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Russia Has Invaded Ukraine

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NATO is alleging today that at least 1,000 Russian combat troops are now operating inside Ukrainian territory:

WASHINGTON — NATO released photographs on Thursday that it said shows Russian artillery units operating in Ukraine, and asserted that more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had now joined the separatists fighting there against the Ukrainian armed forces.

“Over the past two weeks we have noted a significant escalation in both the level and sophistication of Russia’s military interference in Ukraine,” said Brig. Gen. Nico Tak of the Netherlands, a senior officer in NATO’s military command.

“The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons, are operating inside Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” he said in a statement.

General Tak told reporters that “well over” 1,000 Russian soldiers were now operating in Ukraine and that the Russian military was actively involved in the fighting

A Ukrainian separatist commander asserted on Thursday that Russian soldiers inside Ukraine were merely volunteers who had joined the rebels while on leave. NATO said the photographs show organized Russian military units, equipped with artillery and other heavy equipment.

The photos were taken by DigitalGlobe, a commercial firm, and have not been altered, NATO said in a statement. Two of the photos were described in an article Wednesday in The New York Times, before they were publicly released.

This is the first time that NATO has made public photographic evidence to corroborate its assertions that Russian military units have been firing artillery from inside Ukraine.

One photograph, dated Aug. 21, shows a Russian military convoy with self-propelled artillery moving in the Krasnodon area inside Ukraine.

Another dated Aug. 23 shows Russian self-propelled artillery units in firing positions near Krasnodon. Near the artillery units are logistical vehicles that NATO said were probably carrying ammunition.

“This configuration is exactly how trained military professions would arrange their assets on the ground, indicating that these are not unskilled amateurs, but Russian soldiers,” NATO said in a captioned description of the photograph. “Russian artillery systems like these have recently shelled Ukrainian positions outside the city of Luhansk in conjunction with a separatist counteroffensive to attempt to break the Ukrainian siege of the city.”

A third photo shows the Russian military buildup, including tanks and armored personnel carriers, near the Russian city of Rostov. NATO said there were multiple Russian military camps in the area and that some Russian forces were based within a few miles of Ukraine and could attack with little warning.

Russia is also supplying the separatists with arms from such locations, NATO said.

Here’s one  of the photographs, dated August 23rd with annotations by NATO analysts:

NATO Ukraine Photo

 

The Ukrainians themselves are saying that Russian tanks have also entered the country:

NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine — Two columns of Russian tanks and military vehicles fired Grad missiles from Russia at a border post in southeastern Ukraine, then rolled into the country Thursday as its overmatched border guards fled, a top Ukrainian official said.

The comments by Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security Council, and other statements from NATO, the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine and the United States left no doubt that the Russian military had invaded southeastern Ukraine.

A top NATO official said at least 1,000 Russian troops have poured into Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have been in direct “contact” with Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties.

“Russian forces have entered Ukraine,” Ukraine’s president declared Thursday, cancelling a foreign trip and calling an emergency meeting of his security council.

President Petro Poroshenko summoned the council as the strategic southeastern town of Novoazovsk appeared firmly under the control of separatists and their Russian backers, a new front in the war in eastern Ukraine between the separatists and Poroshenko’s government in Kiev.

“Today the president’s place is in Kiev,” Poroshenko said.

Russian stock markets dived as fears grew that the country was escalating its role in the conflict, a move that could provoke the U.S. and European Union to impose further sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals. Russia’s MICEX index dropped nearly 2 percent on Thursday, and major Russian state banks VTB and Sberbank dropped more than 4 percent.

Brig. Gen. Nico Tak told reporters at NATO headquarters that the ultimate aim of Russia was to stave off defeat for the separatists and turn eastern Ukraine into a “frozen conflict” that would destabilize the country “indefinitely.”

NATO estimated that another 20,000 Russian troops were right over the Russian border.

Tak said the 1,000 Russian troops operating inside Ukraine was a conservative estimate and provided satellite imaginary showing an incursion of great sophistication. He refused to specify exactly what the “contact” with Ukrainian troops was.

Lysenko said the missiles from Russia were fired about 11 a.m. and about an hour and a half later, two columns, including tanks and other fighting vehicles began an attack. They entered Ukraine from Veselo-Voznesenka and Maximovo of the Rostov region in Russia.

The leader of the insurgency, Alexander Zakharchenko, said in an interview on Russian state television that 3,000 to 4,000 Russians have fought on the separatist side since the armed conflict began in April.

The U.S. government accused Russia of orchestrating a new military campaign in Ukraine, helping rebel forces expand their fight and sending in tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles.

“These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday. She voiced concern about overnight deliveries of materiel in southeast Ukraine near Novoazovsk and said Russia was being dishonest about its actions, even to its own people.

