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Obama has been trying to find the right note to strike in opposing Putin's aggressive response to events in Ukraine. He has been trying to lay out threats of sanctions that would be sufficiently devastating to make Putin back off. The problem is that outside of the every willing US poodle the UK, nobody else seems very willing to march to the beat of his drum.

Ukraine crisis: US-Europe rifts surfacing as Putin tightens Crimea grip Barack Obama threatens to 'isolate Russia' as EU ministers resist trade sanctions

A rift appeared to be opening up on Monday night between the US and Europe on how to punish Vladimir Putin for his occupation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, with European capitals resisting Washington's push towards tough sanctions.

With the Americans, supported by parts of eastern Europe and Sweden, pushing for punitive measures against Moscow, EU foreign ministers divided into hawks and doves, preferring instead to pursue mediation and monitoring of the situation in Ukraine and to resist a strong sanctions package against Russia.

Economic sanctions against Russia would be limited in their impact on the US economy which makes pushing them politically feasible for Obama. However, the other side of that coin is that the economic connections between the two countries are sufficiently limited that they wouldn't be terribly devastating to Russia. Continental Europe is where the economic action is.
But at an emergency meeting in Brussels the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain resisted calls for trade sanctions, instead limiting discussion to freezing long-running talks with Russia on visa liberalisation that would have made it easier for Russians to visit Europe. Washington is also threatening to kick Russia out of the G8 group of leading economies, but Berlin opposes this.
Even the poodle doesn't want to give up the kibble.
Britain's attempts to ensure any EU action against Russia over Ukraine would exempt the City of London were embarrassingly revealed when a secret government document detailing the plan was photographed in Downing Street. The document said Britain should "not support, for now, trade sanctions … or close London's financial centre to Russians".
So while the EU plans to hold its interminable committee meetings and consultations, Russia is tightening the grip on Crimea and pro Russian demonstrations have been organized in other Ukrainian cities. It all seems to be getting rather messy

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Comment Preferences

  •  Narrowing options (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Johnny Q

    few good ones left.

  •  europe needs the spigot (13+ / 0-)

    that's not exactly obama's fault.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:10:36 PM PST

    •  I'm not really saying that any of this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Johnny Q, Victor Ward

      is his FAULT. He is trying to play a traditional role for an American president in an international crisis and finds that the script has changed.

      •  you chose to put obama's leadership (18+ / 0-)

        in your title. this has nothing to do with his leadership. your analysis is accurate, your title misses the point.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:15:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is pretty hard to be convincing as a leader (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, Victor Ward, corvo

          if you don't have followers. That is part of the point.

          •  I'm a convincing leader only because I don't have (6+ / 0-)

            followers.

          •  again (12+ / 0-)

            this has nothing to do with his leading or not leading. europe doesn't care about the president of the united states, europe cares about its energy supplies.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:20:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your opinion (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Victor Ward, corvo

              is duly noted.  

            •  I find these exchanges extremely amusing (8+ / 0-)

              The President is according to American myth the "leader of the free world" and holds the "most powerful position in the world"

              Indeed, his power supposed to be greater than Congress in many ways when it comes to foreign engagement

              One traditionally talks about US action abroad in terms of the President's leadership abroad

              The current President's name is President Obama

              How else would you expect what are traditional discussions about political power abroad (as we have always discussed that power) to be discussed. I put a period rather than a question mark because I honest just find that all rather strange.

              What Richard is saying would be true of any President, but the one in office right now is Obama. It doesn't  matter if that doesn't make the current on in office look good. Its a sign of the decline of the empire. Rather than dealing with it we fall on who is at fault as if that was the point of the diary.

            •  For your and my entire lifetime (8+ / 0-)

              The President of the United States has been a world leader. Meaning they say 'this' and our allies say 'yes.'

              The 'understory' of this diary (not saying intended by the author) is the reality that US power ain't what it was.

