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.




Re: "Let's keep our coin and soldiers out of it."

I would agree, BUT the U.S. IS a member of NATO.

So why did Pres. Obama get us involved in Libya, which was a NATO issue?

Why did Pres. Clinton get us involved in the Bosnian War, which was a NATO issue.

There are historical precedents which you are ignoring.

So if the Russians start slaughtering the Tartars and Ukrainians in Crimea, the world should look the other way?

Peninsula Pundit

Just to close this out with your own sentiments:
Obama did nothing right in Libya.
Clinton did nothing right in Serbia.
So now, faced with a similar situation, you want Obama to go in and do the wrong thing again.
Tango, I'm not making this up. This is the heart and soul of your debating technique.
The world has spent so much time 'looking the other way' they've got a crick in its' neck.
No coin or soldiers to the Ukraine.

The New World Czar

But, but, but, but...didn't President Obama declare the Cold War was over in 2012? He wouldn't mislead the American people, now would he?

Peninsula Pundit

Blah,blah, Obama.
Blah, blah, Bush.
I think we can all find common ground here by realizing we have no darn business in a backwater located on Russia's front door step.
You have rioters who overthrew a democratically elected parliament and president, installed their parliament without a vote and appointed a new president from their ranks.
It's best we just sit this one out.
We really don't have a god-given right to intervene in every dust-up that happens around the world.
We shouldn't be giving them American Taxpayer funds.
We shouldn't send our young people in there.
Doing absolutely nothing is exactly the course America should pursue.


FYI: The U.S. is part of NATO.

Kiev has requested NATO's help.

Russia has invaded Crimea.


Peninsula Pundit

'NATO' just can't say 'No'?
Please address any further points keeping in mind the patent illegitimacy of the body that is asking for assistance:
A bunch of rioters who overthrew a duly elected parliament and president and inserted themselves without a vote of the people.
Now you say NATO should jump based on that?
I really don't think you believe that at all, if the past body of your posts on these boards have an legitimacy at all.
But as I have noted, lately I wonder about you.

Peninsula Pundit

I see here on the noon news that the UN is sending someone.
That may be a way forward, but again, without any US lead whatsoever.
There are lots of countries around the immediate area.
Let them get together and help their neighbor.


Re: "There are lots of countries around the immediate area."

AND they are members of NATO.


Re: "A bunch of rioters who overthrew a duly elected parliament and president and inserted themselves without a vote of the people."

A simplistic and wholly naive statement.

You might want to read the preamble to our Declaration of Independence.

You haven't really been following the events in Ukraine over the past few yrs. & more importantly months have you?

Typical dumbed-down, publicly educated American.

Steve P

Obama, the best president for the Russians.



Blo- Contango blo, because you sure never did much else. Typical of most older Americans.


Re: " because (snip)"


More off-topic nonsense. Blo on kookie.


I wonder if this administration will follow through on its promises and treaties?


Wonder if there are more things yet to be found that will effect this situation? I don't know enough to make much of a comment on this yet. But someone in the gov't should have known about this days if not weeks ago.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

About a half hour after spending three minutes effectively saying nothing about this he went to a fundraiser and declared it Democratic Happy Hour to raucous applause.



I found this opinion of the 'mess' interesting:


Potentially reminds me 'somewhat' of the "Phoney War":



Who was the U.S. president when Russia invaded Georgia? (Hint #1: He was the last president before Barack), (Hint #2: His first name starts with a "G"), (Hint #3: His last name starts with a "B"), (Hint #4: He was a Republican), (Hint #5: he was a two term president),(Hint #6: He didn't do so well with Putin's Georgian invasion)
Give up?


PB&J I thought your slogan was forward? Can't move forward if your always looking behind.
Now moving into 2014; Did anyone hear kerry today? What a blistering moron, he actually believes he is so "evolved" that he can spew around his "evolved" rhetoric and Putin will "evolve" with the most highly "evolved" people ever, the obamaites. LMFAO.... The hubris these people display is downright dangerous.


Sugar; Apparently my point went way over your head. That is, "Before the Far Right begins to throw mud (and gasoline) on Barack...they should look in the mirror at other past performances." "To date, they have not really offered anything different because they know there is truly little that can be done."


Yes it is always a good thing to point to a failed President to show that this failed President could do no better than the last failed President. Good debating tactic.

It is generally better to compare your guy to someone who succeeded rather than to compare your guy to someone who failed. Will you be comparing obama to carter soon?


Dear Grumpbutt; Please reread my entire post to see if you can decipher its real objective. If you still have trouble, please ask me and I'll try to explain it for you.
Your friend,


What part of this post was not to show bush did it too, and did it first. Do you think it is OK to fail in the same way as another failed president?

Who was the U.S. president when Russia invaded Georgia? (Hint #1: He was the last president before Barack), (Hint #2: His first name starts with a "G"), (Hint #3: His last name starts with a "B"), (Hint #4: He was a Republican), (Hint #5: he was a two term president),(Hint #6: He didn't do so well with Putin's Georgian invasion)
Give up?

Love and kisses,

The Big Dog's back

Could do what Raygun did, cut and run. (Lebanon)


I say, "Give them Crimea and let it go at that."


Re: "Give them Crimea,"

Believe that it is fait accompli and we "gave" the Russians nothing - they 'took' it.

Let's see what the Russians do in Eastern Ukraine.

The mkts. beat 'em up pretty bad financially.


Does the US and England follow through on the treaty signed by Bill Clinton? Does a treaty mean anything anymore? Just asking. It does complicate things a bit if you believe that treaties mean something more than just a piece of paper and a picture for the public.


The two Western powers signed an agreement with Ukraine in 1994, which Kiev's parliament wants enforcing now. The Budapest Memorandum, signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – promises to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.


What treaties did we honor with the Native Americans?


It is always a good idea to show bad behavior to excuse further bad behavior. It has worked for children for generations... till they grow up and become adults... or at least some folks grow up and other just make excuses. All the while some fools wonder why other countries don't trust this administration. This is an example of how they reason out their policies. The US did this a hundred fifty years ago what can you expect us to do? Keep our signed pledges?


Re: "What treaties (snip)"

An attempted use of a red herring.

Different circumstances, different times; two incompatible cultures.


You all don't need to worry about the Russians. It's the "lead by the wallet Far-right Americans" that worry me most.


Re: "You all don't need to worry about the Russians,"

With obviously too much time on his hands, just a couple days ago Secy. of State Kerry said that global warming is a big threat:


What EXACTLY is the Obama admin. stated foreign policy????