The presence of Russian troops in Ukraine has, of course, been something of an open secret for some time now. There have been intelligence officers and special forces on the ground there at various points in time ever since the crisis in eastern Ukraine began. For the most part, though, they have lived in the shadows and seem to have been playing more an advisory and logistical role. There have also been reports about Russian units “mistakenly” crossing the border, a phenomenon which led to this amusing tweet from the Canada’s NATO Delegation. However, if these reports are true than it would appear that Russia has decided to significantly ramp up its involvement in the rebellion in eastern Ukraine and, essentially, become a combatant along side the pro-Russian separatists against the Ukrainian military. That, quite obviously, is a significant escalation and one that would seem guaranteed to thrust this story back on to the front pages of newspapers around the world.

Inevitably, of course, the question will become how the West will respond to this latest move. There is already talk of increased sanctions, but given the fact that we’ve already seen the Vladimir Putin doesn’t seem to be all that deterred by economic sanctions against his country, so it’s unclear exactly what we can do that would deter him from that course. In any event, expect to hear more about this in the days to come as the world’s attention once again shifts from the Middle East back to Eastern Europe.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Swoon…if only that dreamy Putin could lead the US for 48 hours.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Sanctions are good. Insofar as we can, we should raise the price for Tsar Vladimir. It’s in our interests to raise the cost of any illegal invasion of a sovereign state. And we should supply weapons, cash and intel to the Ukrainians.

    But that’s it.

    It won’t stop Putin, but there are things to be accomplished short of an improbable retreat by the Russians. We need to strengthen our connections to the ‘Stans, strengthen Western defenses in Poland and the Baltics, and generally point a big, accusing finger at Russian aggression.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  3. Jeremy R says:

    https://twitter.com/MarkUrban01/status/505053656128192512

    NATO briefed today that there were 1000+ Russian tps in #Ukraine. I hear their classified view is 4 battalion task grps are in – nearer 5000

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Just Me says:

    Putin believes he can do this without any hard consequences. I think he’s probably right. I don’t think NATO has the will to do much more than sanctions. I’m not sure I want to see them do more than sanctions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Agreeing we’d go to war to defend our NATO partners was a lot easier when the expectation was thousands of tanks pouring into West Germany headed for the English Channel. A thousand Russians in Saywhereistan is going to be a hard decision.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  6. MichaelIsmoe says:

    And we should supply weapons, cash and intel to the Ukrainians.

    Personally, I am getting a little tired of paying for wars while the standard of living in this country deteriorates.

    Let someone else play policeman for a while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  7. legion says:

    Before this point, we might still have been able to avoid this by hurting the one group of people who can still tell Putin what to do – Russia’s billionaires. But now, emboldened by the basically zero-consequence strategy just fucking _taking_ anything he wants, this has just become a “military solution only” kind of problem. And Putin knows he’ll win that too, because he knows Ukraine’s military can’t stop him, and neither the US or NATO are willing to actually commit the way they’d have to to slap him down.

    Ukraine’s buggered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  8. Tillman says:

    Ball’s in the EU’s court.

    I’ve sounded like a broken record for the past month on this. Or are salami tactics going to win the day?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. legion says:

    @Tillman: Well, Kleptocrat tactics are pretty much all Putin’s needed so far. Why draw to a winning hand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. JKB says:

    Mark your calendar. October 9th is the 5th anniversary of the Norwegian gentlemen announcing the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009.

    It looks like there will be lots of fireworks around the world to celebrate.

    Being flexible…is that what the ineffective “world” leaders are calling it these days?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 31

  11. Tyrell says:

    This was expected, not a surprise at all. Now they have to try and anticipate Putin’s next move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell: I dunno, laugh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If only we had a truly strong leader, he could give that Putin a really stern talking to about the bombs we won’t drop and the troops we won’t send to die for Ukrainian honor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Look on the bright side: Maybe this is the beginning of the end of NATO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. stonetools says:

    Two psuedo-Bismarck quotes:

    “Putin will not be stopped, except with blood and iron”

    but

    “All of Ukraine is not worth the bones of a single Alabaman infantryman.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky & JKB

    Are you prepared to go and fight the Russians over Ukraine? To send your kids to do so? How about a tax increase to pay for a war over there?

    No? I did not think so.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 7

  17. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    What does that have to do with Obama sending a personal message to Putin that after the election, Obama would be “more flexible”, as in eager to be bent over.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 22

  18. jib says:

    Why is this our problem? Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire for hundreds of years and part of the Soviet Empire for as long as it lasted. It has enjoyed a brief period of independence that as far as anyone I know thought, would only last until Russia decided to get back into the empire game.

