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View Diary: Why did Obama let this happen, and other questions on Ukraine (313 comments)

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  •  His "youth and perceived weakness" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLizardKing, FiredUpInCA, elmo

    encouraged Putin to test him....over five years into his presidency?

    •  Don't know if it's a factor at all. The Cuban (0+ / 0-)

      missile crisis was much earlier in Kennedy's administration.  On the other hand, Kennedy had shown a willingness to be aggressive in the Bay of Pigs and Kennedy was not merely an ex-military, but a genuine war hero.

      Krushchev misread Kennedy.
      Is Putin incapable of misreading Obama?

      And, let's face it, this administration has not exactly been an international powerhouse.  Add that to increasingly isolationist American sentiments, it's not irrational to imagine that Putin might feel emboldened.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:08:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the U.S. isn't going to use military force (0+ / 0-)

        to drive Russia out of Crimea, and that's true no matter who is President.  It's over there, our closest bases are in Turkey, Germany and Italy, it's an densely populated area and the Russian naval black see fleet is based there.  If Russia wanted to invade a hell of a lot more countries, it certainly has the wherewithal to do so.   It's not, however, costless to Russia in other areas, and if anything, emboldens the resistance of Western Ukraine.  But the point is this has next to nothing to do with the U.S. - this is Russia's historic sphere of influence, over which it's losing, not gaining power, and the reaction of the U.S. and others might have been a factor in Putin's thinking (if he reached beyond they're not going to stop us, militarily), but it's ancillary.  This isn't a "test" of Obama like Cuba was with Kennedy; this is consolidating power over Eastern Ukraine.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:28:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. What is it with Kossacks and binary thinking? (0+ / 0-)

          Surely there must be something in between "Do nothing and kill lots of people while blowing the place to kingdom come."

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:04:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  C'mon. There is a very wide range of ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac, jrooth

            ...opinion being expressed by Kossacks about Ukraine, Russia, Obama's role, Putin's designs. Arguing that opinion here is binary misses the mark by a long shot.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:10:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe, but it seems that any reply I get assumes (0+ / 0-)

              that the only alternative to what is (not) being done now is to use military force.

              And even that isn't a singular answer.
              Even if you assume that military force is required, the next question is whose military force?

              Ukraine's?
              NATO's?
              UN peace keepers?

              Maybe it's because people know that I'm a conservative and presume that conservative = KABOOM!.  

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:15:05 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  nope, (0+ / 0-)

                you're the one talking about 'emboldened by perceived weakness,' as a possibility.  i'm using the military force example to show how abusrd it is to think anything Obama did could have had more than a negligible effect on Putin's interest in his backyard, and the rest of the comment was about how the whole situation has at root little to do with us.  Your rhetoric seemed like it hints at military force but doesn't follow through.  Without a stronger account of what Obama could have or should have done differently, it's really empty, and your lack of a clear argument doesn't make mine any less clear.  

                Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:42:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your argument is that do nothing is the right (0+ / 0-)

                  thing to do.

                  And that's a perfectly valid classic American isolationist stance.

                  It arguably makes more sense than the administration's decision to involve itself in Libya and Syria.

                  But when  does "do nothing" become "do something"?

                  Does it ever?

                  Remember: Ukraine is a sovereign nation, just like we are, like Canada is, Finland, Poland, England, Germany, etc.

                  Do the Russians have to roll into Poland? Finland? Norway?

                  Do we simply accept that it's OK for the Russians to do things that would be unacceptable for us to do?

                  Does the fact that Russia possesses the capability that Hitler lacked to meaningfully attack the US make a difference?

                  What difference does it make? Do declare our weapons a modern-day Maginot Line and surrender?

                  These are legitimate follow-ons to "None of our business".

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:02:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nope x2, (0+ / 0-)

                    the U.S. can do stuff, but it shouldn't expect it to make much of a difference, because it's dealing with Russia and not Libya.  Russia has power, the other countries don't.  The point is simply that it isn't about us, so "real or perceived weakness" is a red herring, in terms of U.S. domestic politics.  As far as Russia goes, I've said, use whatever leverage we have re economic sanctions and membership in international institutions.  Don't be surprised when Putin is unmoved.

                    You can have fun with your strawman, however.  

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:11:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How about George Bush's response to the (0+ / 0-)

                      2008 invasion of Georgia?

                      Here is a snip from a CNN interview including the former Georgian President:

                      MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI: One thing should be known. In Georgia in 2008 after the reaction was quite late, Putin was stopped at the entrance of our capital by a huge unit who showed, but the international community outcry. George Bush sent four fleets. The initial planes were put on alert prepared for no fly zone over Georgia and that's what stopped Putin from a --

                      BURNETT: So that's what Obama is going to have to do.

                      SAAKASHVILI: There have been many different options he can consider. I'm not saying that's the situation for sure but certainly we should consider all of the options because U.S. security interests are at stake. If this war in Europe collapses now, the U.S. will be in trouble. The United States is one of the main guarantors and benefactors of this order that exists today in Europe and if it goes to hell, certainly American interests would be at great risk. BURNETT: Well, we'll leave it at that. Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Obviously a very significant moment right now for the world, for the United States, for Russia, for Ukraine.

                      http://transcripts.cnn.com/...

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:15:17 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  so, you do want a military response, (0+ / 0-)

                        after disavowing it.  I also wouldn't trust anything Saakshvili says, and there's a bit of hindsight justification in his argument.  Bush might have done these things (send which fleets from where to where?), but that's not an argument it directed Putin to come to the table, so much as proving it's point to Saakashvili.  Russia currently occupies South Ossetia, anyway, Georgia precipitated the invasion by shelling separatists, and the analogy to Tblisi would be as if Putin were attacking Kiev.  All in all, a bad analogy, in service of an argument that you don't understand what it is you're saying.  Perhaps Putin might be willing to come to the table, but it'll be because he wants to.  

