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Monday, October 24, 2016

Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday he was deeply concerned about reports of Russian military activity in Ukraine and warned there would be costs to any infringement of its sovereignty.

“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

“We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,” he said.

Obama recognized that Russia had interests and cultural and economic ties with Ukraine, following the ouster of the pro-Moscow government in Kiev, and also had a military facility in Crimea.

But he said any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be “deeply destabilizing.”

The president did not say whether the United States had intelligence as to whether reports quoting a Ukrainian official that 2,000 Russian troops had landed in the Crimea were correct.

But he warned a Russian military intervention in the post-Soviet state would “represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukranian people.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

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  • lemstoll

    There is simply nothing the USA can do….this is another civil war we need to stay out of.

  • charleo1

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Look, whatever
    President Obama’s thoughts are on the events happening in the Ukraine.
    Irrespective of the desires of the people, or the rightness of those desires, to
    hook their wagon to the economic fates of the European Union, and the west.
    However, we here in the West must also keep in mind, those desires are not
    at all universal, within the bounds of this newly liberated, but not yet so liberated
    of it’s desires of being free from the old Soviet’s thumb, or the reconstituted Russian Federation. That the Ukraine continues to be a deeply divided Country. With much of it’s culture, it’s people, security, and social order, closely tied to Russia, and Russia to them. So, things do change. Walls are torn down, and new governments are formed. And it’s out with the old Soviet, in with the new. But
    we must acknowledge, a things do change, others do not. This is Putin’s back-
    yard. The Russian equivalent of our Monroe Doctrine. Those things we cannot
    change, but must change themselves if they are to change at all. Let’s hope
    our leaders have the wisdom to recognize that.

    • xpatYankeeCurmudgeon

      charleo1: ” Reminiscent of George H.W. Bush, encouraging the Curds to rise up aganist Saddam Hussein. ”

      All that gubmint cheez has addled your brain.

      • charleo1

        Well, he God Damn sure did! What’s addled your brain?
        Look it up dick head!

    • sigrid28

      I know you penned this excellent response two days ago, before the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council was televised yesterday. Just one of several, it was edifying to contemplate the simple usefulness of allowing the various parties in this dispute to set forth their positions without interruption in the public forum.

      My son, a history major with a college degree, reminds me that to some historians the first Crimean War (1853-56) is seen as the event that set in motion the conditions which resulted in the first and second World Wars and even the Cold War. From this perspective, the Crimean War became the paradigm by which local disputes involving military intervention came to be resolved via treaties ending not only that war but also settling other scores in ways that had pan-continental consequences.

      The difference between now and then is that communications are now worldwide and instantaneous, giving diplomacy a better chance than it has ever had before in the history of humankind. So I say, talk, talk, talk. Get sick of talking, then talk some more. Don’t go off into separate corners and do the diplomatic equivalent of poutin and clamming up, as if it were the bad old days of carrier pidgeons and saber rattling. That has way has been discredited. The Republicans who would rather make battle plans in secret than pick up the phone just don’t get the 21st century.

      My son’s generation with its universal tolerance will have less trouble keeping the lines of communication open long enough to ward off violent consequences than we will–but we can try to set a good example. Here is another thing for us all to get into our thick heads, especially the legislatures of Red States, which seek to grant restaurants the right to refuse tables to LGBT families, or Vladimir Putin, who wants to silence the LGBT community in the Russian Federation. Instantaneous, worldwide communications make it less effective than ever before to get results by shunning groups with which we have ideological differences. Engagement through effective communications is the currency of the new world order, and the quicker we all get on board, the better.

