From Forbes – Invasion of Ukraine

Posted by Jack

The Russian parliament has approved Vladimir Putin‘s request to use military force in Ukraine (ominously, not just Crimea which Russian forces already control).  Ukraine’s weak interim government has ordered mobilization. European heads of state have scheduled meetings for Monday (I guess they don’t want to spoil their weekends), and President Obama has warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity or else “there will be consequences.”

Putin’s open call for Russian military forces on Ukrainian territory departs from his tried-and-true script of masked Russian forces or proxy fighters. With the fugitive “legitimate” president of Ukraine at his side, Putin can claim that he is using Russian force to “protect” eastern and southern Ukraine from the  illegitimate Nazis, skinheads, and rabid nationalists of Maidan square, backed by John Kerry and the CIA. Obama may be naïve enough to think that Putin will be deterred by international opprobrium. Nonsense. The constellation of forces – a political vacuum in Ukraine, a weak and indecisive U.S. president, and a European herd of cats — are aligned for him to get away with the annexation – formal or de facto – of a prized portion of Ukraine.

Putin counts among the world’s most predictable heads of state. If we listen to his words and watch his actions, we know exactly how he will behave in any specific situation. We know that Putin will not let the Assad regime fail, will continue to protect Iran’s nuclear ambitions, will pose a constant threat to democratic Georgia, and he will support any regime that bucks U.S. interests. We know that he will not accept the results of Ukraine’s Maidan revolution. He will play a maximalist game – the de facto partition of Ukraine – if he anticipates no real pushback from Europe and the United States. Crimea is gone to Russia for all practical purposes. Putin is now eying his next morsels.


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7 Responses to From Forbes – Invasion of Ukraine

  1. bill says:

    Dang, CNN headline

    Ukraine mobilizes troops after Russia’s ‘declaration of war’

    Well boys I reckon this is it….nuclear combat toe to toe with the rooskies…
    Reply to this comment
    On March 3, 2014 at 8:08 am,
    bill says:

    See y’all on the other side.

  2. RHT447 says:

    So, Mr. O, how’s that “I’ve got a telephone and a pen” thing working out?

  3. Tina says:

    American weakness will (has) result in a lot of destruction and human loss in the world without winning freedom for anyone.

    The Weekly Standard

    …passivity in Syria has produced nearly the worst of all possible worlds: 150,000 dead, 6 million homeless, and a menacing gathering of perhaps 25,000 jihadists at the heart of the Middle East.

    Sarah Palin predicted in 2008 that Putin would invade Ukraine if Obama was elected:

    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…

    Romney, in a debate with Obama was also clear about Putin’s intention:

    “Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe…and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin.”

    Obama’s response as he spoke was that snide superior smile…which has cost the world greatly.

  4. Chris says:

    It’s a good thing all of you held Bush’s feet to the fire when Russia invaded Georgia back in 2008. I’m sure you also blamed Bush’s weak foreign policy for that one. You wouldn’t want to be accused of being inconsistent.

  5. Tina says:

    2008…wasn’t that the year that the left thought Bush should just get lost early and let them take over because they do such a better job?

    Three months to the election and a couple more to the turnover of the Presidency to the next leader…hmmm, good time or bad time to involve ourselves?

    A brief reminder:

    History Guy:

    The Georgia-Russia War (2008)–After nearly two months of border clashes between Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia, Georgia launched a major military offensive against South Ossetia which prompted Russia to intervene against Georgia.

    On the morning of August 7, the Georgian army invaded South Ossetian territory and moved on the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. By the end of August 8, the Georgians controlled most of the city. When the war began, South Ossetia was defended by only 2,500 Ossetian militia and fewer than 600 Russian “peacekeeper” troops. Georgia’s invasion force numbered nearly 7,500 American and Israeli-trained troops, with scores of tanks and armored personnel carriers. The well-trained Georgians also enjoyed a technological advantage over their foes; night-vision equipment and aerial drones. Georgian artillery and air strikes landed with effective precision due to their drone eyes-in-the-sky. Russian forces facing the Georgians do not have these technologies. Russian forces in South Ossetia, though aware that a conflict was coming, were caught by surprise by the timing of the Georgian assault. (continues)…

    …The Ukraine, where the Russian ships are based, said that it had the right to deny re-docking privileges to the ships upon their return. Ukraine, like Georgia, has sought to move away from Russian influence and seek to join NATO. Also on the 10th, American military transport aircraft began ferrying Georgia’s Iraq contingent back home to face the invading Russians.

    Russian and Abkhazian troops moved into the Georgian-controlled Kodori Gorge on on August 10, in a major expansion of the war. Russian ground forces also attacked the Georgian city of Gori, a major military and transportation hub.

    The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly told American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in a phone call that the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, “must go.” This comment prompted the American Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, in a United Nations Security Council session, to charge that Russia’s goal in the war was “regime change.”

    The United States increased its public criticism of Russia on Sunday, August 10, as the Russians and their Abkhazian proxies opened a second front in their war against the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. As the U.S. Air Force ferried Georgia’s Iraq contingent back home, American political and national security officials made some possibly disturbing public comments:

    “[Vice-President Dick] Cheney was even more pointed, telling [Georgian President] Saakashvili on Sunday afternoon that “Russian aggression must not go unanswered,” according to his press secretary.