                        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                        by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:28:16 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Come on, simple English. (0+ / 0-)

                          I didn't say that at all.

                          I did bring up Bush's action in 2008 - which wasn't exactly a military action, even though it was carried out by the military.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:47:54 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  also, where do you get off (0+ / 0-)

                    complaining about "binary thinking" and then twisting my argument into isolationism.  Kettle, meet dumber kettle.

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:13:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't think you're dumber. (0+ / 0-)

                      In what way is "do nothing" not isolationist for a country that has long been an international leader, is a founding member of NATO and is one of the permanent members of the UN security council?

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:17:32 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  in what way did i say "do nothing?" (0+ / 0-)

                        i said this isn't a function of real or perceived weakness on Obama's part, and you just went to town, having an argument with yourself.  I'd be moved by the NATO thing if Ukraine were a member.  Thank God it's not.

                        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                        by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:30:53 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I extrapolated that from your statement (0+ / 0-)
                          But the point is this has next to nothing to do with the U.S.
                          Maybe I read too much into your statement, but does it seem illogical to believe that you mean "do nothing" is the best response to an action that has nothing to do with the United States?

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:45:44 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  read far to little, (0+ / 0-)

                            the cause of the invasion has little to do with the U.S.' relative "weakness" as a preciptating factor - w/r/t Crimea, any country is weak compared to Russia.  

                            The U.S. should respond in a way to preserve face, but Putin's in crimea for as long as he wants to be.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:53:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Looks like you read far too little as well. (0+ / 0-)

                            Which is fine.

                            I guess it would be wrong to start bolstering the Ukrainian military in recognition of the fact that it is weak compared to Russia.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:58:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i would not support doing that (0+ / 0-)

                            because then Russia just gets to blow up more American weapons come to it, or else a pro-Russian regains power and we've just armed an adversary of ours who now has the ability to further threaten actual NATO members.  Truly astounding.  

                            "has nothing to do" and "should do nothing" are different tenses of different verbs.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:11:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK, we are in agreement that should and has are (0+ / 0-)

                            different verbs.

                            That's something.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:15:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  do you forget everyting you say after you post (0+ / 0-)

                            your argument that my position is "do nothing" was based on language you quoted that said the situation had "nothing to do" with relative U.S. presidential power.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:18:02 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Gosh, try to be nice. Some people... (0+ / 0-)

                            No, nor have I forgotten your silly attempts to talk your way out of your own statements.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:19:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you mean by not agreeing with your (0+ / 0-)

                            misinterpretations of them?  Imma call you vampire, because you can't look at mirrors.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:21:52 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Cute. (0+ / 0-)

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:23:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  i don't know what it is you're arguing against (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            re "binary thinking."  I agree the solution is in the middle; i was referring to your diagnosis of the cause.  The lack of military option is the reason it's little to do with Obama or perceptions of him.  Pick a President, the dynamic doesn't change.  

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:31:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I tend to agree with Loge's reply. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, Loge
        But the point is this has next to nothing to do with the U.S. - this is Russia's historic sphere of influence, over which it's losing, not gaining power, and the reaction of the U.S. and others might have been a factor in Putin's thinking (if he reached beyond they're not going to stop us, militarily), but it's ancillary.  This isn't a "test" of Obama like Cuba was with Kennedy; this is consolidating power over Eastern Ukraine.  
        I dont look at the issue as just a two way US-Russia issue.  

        A couple of months ago, Russia had their guy in power in Ukraine, and now they dont. So out of desperation, Putin is now trying to hold Crimea and possibly move into Eastern Ukraine.

        I think he would do this regardless of the US president, and whatever their previous actions were.

        Another way of putting it, Putin went into Georgia even after Bush's invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. And Ukraine is even more important to Russia.

        •  Are you saying that Putin had great respect for (0+ / 0-)

          Bush?

          That's hard for me to believe.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:06:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, I'm saying the opposite (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftistSkeptic, Loge, dinotrac, buffie

            I dont know that the US president, whoever it is, really factors much into his decisions.

            Bush was certainly not isolationist, and yet Putin didnt seem to care about that much when he invaded Georgia.

            Obama is certainly more isolationist, or restrained in using power, or however you want to characterize it, and Putin invaded Crimea.

            My point is he has his own interests for doing these things that have nothing to do with the US president.

            •  On the other hand, Bush did take action (0+ / 0-)

              From a CNN interview:

              MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA: One thing should be known. In Georgia in 2008 after the reaction was quite late, Putin was stopped at the entrance of our capital by a huge unit who showed, but the international community outcry. George Bush sent four fleets. The initial planes were put on alert prepared for no fly zone over Georgia and that's what stopped Putin from a --

              BURNETT: So that's what Obama is going to have to do.

              SAAKASHVILI: There have been many different options he can consider. I'm not saying that's the situation for sure but certainly we should consider all of the options because U.S. security interests are at stake. If this war in Europe collapses now, the U.S. will be in trouble. The United States is one of the main guarantors and benefactors of this order that exists today in Europe and if it goes to hell, certainly American interests would be at great risk. BURNETT: Well, we'll leave it at that. Thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Obviously a very significant moment right now for the world, for the United States, for Russia, for Ukraine.

              http://transcripts.cnn.com/...

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:13:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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