Obama’s Menu of Small Options For Big Russian Problem In Ukraine

Playing Russian roulette with Russia without guns

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AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Monday, March 3, 2014, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

As President Obama struggles to address the Russian military incursion in Crimea, he faces something of an international relations puzzle: How can he stop hostilities without the threat of hostilities?

“The only way to undo Russian control of Crimea is to use military force,” says Charles Kupchan, a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, about the Russian occupation, “and that is out of the question because I don’t think anyone believes it’s significant enough to try and deploy NATO troops for the Crimea.”

So the U.S. faces instead a menu of options that together form a sort of death-by-paper-cuts approach: hoping to weaken Putin, the Russian economy and its international standing in a way that forces Putin to back down. “Each of these things are on the small side but if you tie then together it could amount to something that could dissuade them,” says Steve Pifer, director of the Brookings Institution’s Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative.

Here’s a look at potential moves the U.S. could take:

Military

No serious observer is now predicting a scenario where U.S. troops are on the ground in the Ukraine. That said, an array of military responses could be taken by the White House to increase pressure on Russia to withdraw. In 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia, President George W. Bush moved U.S. warships into the region and used them to supply humanitarian aid. Thus far the Pentagon has “put n hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia,” though it has yet to redeploy any U.S. military assets in response to Russia’s invasion of the Crimea. That might change if Russia moves beyond the Crimea into eastern Ukraine. “It’s one thing to hold your military base in the Crimea; it’s another thing to start moving into eastern Ukraine,” says Robert Kahn, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The Ukrainians would almost certainly resist, and then you have the option of a civil war.”

So far, the Obama Administration has not drawn any clear red lines about the American response if Putin does move into eastern Ukraine. “We need to organize a rapid resolute response that does include in some way shape or form a military option still on the table if the Russian moves beyond Crimea,” says Andrew Kuchins, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Russia and Eurasia program. “If we don’t think it is a red line—personally I think it is—then we need to be clear about that.”

If the Putin does move into eastern Ukraine, NATO could move to arm the Ukrainian military. “Only if you saw the Russians go into eastern Ukraine, which I don’t think Russians will do, but if you had that kind of conflict going on, at least some NATO members would say we don’t want to send NATO troops but let’s start sending them equipment that could be of use, ground to air missiles, that sort of thing,” Pifer says.

But such moves could escalate conflicts in other parts of the world. In addition to the second largest nuclear arsenal and the largest fleet of tanks on the plant, Russia proved in 2008 when the U.S. objected to its invasion of Georgia that it has other deterrents. “Russia has its own leverage in dealing with the U.S., ranging from the U.S. military’s continued access to Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution Network to Moscow’s restraint in sending S-300 missiles or even more advanced systems to Iran,” says Paul Saunders, head of the Center for the National Interest. “So the challenge is to apply pressure on Moscow in a way that does not lead to escalation and leaves Russia an acceptable way out.”

Diplomatic

Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland is in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe working to get international observers on the ground in east Ukraine as soon as possible. The United Nations is also working to send observers at the request of the Ukrainian government. There are two reasons for this. One, Russia claims that it invaded the Crimea to protect ethnic Russians against retaliatory anti-Russian attacks. Crimea and much of eastern Ukraine are mostly ethnic Russian. So, having observers on the ground validates or negates these claims by an impartial third party. And, secondly, killing third party observers could have severe international consequences, so their presence in eastern Ukraine makes it slightly more complicated for Putin to invade, should he so wish.

Putin can also be threatened with the prospect of international isolation. As Russia’s economy has grown, it has sought accession to most of the world’s large international bodies such as the World Trade Organization, which it joined in 2012 after 18 years of negotiations, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, to which its been waiting 16 years to join. “The U.S. can block that and will block that now,” Pifer says.