    Briefing reporters traveling with Bush on Sunday, Deputy National Security Adviser James F. Jeffrey would not rule out the use of American force to assist Georgia but said that was not the current focus of U.S. efforts. “–Washington Post, August 10, 2008

    With ongoing American military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States realistically has few options in a military intervention in the Georgia-Russia War, short of an all-out war with Russia. …

    …While the war itself is not yet over, several points can be examined in how this conflict unfolded and the early course of the war, as well as some apparent consequences of this Russia-Georgia war:

    –It now appears clear that Georgia was duped into attacking South Ossetia and that the Russians had laid a trap to make the Georgians fire the first shots, thereby letting Russia claim to be pushing back an aggressor. According to Stratfor, a private American intelligence company, Russian forces were pre-positioned near the border, therefore more able to respond quickly to attack the Georgians when they moved into South Ossetia on August 8. While the timing of the Georgian attack took the Russians by surprise, their inability to seize the South Ossetian capital and thus their delay in pushing on to the strategically important Roki Tunnel, allowed Russia to pour troops into Ossetia and force back the Georgian military.

    –Georgia assumed that because of their cooperation with America in Iraq, and their application to join NATO, America would be more proactive in helping Georgia against Russia. This appears to have been foolish and naive wishful thinking. With major American military assets tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with a possible Iran War looming, the United States is in no position to risk war with Russia.

    –Poland, which suffered from Russian invasions, massacres, and depredations multiple times in the 20th century, came to a quick agreement with the United States that will place an American missile defense base in Poland. This long-delayed agreement was reached by the Americans and Poles in an obvious response to what the Poles see as Russian aggression in Georgia.

    Oh yeah…now I remember.

  6. Chris says:

    The point is that no one on the left blamed Bush for Russia invading Georgia. That would be stupid. Just as stupid as people on the right blaming Obama for Russia invading the Ukraine. America is not the center of the universe, and it’s arrogant to believe that this would have been prevented if we just had a stronger foreign policy.

  7. Tina says:

    Who is blaming Obama for Russia invading Ukraine?

    It was stupid to scrap the Bush missile defense plan.

    Even left leaning papers report on Obama’s failed foreign policy which has included turning his back on our allies.

    The American people may not follow foreign policy regularly, but they know failure when they see it. They know when the wheels are coming off the bus. Gallup reports: “For the first time, more Americans think President Barack Obama is not respected by other world leaders than believe he is. Americans’ opinions have shifted dramatically in the past year, after being relatively stable from 2010 to 2013.”

    It is not hard to see why. Around the goal the president has generated contempt, dismay, or disappointment — but rarely respect. He has shied from enforcing his own red line. He has failed to articulate a U.S. policy toward the countries undergoing turmoil in the Middle East. He’s pushing a rotten deal with Iran. He bugged out of Iraq entirely, and now an al-Qaeda flag flies over Fallujah, where just a few years ago Americans lost their lives by the dozens to turn back jihadists.

    You’re wrong about the importance of having a strong foreign policy and about the attitude that is behind the support of strong American presence in the world. It’s about standing tall for the basic God given rights we Americans value and believe should be honored by governments around the world. We don’t seek to impose these values but we do stand in support of those who want freedom. This isn’t arrogance.

    Arrogance is thinking that the sheer force of ones personality will cause nations and terrorists to fall at your feet in obeisance to your superior intellect…the Obama speech in Cairo:

    Charles Crawford’s Perspective: As a former Ambassador myself, I can tell you that once a vast unhappy crowd starts carrying pictures of your country’s ambassador and calls for her/him to pack up and go home, things have gone badly wrong in the bilateral relationship.

    Thus with U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson in Cairo. She is seen by large parts of Egyptian society as a symbol of incompetent U.S. meddling. She is denounced for getting too ‘involved’ in Egyptians’ affairs or for backing the wrong side, or both.

    How did U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East reach this sorry pass? I can’t help feeling that the famous speech delivered by President Obama in Cairo in June 2009 gives us some clues.

    The first thing to note is that it was amazingly long. It weighed in at over 6,050 words. Too many.

    The second is that the speech was delivered not long after President Obama assumed office. He was at the height of his popular appeal as the Anti-Bush.

    By making this major speech in Egypt, the largest country in the so-called Arab world, he wanted to signal a clean break with nasty right-wing American policies (Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran) and proclaim a new start based not on military might and intervention but rather on ‘dialogue.’

    Not necessarily a bad idea. But it needed doing guilefully. Dialogue is often good. The problem is what to say, and what the other side hears. And then what to do if the other side isn’t really listening, or doesn’t like what it hears.

    The Cairo speech opened on a weird note:

    “I’m also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum.” (Applause.)

    What? Why is the President of the United States carrying a greeting of peace from U.S. Muslim communities? What about Christian or Buddhist or indeed atheist communities?

    What does this opening say to non-Muslims in the U.S.A. and in the Middle East alike?

    Then we get this:

    “I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.”

    Why is he putting America and Islam in the same categories? The more so when he goes on to say this:

    “I know there are many — Muslim and non-Muslim — who question whether we can forge this new beginning . . . Some suggest that it isn’t worth the effort — that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash.”

    Then we get the ritual rehearsal of the scientific triumphs of an earlier Islam. This strikes me as implicitly patronizing. Yes, centuries ago Islam achieved huge strides. But then what happened?

    Withering analysis continues from a seasoned foreign policy ambassador.

    Obama was not prepared for the position to which he aspired and was promoted. It is somewhat useless to place the blame on him. The radicals of the Democrat Party are the true culprits. Not that their alternative would have been any better.

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