Did the Obama Administration Just Draw Another Red Line...Over Ukraine?
Protip for international leaders, diplomats and military planners, and their paid spokesmen: Don't make threats that you have no intention of backing up.
WASHINGTON: The United States warned Friday it would not accept any use of Russian military forces in eastern Ukraine, amid reports they could be used to protect pro-Moscow civilians in the country.
"We are monitoring the situation carefully. We will not accept the use, under any pretext, of any Russian military forces in eastern Ukraine," said Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman.
And if they do?
And if they already have? Earnest had more to say about that, and I'll get to that, but first, here's what's happening.
More Russian tanks left a base in southwest Russia on Thursday, and Russia is preparing to send additional tanks to separatists in eastern Ukraine, a senior U.S. administration official said Friday. Claiming it is "ensuring security," Russia also moved troops to within a "handful of kilometers" from Ukraine territory, even as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a weeklong ceasefire with the separatists.
The pro-Russian separatists do not appear to have any intention of laying down their arms and going along with the ceasefire, according to reports from the ground.
The Ukrainian government briefed Western diplomats in Kiev on Friday and told them it has evidence that 10 additional tanks, along with fuel trucks and supporting vehicles, crossed the border between the countries in the last 24 hours. The U.S. official said the U.S. government has independently confirmed additional tanks departed from a deployment site in southwest Russia on Thursday.
So that's what's happening. Here's the rest of Earnest's take:
"Reports from Moscow that the Russian defense ministry is considering creating military cordons in eastern Ukraine are also troubling," Earnest said.
"We do not see any evidence that the Russian military units arriving to the region are connected to any type of border security mission."
Pray tell, what does the Obama administration know about "border security?"
Setting that aside, the US is already aware that Russian tanks are operating inside Ukraine. Yet Team Obama is warning them not to do that. When they already are.
If the brain trust atop the Obama administration actually wanted to turn America into an origami tiger, what would they do differently from what they have already done in the name of "smart power?"