    We should make this expensive with sanctions but we were never, ever going to war over Ukraine and we never, ever will. It remains to be seen how far Russia can go before we do go to war but given the cost of such a war to the US, the lack of material damage to US interests if the Russians re-occupy various stans and independent republics, and the very real difficulty and high cost Russia will have hanging onto their new empire, I doubt anything east of the Elbe is worth fighting over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  19. Slugger says:

    I join all of you in anticipating a vigorous and forthright debate in Congress on these events. I can not think of any interests that I have in eastern Ukraine, but I do look forward to my representatives telling me the good reasons I should be ready to spend money or blood.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:
    First off, it’s pretty amazing how it’s always psycho-sexual panic and BDSM fantasies first, analysis second with you guys.

    Second, in the context of the current crisis in Ukraine, what would a policy of not bending down and being penetrated look like? What you, as President, do differently? Be specific, please.

    Three, how is the current situation different from the Georgian War or the crises of 1983, 1968, and 1956 when were not governed by people that do not trigger you into a sexual panic?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6

  21. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san:

    Are you prepared to go and fight the Russians over Ukraine? To send your kids to do so? How about a tax increase to pay for a war over there?

    I believe I’ve already answered that question when I said…wait a second, I never said anything about us fighting, so why did you bring it up? And did you think I’d not notice that I haven’t talked about that? I mean, what’s your point? This is why I scoff when you talk about treating people with respect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  22. Tyrell says:

    2015: “Breaking news: Russia invades Czechoslovakia!” President Obama, Sec. Kerry, Sec. Hagel are going to be busy the next two years: ISIS, Israel – Hamas, Egypt, Libya, and Russia. Forget an easy last two years before retirement. Germany might ought to keep an eye in their rear view mirror.
    What would General Bradley do ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  23. humanoid.panda says:
  24. rudderpedals says:

    What would Milton Bradley do?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    I never said anything about us fighting,

    So what should Obama have done differently to prevent this situation?

    I am curious as to what we might do beyond use force to dictate Russia’s actions. Of course there is also the problem of their large nuclear arsenal when we talk about using force. So, yes, it’s a crappy situation and Russia’s actions are troubling, to say the least. That being said, what do conservatives want to do about it, besides whining about Obama being a weenie?

    If you were President, what would you do, specifically, to stop Putin from laughing at us. as you seem to think he is doing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Czechoslovakia ceased to exist in 1992.

    Ah! That’s why their army put up so little resistance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  27. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, the Czechoslovak army was not known for its resistance skills when it existed..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. President Camacho says:

    @anjin-san: that’s an easy answer. Pick a random country like Iraq, invade, spend vast amounts of money and lower taxes

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  29. george says:

    @JKB:

    Mark your calendar. October 9th is the 5th anniversary of the Norwegian gentlemen announcing the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009.

    It looks like there will be lots of fireworks around the world to celebrate.

    Being flexible…is that what the ineffective “world” leaders are calling it these days?

    What has that got to do with the Russian invasion?

    There’s no leader in American history who would have started a potential nuclear war with Russia over the Ukraine. Remember MAD? It still applies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  30. JKB says:

    Obama lost when he whispered his little message for Putin.

    Europe is on their own until we change Presidents. Obama has no credibility.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 21

  31. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    I note that you don’t seem to have a single policy suggestion for dealing with Russia. Well, you always have the “bending over” thing to keep you company.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

  32. Eric Florack says:

    @JKB: Indeed so.

    And Policy? Strategy? he admitted today he’s got nothing to answer ISIS, a cut and dreid situation if ever there was one, and a direct threat. How in hell can anyone expect an actual response in *THIS* situation?

    What a Leader!!
    (snort)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  33. Eric Florack says:

    @Pinky: he brings it up because he knows, deep inside his addled brain that eventually its going to be a requirement, but dares not admit it, since it runs afoul of his worldview.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  34. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    A policy doesn’t matter while you have an ineffectual leader who has blown his credibility. Barring a full blown US operation in Eastern Europe and the terrible risks that involves is the only thing Obama could do. Otherwise, assuming the Germans or others don’t stand up, the world will have to wait until there is a change in the US Presidency.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 18

  35. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB: this, of course ignores the fact that ineffectual as it is, the West’s response to recent events in Ukraine had been far more effective and coordinated that responses to similar Russian actions in the past. Reagan, for example wasmignoredmwnd ridiculed when he tried to make Europeans to support american sanctions over suppression of
    Solidarity in Poland. Bush didn’t even try to extract a price from the Russians in 2008. Obama, ineffectual as he might be, managed to get the EU to get behind qui tem biting sanctions ( the Germans that you think are held behind by Obama’s timidity, had to be dragged into the sanctions regime, Russia being a major trade partner for them and al). the fact that these sanctions don’t seem effectual points to an ancient problem:there is no real way to deter a nuclear power willing to sacrifice economics for geopolitics. Obama and your sexual obsessions regarding to him have very little to do with that basic dilemma, but hey, everyone need to air their id sometime.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    The rebs have put up a hell of a fight. The Ukes lost a lot of young, barely trained men. Yet, it’s clear the rebs never quite managed to get the majority of the people in the east to support them to the degree necessary for success. I imagine a person being fought over by Russia and Ukraine would feel about the same as a bone between two dogs might on the contest.