      • charleo1

        As usual Sigrid, an informative, well thought out position,
        I would support without the slightest hesitation. And, I would hope there is more real world muscle in such discussions concerning the Ukraine/Crimea, than I see at the present time. Of course the Neocons would advise we start a battle group heading for the area immediately. There is, after all military cuts in the offing, and the threat of a Russian/American standoff, worked so beautifully in this regard for so long. But, my caution aganist hyperbolic threats by us, the U.S. goes directly to credibility. A decade of war engineered by the same Neocons, didn’t leave us with a lot of dry powder, or political will, for that matter, for another deployment of troops to intervene in yet another foreign conflict. A reality not lost on Mr. Putin. It’s fine to point out the Russians are in violation of international law. Which is true. Convening various UN panels, including the Security Council, is proper. But, I don’t see the U.S., or the world in any better position, or any more willing, to confront the Russian invasion into the Ukraine, than that body was, to stop the former Soviet invasion of Poland, or Czechoslovakia, before that. Putin has a goal of reestablishing much of the former Soviet Union’s glory. It is, I believe, very much who he is. I don’t expect he’ll be honoring any time constraints on his rule of what is a reconfiguration of the former Communist regime.
        Is the cold war back? Again I think it furthers too many
        interests on both sides, not to be brought back with all
        it’s splendid paranoia, and, “Evil Empire,” simplicity.
        The irony is, it’s evident Right Wing Ultra Conservatives’
        mouths water at the unimpeded ease Party Chair Putin
        is given carte blanche authority to wield power. After
        the Syrian chemical weapons episode, Right Wing Nuts
        in Congress were salivating about denying Obama the
        authority to act, after the, “red line,” ultimatum. Then
        lionized Putin profusely for his, “leadership skills.” It was
        stomach turning. But, just more business as usual, for the treasonous, back stabbers, and anarchists, posing as Congressional Representatives of the People. Now, they are urging a full frontal attack aganist a man they called a Hero, just a few months ago. Worthless, and pitiful excuses, is my most generous assessment of their value to the Country they claim such fondness for. As to Ukraine, there is much uncertainty, and probable up-
        heaval ahead. Putin has snatched victory from the jaws
        of defeat, and the opposition, that were but a few days
        ago, working to set up a new government, will now rejoin the fight in all likelihood. And, much bloodshed
        may still be in the offing. (I pray not.) We shall see.

        • sigrid28

          About your hope that there is “more real world muscle” in the international community’s talk about Putin and the Crimea, I could not be more hoping–or more anxious–especially considering the empty rhetoric that filled the cable airways yesterday, March 3rd. I’m counting on secrecy protecting the sensitive communications that are hammering out agreements, and taking all else with the caveat that serious players in this diplomacy will only make public the kind of information meant for billboards and mass consumption, to keep the neo-cons out of it, like throwing the dog nipping at your heels a favorite chew toy to distract it. Don’t you think it’s a good bet that everything worthwhile is going on behind the scenes among experts?

          What I wish I had not heard so much of in the public sphere is the Obama administration talking about isolating Putin and Russia. My impulse would have been to not leave the para-Olympian and special Olympic families on their own, at the mercy of weather inhospitable to winter sports and Putin’s whims. The American delegation should instead be right in his face, expecting of him the hospitality of a world power acknowledging international acceptance of those with disabilities. Why let him out of relating to the rest of the world? I don’t think the G8 should shun Sochi or Putin either. He should be challenged to talk with his peers, be the generous host face-to-fact, and meet their fearlessness despite his threats and posturing. Cameras everywhere recording the G8 and the para-Olympics are what is needed, because this is the new world order where humanity trumps intolerance and enhanced global communications open doors that used to be closed at the sight of the first tank rolling down the road. Roadblocks are nothing next to a little mobile phone you can hold in the palm of your hand.

