What are we to make of the headline: “US to Putin: Don’t send troops into Ukraine.” Or this one: White House warns Russia not to get military involved in Ukraine conflict” Or this one from overseas: “US tells Russia to keep troops out of Ukraine . . . “
Each article referred to Susan Rice, the National Security Advisor, who in response to a question on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program yesterday said that for Russia to intervene militarily in Ukraine would be a “grave mistake.” I don’t know why Ms Rice didn’t say something to the effect, “We Don’t See That Happening” or “Democracies don’t invade other democracies.” That she answered as if it was a probability made me wonder what information the White House is dealing with that we don’t know. Does she have information Putin is contemplating such an action? It seems something is in the wind for her not to dismiss it out of hand. Is she trying to do another Benghazi?
If the headlines in a newspaper were, “U.S tells Germany to keep its troops out of France,” what would you think? I suppose the first thing you’d say to yourself is why is the U.S. doing that? Is there some reason people in the U.S. believe Germany plans to attack France?
Whatever is going on, even the Canadian Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander indicated Canada too will take steps to punish Russia for interfering with Ukraine. (The latter article has telling photographs.) British Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “It would really not be in the interests of Russia to do any such thing.”
Everyone is acting like they know more than they are letting on. We know the West will not do anything militarily to help the Ukrainian people. The Russians have a free hand to go in militarily should Putin desire to do this. He is in a dire position. His most fervent goal since he’s been in office is to have “Ukraine as a key part in a union of ex-Soviet states . .“ . Without Ukraine’s 46 million people, Putin’s dreams will be smashed.
Maybe things aren’t what they seem. Maybe Putin was told by Obama that there will only Potemkin-village like threats, as Susan Rice just performed, but that they will fade like jelly fish put out in the hot sun given a couple of weeks.
As any student of history knows, there are always things we see and things we don’t see in dealings between nations. In World War II the US and Britain gave Poland to Stalin to keep him happy; and they forcibly returned all those who tried to get out of Stalin’s grasp. During the Cuban Missile crises Kennedy made a secret agreement with Khrushchev to take our missiles out of Turkey.
How then do we know that President Obama has not made a secret deal with Putin to the effect he can invade Ukraine, we’ll make noise and really do nothing else, and in exchange he will back us on taking the splinter of Syria out of Obama’s foot.
Here’s what we know: Obama and Putin spoke for an hour Friday. On Saturday,Russia joined the United States in passing a resolution at the United Nations on Syria. This was a change of heart for the Russians. Its ambassador to the UN said:“many Russian considerations were borne in mind and as a result the document took on a balanced nature.” On Sunday, we heard from Susan Rice.
An article analyzing these matters noted: “And the United States also cannot afford a confrontation with Russia that could further complicate U.S. goals in the Syrian civil war, in the Iranian nuclear negotiations, disarmament issues, and on other fronts. Russia has a unique ability to be a spoiler for U.S. foreign policy goals, analysts say. One sign of Russia’s importance to U.S. goals was adoption by the United Nations Security Council on Saturday of a resolution aimed at opening the way for humanitarian supplies to reach the Syrian civil war victims. Western diplomats have long been pushing for such a resolution, but it was held up by resistance from Russia and China, who voted for it Saturday.’
On thing we know is that Putin does nothing out of the goodness of his heart; for him to give us something, he will have taken something back.
What’s queer about the whole thing is that Friday’s agreement in Kyiv, reached after all-night talks, for a cease-fire and early elections which was facilitated by France, Germany, Poland and Ukraine’s President Yanukovych was opposed by the Russians who didn’t sign on to it. Yet allegedly Putin says he told Obama he wants to be part of any agreement. Then Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry “the most important thing now is to provide for the complete fulfillment” [of the EU-brokered agreement.] “The Ukrainian opposition is deviating from the agreement, having in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence.” Only the Russians could refuse to support a deal and then when the deal goes south and against them insist on the deal being implemented.
This sounds very much like a Yalta type dealing and again the Ukrainian people are going to be given over to the Russians as many were in Operation Keelhaul when almost all people who fled from Soviet tyranny during WWII to the West were forcibly returned to Stalin’s gulags.
The bottom line is this: the Ukrainian people want to decide who they will deal with by themselves. For three months in the bitter cold they stood in Maidan seeking that right. They did that because they did not want to again be enslaved by Russia. Russia should have no role in what the Ukrainians decide for themselves.
When the Obama Administration says it will be working: “with our allies, with Russia, and with appropriate European and international organizations to support a strong, prosperous, unified and democratic Ukraine,” it seems to me it is showing that Obama has made a side deal with Putin. The Ukrainians want the Russians out; why then is the United States trying to push them back in.
PS: The New York Times published an op-ed suggesting Russia will not interfere in Ukraine. It is full of internal inconsistencies which reminded me of the Times’s Walter Duranty. So beware of NY Times stories on Ukraine.
This is shown in this op-ed where the writer states: “Moscow’s gesture of support was built on the belief, which Putin himself has expressed, that Ukrainians and Russians are one people. This obviously is not true, if only because Ukrainians themselves are not —— at least not yet — one people.” He fails to mention that Ukrainians never thought themselves as one people with the Russians despite what the Russians might think. They have fought for centuries for their freedoms.