              In fact, the US can do little but bluster, unless we are willing to put boots on the ground or nukes in the air. This is the path set by King George the Insane with the invasion of Iraq.

              What the world has seen is that the US got kicked out of Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan is either the same or worse for the average person after a dozen years, the nations of the world are making trade agreements which exclude the US, and in their own currencies...

              The inability of the US to do anything other than stir up civil wars and fake democratic revolutions is where we are at; the world is taking us as a rogue nation, and really wants to get uninvolved with us as quickly as they can do so without big damage to themselves.

              Part of Putin's play, apart from a legitimate national concern that avowed enemies are positioning themselves 500 miles from Moscow, is he wants to be the first one to kick the Paper Tiger and get away with it.

              That he can is not Obama's fault; but the fault of the entire US elite, financial and political. A President Romney, Hillary, Nixon, whoever would be in the same boat.

              We've been destroying our leadership role for a decade and more. Now the chickens have come home to roost.


              Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

              by Jim P on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:46:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The diary and the diarist agree with you. n/t (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Johnny Q, corvo, Jim P
              •  really? (0+ / 0-)

                our allies said "yes" to bush and iraq?

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:49:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Some of them did . . . remember? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim P, aliasalias

                  "Coalition of the Willing"?

                  Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                  by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:26:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

                    blair. and the rest of the major powers?

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:01:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, ignoring for the moment (0+ / 0-)

                      the fact that there are only three major powers (the USA, Russia, and China), it's worth noting that one of the European paper tigers, namely France, was so mortified over losing out on the Iraqi spoils that it made sure to be part of Operation Liberate Libyan Oil.

                      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                      by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:55:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  france has a long history (0+ / 0-)

                        in north africa, and tried to steer its own course in libya after 1967. sarkozy also had pretensions to gaullism, and his own libyan chalabi. which has nothing to do with ukraine.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:09:35 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  France also has a long history (0+ / 0-)

                          of supporting its oil companies, and found itself asleep on the job in 2003, a mistake she plans never to make again.

                          Which also has nothing to do with Ukraine.

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:15:26 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  yes (0+ / 0-)

                            if france could do it all over again, it would join bush and the invasion.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:17:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Poor attempt at snark (0+ / 0-)

                            but I'll let it slide this time. :-)

                            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                            by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:20:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  So There's A Bit of Exaggeration... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Laurence Lewis

                      ...in saying "for all our lives", in referring to the NATO countries rubberstamping whatever the USA does.  Certainly by the time of the 2003 Iraq adventure, that was not remotely the case.  I'd say that once the Berlin Wall came down, and the USSR disintegrated, NATO began its descent into irrelevance.  Without a worthy foil, the treaty organization lacked much of any justification to exist. We continued trying to expand it, of course, as a means of encircling a decaying giant, but the EU became more important as a means of cultural expansion.

                      Now that Russia is resurgent on the international, and more specifically, Eurasian stage, NATO has regained some of its former importance.  But in my opinion, economic concerns remain dominant. Putin can't restore the USSR because Russia's economy isn't strong enough, and is too dependent on foreign markets, like Europe and China, and can't afford politically and economically to get too adventurous with its military.  Invading the Crimea and threatening Ukraine is a huge gambit in this area and we'll see how that goes.

                      As for NATO and old allies no longer following our every move, not only is a unified Germany the leader of a very large, if very sick, economic union slightly larger in size than the US economy, but our own limping economy and recent disastrous wars mean we can't afford much in the way of action right now.  Not to mention that Ukraine is Russia's front yard--what happens there matters a whole lot more to them than it does to us.

                      And I'd hazard, what happens there matters a lot more to Germany and the rest of Europe, than it does to us.  Which is further reason why they're not really looking to the USA for guidance here in determining their own interests.