Russia joined the Groups of Seven, a forum for the world’s largest industrial democracies, in 1998, creating the Group of Eight. Even though it was not the eight largest industrial economy in the world, it’s regional influence earned it access to the rarified club. Putin was due to hold the annual G8 summit in Sochi, the site of the Winter Olympics, in June. All seven other countries suspended pre-negotiations for the summit and condemned “the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine.” But how much difference does one summit make? “The administration cannot eject Russia from the G8 or the G20 without the support of other members,” Saunders says. “Germany does not appear to support ejecting Russia from the G8 at this point.  So they have suspended preparatory talks.  They could go farther and announce that the U.S. will not attend the meeting, but this would likely not bother Putin too much.  He did not come to the G8 himself when it was in the US in 2012.” Western nations could also threaten to cancel or suspend the EU-Russia partnership, with its biannual summits, and the Nato-Russia Council.

Another path would be to threaten the international prestige of the Russian oligarchs. As the U.S. has done before with a law that targeted those responsible for the death in prison of anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky, banning some officials and powerful Russians from obtaining visas and freezing their funds abroad could cause internal pressure for Putin. Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican, has suggested expanding this act to include friends of Putin, especially those who love to travel to New York, London and Paris with significant personal funds in foreign bank accounts.

One place where Russia has membership, and has had it from the beginning, is the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. and Europe are moving to introduce resolutions there condemning Russia’s actions in the Crimea and supporting the territorial integrity of the Ukraine. While Russia will surely veto whatever comes up, the votes put Russian ally China, a long outspoken protector of territorial integrity of nations, in an awkward position. “China is in very hard position,” Pifer says, “they’ve worried about territorial integrity because of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, Uighur.” In other words, if they join in the international condemnation of Putin in Crimea, they increase the chance they would be condemned in the case of a domestic regional splintering.

Economic

There’s an economic reason why Germany protects Russia’s membership to the G8: as Germany moves away from nuclear energy, it is increasingly reliant on natural gas and oil. In fact, 25% of Europe’s gas comes from Russia—about $100 million worth a day. That makes imposing economic sanctions on Putin tricky for Europe. It is also a concern for Asia, where several large economies depend on Russian gas. “China is not likely to curtail its purchases and has been supportive of Moscow,” Saunders says. “Japan is in the middle of a major energy crisis after the Fukushima accident and would not likely welcome this approach, especially as they are already doing something similar vis-à-vis Iran.”

U.S. sanctions would mean little to Moscow as U.S. trade accounts for less than 2% of the Russian economy. “Our levers of influence here are particularly limited here,” says a House Democratic aide. “The administration is working on lining up support in Europe. But that’s the big question: how proactive, how robust are they willing to be.”

Both chambers of Congress are moving ahead with legislation on Ukraine. The first bill would provide short-term economic relief ahead of an International Monetary Fund package that is in the works. That would include upwards of $1 billion in loan guarantees for the Ukraine and other economic aid. The second bill, which could be marked up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as early as March 11, would include sanctions against Russia. “The U.S. should make use of the tools at its disposal, including targeted sanctions; and asset recovery targeting corruption, to dissuade individuals who would foment unrest to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity or employ coercive economic measures against the Ukrainian people and the new Ukrainian government,” wrote a dozen senators on the Foreign Relations committee in a letter to Obama on Friday previewing their intended legislation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has already suspended talks on the bilateral investment treaty and canceled a Russian visit to the United States to talk about cooperation in international energy markets. “You’ll start to see in mil-mil channels, in economic channels, and these other cooperation channels meetings be canceled until they make the right decision,” says a senior Administration official. “It is Russia’s choice whether it wants to behave in this manner or whether it wants to come back into the community of civilized nations.”

Already, the economic moves are taking their toll. Moscow’s exchange, while small, fell by nearly 12% on Tuesday and the ruble hit an all time low against the dollar. “None of those are significantly potent to get Putin out of the Crimea,” says Kupchan. “It’s now up to Obama to figure out how to respond and there are not a lot of good options. However, Putin has clearly crossed a very important line and it cannot go without some serious response from Obama Administration and its allies.”

