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by
Bridget Johnson

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April 17, 2014 - 8:29 am

President Obama told CBS that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine is really done out of weakness, not strength.

“Contrary to all the rhetoric that you’re hearing from Russia, there’s no excuse for not only Russian troops being massed along the borders of Ukraine, but also, there’s no excuse for the covert support and certainly the rhetorical support that you’re seeing for these militias that are taking over government buildings and causing chaos,” Obama said.

“What I’m saying is, is that the Russians generally have not been respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. And that’s not simply my opinion. That’s world opinion,” he continued. “The question now becomes whether or not this can be de-escalated and resolved in a way that gives Ukrainians a chance to make their own decisions about their own lives.”

“What I’ve said consistently is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going consequences. Mr. Putin’s decisions are not just bad for Ukraine. Over the long term, they’re going to be bad for Russia.”

The president stressed, though, “we want to give diplomacy a chance as long, ultimately, the decisions are being made by Ukrainians, not by Russians, not by Americans, not by other European nations, but by Ukrainians themselves.”

“None of us think that somehow Ukraine can ignore Russia, should be hostile towards Russia, but we also don’t think that Ukraine should be a vassal state. Now, what we have said consistently is, is that we’re not going to see a military resolution to this problem,” he said.

“What Mr. Putin has been doing he does out of sense of weakness, not strength. The fact that he’s willing to endanger his economy and lose all credibility all around the world the way he has is indicative of the fact that Ukrainians are unsatisfied with a relationship in which you’ve got another country trying to dictate their foreign policy and their economy, and they want to move forward.”

When asked about this week’s tauntin of a U.S. warship in the Black Sea with repeated passes by a Russian fighter jet, Obama brushed off the assertion that it could have been a mocking gesture.

“I have to tell you that everybody around the world understands the superiority of our military. And as commander in chief, I don’t make decisions based on perceived signals. We make decisions very deliberately based on what’s required for our security and for the security of the allies,” he said. “The Russians understand that. They’re not interested in any kind of military confrontation with us, understanding that our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians. We don’t need a war.”

During a four-hour television interview today, Putin was asked by a small child if Obama would save him from drowning.

“I don’t want to be drowning!” Putin said, laughing. “… I don’t think I have a close personal relationship with Obama. I think Obama is courageous and a good person, and for sure he would save me.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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So thousands of dead in the Ukraine because of a Russian invasion, a border war with Poland that could result in a significant regional conflict with thousands (if not millions more) dead, European cities reduced to rubble, yeah, sounds like weakness to me.
It does not matter if Putin's actions are coming from a weak hand or a strong hand, he is the one directing the shooting.
So when does someone stand up to him? In the street of Kiev? Warsaw? Berlin? Paris?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
So when does someone stand up to him? In the street of Kiev? Warsaw? Berlin? Paris?

We'll be darned lucky if Obama stands up to Putin in the streets of Washington DC. Even then, he'll only be standing up to draw another red line, which he will promptly walk away from.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is truly an ignorant idiot.

Eight decades ago, Germany and Japan began aggressively occupying neighboring countries, mainly through the application of military force. Arguably, both aggressors were motivated by a profound sense of weakness.

These aggressions triggered regional wars that eventually merged into an all-consuming world war, which cost something like 100 million lives. It wasn't the aggressor's motivations that were important, but their actions. The same rule applies today.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
These aggressions triggered regional wars that eventually merged into an all-consuming world war, which cost something like 100 million lives.

Actually, it was closer to 50-55 million lives. But that's still more than any previous war in human history. And that doesn't count all the further murders that were enabled, like Mao's mass murder of his own people, which some historians believe involved another 70 million people. If Japan had won WW II in Asia, Mao would not have had the chance to kill so many Chinese.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where did he come up with this psychobabble?
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
He doesn't actually want to stop Putin; he's just going through the motions. This is really an exercise in showing all of his supposed allies that they can't count on America if the Russians (or other hostile powers) come for them. He's expecting them to give up rather than put up a fight. That way, the Russians will take what they want more easily. Then, when Russia comes knocking on America's door, he will be able to point at a world that has knuckled under to Russia, the Muslims, and the Chinese, and say "See, there's no point in fighting; we have no allies. We may as well surrender now to minimize the bloodshed."
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gods, what a loser.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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