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

vikingOne

As the US plans to cut our military to pre ww2 size. whats the big O ganna do.. shake his fist, and yell at them... the whole world is laughing at us right now.

The Big Dog's back

No, the world's actually laughing at the right wingnuts.

Darwin's choice

Still needing wormed?

Obama is the laughing stock of the planet! Putin is playing him like a cheap banjo, and kerry may as well go play marbles while he's there. This administration is the "most transparent" alright, everyone sees right through it!

coasterfan

Uh...no. The actions of the last president (the war-mongering one) greatly ramped up hatred toward America. Anyone recall Bush getting a shoe thrown at him? It was specifically the hatred the rest of the world had towards Bush that resulted in the huge positive reception Obama received in Germany during the 2008 campaign. Obama has been far from perfect, but he is quite obviously a huge improvement in the area of foreign policy.

Darwin's choice

Obama failing.....!!

But keep shoveling your chit troll.

anthras

Re:"Obama received in Germany during the 2008 campaign"

Yea they had a free rock concert that was on stage prior to Obama how was the crowd the last time he was there without the free rock concert?

BabyMomma

Didn't Obama rip Romney apart when he askd about Russia? Made him sound foolish and naive to insinuate that Russia was more of a threat than Al-Quaida. Well I knew who the fool was then, and he's proving Romney right and making himself look like the r-tard I already knew he was.

anthras

Re."Anyone recall Bush getting a shoe thrown at him? It was specifically the hatred the rest of the world had towards Bush"

One person throws a shoe at Bush and you interpret that as the rest of the would hates him I must say that you have an imagination far beyond anyone that I know. Actually I do have relatives in Europe and I do know that they do not hate Bush.

Contango

Ask the Iraqi Kurds what they think of the U.S.

The Kurds are the largest group of indigenous people in the world without a homeland.

They HATED Saddam!

The Big Dog's back

So what.

vikingOne

yeah well im sure the people of the Czech Republic wish they had rifles to defend them selfs from the invading army..

Little Giant

An informed person would know that even with these cuts, the US will spend more than the next 10 countries combined.

coasterfan

That is correct, Little G. America spends more on defense than the next twelve (12) countries combined.

angrybird

Let them laugh, I'm laughing at you while you shake your hand with a closed fist! Forget that country we don't need a war.

Steve P

Lets punish Russia, make Obamacare mandatory for all Russians. If that's not enough, make Joe Biden their spokesperson, import Michelle's lunch program to their military and Hillary Clinton in charge of all Russian embassy security.

Darwin's choice

Oh my!!! That would start WWIII !! LMAO !!

coasterfan

Steve, I'm glad to hear that you can't really find any huge problems with the Obama years. The worst you could find is Healthcare for everyone, Joe Biden, a lunch program that encourages healthy eating and Hillary. It's likely that Russia would thank us for sending the things you suggested.

If you really want to punish them, why not send them the Bush years: two unfunded wars that add 4-6 trillion of debt, 7 million jobs lost and a huge recession?

Darwin's choice

When the obama memoirs are written, the book, like obama, will have no spine!

anthras

Re;"The worst you could find is Healthcare for everyone"

Cfan now that you again mentioned Obamacare maybe you will be kind enough to answer my questions to you on a previous blog,

Obama said there are 4 million signed up for health care and I am hoping that someone can tell me out of the 4 million how many have actually paid and have valid insurance? If they have valid insurance will their current dr. be covered under their plan ? How many of the persons gaining coverage did so via medicare paid for by the tax payers? Also if we hear about the 4 million signed up however how many have had their insurance cancelled? Which would be greater the number of persons that have obtained insurance or the number of persons that lost their insurance? Finally how many persons were full time employees that are now part time employees?

Peninsula Pundit

As a reminder, this article is about the Ukraine.

BabyMomma

To insure the uninsured, first we make the insured uninsured. Then we make the formally insured, pay more to get reinsured. Then we can insure the uninsured for free.

Steve P

clusterfan, Obie spent 8 billion on a failed stimulus and does nothing but destroy our military. Seems funny our intelligence didn't give us warning on what the Russians were planning, I forgot they are to busy spying on normal Americans under the leadership of the most open administration, aka regime in history.

Donegan

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn... Its weird that even Palin saw this coming.
I wonder if the old Campaigner and chief will Campaign against Putin, that's all he seems to know how to do.

The Big Dog's back

Did she see it from her porch?

coasterfan

If Palin saw anything, it would merely be an example of a blind mouse eventually finding the cheese.

Donegan

That blind mouse obviously knows more than your god. Too bad the pied piper leads his blind mice around without ever finding anything besides more lies and golf courses.

anthras

Re;"Did she see it from her porch?"

Sorry to disappoint you dog but she did not say that she stated that you could see Russia from Alaska and from an Alaskan island it can be seen just another main stream press fabrication. I do think that she did say that if Obama were elected president Russia would invade Ukraine.

Tuesday’s World News with Charles Gibson showed clips of an interview between Barbara Walters and Sarah Palin which will air on Friday’s 20/20. At one point, Walters seemed to allude to the fact that there is a misconception that Palin once claimed that “I can see Russia from my house,” during the 2008 campaign, as evidence of her foreign policy experience. But Walters did not clearly identify those words as part of the famous Saturday Night Live skit as they were uttered by Tina Fey playing Palin to parody what the Alaska governor had actually said in an interview with Gibson from September 2008

In a 2012 debate Romney expressed concerns about Russia and Obama said to Romney you said Russia not Al Qaeda not Russia in his usual smug tone of voice.

jacksonbrowne

I find it ironic that Obama calls Putin to warn him about Ukraine as we currently have our troops in Afghanistan. Though Obama didn't initiate Afghanistan he has certainly inflicted his share of pain on the people there.

coasterfan

If only Bush had handled Iraq and Afghanistan like Obama handled Syria. Here we are, several months later, and isn't it interesting that Republicans aren't giving Obama any credit for diffusing a volatile situation and keeping us out of war. Thank you Mr. Obama.

Clearly, sending a warning and/or trying diplomacy is the intelligent thing to try first. Sure beats the heck out of lying to Americans about non-existent WMDs, to justify getting us into another war, as the last guy did... And some idiot conservatives are actually calling Obama a warmonger? Talk about short memories...

anthras

Re."Obama handled Syria" I do think it was Putin that handled Syria.

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