Obama’s Playing Marbles…Putin’s Playing Chess

by Jack

Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Chair, summed up the Ukraine crisis like this, “Putin is playing chess, and I think we’re playing marbles.” This exemplifies the degree of influence and statesmanship the Obama Administration’s has with Russia’s Putin and his aggression in the Crimea (see map in red).

Putin has issued an ultimatum to Ukrainian forces to surrender two warships and their bases in the Crimea and withdraw by 7 pm our time or face a military assault. Ukraine’s interim government is totally unprepared to handle a full on threat of war because they lack the military might to buy time to negotiate.

Although Ukraine has a decent quality military it has a light presence in the Crimea. Russia, by contrast, has a huge presence on the peninsula, with its Black Sea fleet based in Sevastopol.mapcrimea

“It is a nightmare for everyone,” said Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military expert. “The entry of Russian troops would be a deep humiliation for Ukraine … It would be a second Chechnya.”

Russia’s military force pits about 845,000 troops against Ukraine’s 130,000. Further, Russia’s military spending dwarfs that of the Ukraine’s. Russia spent $40.7bn last year compared to Ukraine’s $1.4bn.

The only thing the Ukrainian forces have going is they are well trained and they are fighting on their home turf. They’ve also had some international peacekeeping missions over the past 10 years and that has helped established close contacts with western counterparts who may be able to help with some tactical assistance.

However, if Obama thinks his European allies are prepared rally behind the Ukraine economically or militarily he is totally out of touch with reality. Europe has their own problems and they are not inclined to create new ones with Russia. Putin knows this and he knows that by acting quickly he’s catching everyone off guard, including the White House.   Democracies may be many good things, but coming to swift decisions has never been one of them. Meanwhile it appears Russia is about to seize territory.

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6 Responses to Obama’s Playing Marbles…Putin’s Playing Chess

  1. J. Soden says:

    On September 6, 2013, with the Syrian civil war raging and widespread confirmation that Obumble’s “red line” for intervention in that conflict had been crossed, the Prez traveled to Saint Petersburg in Russia for a G-20 summit. There, addressing the ongoing crisis, the Prez said that the kinds of threats America will confront in the future are those posed by failed states and non-state actors. He said that the kind of “great power conflict” that typified the last century were unlikely because they are no longer in any nation’s interest.

    This Prez can’t even play marbles right!

  2. Tina says:

    Victor Davis Hansen predicts:

    For some, like the now furrow-browed Europeans who once giddily lapped up the Victory Column pabulum, there is irony. For the Baltic states, Georgians, the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, the Japanese, the Taiwanese, and the South Koreans, there is increased anxiety about regional strains of Putanism spreading to their own backyards. And among our allies such as the British, Israelis, Canadians, and Australians, there is still polite bewilderment.

    This will probably end in either two ways : Either Barack Obama will have his 1980 Jimmy Carter revelatory moment as something like an “Obama Doctrine,” or we could see some pretty scary things in the next three years as regional thugs cash in their chips and begin readjusting the map in their areas of would-be influence.

    There is a reason to carry a big stick after all.

  3. Peggy says:

    Don’t forget China. They’d love to get their hands on Japan and its islands.

  4. Post Scripts says:

    Victor Davis Hansen is one of my favorite people. Really enjoy his articles.

  5. Chris says:

    I also enjoy Victor Davis Hanson’s article. You know, the one he writes every month and then adds a slightly different title to in order to make people think it’s a new one. He’s like the Cosmo magazine of political editorialists.

    Did see a good one in WaPo today about conservatives’ reaction to the Russia situation:

    “President Obama is such a weak strongman. What’s more, he is a feeble dictator and a timid tyrant.

    That, at any rate, is Republicans’ critique of him. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Obama’s critics pivoted seamlessly from complaining about his overreach to fretting that he is being too cautious. Call it Operation Oxymoron.

    Last Wednesday, I sat in a House hearing and listened to Republicans describe Obama exercising “unparalleled use of executive power” and operating an “uber-presidency.” They accused him of acting like a “king” and a “monarch,” of making the United States like a “dictatorship” or a “totalitarian government” by exercising “imperial” and “magisterial power.”

    But after events in Ukraine, this very tyrant was said to be so weak that it’s “shocking.””

    …In theory, it is possible for Obama to rule domestic politics with an iron fist and yet play the 98-pound weakling in foreign affairs. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense that one person would vacillate between those two extremes. A better explanation is Obama’s critics are so convinced that he is wrong about everything that they haven’t paused to consider the consistency of their accusations.

    Obama is neither tyrant nor pushover. In general, the criticism of him being inconsistent and indecisive is closer to the mark. But the accusation that he has been feckless in Ukraine is still dubious, because those demanding a stronger response have been unable to come up with one.

    After Obama threatened Friday that “there will be costs” to Russia’s action in Ukraine, my colleague Charles Krauthammer, who in the past likened the president to Napoleon, said on Fox News that “everybody is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement.”

    But if Obama had made specific threats toward Russia, he would have set himself up for the conservatives’ criticism of his Syria policy — that he was drawing “red lines” that he wasn’t prepared to enforce. And suppose he were willing to draw red lines and back them up with military might. Inevitably, he’d be accused of trying to distract from Obamacare or other domestic troubles, as he was when he threatened a military strike on the Syrian regime.

    Even critics of the “weak” Obama response don’t propose a military response in Ukraine. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, there was, similarly, no consideration of military action by President George W. Bush’s administration, and Vladi­mir Putin got away with his aggression…”


  6. Tina says:

    Your devotion is remarkable…carry that water, Chris. Make sure you don’t spill a drop! You are cementing your radical lefty credentials…Bravo.

    Just don’t accuse me of being partisan ever again! That was one of your snarky accusations of me when I defended Bush’s (far superior) economic policy and (far superior) foreign policy.

    Clue nimrod: Expecting a show of military support for our allies and friends isn’t a call to war!

    Obama signaled his preference for Marx and Putin when he dumped missile defense and told Medvedev to tell Putin he’d have “more flexibility” after the election.

    The hapless Kerry actually believes that the turning of a century means that enemies of freedom don’t exist anymore and will no longer go to war to grab power.

    Arrogance…believing that the sheer force of personality (his own) will calm the ambitions of those bent on dominating and oppressing the world.

    This is pathetic and Putin is laughing his ass off.

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