    Nevertheless, the Ukes are in a bit of a fix. One of their units is surrounded, and it was announced on the Tee Vee that Putin has called on the rebs to open a corridor so they could escape. Last night I heard one of their people on the Ukraine news say they have started preparing winter clothing, so they apparently know they aren’t as close to finishing them off as recent events might indicate they might be. This war is both far more expensive and far more bloody than they can easily sustain. Their economy is a Mongolian fustercluck of debt and long-term corruption. If Putin was out for blood, why is he letting these guys go?

    Putin may be engaged in a rescue mission here. Those brave and very able soldiers may need and have definitely earned a way out. It was remarkable how so few men checked so many for so long across such open ground. He may have felt it fitting to provide them with a corridor. On the other hand, he might have decided that he is willing to put it all on the line for a land passage to his naval base in Crimea. It’s too early to tell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  37. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @anjin-san: @Pinky: Yeah, anjin, shame on you! You should have known that since it was Pinky talking, the words were only about obliquely (so that Pinky will not come back and ask, “when did I say that?”) berating the brown person currently illegally residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  38. Jeremy R says:

    @Eric Florack:

    And Policy? Strategy? he admitted today he’s got nothing to answer ISIS

    No, he said there was no point in in asking for a Syria airstrike AUMF yet as no Syria military strategy was finalized yet or agreed to with stakeholders and allies. This was the question he was responding to:

    “QUESTION: Do you need Congress’s approval to go into Syria?”

    Here’s the press conference transcript: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/transcriptpresident-obamas-aug-28-remarks-on-ukraine-and-syria/2014/08/28/416f1336-2eec-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html

    You’ll note that it’s chock full of discussion about current US strategy vs. IS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  39. PAUL HOOSON says:

    But, this president tells us not to worry, it’s not an invasion, but merely an “incursion”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  40. humanoid.panda says:

    @PAUL HOOSON: So, beyond calling it invasion, what should he do differently? the other Obama critics here are vey careful to avoid answering that question..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  41. edmondo says:

    The US has stationed American troops in almost 150 countries around the world. We have the audacity to tell Russia that they must withdraw immediately? Laughable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  42. C. Clavin says:

    @edmondo:
    I really don’t care if Russia invades Ukraine…and I certainly don’t want us to get involved…but comparing stationing troops in a country, to what is happening in the Ukraine, is really just stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  43. Mu says:

    Lets see, when Russia invaded Hungary in 1956, Eisenhower send in the troops. So did Nixon for Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Reagan for Afghanistan in 1979. Obama should take their actions as an example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: Nothing seems to be harder to understand than pragmatism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    ineffective “world” leaders

    I’m kinda fascinated by this. Inefffective?
    I mean sure…Obama hasn’t invaded and occupied any countries for no justifiable reason.
    But beyond that?
    We haven’t wasted $2 trillion dollars.
    We haven’t wasted the lives of 4000 troops.
    We haven’t killed 100,000 civilians.
    Syria’s chemical weapons are gone.
    Iran is toeing the line set out by the international community.
    OBL is dead. Ghaddafi is dead. A whole bunch of other guys are dead.
    Israel is being Israel and there are some bad actors in the middle-east…so what…that’s pretty much status quo…what do you think we should do to change that overnight? Invade Canada?
    Seriously…line out for us…step by step…what you would do and how you would pay for it.
    Because from where I sit the world is better off than it was in January of ’09…and it hasn’t cost us much in lives or treasure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  46. george says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    So, beyond calling it invasion, what should he do differently? the other Obama critics here are very careful to avoid answering that question..

    That point really stands out. The only options seem to be sanctions (already applied), or war. And not war with a country like Iraq which can easily be beaten, but war with a country with ICBM’s and nuclear weapons. I’m finding it hard to believe even they really want to go into a nuclear exchange (even a limited one will mean the complete destruction of at least once major city) with Russia over the Ukraine – or are they feeling some weird nostalgia for the Cuban missile crises?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  47. mantis says:

    @JKB:

    Otherwise, assuming the Germans or others don’t stand up, the world will have to wait until there is a change in the US Presidency.

    And then Russia will tuck tail and run home?

    This place is overrun with morons.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  48. JWH says:

    My thoughts, such as they are:

    1) Ukraine is not a NATO ally, so we have little obligation to assist.

    2) Poland and the Baltic states are NATO allies; we ought to move military units there as a show of force and to reassure allies.

    3) What are Russia’s ambitions? If Russia is bent on world domination, perhaps we need to stop them. If Russia simply wants to reabsorb some of its own satellites, then we have more pressing needs elsewhere. (i.e., ISIS).

    4) This is Europe’s back yard … so let Europe decide how it wants to handle it, and let Europe spend the blood and treasure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  49. stonetools says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Look on the bright side: Maybe this is the beginning of the end of NATO.