                      •  the u.s. and germany (0+ / 0-)

                        even have different favorites for the next ukrainian election.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:05:27 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  but isn't it just heartwarming (0+ / 0-)

                          how we have favorites?  At least we're all agreed that the Ukrainians should just do what we Western grownups want . . . as soon as we can come to an agreement on what that is. :-))

                          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                          by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:41:20 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Not entirely, but we did get Brits and Aussies (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, aliasalias

                  in on the transparently trumped-up claims about WMD. That France and Germany didn't go along was the first time a thing like that had happened in many many years.

                  http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/...

                  Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan

                  Then we've got NATO in Afghanistan.

                  But you're not going to pretend the US has NOT set the tone and direction for the West, Europe included, for almost all your lifetime, right?


                  Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                  by Jim P on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:38:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it's changing (0+ / 0-)

                    it will continue to change. iraq was a signal, and a portent.

                    afghanistan was different, with even russia acceding to western troops in its sphere of influence.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:07:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, Russia was getting a nice cut on each (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      corvo

                      gallon and biscuit that went through their territory. And who better to be fighting enemies of Russia off their borders than Americans and NATO?

                      We do need our ruling class to notice that the Empire is over. It's no coincidence that our national debt is very close to our annual being-afraid-of-the-whole-world budget.


                      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                      by Jim P on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:38:16 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And the fate of Ukraine, more specifically (0+ / 0-)

              Crimea is 'unimportant' to Europe when compared to those energy supplies. The EU leaders are depending on 'rational' action from Russia, which means securing Crimea (even to the point of annexation) yet not invading the rest of eastern Ukraine. And, they are willing to accept hard ball propaganda and ideology ops on the part of Russia in eastern Ukraine, knowing full well that it will influence the concentration of power in the new Ukraine government. Heck, the EU would rather deal with leadership in the new Ukraine that is formed by pressure from Russia, than formed by pressure from a truly democratic principle (left or right).

      •  I'm Not Sure There's a Traditional Role for the US (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        in a crisis between Russia and an adjacent sort-of-ex satellite.

        Puppet states thousands of miles removed maybe.

        The last time we dealt with crises of nations up against our underbellies, we got them to pull their weapons when we promised to remove ours.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:07:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A leader might have seen this coming (6+ / 0-)

      especially with all the billions we've dropped on the NSA and CIA.  Especially when it appears we were mixed up in it.

  •  Actually less messy. (5+ / 0-)

    Looks like Russia will pretty much get its way--and it gets to say what get its way means.  

    US ain't going it alone and Obama shouldn't have threatened anything without support from allies.

    And democracy--and even effective protest movements-- again take a hit.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:13:12 PM PST

    •  Democracy took a hit when Yanukovich was ousted (5+ / 0-)

      At least the process did.

      "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

      by Paleo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:25:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, no, Yanuk. is a traitor. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, DavidMS

        I'm not such a purist that I think you have to keep a corrupt oligarch as your president until he is prosecuted or loses an election.

        He should have resigned. Instead, he may well have  destroyed his country.  He won't be ashamed.

        "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

        by Publius2008 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:46:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Elected in what was termed by Observers as a (4+ / 0-)

        fair election at the time. Kicked out when the most violent non-police/military part of society -- avowed neo-Nazis -- started using war-making methods.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:50:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So why exactly a few hundred people, no matter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Publius2008

          how violent or neo-nazi they were, presented such a threat to him that he had to flee the country?

        •  There Were A Lot of Factions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          ...operating in the revolution/coup that took place in Ukraine, and they had a lot of help, from Germany, France, and very likely the US (not to mention other countries). Ultranationalists were and are certainly part of the mix.  But the Ukraininan Parliament disregarded its own Constitution--they didn't go through a formal impeachment process, because they wanted to do things more quickly, so they declared Yanukovich "unfit for office", which they don't expressly have the power to do under their own Constitution.

          Now, Putin needs to maintain some influence over Ukraine, at almost any cost.  Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics are Russia's front yard, its buffer against western Europe. His invasion of the Crimea is a pretty good sign of just how high the stakes are for him and Russia.  To draw a strained and most likely very bad analogy, in the NFL, the saying goes, the more desperate team usually wins.  In this instance, if Ukraine is considered to be a proxy battleground between Russia and the west, there's not much question that Russia is far more desperate.

