U.S. prepares tough response for Russia over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives no indication that would heed the West's warnings
Associated Press
Mar 2, 2014

Western powers on Sunday prepared a tough response to Russia's military advance into Ukraine and warned that Moscow could face economic penalties, diplomatic isolation and bolstered allied defenses in Europe unless it retreated.

The crisis may prove to be a game-changer for President Barack Obama's national security policy, forcing him to give up his foreign policy shift to Asia and to maintain U.S. troop levels in Europe to limit Russia's reach.

The ill will and mistrust also could spill over on two other global security fronts — Syria and Iran — where Russia has been a necessary partner with the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave no indication that would heed the West's warnings. Hundreds of armed men surrounded a Ukrainian military base in Crimea. In Kiev, Ukraine's capital, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk alerted allies that "we are on the brink of disaster."

Secretary of State John Kerry said he has consulted with other world leaders and "every single one of them are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion."

He was considering a stop in Kiev during his trip this coming week to Paris and Rome for discussions on Lebanon and Syria.

In Brussels, NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said Russia's actions have violated a U.N. charter. He said the alliance was re-evaluating its relationship with Russia.

"There are very serious repercussions that can flow out of this," Kerry said.

Beyond economic sanctions and visa bans, freezing Russian assets, and trade and investment penalties, Kerry said Moscow risks being booted out of the powerful Group of Eight group of world powers as payback for the military incursion.

Several senators also called for bolstered missile defense systems based in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia is "going to be inviting major difficulties for the long term," said Kerry. "The people of Ukraine will not sit still for this. They know how to fight."

Still, it was clear that few, if anyone, in the West were immediately prepared to respond to Putin with military force.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis used his traditional Sunday midday appearance in St. Peter's Square to urge world leaders to promote dialogue as a way of resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., discussing the potential of U.S. military strikes against Russian troops in Crimea, said, "I don't think anyone is advocating for that."

Rubio said it would be difficult to rein in Moscow. He said Putin has "made a cost-benefit analysis. He has weighed the costs of doing what he's done, and ... clearly he has concluded that the benefits far outweigh the costs. We need to endeavor to change that calculus."

As a starter, Rubio and fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the Obama administration should return to plans it abandoned in 2009 to place long-range missile interceptors and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia believed the program was aimed at countering its own missiles and undermining its nuclear deterrent. The White House denied that, and has worked instead to place medium-range interceptors in Poland and Romania — aimed at stopping missiles from Iran and North Korea.

Experts said potential U.S. budget cuts to Army units based in Germany also could be slowed, or scrapped completely, to prevent a catastrophic erosion of stability and democracy from creeping across Europe.

The Pentagon is considering new reductions to Army units in Germany that already have been slashed under Obama. Currently, there are two Army brigades — up to 10,000 soldiers — based in Germany, where armored and infantry units have dug in since World War II. At the end of the Cold War, more than 200,000 American forces were stationed across Europe.

Damon Wilson, an Eastern European scholar, former diplomat and executive vice president of the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank, said the U.S. must be ready to pour its efforts into Ukraine, even at the cost of policies and priorities elsewhere.

"We should be no longer deluded by the fact that Europe is a safe spot of stability and security, and not a security risk for the U.S.," Wilson said Sunday. He said that if Putin goes unchecked, it could result in war — the second one on NATO's borders.

The 3-year-old civil war in Syria is already a crisis for neighboring Turkey, a NATO member state. Ukraine is not a NATO member, but it borders four nations that are — Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.

"This is the biggest challenge to Obama's presidency," Wilson said. "This is a pretty tectonic shift in our perception of European security."

Wilson said the White House may have to abandon the policy shift to Asia — its attempt to boost America's military, diplomatic and economic presence there — to refocus on Russia's threat.

He played down concerns that the new schism between Washington and Moscow will have an effect on the their efforts to end the war in Syria and limit Iran's nuclear program.

In Syria, Wilson said, Russia relied on a "bankrupt plan" in its failure to convince President Bashar Assad to embrace peace. "There's nothing happening there that's credible in a positive way,' he said.