41 comments
1stworldview
1stworldview

American Men Risk Lives to Find Love Abroad


Mass protests.  Snipers. Political unrest. The threat of martial law.  Nothing seems to dissuade American men from traveling to Ukraine in search of love. 

Ukraine, that little country whose borders are currently under siege by masses of Russian troops to the East, has been in the news  a lot lately. A time-line of critical events in the country's last 6 months would read something like:  November: Ukrainian President abandons bid to join European Union / Pro EU - Anti Government Protests Develop as thousands of protesters gather in Independent Square, Kiev. December:  As protests grow to 300,000, activists seize government buildings.  January:  Draconian anti-protests laws are enacted, then repealed as protests grow.  February:   Protesters are shot by Ukrainian secret police, almost 100 people die.  President Yanukovich is overthrown and leaves country.  Russian troops amass on the Ukrainian borders.  Armed men seize Crimean airport.  March:  Russia invades Crimea, fires warning shots to unarmed Ukrainian soldiers trying to recapture Crimean airport.  Mass protests, supporting both sides, organize and march in city centers throughout Ukraine.  April:  Russia threatens to invade other cities in Ukraine's Eastern front.  Indeed, the political situation in Ukraine is unstable and volatile enough to erupt into chaos in any given area and at any given time.

But why should any of that stop a determined guy from getting on a plane to go right to the heart of conflicted areas to find a wife!

A number of undeterred Romeo's, armed with a US passport and all the objectivity of a bull elk during rutting season, are getting aboard planes bound for Ukraine's far east.  Their mission: to court, seduce and ultimately marry one of the thousands of beautiful Ukrainian women who may be more determined than ever to find a husband and get out of Dodge. Phoenix-based A Foreign Affair, the last international dating company to still operate group romance travel tours to Ukraine, offers their clients the opportunity to at least travel together with the support of an American tour leader and savvy locals to cities like Kiev, where AFA started conducting romance tours 15 years ago.  A romance tour, lest you haven't heard, is a 10 day, tightly orchestrated singles event where 2 dozen guys get the chance to meet literally hundreds of foreign women through a series of parties and individually arranged dates.  CEO John Adams gets a daily briefing from staff abroad each morning, and then picks up his phone to clue in his upcoming tour clients. "We've taken double,  even triple the precautions in making sure our guys are well informed of the risks as well as the rewards of travel to Ukraine right now," Adams says, "including offering a complete refund all money if they decide to back out, and it's clear that nothing is going to stop them from getting on that plane.  It's almost as if the more serious the situation gets in Ukraine,  the more determined these guys are to go.  We're obviously concerned and doing as much as we can to present the facts to our guys, but until the situation reaches a level truly life-threatening, as long as they want to go, we'll go."  Adams  also told us of a romance tour currently underway in the cities of Dnepropetrovsk and Zaparozhye where socials have been attended by a "record number of women."

Virtually every city in Ukraine has experienced some level of protests or unrest, albeit with very few injuries or arrests per se. People on the ground are saying despite what you see in the news each day, life goes on.  People go to work, come home, take their kids to swimming lessons, meet friends for a dinner out at the cafe. 

 Are guys making their way to the front-lines going to get extra credit from Ukrainian ladies for making such a monumental effort?  "I don't know about that," says Cory, an AFA tour client from the midwest, "but come to think of it I have been dumped by women before who left me for active military guys.  It was like - 'this guy gets shot at so he's manlier.'  I mean seriously - what is that!"  When asked if he was aware of the imminent risks involved in traveling to Ukraine for love - versus other, more peaceful destinations like the Philippines, one would-be foreign bride finder laughed.  "Oh, sure.  Absolutely.  But there may not be a better time to try this.  Think of the impact all of this has had on Ukrainian women, many of whom struggle to find a reliable life-mate in the best of times.  If there's gonna be any kind of a coup detat while I'm there - I hope I'm the one being occupied." 

chabudealexandrovich
chabudealexandrovich

It seems that

Vladimre Lenin is coming back, America also has to bring back Harry Truman to hit the Russians hard.

capt. alxandrovich

EdVanZyl
EdVanZyl

America has become a weak drug infested shadow of what it once was. Americans are more concerned about money so they can buy their next fix.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Everybody knows Obama options are limited in Ukraine unless he wants to start a world war. But still it would have been more easy to swallow if Putin regards him as a leader of consequence. But Putin treats him like his biatch.