          • charleo1

            Yes, I would absolutely like to see the rhetoric cool down. The yammering on cable today was worse, than yesterday! McCain is not only not helpful, but ridiculous. Bill Crystal said Obama shouldn’t take the prospect of sending in U.S. or NATO troops into the Ukraine, and, “hope,” Putin backs down. Well, then if he don’t, what then? None had any idea. But all were sure Obama had not taken a tough enough stand, and this was the result. This was MSNBC! The Liberal channel. I was afraid to hear what they were saying on FOX. I worry sometimes for the future. Are there no sane people left? Just you, and me? Perhaps as you say, wiser heads are in charge, and talking behind the scenes. I would hope, for all the hard work the athletes have invested, they don’t have their plans dashed over this. I believe a reasonable path forward may be forthcoming in the next several days. One of the things that gets overlooked, in all the East Vs. West, European Union, vs. a lot of Russian saber rattling, is the Ukrainian economy is in terrible shape. Probably the same corporate infection that’s afflicting most of the world. Profits are squeezed out of labor, until unemployment sets in, then instability quickly follows. Today, Secretary Kerry, announced, $1 billion in loan guarantees by us. And, more help from the IMF, will ease the crisis temporarily. But the problem is systemic, and global. And an excellent subject for the G8, that will hopefully be held as scheduled.

          • sigrid28

            Thanks for such a generous response, which gives me hope. I lived in France for five years and spent quite a bit of time there before that. So I have a genuine appreciation for the subtlety and basic good will of Europeans, who are experts at balancing national interests against the need for skillful concessions when international goals are concerned. When it comes to negotiations, on whatever scale, they know how to appear to give in without giving in at all.

            I had a pang of that love for Europeans yesterday, when I watched the interplay between Russian “soldiers” and the Ukrainian soldiers who tried to take back their base yesterday before an erstwhile camera crew. They shared with the world a little slice of daily life in Russia and the Ukraine, where everyone knows the backstory for the kind of theatre the Ukrainian soldiers put on. They understood as we did not ALL of the ramifications behind the intentionally feeble warning shots the Russians contributed to this set piece, that might have been written for the stage. People in Russia and the former Soviet block are expert at seeming to comply while doing the exact opposite, especially those who belong to the military. Their sly way of being disobedient while making a big show of compliance is a daily theatre richly appreciated by all concerned. No matter what uniform they were wearing, these guys really understand what it is to feel solidarity under the stress of competing dictatorships that warrant no loyalty whatsoever. Perhaps we can count on our European allies, who live with this craziness day to day, to work this out behind the scenes (I don’t even want to imagine what that looks like), while the Obama administration creates a media distraction that gives them cover and buys them time. I suppose in this media distraction McCain and his minions are, unwittingly, playing their part.

            Sadly, it was not all theatrics, as people lost their lives in Kiev. The demonstrators counted on the social contract of eastern Europe holding throughout their efforts to displace a dictator, and he broke the compact, forcing his snipers to pick off demonstrators off like fish in a barrel. Even the Ukrainians know that loyalties must have been tested within their military, from which many have defected. No wonder they are furious.

            Speaking of furious, we are having our own trial of ice and snow here, where digging out from under daily is keeping my son fit. It’s like an Olympic sport just slipping and sliding out to the car. In other venues, the snow plow took out our mailboxes and they were replaced so quickly, I can see that the city street crews have become experts. And in our new mailbox, my son’s acceptance to graduate school: In our Winter Olympics here within the arctic of Iowa, he has won gold.