With Iran, the bulk of negotiations already have been between the U.S. and Iran, said Wilson, who described Russia as mostly playing in the background.

Even so, officials said the U.S. and the West would not be able to roll over Russia on any number of global diplomatic or economic fronts.

Russia has made clear it is ready to provide weapons and military equipment to governments across the Mideast that have irked Washington. Russia's permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council gives it veto power over major world deliberations.

"The challenge is, we do need to have some kind of working relationship with Russia," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday. "And while we can impose these costs and take these steps, we've got to be mindful of the fact that they can impose their own costs on us."

Kerry appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press." Rubio was NBC, while Graham and Schiff were interviewed on CNN.

 

Comments

coasterfan

My point being that with Obama at the helm, we dodged a bullet. If it were Bush, we'd be neck deep in Syria as of today.

rottnrog

WOW, we have a lot of Russia lovers here !!!

Darwin's choice

No, just tired of the failure in the white house.

"Putin is very capable. Obama is not.Putin rose to the top. Obama was placed at the top.Putin is decisive. Obama is flaccid.Putin is ruthless. Obama is an accomplished liar.Putin will act independently. Obama must have a system to manipulate.So, in a straight game of raw power, Putin will beat Obama every time."

Seems Sarah isn't the only one to forsee failure!

jacksonbrowne

Don't love Russia. I have always found it to be ironic that we, USA, sits here and tells the world what to do while we do the exact opposite.

Peninsula Pundit

Here we agree unanimously!

SamAdams

Obama didn't "diffuse" anything. Vladimir Putin "defused" it.

Darwin's choice

Full of chit again! Sending kerry? Maybe toplay marbles!

SamAdams

Obama warned Putin there would be "consequences" if Russia invaded Ukraine. And sure enough: Today Obama brought out the BIG guns and unfriended President Putin on Facebook.

In all seriousness, Vladimir Putin isn't the LEAST bit worried about what Barack Obama says. He already knows what kind of "leader" he's dealing with and is well aware he has zero cause for concern from that quarter. Say whatever else you will about Putin (and there's plenty), at least Russia's president is a MAN! (And one who actually appears to love his own country to boot.)

coasterfan

I always have to chuckle when conservatives imply that Obama doesn't care about America. Putin is an uncontrolled, impulsive warmonger with no regard for human rights, yet some Republicans actually appear to side with him. A good case could be made that THEY are the ones who don't love their country. When your hate for your own president is so huge that you instead show admiration for someone like Putin, in my mind you are anti-American.

We've already seen the GOP strategy: shoot first (and not always at the correct country) and consider consequences later. Bush's response to 9/11 can be best evaluated thusly: it was the same as if FDR would have invaded Mexico after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. In short, nobody is looking to you for strategy/advice, because your party really really stinks with foreign policy.

Darwin's choice

Can you possibly suck any more?

Peninsula Pundit

Why? Are you tired?
(I couldn't help myself.)

KnuckleDragger

LMAO! Putin a warmonger? Let's see how many wars has Putin been involved in since taking office? Hmmm?

Donegan

You may not realize this but the citizens of the US are the enemy that Obama is focusing on. He is shredding the constitution and you people are cheering it on. If this was any other politician other than your god you would be screaming. Face it you and those like you are hypocrites.

BabyMomma

How can you say he cares about this country? Do you honestly believe the crap you type on here. He is a no good bum and I hope he gets Kennedy'd. It would be a glorious day here in America

huronguy

I love the quote I read today from a politician. "Russian is playing chess and well America, we're playing marbles". So true. Obama is naive. Bush was too, just not as much so. Personally I think bush had good intentions it was dick Cheney that was the snake with so many ulterior motives.

BabyMomma

At least we don't have to worry about Biden being a snake. That guys too fu€kin stupid to tie his own shoes. They give him Velcro so he doesn't get stressed out.

coasterfan

I would agree with some of your comments, HG. What you see as naivety with Obama, I see as optimism - the hope that (through diplomacy) someone can get Putin to reconsider his course. With Putin, I don't see his actions as a chess game at all. He is simply a bully. And Obama is trying to avoid playing at all (i.e. doesn't want us to get involved in another war halfway across the world).