    On the contrary, we might now see NATO expand to Finland and NATO forces move east into Poland and the Baltics. NATO has never been healthier.
    No one wants to be subject to Russian invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  50. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    So…you are volunteering to organize the party to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: It would help if Anjin would actually engage with what Pinky actually said, rather than shoving a convenient preconceived argument down Pinky’s throat. For that matter, what is it that you find objectionable in Pinky’s response? I thought it a rather succinct and accurate reflection of reality as it stands. We aren’t going to do g-dam thing about it, Putin knows it, and laughter would be appropriate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  52. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    You try very hard to sound like a person who knows what he’s talking about. So, why don’t you give us all a nice, easy, three step plan for Ukraine:

    1)
    2)
    3)

    And if one of the steps is something like, “Elect someone else!” we’re going to know you got nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @stonetools: That would be an utter disaster. Nato may well be the excuse du juor for all of Russia’s bad actions of late, but that is no reason to ignore their entirely valid security concerns. Consider that NATO was created as a counter to the Warsaw pact. Consider that the Warsaw Pact no longer exists. What then is NATO’s mission? Russia is no military threat to the US or the original NATO members, so it must be to p!ss off the Russians.

    I can think of little that is more stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: It is way better than looking longingly into Putin’s eyes and finding his soul mate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  55. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB: So, you have nothing, eh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    So you got nothing. You could have just said that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  57. anjin-san says:

    @ humanoid.panda

    So, you have nothing, eh?

    As does Pinky, as does Florack. The conservative action plan of strength and resolve seems to be to bitch, moan, and whine, while refusing to offer up even a single thought as to how we might affect the situation in the real world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  58. C. Clavin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    We aren’t going to do g-dam thing about it, Putin knows it

    Well, hang on a second.
    Sanctions are hurting Russia.
    The Rubble is at an all-time low against the dollar…and has to be shored up by the Government.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2014/08/20140828_RUB.jpg
    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2014/03/ruble-sinks-to-record-low-russia.html
    Vlad may get the Ukraine…but it’s hurting him badly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  59. stonetools says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    But you should understand that Poland, the Baltics, and Slovakia would feel a lot more uncomfortable if Russian tanks are at their borders, instead of a country away, right? They might want NATO tanks right there, rather than back in Germany.
    That’s why Putin taking Ukraine would be a big boost to NATO.
    I doubt these countries would be reassured by someone 5,000 miles way saying, “Don’t worry! You people have nothing to fear from Russia.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    Barring a full blown US operation in Eastern Europe and the terrible risks that involves is the only thing Obama could do

    I’m sorry, you’re going to have to translate this into English if you want anyone to understand you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mu:

    So did Nixon for Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Reagan for Afghanistan in 1979.

    Um, Johnson was president in 1968, and Carter was president in 1979.

    Nevertheless, the point still stands. We didn’t intervene militarily during the invasion of Hungary in 1956, the invasion of Czechoslavakia in 1968, the suppression of Solidarity in Poland in 1981, the invasion of Aghanistan in 1979, or the invasion of Georgia in 2008.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  62. anjin-san says:

    Do any of the conservative warriors in here remember the Hainan Island incident? Did Bush stand tall and back the Chinese down? No, he basically apologized for the whole thing, hat in hand, to get our people back. There is not a heck of a lot more he could have done, as China has nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and we were not going to go to war with them to get a spy plane crew back.

    We can bully smaller nations, and we can easily defeat them in battle if we choose to. Dealing with major powers is a bit different, even with all the national treasure we pour into the DOD.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  63. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    Do any of the conservative warriors in here remember the Hainan Island incident?

    Simple answer: no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  64. Eric Florack says:

    The commonality between the rationalisation… IE, the excuse making for not acting, between this situation and Hitlers expansionism, are striking. So, too, I suspect, will the results of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Tell, you what, Eric, why don’t you take the challenge I extended to JKB above?

    1)
    2)
    3)

    Explain your plan for Ukraine. Practical, logical, do-able steps. I’ll wait.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  66. Tillman says:

    @anjin-san: Y’know, he didn’t say Putin was laughing at us. I interpreted it as “laugh maniacally” or “laugh evilly.” Like a megalomaniac.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. bandit says:

    Poor OTB bedwetters – maybe Obama can come up with a strategy for sumpn

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  68. michael reynolds says:

    @bandit:

    Why don’t you? Let’s see your strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  69. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    He has a strategy…sniff the lead dogs butt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  70. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The commonality between the rationalisation… IE, the excuse making for not acting, between this situation and Hitlers expansionism, are striking. So, too, I suspect, will the results of it.