1stworldview
1stworldview

The invasion of the Ukraine by Russia is sending a ripple effect through out Eastern Europe. With the prospects now for possible cold war starting all over again investors brace for sanctions against Russia. And with the already falling economy of the Ukraine, investors and business are bailing out as fast as they can.


During the next few years, the  Ukraine economy will be pushed to its limits. Currently, the Ukraine desperately needs 30 billion in loans to survive, and with ousted former president Viktor Yanukovich having already pulled the country out from the European Union, and the new government wanting nothing to do with Russia, the government will be in dire straits.


The US State department has issued a travel warning urging Americans not to travel to the Ukraine. Tourism is a huge part of Ukraine economy. with hotels, airlines and restaurants depending on tourism. As these businesses cut back, the ripple effect in cities like Kiev, Odessa and Yalta will have devastating consequences on the economy. Just as when the housing market died in the US, the effects were felt world wide. Not only will Ukraine's economy continue to decline, but most of Western Europe's fragile economy will also feel the effects.


One industry that seems to thrive on the situation is the foreign bride market, A Foreign Affair operates four office in the Ukraine. Kenneth Agee the marketing director says, "In the last few weeks we have seen the biggest surge ever on women signing up. Not only have we seen the biggest surge, but we have seen the highest quality of women signing up; doctors, engineers, even some of Ukraine's most beautiful models, With the possibility of war looming over the horizon, American men are looking very desirable." A Foreign Affair 's new member Irina of Kiev says, "America is stable, American men have very good family values. These are important to Ukraine women; we want a good environment to raise our families. With Russian tanks rolling down our streets, I do not see a bright future here for starting a family.


The future does not look good for the Ukraine. Russia has no intention of letting Ukraine have complete independence. Most western Ukrainians have had a strong dislike for Russia for many generations, and will do what ever it takes to resist Russian influence or occupation. This being said, the country will have a long battle and many lines drawn in the sand, from serious economic sanctions to full out war. At this time, it looks like this struggle could go on for a decade or more.


thegwoe
thegwoe

Do what Eisenhower, Johnson, Reagan, Bush, did when Russia/USSR “invaded” another country; Play Golf.  Alternatively McCain said "I do not see a military option and that is tragic.” McCain is insanely pro war.   Predictably, Teabag Conservatives have “Benghazi Brain” on every subject, so their thoughts are completely useless as usual. 

 Do nothing and pretend to be outraged....

Gib
Gib

I understand this is a pretty bad situation for Ukrainians, but as an American citizen, how does this actually affect me? And why does Obama care? Is it a big deal really if Russian controls Ukraine. Is their some economic disadvantage for us? I understand there are pluses and minuses in how we might be viewed based on our response as a country, but just not seeing what is the fuss over this from an American POV

yonatanc232
yonatanc232

It's been three months since the more than 2 million workers loss their unemployment benefits. They are still waiting for the republican party to do the correct and morally just thing, and pass the unemployment extension for these families. Many of these families have been evicted from their homes, and have had to file for bankruptcy, for lack of money. It's a shame that these politicians decided to "play party politics" and not do anything to help those in need. The republicans have had several opportunities to vote for the extension bill, but each time they refused to pass the bill, leaving these workers with children, without any means of support or provision. Senator Harry Reid will be making another proposal to the republicans to get this bill passed to help these families. The party that claims itself to be for "family values", has turned their backs on these people, and I hope that these millions of voters, will turn their backs on their party in the 2016 elections. With all the money that goes to corporate welfare, and foreign aid, and foreign interests, it's a shame that no money is set aside for the people in need in this country.