Bush wasn't naive. He was clueless. He never seemed to realize that he was a sock puppet while the truly evil Cheney ran the war effort.

Darwin's choice

All that obama could do is dance for putin like the ballerina he is!

And you should't talk of sock puppets, you're the top suck puppet on here.

You're "optimism" is seen by all others as stupidity!

obama/failure

KnuckleDragger

Don't waste your time Darwin. coasternut and big dogs behind would glorify their messiah if he was about to put a bullet in their heads. Neither one of them are capable of thinking for themselves.

BabyMomma

I actually believe that. They follow so blindly and there is always 30 people telling them they're idiots, and giving facts why he is a turd sandwich. But the same 3 retards always defend him, they never get any support from other commenters, just blindly say "whatever, whatever, best president ever, you just racist".

BabyMomma

I guess when the blunt of the people you got to vote for you don't have jobs and can't afford computers, but they got new Jordan's, they can't defend him. Or they're too stupid to use the internet. Or they're too heroined up to see straight. Or they're in prison. Bottom line, IF HE DID get voted back in, his supporters are too embarrassed to own up to it, or too busy selling their snap cards to defend coasterfag, queertracker, and Santown420.

sugar

Kerry is going to Ukraine, I'm sure he is going there to warn the Ukrainians about the great threat of climate change. This level of ineptness is stunning. Of all of the regimes failures this one could have the the most devastating consequences. I didn't think they could do anything more utterly stupid than obamacare. Pray.

Darwin's choice

Getting serious now......

to show Putin he means business, reports are that obama has courageously un-friended putin on facebook......

Steve P
BabyMomma

Exactly, Obama tried making him look foolish. Who's the fool now?

Contango

FYI: The U.S. moved tanks back into Germany this yr.

http://www.stripes.com/news/amer...

Kiev has appealed to NATO for help.

The Bosnian War raged for yrs. in the backyard of NATO and they did NOTHING until Pres. Clinton intervened.

-----------------

Economic sanctions? The Russians are laughing.

Pres. Obama reeks more of Neville Chamberlain than JFK.

“The single most important test of American foreign policy today is how we meet the challenge of imperialism, what we do to further man’s desire to be free.” – JFK, 1957

BTW: What EXACTLY is the Obama admin's foreign policy?

Bet it has 'something' to do with global warming.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/16/po...

-------------------------------

Some analysts predict no war before Oct.

http://armstrongeconomics.com/20...

Contango

Why did Pres. Obama attack Gaddafi in Libya?

Because NATO was too weak to launch an effective offense by itself.

(Italy and others relied on the importation of strategically important Libyan oil.)

Without the U.S. taking the lead to a forceful response to the Ukraine invasion, this goes nowhere until the Russian atrocities begin.

Crimea = The Sudetenland

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." - Mark Twain

Peninsula Pundit

Thus far, the only real 'invasion' is when a duly elected parliament and president were overthrown by a mob who installed an unelected parliament and president.
The Crimea has been a Russian Naval Port, much like Gitmo, Subic Bay and any other number of US installations around the world, for decades. The US would certainly do the same thing Russia has in a similar situation.
Or are you advocating the Russians just let the Ukrainians board their vessels?
Be honest. The only thing we know about what is going on their is what the corporate media feeds us. I don't trust what I'm hearing at all.

Contango

Re: "Crimea,"

The Soviets gave it to Ukraine in 1954.

http://www.politifact.com/pundit...

Had a good chuckle over your nonsensical moral equivalency argument between the Russians and the U.S.

So Obama's aims should be no different than Putin's? Interesting.

Peninsula Pundit

Sure, 'Gave.'
OK.
Very many of the things Khrushchev did have since been undone.
Just as you would be delighted if many of the current administration plans to be undone.
See, the truth IS enjoyable once you admit you're wrong and stop fighting it.
Bottom Line is that we have no business there at all.
Let's keep our coin and soldiers out of it.
How can you disagree?

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