    Russia is going to over-run Europe? Occupy Paris?
    Jesus-gawd you are a fool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  71. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: I don’t think that’s the right question. Foreign policy is just that: policy, not policies. It’s a set of actions. Think of it like walking, a series of motions, some bizarre or even contradictory, that collectively propel a body in a particular direction. If someone told you to move and gave you specifics, they’d sound demented. What do you mean, lift my foot? That’ll just throw off my balance. Why are you talking about swaying my arms to move my feet forward?

    The net effect of this kind of discussion reminds me of a bit from Friends:
    Joey – “I’ll give you my advice, but you’re not going to like it.”
    Ross – “OK, go ahead.”
    Joey – “You got married too soon.”
    Ross – “That’s not advice, Joey.”
    Joey – “I told you you weren’t going to like it.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: let me answer you this way….

    Deterence.

    Which makes a better deterrent, Mike?
    “We don’t want the lead role any,ore, we are tired of war, we don’t wanna be the worlds policeman, etc etc

    Or…

    Get out ta line and get your ass kicked.

    I suggest the latter is by far the more peaceful and prosperous path.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  73. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Get out ta line and get your ass kicked.

    Bwuh-hahahahahahhahahahahahahaha
    Foreign Policy fantasies of idiots.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  74. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    Please provide specifics on how we “kick ass” when Russia has the means to utterly destroy our country in a single hour.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  75. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I’m pretty sure his plan looks something like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    That is one of the more ignorant things I have seen you say.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  77. bill says:

    nice, obama’s in charge and all i see is “bush,nixon, reagan…..”
    no need for “what if’s”, it’s happening now and obama is exerting weakness as usual.
    and no mention of the prophetic sarah palin?! it’s early though- and i just threw it in.
    if i remember, we were passive about europe’s woes prior to ww1&2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  78. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So you want to threaten war with Russia. With a nuclear-armed adversary. Because, that’s what deterrence means in this case. Unless you’re just bluffing, but a big, macho guy like you wouldn’t bluff, right?

    So you actually mean that you’re willing to trade hundreds of millions of lives for Eastern Ukraine.

    Brilliant. Great plan.

    And refresh my memory: why would we be willing to risk the annihilation of the United States, exactly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  79. stonetools says:

    @bill:

    Hey, Bill take Mike’s challenge.

    And enlighten me. Just what did the moron out of Alaska prophesy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  80. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Because…Hitler.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  81. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: so, no wars were ever prevented by the threat of retaliation. No crimes were ever prevented by the cops being out in force. Its all just a fantasy.

    Got it.
    No wonder you wave the Obama flag.
    Sheesh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  82. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: Mike, think, for once.
    Being ready to go to war, and threatening it, is not the same as going to war.
    Usually, the threat is enough to avert problems. The meme being out there is enough.
    Kinda like the ‘WAR ON WOMEN”. Doesn’t really exist, but the meme is out there because it keeps being repeated endlessly.

    Reputation itself is a weapon against bullies like this, costs comparatively little, and usually no lives. But no, because “we don’t wanna be the worlds policeman, were tired of war” and such bleating, we are now forced into a situation where unquestionably, the only way out is exactly what they were trying to avoid, supposedly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  83. Wr says:

    @Eric Florack: So I guess it was Reagan’s formidable reputation that kept the Russians from invading Afghanistan?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Eric, I’m really trying hard to follow James’ injunction against insults, but dude, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Your ignorance of foreign policy realities is complete and absolute.

    Deterrence against a nuclear power means you must actually be willing – if necessary – to go to actual war. Otherwise it’s a bluff. So you are either calling for the obliteration of civilization, or you’re saying, “hey, we’ll bluff, and if they call our bluff, we’ll cave.”

    Mutual Assured Destruction was the doctrine in the Cold War. We were actually targeting Soviet cities and bases, as they were us. The essential idea was that if I either side attacked, the retaliation would be instantaneous and result in extermination.

    You have this juvenile idea that if you swagger and talk tough, the world will obey. Is that how it worked for George W. Bush in Iraq? Did it work for Ronald Reagan in Lebanon? You sound like a not-very-bright child trying to make the complex simple.

    There is zero reason to risk the life of an American soldier for Ukraine. They are not NATO, they are not allies, we are not at war with Russia, it is not our fight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  85. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: 1956, 1968,1979,1981, 2008. Whoever thinks that Russia will ever think that the US will go to war over a non-NATO country that the Russians invade after what happened in those years is either a liar, fool, hack, a mental teenager, or all of the above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  86. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds:@Wr: Russia invaded Afghanistan under Carter, which is big part of the Reagan myth on the Right. What they ignore is that a) Carter launched the strategy of arming the mujaheedin which they credit Reagan with and b) when Russia forced the Polish army to supress Solidarnosc, Reagan could do nothing, and the sanctions regime he tried to impose was famously laughed off by Thatcher.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  87. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Bush, 2003: Bring them on!

    Putin 2008: invades and destroys the American trained and equipped Georgian army.

