The Ukraine situation has just gotten really interesting

Jacob and I have broad-ranging geopolitical conversations occasionally, and I have always blithely assured him that we would never have a war with Russia or China. I think I said, “The US does not need all of those tanks we have in Germany; Russia is no longer a threat to invade our allies.” If our current leadership does not grow a spine (or even if it does), I may have to eat my words with a side order of crow.

The Ukraine is a former Soviet republic, positioned between Russia and the rest of Europe. The name literally means “Borderland”. After the Soviet empire breakup, Ukraine retained close ties with Moscow. The eastern and southern parts of the country is largely (but not entirely) Russian by ethnicity and language. Russia maintains a large naval base on the Black Sea in Crimea, the southern section of Ukraine.

Problems arose when Ukraine negotiated ties with the European Union. Vladimir Putin objected, and the Ukrainian president unilaterally cancelled the agreement with the EU. Western Ukrainians rose up in protest, leading to the bloody fighting in the streets of Kiev (or Kyiv, however you want to spell it), and the ouster of the Ukrainian president.

Now there are “armed, uniformed men” forcefully occupying airports in Crimea. Is Russia invading the Ukraine? Why should it matter to us here in the United States? Sounds like a local problem to be solved by the principals in the area, right? Not so fast…

Enter the “Budapest Memorandum”. In 1994, the US and Great Britain felt it would be unwise to leave those old Soviet nuclear weapons lying around in the Ukraine, so Bill Clinton and John Major agreed to defend Ukraine if it were ever invaded. So the Ukraine gave up its nukes.

Putin has now installed 150,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych by pro-European protesters.

What’s next? Do we go to war with Russia? Nope, says the Obama administration, this is not an invasion, “this is an uncontested arrival of troops”. How Orwellian, rather like “kinetic military action” in Libya.

Here is the irony. Remember that vice presidential candidate who was “clueless about foreign policy”? A Sarah Palin quote from Oct. 22, 2008:

“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next.”

In 2012, Mitt Romney called Russia “our number one geopolitical threat”. He was widely ridiculed, and President Obama responded, “The 1980’s called…they want their foreign policy back.”

We find ourselves in this situation due to the disastrous foreign policy adventures of the current administration over the past five years. Obama’s feckless handling of various world events emboldened Vladimir Putin, culminating in the Syrian chemical weapons debacle. Does Putin think the US will follow through with its warnings against interference in the Ukraine? We shall see.

What is needed now is some very strong diplomatic activity. But we are not exactly negotiating from a position of strength, as did President Reagan with Mikhail Gorbachev. My prediction is that the US will do nothing, Putin will gain strength, and America will lose valuable influence in world affairs.


Historic, unprecedented deal with Iran

Let’s see, economy hobbled, check. Healthcare ruined, check. What can we screw up next? Oh yeah, let’s pivot back to the Middle East!

The naïveté and sheer incompetence of this Administration is astounding; perhaps unprecedented? In exchange for a handful of magic beans, John Kerry has negotiated away our leverage with the mullahs of Iran. Economic sanctions have the Iranian regime over the barrel, with rampant inflation, shortages and political unrest.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is skeptical:

“Now is just not the time to ease sanctions, when they are working,” the Republican senator told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “We’ve got all the leverage in the negotiations when they are working and we’ve let them out of the trap.”

Chambliss predicted that the Senate would push back on the administration’s latest diplomatic effort by working to ratchet the sanctions regime back up. “I think you’re going to see a strong movement in the United States Senate to move ahead to tighten sanctions,” he said. “Right now the sanctions are working, they’re doing exactly what they’re designed to do: The economy of Iran is heading south, unemployment is skyrocketing.”

Better late than never

The CBS News program 60 Minutes has decided that the September 11, 2012 attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the subsequent actions and explanations by the Obama administration, are indeed a scandal.

The transcript of the show is here, and you can watch the video here.


Is the mainstream media finally pulling their heads out of the sand? There have been several criticisms of the Obamacare rollout from normally liberal and pro-Obama figures in the news. When the administration begins to lose its media protection, watch for major outbursts from the President and his people.

Why we spy

Max Boot at Commentary discusses the latest news about the Snowden leaks implicating the NSA in spying on our allies, particularly Germany, Brazil, and Mexico.

Folks, this is what the NSA is supposed to do. They spy on us, we spy on them. This is not a malicious act,and every government knows that other governments are doing it. What is different is that it is being publicly discussed, and folks like Angela Merkel must appear angry that the United States is listening in to their conversations.

This is not news, folks. I strongly disagree with our government accessing domestic telephone records or listening in without a duly authorized warrant. I fully expect, though, that if I make an international call, it will be recorded by the NSA. This is what we pay them to do.