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

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  •  HUGE Failure of American foreign policy (5+ / 0-)

    And not in the way you guys think.

    The whole discourse seems to be: a) Putin is bad and b) so let’s come up with the sickest way to punish him.  Let’s bomb, or maybe destroy his currency, or whatever.
    This is not AT ALL how it looks from the inside.  Simply put, Putin is the ONLY world leader who currently stepped in to protect Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine.   What do you think, they are stupid?  It’s just no one else is hearing their pleas!

    You have to understand that when you say Bandera in Lvov, you hear ‘Hero.’  When you say it in Odessa, you hear ‘pogrom.’  On the guttural level, South and East of Ukraine cannot stand the new Ukrainian government.  I have talked to several people over the weekend, some in Odessa, some in Kharkov, some in Kiev (I am from Odessa myself), and EVERYONE referred to new government as Bandits.  

    The most amazing to me was the lady from Kiev that was absolutely livid with Tymoshenko, who she accused of being almost as corrupt as Yanukovich.  She also contemplated that Ukraine is still better off with Russia, because Europe only wants us “to wash toilets for cheap.”

    Western leaders need to be more mindful of the half of Ukrainian population, AND propose some concrete steps.  Maybe inclusion of some Party of Regions people into Government.  Maybe exclusion neo-Nazis from the Government.  Maybe put up for referendum both EU agreement and Russian Trade agreement.  Maybe devolve some of the powers from Kiev to the regions.

    The bottom line is that current policy just reinforces the line “Putin is being punished for helping us, so let’s stick even closer to him.”  What you want is to show other way.

    •  I agree with much of this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic

      But I still think it's essential to convince Putin to stop (and then to back away.) At that point everything you list should be on the table. But the first order of business has to be to try to prevent this from devolving into all-out war.

      "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

      by jrooth on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 10:41:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is ZERO chance of all out war (4+ / 0-)

        Or even limited one.
        Did you notice that NOT A SINGLE SHOT was fired when Crimea was taken over?  

        Simply put, for a whole host of historical, cultural, etc. reasons, Russian army will not fire the first shot.  

        Also, again, this whole thing is making him popularity go through the roof.  Every Russian speaking person in any former Soviet republic is quietly rooting for him.  Not to mention Russia.

        And also the guy is smart and playing a long game.  He knows full well that he has to last months, if not weeks.  As soon as the next shiny object will appear on the horizon, the West will move on.

        •  Putin is effectively dictator for life. Back in (0+ / 0-)

          the 1930's the consensus was that democracies were all failures including the US.
          Putin is trying to turn the clock back. You can't get much dumber than that.

        •  That's for sure. No way Western minds focus on (0+ / 0-)

          anything for more than a month or two. Hell, here in the U.S., there's social programs to cut!

        •  Crimea is one thing ... east Ukraine another. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic

          The Ukrainians have showed excellent restraint so far, but partly that's a matter of the relatively few forces in Crimea being completely unprepared for this invasion and too weak to mount a credible defense.

          If the Russians cross into eastern Ukraine it's going to be a different story.  I don't think they have anything like the capability to defeat a Russian invasion, but being forewarned they do have the capacity to put up a serious fight.

          There was a good piece by a pair of former US ambassadors to Ukraine about this - I'll see if I can find it.

          "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

          by jrooth on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 11:43:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Putin is trying to stop war in Ukraine (0+ / 0-)

        Putin's show of force gave the Crimeans the opportunity to calmly stand up the the U.S. supported neo-NAZIs that overthrew a democratically elected leader in Kiev.  I suspected that the riots were CIA inspired regime change.  I was close, but recently learned that it was an organization formed by a former CIA director that is responsible - not much difference.  Furthermore, Obama and Putin have an understanding that goes above the U.S. State Department. Maybe Obama should purge the neocons out of the government, but right now, he is doing only what he thinks he can do.

    •  Elections (0+ / 0-)

      I doubt the US has so much influence it can dictate which parties are and are not involved in the transitional government.

      The Ukrainian people should have been focused on the May elections so they can decide who they trust. Instead the Russians have come in and impose themselves.

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