    Bush 2008: crickets (wisely, as rhetoric aside, he had very prudently warned Saakashvili that he’s on his own not being a NATO member).
    Chorus: RHETORICAL DETERENCE!

    Song and dance, and scene.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  88. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds: This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to try and extract price, or even reconstitute a Cold War coalition, from Russia. We need to understand that containment might be the order of the day again, because unilateral remaking of Europe’s map by Putin is really not in America’s interests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  89. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Those threats have to be credible. No American president in the last 50 years, including Saint Reagan, would have been willing to go to war over this, so any threats beyond sanctions would not have been credible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  90. stonetools says:

    @Eric Florack:

    What did Reagan do after terrorists blew up the Marine barracks in 1981, killing 241 marines?

    He pulled out.

    Oh yeah, he did do something.

    He invaded Grenada.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  91. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Let me try it this way. Have you ever seen me try to argue physics? No. You know why? Because I lack the intellectual capacity to understand physics.

    Now, substitute you for me and politics for physics. You do not have the horsepower, dude. You just don’t. That’s not a bad thing, everyone has limitations, God knows I do. But I am just smart enough not to argue about things I don’t grasp at all. Like you don’t grasp politics or foreign policy.

    Why not do something else with your time? Learn to knit. Collect old records. Watch TV and smoke weed. This is not your thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  92. stonetools says:

    Now, Ukraine has applied for membership in NATO.

    Ukraine called on Friday for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help, after accusing Russia of sending in armored columns that have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels

    Should we grant them immediate full membership? I admit I don’t have an easy answer to that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  93. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ve seen you talk about politics. I bet you’re really good at creating fictional universes. :) (I can’t tell if that was over-the-line. If it is, I’m sorry. It just struck me as hilarious.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  94. gVOR08 says:

    @JKB: Obama richly deserved his Peace Prize. His inauguration ended the world’s most aggressively warlike regime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  95. Tom Kimmel says:

    @C. Clavin: Sure. Some old line Soviet Unionists miss Papa Stalin as well. And Putin is a strong man and wonderfully canny. I think he out maneuvered Obama and company in Syria. Our established is resentful and sent in some Pinkertons to foment trouble. Classic. But I also suspect that a a new cold war won’t play. At least I sincerely hope so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  96. humanoid.panda says:

    @Tom Kimmel: Shorter you: I could read something about the origins of the crisis, but why bother when I already know everything there is to learn about the world?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  97. Ben Wolf says:

    The Ukrainian border with Russia isn’t porous so much as non-existant. If Russia’s goal is to prevent NATO expansion then it is probably making a tactical mistake by directly confronting the para-military gangs loyal to Kiev; it should have let them move into the east and sponsored continuous cross-border guerilla warfare to ensure Ukrainian national dysfunction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  98. bill says:

    @stonetools: google “palin-ukraine”. you’re welcome. whats mikes challenge anyway- when will obama wear a tan suit? it happened, everybody drink.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  99. stonetools says:

    @bill:

    google “palin-ukraine”

    I did, for sh1ts and giggles. That was 3 minutes I’ll never get back.

    Like every conservative commenter, she never says what she would do if Russia invades Ukraine. Presumably, her plan is “All of them, Katie.”

    How are you doing with Mike’s challenge?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  100. humanoid.panda says:

    @bill:

    Tan Suit

    Does it bother you at all that you turned your brain to nothing but a collection of crap people are feeding into it? Don’t you have any kind of self-respect, man?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  101. george says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Deterence.

    Which makes a better deterrent, Mike?
    “We don’t want the lead role any,ore, we are tired of war, we don’t wanna be the worlds policeman, etc etc

    Or…

    Get out ta line and get your ass kicked.

    I suggest the latter is by far the more peaceful and prosperous path.

    How does deterrence work in this case? Both the US and Russia can destroy the other (ie MAD). So it can never be a case of either side winning a hot war. What’s left is convincing Russia that the Ukraine means more to us than it does to them … ie that we’re willing to risk total mutual destruction but they’re not. Because if both are willing you’re left with both sides dead.

    Deterrence works if one side can beat the other. A hot war in this case means neither side wins, just both sides lose. Not great for deterrence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  102. President Camacho says:

    @Eric Florack: when has the us ever followed this approach? Grenada maybe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  103. humanoid.panda says:

    @stonetools: In 2008, she actually briefly advocated going to war with Russia over Georgia for a few minutes before the McCain campaign retracted it. As they say in Hebrew, no brain, no worries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  104. michael reynolds says:

    So, as usual, we have a bunch of people who think Mr. Obama should be doing something different.

    And when asked what exactly he should differently? Tumbleweeds. Exactly like their criticisms of Obamacare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  105. george says:

    @michael reynolds:

    So, as usual, we have a bunch of people who think Mr. Obama should be doing something different.

    And when asked what exactly he should differently? Tumbleweeds. Exactly like their criticisms of Obamacare.

