The Russians, probably still feeling their way through their response to what’s going on with Ukraine, are moving assets into the Crimea. Obama is now out waging his finger as you would expect from a silly fop.
Delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern Friday over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned “there will be costs” for any intervention.
He did not say what those costs might be.
Obama called on Russia to respect the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.
“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply stabilizing,” Obama said in a hastily arranged statement delivered from the White House. Such action by Russia would not serve the interests of the Ukrainian people, Russia or Europe, Obama said, and would represent a “profound interference” in matters he said must be decided by the Ukrainian people.
“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” Obama said. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”
I’m sure Putin is worried to death over this. The last thing he wants is a tersely worded letter from Obama. That could lead to a public tongue lashing and no one wants that. I’ll give AP some credit for that “He did not say what those costs might be” line. The AP is a collection of CML toadies, but even they have grown tired of the Carter 3.0. Obama is all hat and no cattle, as the cowboys say. He gives a speech and then goes back to watching TV. Victoria Nuland is a bigger nuisance than Obama, from the Russian perspective.
An interesting aspect of this is it exposes just how awful the American press is at covering anything but Hollywood. This story from Haaretz does a good job explaining how things will probably unfold.
When will we know the Russians have invaded Ukraine? We won’t. Unlike the summer of 2008 when paratroop brigades crossed the border into Georgia’s sovereign territory under the pretext of aiding the Ossetian minority, marines of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are already stationed on Ukrainian soil. The agreement between the two countries not only allows warships to be based at the port of Sevastopol, but also for Russian military vehicles to traverse the Crimean peninsula.
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov did call upon the Kremlin not to allow its forces to leave the naval base, but an armored convoy had already travelled the 80 kilometers between Sevastopol and the regional capital Simferopol, stopping outside the town at a traffic police checkpoint. As it is, the Russians do not recognize Turchynov and his interim government. With perfect timing, Russian television broadcast Thursday morning the first statement by deposed president Viktor Yanukovych since he fled Kiev last weekend. The mystery of his whereabouts is over: He succeeded somehow in crossing over to Russia, which has given him sanctuary and from there he is questioning the legitimacy of those who currently – barely – hold power.
While the armored cars waited outside Simferopol, inside the town 120 armed men, their faces covered and no identifying signs on their dark uniforms, had since the early hours occupied the regional parliament building, the Russian flag flying on its roof. They haven’t released a statement or identified themselves. Some claim they are Russian marines, but that has not been confirmed in any way.
The Russians have been focused on this part of the world for about 500 years, give or take. They are pretty good at it. Americans, on the other hand, can’t locate their own state on a map and think Ukraine was invented last week. A very weird aspect of the CML is they think everything new to them is new to the world. The Obama administration is probably twenty steps behind Putin.
Putin can decide the timetable and he has no reason to hurry. There are enough Russian troops in Crimea and reinforcements on high alert on the borders. He can choose his moment, and allow the Russian majority in Crimea to do much of the work for him in a snap referendum on returning their region to Mother Russia.
Putin has one advantage not mentioned in the article. They can turn off the gas to Ukraine and Germany. The EU lacks the resources to prop up Ukraine even if the Russians cooperate. Putin clearly knows the Ukrainians will have to deal with him on his terms. Now it is about establishing the shape of the negotiating table.