          •  Well, you've got to admit. (0+ / 0-)

            Real Americans don't care about their Constitution either.  Long live our beloved NSA! So why should our brave Ukrainian Freedom Fighters care about theirs?

            Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

            by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 08:44:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  This may seem a bit cruel, but I've always (0+ / 0-)

    viewed the EU as a narcissistic bunch. It was only created in order to have a trade value equal to that of the US, while imposing stricter laws onto previously sovereign states within Europe.

    Interestingly enough, and this is a very limited view, my daughter said talking with a lot of the euro's when she was over there, not a lot of them are happy over the EU and would prefer to back out completely.

    So, now we have Russia trying to rebuild the USSR and the EU is feeling the pressure to not do anything because.. oh noes, the monies! Well, they decided to put themselves in this bed, and if Russia goes down this road and the EU doesn't stand up to it, then they pretty well deserve whatever happens from that point on.

    On a different note, the US really has no standing to forcing Russia to do a damn thing. Putin is probably saying the same thing, oh wait, he has already done that by chastising our government for it's hypocritical views. I find the entire thing to be the saddest for the Ukrainians. I really wish we'd stop focusing on everything in every other part of the world and for once, focus our energies right here at home on our people.

    If that seems kinda isolationist, it is. Let Europe deal with the monster over there, it's their area, not ours at this point.

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:15:00 PM PST

    •  My impression of the people in the EU (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, corvo

      is that they are pretty unhappy but are also afraid of what would happen if they pulled out.

    •  the EU is a great and visionary idea, (4+ / 0-)

      executed by petty and visionless people. The idea that such culturally disparate states with a history of centuries of internecine warfare could come together in a common union is a truly radical one--perhaps more radical than many of its founders imagined.

      In an increasingly global future, where cooperation among different nations and cultures is ever more important, the success of the EU would be a huge step forward.

      Unfortunately, the actual execution falls a great deal short of that great vision. We have not the United States of Europe but the Articles of Confederated Europe. The eurozone is a profit machine for Goldman Sachs, not a tool of economic unity. Integration of the former Eastern Bloc has been chaotic and caused a xenophobic, nativist backlash, while bringing the EU into conflict with Russia.

      Many Europeans grumble about the EU but know that leaving would cause them a lot more problems than they have. For a European nation to go it alone would be impossible without causing a huge drop in the standard of living.

      The answer is not to end the union, but perhaps a better union.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:35:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This may be the best answer, but I get the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        impression that not all states are represented equally within the EU. Which is probably the biggest problem right there. I hope the EU can be become better organized, stalwart from within to not be a welcome mat for the corporate grabs, I'm just not seeing it happening in our current time.

        Maybe this Crimea / Ukraine issue will highlight some of these issues and bring this to a head for discussions.

        It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

        by LeftieIndie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:42:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's Exactly the Thing. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        The EU's only real hope for survival is to integrate fully, for states to sign over their sovereignty. I don't know if that means complete integration as a political union, or merely, to have one central bank authority for all of Europe, which can dictate fiscal policy to the several nations.  But the latter I think is the bare minimum for needed reforms and recovery programs to work.

        Of course, I would say that Europe's fundamental problem is the same problem facing the rest of the planet: peak oil.  Europe being, aside from the North Sea, more or less devoid of oil reserves, they are uniquely vulnerable to the present and chronic tightness of the oil market.

        As a PS, I don't think Putin is trying to rebuild the USSR.  I think he realizes that Russia can't assume the burden of the economies of all the periphery states, which would need a lot of assistance.  That's saying nothing of the political, military and economic costs of trying to re-annex them in the first place.

    •  Nostalgia flash (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      "old Europe"   Rumsfeld focus was on....wait for it....central Europe!