          • charleo1

            First, keeping everything in the order of it’s highest, importance. Congratulations to both you, and your Son, in his acceptance to grad school. As these hard won victories are almost without exception, a collective effort. One, I’m sure he will come to appreciate your unwavering support in ever fuller aspects, in the coming years. As to the situation in the Ukraine, a couple of things. One, the U.S. has almost no primary interests in the area, when compared with Russia, and the European Union. Minus the cold war rhetoric, and mentality, which the GOP seems determined to characterize it those terms. Like most issues of dispute today, it is primarily economic based. One, to use an oft used, hillbilly metaphor, in which we don’t have a dog. So, why are we there? I hope the answer is, to be helpful. Which means in this case, to write a check. One Russia, nor the EU, (read Germany,) heretofore had been willing, or in the case of Russia, able to write. Russia’s problem was, why do we need to support the entire Ukraine, when all we’re really interested in, (and must keep, by the way,) is Crimea? So, a war in terms of cost, would be insane. Not, that things of this sort don’t tumble out of control. They do. And, I remain concerned for those that recently overthrew the Government of Ukraine, and their legion of supporters, in Ukraine. Putin doesn’t desire a bloodbath to hold Crimea. But, he may be willing to have one. We can observe he is very, willing in Syria. And that, I think is the real danger, we can hopefully avoid. Again, kudos for your Son’s well deserved acceptance to graduate school. And of course, your unique, and well traveled perspectives, and incites based on people you have actually come to know. Something one doesn’t get from simply gathering the facts, and blindly extrapolating. My opinion remains, they at NM, fail to read your posts carefully enough, or appreciate the wisdom therein!

          • sigrid28

            Thanks for support and such an intelligent response. My thinking on the Ukraine has been rocked by an essay in the “New York Review of Books,” March 20, 2014, “Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine” by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History at Yale. Please do read it yourself, as I think you and all thoughtful readers of the NM will be moved to rethink the Ukraine and the Crimea as well.

          • charleo1

            An excellent, excellent article! Delving far deeper
            into the historical, and cultural fault lines that are
            being used, or so it seems to me, to ultimately determine the economic system under which the Ukraine, and ultimately the world will function. An uncomfortable truth the corporate supporters here in the Right Wing, are refusing to acknowledge. Is that, the corporate structure is empowered to a far greater extent, when issues such as human Rights, and democratic principles, are quashed by authoritarian regimes, working in tandem with corporations, wishing to increase profits at the expense of labor, and the environment. Thus, the Eurasian model. That is showing it’s considerable success in China, Northern Africa, and other places. To essentially redistribute the wealth created by labor, into a small cadre of owners, and government officials, sitting astride a predatory, and ultimately parasitic system. Who’s business model is to extract wealth, and move to the next exploitable population of laborers. While simultaneously destroying the budgets of democratic governments, such as our own. With social safety nets. And, of course substantially lowering the living standards of consumer Nations in Europe, and here in the U.S. If we look at the positions of the GOP on matters of healthcare,
            the safety net, the environment, and minimum
            wage, and labor unions. Of course they would be aganist laws that strengthened those core labor issues adversely effecting the movement of wealth up the income scale. And their use of social issues to both hide, their agenda, and divide the population. That would otherwise identify, and strongly oppose such positions. I
            continue to view all policy as being driven by the fundamental truth, that corporate power, and
            democratic governments may not exist without
            titanic struggles for dominance. And by that, governments willing to forgo democratic, people based rule, are far more attractive venues. And
            it would be naive to suppose some corporations aren’t actively supporting their agendas.

          • sigrid28

            I gently urge you to read the piece in yesterday’s NM on the Tatar minority in the Crimea, whose rights were only somewhat restored in the 1990s, and whose trials it seems will now not soon be over, to cite the folk song. It occurs to me that some populations within Russia may prefer to live in destitution, as this frees them up to achieve smaller scale accomplishments by trading on the black market or driving out those they dislike without police intervention, because the police can be paid to look the other way. It reminds me of the lottery winner in the film “Nebraska,” who wants to collect his winnings in order to fulfill two dreams: to drive a new pick-up truck and to own an air compressor. His sons find ways to please him by bending the rules and duping some of the folks who have wronged him in his hometown. Winning this black market lottery is almost as satisfying as winning the legitimate one. People who have never lived with anything but dictatorship and secretive accomplishments in spite of it may fear democracy when none of their countrymen seem capable of adhering to even the simplest constitution or defending social justice.

  • John Q Governor

    Wow, what are Commie Demicrats going to do – tell the Commie Ruskies not to turn Ukraine Communist? This is a leftist’s dream.