    Most of the time people are quick to throw out solutions in political affairs (typically there are a number of solutions, some better than others, some with different long term affects, but still solutions. Their silence is a good indication that in this case there simply isn’t a solution. Life is like that sometimes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  106. bill says:

    @stonetools: so does this count as another “line in the sand”?
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/white-house-putin-dont-even-214107060.html

    @humanoid.panda: tons, how ’bout you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  107. humanoid.panda says:

    @bill: I dunno, I am not the one who is giving a pretty good impression of a brain dead idiot when arguing online.
    Seriously, what do you think people think about you when you bring out Obama’s frigging suit? That you are clever? Poignant? Original? A stupid parrot that repeats talking points while convincing himself that he is being all of the above?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  108. anjin-san says:

    I think the real problem with Obama’s suit is his knack for always looking like he just came from a GQ cover shoot, while a large percentage of conservatives seem to be working on multiple chins at an early age.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  109. Matt says:

    @Eric Florack: What about vast number of crimes committed regardless of the police being out in force?

    How well has force worked at stopping looting during riots? oh not at all….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  110. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: perhaps you’ve forgotten…. they’ve had that ability for longer than you’ve been wasting air… and we managed to contain them. And I’ll bet you’ve no clue as to how.

    HINT: It wasn’t negotiation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  111. george says:

    @Eric Florack:

    erhaps you’ve forgotten…. they’ve had that ability for longer than you’ve been wasting air… and we managed to contain them. And I’ll bet you’ve no clue as to how.

    HINT: It wasn’t negotiation.

    Um, we let them into Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan out of the kindness of our heart? But you’re right, there was no negotiation involved.

    Look, you know that part of history. Admit it, you’re just arguing for the sake of arguing now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  112. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: Did we contain them in 1956, 1968, 1979, 1983, or 2008? How many times was this point raised in the thread? Do you really think that by ignoring facts you make other people ignore them too?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  113. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    and we managed to contain them

    Really? A long, bloody, divisive, and expense war in Viet Nam ended with that a communist nation. A clear victory for the Soviets, especially when you consider the harm the war did to this country. Other examples of the failures of containment have already been cited.

    Containment was a macro success, the Soviet empire eventually reached it’s limits and eventually collapsed. That does not mean that the Soviets were not successful conquerors who absorbed entire nations while that policy was in place. They were.

    Do you really get something out of delivering analysis at the level of a not particularly bright high school kid in such a sneering tone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  114. Tyrell says:

    The hall of shame: Russia invades Hungary, Russia invades Czechoslovakia, Berlin Wall, Russia invades Poland, Russia puts nuclear missiles in Cuba, Russia invades Afghanistan. Our generation kind of got tired and disgusted with hearing that Russia has done this, Russia has done that. Summer of ’68: I go into to eat breakfast and my mother was talking about the Russians. I asked her “what in the world have they done now?” Then she told me about their shameless invasion of Czechoslovakia, this after promising those people that they would leave them alone.
    “Those d…… bast…..ds!!” Richard Nixon’s statement after hearing about the ’68 invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  115. bill says:

    @humanoid.panda: well he could have borrowed fred rogers sweater- that would have exuded an even slightly less manly presence – not by much though.
    btw obama is supposed to represent the most powerful nation in the world, not some frat boy looking to pledge at an lessor fraternity. his weakness is strength to our enemies, is that not evident to you anymore?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  116. bill says:

    @Wr: the USSR was a superpower back then, not the washed up version they are now. and we saw what happened to them, and how they ceased to exist due to ronnies reign! i know that really hurts your ilk, but deal with it.

    @stonetools: it’s gotta suck to get owned by her, but it is what it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  117. anjin-san says:

    @ bill

    obama is supposed to represent the most powerful nation in the world, not some frat boy looking to pledge at an lessor fraternity. his weakness is strength to our enemies, is that not evident to you anymore?

    Surprise, Surprise – It’s turns out lots of Presidents wore tan suits, including Reagan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  118. rudderpedals says:

    You know who else wore tan and was born off-continent?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  119. george says:

    @bill:

    @Wr: the USSR was a superpower back then, not the washed up version they are now. and we saw what happened to them, and how they ceased to exist due to ronnies reign! i know that really hurts your ilk, but deal with it.

    Unfortunately that washed up version still has enough ICBM’s and nukes to take the US (and every other part of the world) down with them. So tell me why you think its a good idea to start a war with them? In fact, you could argue its even a worse time to start a war with them because they’ll switch from conventional to nuclear much quicker than they would have in the old USSR days (remember that was the argument for increasing NATO conventional forces – if you’ve a small conventional army then your only option is to use nukes, with all the escalation that comes with that).

    And I note that the USSR fell not to a hot war with the US, but because of economic failure. Meaning based on past experience, sanctions rather than a hot war is most likely a better approach.

    Seriously, what part of nuclear war don’t you get?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0