  •  If there was big money involved for our corps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, corvo

    we'd do bupkiss too.

  •  spying on their cell calls builds so much trust (6+ / 0-)

    don't you think?

  •  Obama is responding to domestic pressure (5+ / 0-)

    in the same way his predecessor did. Russia is doing quite a decent job of preventing the pot from boiling over. The EU is doing its usual handwringing and "fact-finding". The USA is shouting and waving a stick. Putin, the Autocrat of all the Russias, is playing out the crisis on his terms.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:17:53 PM PST

  •  Seems to me rather straightforward. (5+ / 0-)

    Europe could care less about Russia taking over Ukraine even though its right in their backyard. Even the former Eastern Block NATO countries are likely opposed to sanctions. Poland opposed sanctions when Russia invaded Georgia, and will likely follow Germany's lead. With NATO having their back, they aren't worried about war with Russia, but Ukrainian refugees.

    The bottom line here is people are asking themselves this question: What happens if we try and do something and it is completely ineffective?

    My proposition is that this is the case. All the given diplomatic options seem to me ineffective for dealing with the matter at hand.

    I suspect that is when Republicans start calling for 'arming the rebels' and then here. we. go. again.

  •  the problem is, (8+ / 0-)

    that with their little adventure in regime change, the EU and US have aroused nationalist pride in Russians. It's no longer just about what makes economic sense for many of them, but about their place in the world and being a great power.

    Obama is talking about throwing money at the problem, but there is no way Congress will vote for enough cash to make a dent in the problem, and that won't assuage the anger the Western intervention has aroused in many Ukrainians with Russian heritage/ties. Ego is involved now--"does Obama think he can buy us off now that he's no longer sure he can get Ukraine for cheap? Where was this generous offer when Putin was offering his bailout package?"

    Putin is not going to back down just because Obama makes some half-hearted promises of floating cash to the beleaguered, unelected interim government. Western funds or no, they can't maintain internal security--and Putin aims to demonstrate this simply by holding his position. He doesn't have to provoke anything. He just has to keep moving troops around; their mere presence is enough. The separatists (some no doubt Russian-funded) will do the rest.

    With each day that goes by, their impotence will become clearer. At some point they may be willing to cut a deal and either hand over control of large chunks of Ukraine to a pro-Russian government, or simply cave altogether. Either way, Putin gets at least part of what he wants, and will be in a position to pick up the rest when the IMF is done wrecking it.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:21:15 PM PST

  •  Russia has asked for the February 22 agreement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whizdom, Ray Pensador

    between Yanukovich and the opposition to be enforced.  No indication of any response.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:22:56 PM PST

  •  The linked Guardian article isn't exactly true (0+ / 0-)

    about the meeting today.

    There was a short press conference where High Representative Lady or is it Baroness? Ashton (rolls eyes) explained what decisions had bean taken. The Garjun should know that the EU muckabouts aren't going to come out with both guns blazing.  Noooo shooting from the hip from this crowd. They have to go through the motions of giving Poots a chance to stand down. If he doesn't they're tighten the screws a quarter turn. And so forth. Besides, the main event isn't till Thursday when the Extraordinary Leaders Meeting will be held. (Don't ask if Extraordinary refers to Leaders or Meeting.)
    Link to video:
    http://ec.europa.eu/... id="videoplayerI087055

    There is no existence without doubt.

    by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:29:46 PM PST

    •  I don't see how that contradicts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      the article from the Guardian.

      •  It creates a conflict or rift where there is none. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Byrnt, aliasalias

        The US isn't part of the EU. There's no reason for anyone to assume their foreign policies would match. Trade sanctions is easy for the US to say because Russia is maybe 20th or 22nd on its list of trading partners. The EU has a much more substantial amount of trade with Russia and it would be wise to strategize on possible sanctions before jumping in. The EU could end up hurting itself as much as Russia. And the EU didn't resist sanctions. It's setting up a timetable. The bit about the G7 isn't quite right either. The statement is below. All agree.

