Saturday, February 22, 2014

Obama Stays Silent About Ukraine — Until Now, When It's Too Late for the Scores Gunned Down in Kiev

From the New York Post, in December:
No one’s calling for President Obama to declare war on Russia. But when it comes to a battle between a foreign tyrant and a people fighting for their free future, the president needs to let the Ukrainians — and the world — know America is not ­neutral.
And from last night, at Reuters, "Obama's Syria 'red line' has echoes in his warning to Ukraine":

U.S. President Barack Obama's stern warning this week to Ukrainian officials was the closest thing to a "red line" moment he has had since his threat in 2012 to act against the Syrian government if it used chemical weapons.

But Obama's admonition on Wednesday to not "step over the line" in cracking down on mass protests rocking the Ukraine raised questions on whether he would be any more effective at matching words with deeds than he has been in Syria's three-year-old civil war.

His decision to lay down another rhetorical "line" in a geopolitical crisis left many foreign policy experts puzzled, especially given the limited options he has at his disposal for dealing with the Ukraine's spiraling conflict.

"Hasn't he learned his redline lesson?" tweeted Robert Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

Obama's choice of words evoked comparisons to the chemical weapons "red line" he established for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and then failed to enforce with military action last year, something critics say undermined U.S. credibility.

Obama warned only vaguely at a summit in Mexico of unspecified "consequences" in the event of escalating violence in Ukraine.

But despite the rhetoric, the White House made clear on Thursday that there were limits to how far the United States would go in punishing Ukrainian officials.
Well, foreign policy's been pretty much FUBAR since Obama took office, but Ukraine now, much like Syria last summer, demonstrates just how badly the American public has been served by this White House. (And at the video above, a reminder that Mitt Romney was right about the biggest problems facing U.S. national security. My, what a missed opportunity we had in the last presidential election. A damned shame.)

More from the New York Times, "Amid Fence-Mending, Another U.S.-Russia Rift."