Our Response To Crimea

Here is what John Kerry said we’d do:

Mr. Kerry repeated his warning to Moscow in remarks to a congressional panel on Thursday.

“There will be a response of some kind [to] the referendum itself, and in addition, if there is no sign of any capacity to be able to move forward and resolve this issue, there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday in Europe and here,” Mr. Kerry told members of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.

And here’s what we did:

…the Obama administration froze the U.S. assets of seven Russian officials, including top advisers to President Vladimir Putin, for their support of Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine, while similar sanctions were imposed on four Ukrainian officials for instigating Sunday’s Crimean referendum.

That is very scary AND serious sanctions indeed!

All this still confuses me.

We support Ukrainians desire to force an elected President out of power – replacing him with one they find more acceptable.  But then we fail to recognize Ukrainians desire to separate from the country to join with Russia.

5 responses to “Our Response To Crimea

  1. We support Ukrainians desire to force an elected President out of power – replacing him with one they find more acceptable. But then we fail to recognize Ukrainians desire to separate from the country to join with Russia.

    That’s a bit of an oversimplification. Ukraine’s riots were a reaction to a power grab by the executive (which may or may not have been legal, it’s hard to say without a lot more research I haven’t done). Then you had an ouster of a president who wasn’t quite impeached but was supported by Moscow and there was influence in the impeachment process. Then you have an ethnically/cultural divided country experiencing separatist fighting with Russia trying to basically annex Crimea.

    What do you want them to do? Deploy troops to protect Crimea from Russia, or just not say anything at all when international politics gets messy?

    I’m fine with saying that asset-seizure is insufficient, but what do you want them to do?

    • That’s a bit of an oversimplification.

      Stipulated.

      The riots are one thing – no one disputes Code Pink’s right to protest Bush or the Tea Party to protest Obama. However, there are legal structural processes in place to remove Presidents. Whatever illegal activity he may have done, I doubt the legal recourse was followed in Ukraine.

      As far as the annexation, Crimea was once part of Russia – or the Soviet Union – as recently as 1954. From the moderate research I’ve done, a significant number of Crimeans consider themselves to be Russian. Though it was a Soviet leader who gave Crimea to Ukraine, it isn’t illogical that they simply are taking it back.

      What do you want them to do?

      Mostly make sure that they actually DO what they say they’ll do.

      When they say “serious consequences” the consequences should be serious. I get the feeling that sanctioning 11 officials has little, if any, bite.

      I get the the Crimea is gone – and maybe rightfully so – but is there a limit to how far we’ll let Putin go? What if he marches West? What if he takes Kiev? Or moves on Moldovia?

      If I am new to US politics I am 100% ignorant of that region’s politics and the ramifications to the US. So I don’t wanna come across as prescriptive; just wanting to advocate consistency of message and delivery of promises.

      If, for example, Obama says that the people of the region owe it to themselves to determine their own fate and we’re staying out – fine.

      If he says that we are going to attack with missiles if Putin moves on Kiev, fine – but then he has to follow through. And when he says that Russia needs to back out of Crimea, he needs to have a clear plan for MAKING Russia back out – or he just sounds like a Patriot’s fan complaining about the refs.

  2. Our support of the removal of the former Ukranian president was more about him breaking a deal with the EU. He led Ukraine towards the EU and broke the deal right before he was supposed to sign. Of course the killings that ensued and criminal activity don’t help the situation. While the USSR dissolved, Russia is still our strategic enemy. Turning away from the EU is a turn towards Russia.

    As far as not accepting the Crimean desire to join Russia. A couple of things 1) Have a look at the ballot questions. Pretty tricky…there was no option to stay with Ukraine. The vote was a/ go to Russia or b/become independent. The region has no desire for complete independence.

    2) The native people of Crimea are Tatars who were removed by Stalin. Of course the majority are now ethnic Russians, but because of Stalin. Since the fall of the USSR, Tatars have been returning to their homeland, but remain an ethnic minority. Considering U.S. history (See Trail of Tears), I would venture to guess this plays a part in our reason for keeping Putin out. Additionally, lots of natural gas. We of course don’t want to see our strategic enemy gain more resources.

    • Our support of the removal of the former Ukranian president was more about him breaking a deal with the EU. He led Ukraine towards the EU and broke the deal right before he was supposed to sign.

      I get that we didn’t like what he did, but that doesn’t make it okay to overthrow an elected President.

  3. Pino,

    ” The riots are one thing – no one disputes Code Pink’s right to protest Bush or the Tea Party to protest Obama. However, there are legal structural processes in place to remove Presidents. Whatever illegal activity he may have done, I doubt the legal recourse was followed in Ukraine. ”

    Most over throws are illegal. The American Revolution was illegal. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of the founding Fathers were all traitors and legally could have been hung. The German officers who tried to remove Hitler in 1944 with a bomb were not following legal procedure. Vladimir Putin is certainly not following legal procedure in breaking the treaties guaranteeing Ukrainian sovereignty. Putin could argue along with everyone else I mentioned, that at times legal is beside the point and irrelevant.

    Hell, the US and the UK are not meeting their legal duties because under treaty they guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity, except that it doesn’t really mean anything other than we will go to the UN Security Council and ask them to give assistance to Ukraine.

    This all comes down to what we believe is moral, more than what is legal. Is it moral to allow Putin to re-enslave a free people? So far under Obama, obviously yes. Of course, even that is not really the issue. Do we believe it is in ‘ our ‘ national interest to allow Putin to re-enslave a free people? Same answer. So far under Obama, obviously yes.

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