        But at an emergency meeting in Brussels the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain resisted calls for trade sanctions, instead limiting discussion to freezing long-running talks with Russia on visa liberalisation that would have made it easier for Russians to visit Europe. Washington is also threatening to kick Russia out of the G8 group of leading economies, but Berlin opposes that.
        http://www.consilium.europa.eu/...

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:59:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is an incompatibility in policies (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, Byrnt

          since a united front would be necessary for sanctions to have a substantive on Russian policy. They seem to be headed in opposite directions. That is a significant development. If you want to fret over dotted "i"s and crossed "t" you would likely feel at home in an EU confab.

          •  I was looking forward to seeing the EU kick (0+ / 0-)

            the US tech companies out of Europe because of mass surveillance. The vote is on March 12. All of that will end up on the back burner now because the Atlantics have to stick together. Europe needs the US again. Who else is gonna pay for the aid package?

            There is no existence without doubt.

            by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:32:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They weren't going to do that either. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              They would have found some other excuse to kick the can.

              •  No kidding. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon, River Rover

                The Eurobureaurcrats aren't opposed to American espionage.  They just want to be in on it.  The last things they care about are citizen privacy rights; the purpose of the EU is to make Europe a more convenient playground for multinational corporations including, of course, trans- and supranational banking.

                Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

                by corvo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:49:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's more to it than that. It's not the spying (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dharmafarmer, corvo, aliasalias

                  as much as what the US does with the interesting information it discovers. A citizen of Denmark had his funds confiscated when he attempted to electronically transfer an amount from his bank to a bank in Germany. The transaction was payment for a shipment of Cuban cigars that he was going to resell. Buying and selling Cuban cigars isn't criminal in Europe but it is in the US because of sanctions.

                  No one could explain to this guy what happened to his money because the US law enforcement authorities only say it's a national security matter. The victim is a police officer himself and the story got in the press and reached two of the EU commissioners involved in data security and privacy. On the surface of the story it's obvious to see what happened but the US only has limited access to the banking system for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. How did they observe and track this individual who's innocent in his home country?

                  The EU commissions met with a US Treasury Dept official who refused to answer certain questions. It turns out that the Patriot Act does say that extraterritoriality applies anywhere in the world so that funds used for purposes that endanger US national security can be confiscated.  

                  Here's the point. The victim is suing the bank because it broke the law in Europe. The US Treasury has the money and Europeans are on the hook to settle the case. What the US is doing is coming out into the open but it can't be proven if no one is allowed to talk.

                  When I read this story I remembered the selfie Obama and the Danish PM took of themselves so cozy together.

                  There is no existence without doubt.

                  by Mark Lippman on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:25:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Denmark (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    corvo

                    ratified the Convention on Cybercrime.  There is no “dual criminality” requirement in the treaty, meaning that one Party could compel another Party to provide assistance with regard to persons who aren’t committing a crime in their own home territory. I suspect the US relies on the treaty terms in its NSA endeavors much more than we realize.

                •  Well, Of Course. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  corvo, Claudius Bombarnac

                  I mean, how do you think Victoria Nuland's remark became public knowledge?

  •  I Think It's Pretty Ridiculous... (0+ / 0-)

    ...to refer to Germany as a "poodle".  Natural gas is kind of important, particularly in wintertime, to that part of the world, especially when Germany has next to no fossil fuel, aside from a few coal deposits, of its own. Yes, Russia is a major supplier to them, and that's what gives Germany in turn a fair amount of leverage over Russia: Russia needs the German market.  They're reasonably close neighbors, not directly in contact but not all that far away, with no significant natural barriers between them--and both countries remember World War II.

    Germany is currently trying to hold the EU together--hardly the role of a poodle, in any sense.  And they have an ongoing, and reasonably strong, relationship with Russia, in economic and political matters.  To label Germany a "poodle" is to not even try to understand that state's role in Europe.

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