bibles being counted by the border guards on their way in and then again when they left to make sure none had been distributed.

At the final inspection, the guards even flipped through each copy to make sure no pages had been ripped out and left behind.

Before arriving at the border, the 15-member group was told by Mr Bae not to discuss politics or carry out any overt proselytising. The two or three pastors travelling with them were not to be addressed by their titles.

Once inside North Korea, they were accompanied by government minders at all times. On group hikes with these “tour guides”, the source said they sang Christian songs, but hummed key verses to avoid saying “God” out loud.

“That was our way of worshipping and praising in our hearts, even if we could not say it,” the source said. “Talking about God directly, that would be asking for a death sentence.”

North Korea has an official state religion of atheism. Is that a factor in their horrible record for human rights? Well, according to the The Black Book of Communism, published by Harvard University Press, over 100 million innocent people were killed in atheistic, communist regimes like North Korea in the last century.

I have been working on a theory about what militant atheists mean when they say that religion causes a lot of wars. My theory is that they are actually talking about themselves. They mean their religion. They are boasting that they are number one at killing innocent people. A person can justify killing very easily if you believe that no one is watching you and no one will hold you accountable when you die for what you’ve done.

Of course there are lots of atheists in the Judeo-Christian West who live more peacefully, because they are living in a background of objective morality and human rights provided by Western religions. But in countries like North Korea, with a state religion that cannot ground free will or objective morality or human rights or judgment after death, there are fewer restraints.

Even here, we have already seen over 50 million unborn children killed since abortion became legal. And I can guarantee you that it’s not authentic Christians who are having these abortions. As a group, atheists tend to be among the most radical in favor of abortion rights. The Secular Census of 2012 found that 97% of atheists vote for abortion.

The idea of the strong killing the weak for pleasure is the law of the jungle, and it’s not surprising to me that those who think that humans are just animals would act this way with vulnerable children. If you only have 80 years to be happy in an accidental universe, then anything goes. No one is there to hold you accountable. If the weak get in your way, kill them all. That’s atheist morality. You don’t have to go to North Korea to see it.

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