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The Rosett Report

Talking While Ukraine ‘Teeters on the Brink’

April 14th, 2014 - 2:01 am

At least it appears the U.S. administration has few illusions left about Russia’s further designs on Ukraine, from which Vladimir Putin last month swiped Crimea. On Sunday, as Russia pressed ahead with a similar script in eastern Ukraine, the State Department put out a cascade of statements detailing Russia’s campaign of causing bloody trouble in order to justify intervention.

The State Department’s diplomatic blog carried a report that in Ukraine this weekend “Coordinated, well-armed Russian-backed militants attacked government buildings in a professional operation in six cities in eastern regions. Many of the attackers were carrying Russian-origin weapons and outfitted in bulletproof vests and camouflage uniforms with insignia removed.” The State Department press office released a fact sheet titled “Russian Fiction the Sequel: 10 More False Claims,” refuting Russia’s “false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine.”

A State Department media note warned that the methods of the armed takeovers of government buildings in half a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine, apparently planned in advance, “strongly suggest that in eastern Ukraine Russia is now using the same tactics that it used in Crimea in order to foment separatism, undermine Ukrainian sovereignty, and exercise control over its neighbors in contravention of international law.”

All of which might be effective if Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had a deep and abiding respect for “international law.” Or if the U.S. still had a credible policy of supporting and potentially enforcing such concepts with military muscle — which is the language Putin speaks.

But U.S. credibility is becoming a relic of a bygone era — fading like the “red line” in Syria, shrinking like U.S. military resources, dwindling like the U.S. nuclear arsenal and worth about as much as the promises to stand (with the international community) against a Russian grab for Crimea. The U.S. default is to talk…and talk… and talk… relying on words, backed by more words; hoping for the grand diplomatic solution (Iran, Syria, the Palestinians, and now Ukraine) as the words carry ever less weight. In February, as Russia threatened Ukraine’s Crimea, President Obama declared that “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.” In March, as Russia was in the process of annexing Crimea, Obama said that “the United States has mobilized the international community in support of Ukraine to isolate Russia for its actions” and noted that “We saw this international unity… when Russia stood alone in the Security Council defending its actions in Crimea.”

Evidently, the Kremlin has decided that its armed provocateurs backed by 40,000 troops on the eastern border of Ukraine will trump any amount of isolation at the UN Security Council. This was excruciatingly clear at an emergency meeting of the Security Council Sunday evening. It was the Security Council’s 10th meeting this year on Ukraine, and there was no sign that it was any more successful at corralling Russia than the previous nine. Not that this should be a surprise, given that Russia holds one of the Permanent Five veto-wielding seats — meaning that an actual resolution, whatever that might be worth, is out of the question.

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All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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If YOU were a member of our military, want of resources would NOT be a false claim!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The resident broken record here... (me)
Obama is powerless, why? Think about it: Snowden has obviously given Russia the capability to listen in on communications. Which means they must have the goods on Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood/al Qaeda. That's quite an ace in the hole.
What's Russia up to? They're partying like it's 1939!
http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/04/russias-secessionist-strategy-exposed/
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin prepares to move 10 tank divisions through the border.

Obama prepares to give a speech.

41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ireland was more wracked by violence than Ukraine. Let's have some perspective. The southern U.S. border is wracked by seperatist and drug cartel violence. More persepective. Let them work out their problems. I sense there's not much we can do nor should we. It's not on our beat.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kiev today, Vienna tomorrow.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that's party true, but only if the conflict there is contained. Only if the Russians pull back or the efforts to recreate a Greater (greater than now) Russia fail. If Putin continues to lay claim to additional former parts of the USSR, then it is a direct threat to American security.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Larry, the biggest threat to American security is sitting in the Oval Office. He is now being "flexible" as he promised to "Vladimir" some time ago.
Flexible as a rubber doormat.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, well, sometimes I prefer to forget about that... :)
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
So the Ukraine and Russia might have a go. Exactly why should I care?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are seeing the results of the "Orate loudly and carry no stick" foreign policy. If the only weapon in your quiver is sanctions, that is all you can do.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin will chop off pieces of eastern Ukraine if he wants to, at this point. Absent something beyond verbal posturing from Samantha Power and Obama, he will disregard threats and light sanctions. The tough counter-measures by the Ukrainians will probably do more to dissuade him than all of Obama's words. At the same time, the challenge to his ego and to Russia's condescending attitude regarding the very existence of Ukraine may prove an irresistible prod, and lead to an actual Russian invasion. Alternately, he may employ KGB tactics and attempt to assassinate key leaders of the gov't in Kiev.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm just wondering how the visit by Mr Brennan - CIA director - can be described ...
Of course, since he's not Russian or sent by Putin, it can't be called meddling. Perhaps he took a short city-break over the weekend to gape at the glorious Maidan?
The screams of the Ukrainian interim PM about using military force to disperse protesters - sorry, 'terrorists', because protestors were only those who ousted Janukovich - in the Eastern Ukrainian regions that same weekend are of course pure coincidence ...
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
The original protesters that "ousted" Janukovich did not take over buildings in multiple cities with military precision. Those protesters did not capture military bases. The actions between the protesters and the campaigns in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are not remotely similar. You need to judge a group of people by their actions, not by propaganda labels. It is the difference between free speech and military occupation.

Incidentally, the protesters did not "oust" Janukovich. That was other members of the Ukraine government.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would like to thank you Claudia and many more like you who are paying attention to the situation in Ukraine. This is very important, especially in the midst of raging information war that Russia had unleashed against Ukraine in parallel with the actual warfare.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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