yonatanc232
yonatanc232

It's been three months since the more than 2 million workers loss their unemployment benefits. They are still waiting for the republican party to do the correct and morally just thing, and pass the unemployment extension for these families. Many of these families have been evicted from their homes, and have had to file for bankruptcy, for lack of money. It's a shame that these politicians decided to "play party politics" and not do anything to help those in need. The republicans have had several opportunities to vote for the extension bill, but each time they refused to pass the bill, leaving these workers with children, without any means of support or provision. Senator Harry Reid will be making another proposal to the republicans to get this bill passed to help these families. The party that claims itself to be for "family values", has turned their backs on these people, and I hope that these millions of voters, will turn their backs on their party in the 2016 elections. With all the money that goes to corporate welfare, and foreign aid, and foreign interests, it's a shame that no money is set aside for the people in need in this country.

just now

BillDonnelly
BillDonnelly

1. this is none of our business. We don't have to do anything but internal stife in USA politics is working this up by goading each other on who is tougher.

2. The elected president of Ukraine got away from the protesters to a safer city. Protesters proclaimed themselves the new government. The elelected president asked for Russian troops and they obliged.  Where is the invasion ? Putkin says he obliged to protect Russians in Ukraine. I would not be surprised if he asked for the Russians to help him to retake his country from the rebels.

3. Remember when USA invaded Granada, "to protect Americans" there?  Still can't figure what that was about.

4. Ukraine has constitution that allows impeachment of government officials.  Why hasn't their congress taken that action?

5. Terrible !  Russians sent troops to reinforce their Naval base.  Didn't we do that in Guantanamo when we were no longer welcome, which might happen to the Russians ?

Rapid response team ?  For what ?

I'm tired of the spin.  Our government is interpreting for us rather than being factual.

CristianMP
CristianMP

I think the western countries are very naive,just like before ww2 regarding Nazi Germany.Like Hitler laughed when he annexed parts of neighboring countries so does Putin now.If they let Putin take Crimea you could be 100% sure he will take parts of other countries,why? because he can,he is allowed.

The EU should not sacrifice countries for  natural gas and oil from Russia,it wouldn't be the first time EU let people down.

Most people from EU and specially USA don't know russians or Putin very well,they still have the mentality of 19th century,the fist policy.

Personally I agree with USA point of view,need a strong response to the russians ,never be soft to them or anyone.Instead EU are very tied with russian money to be more aggressive.Russians always acted like bandits ,and bullying their neighbors.

necessary3vil
necessary3vil

The solution here is to pressure the EU, not Russia.


The thing that sparked this whole affair was the rejection of the EU deal by Yanukovych. Ukraine wants to more involved with the EU badly enough that they brought down their government for it. The EU envoys set up the new government and the peace deal.


We need to put pressure on the EU countries, they wanted this new government in Ukraine, now its time to pay for it. The US can't pressure Russia economically but the EU can. Its time for them to choose, do they support Ukrainian sovereignty or Russian gas and investments?

WonderGirl
WonderGirl

This afternoon Al Sharpton urged Vladimir Putin to take President Obama horseback riding. He said it would make the president look stronger and give Putin credit again for enhancing Obama's image. Just another day of high level journalism at MSNBC. http://bit.ly/1c5b1Ju

Philbo
Philbo

So basically we have the Cold War the west wanted, correct? 

TonyPow
TonyPow

As I said yesterday, Ukraine is a noise to the market. I bought ALK, NVO and MYL. The reason I was so confident is described in my book Market Timing: Profitable, Predictable and Protective (amazon).

sacredh
sacredh

Thanks for the article JNS. Pointing out how bad an idea a military response by the US would be can't be overstated. Rusiia isn't Iraq or Afghanistan. They're a real power with the ability to escalate the situation into a lose-lose proposition. Then there's the financial aspect. We just can't afford another military engagement.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Jay. The regular swampland readers posted intelligent comments about Ukraine options, however limited, in 3/3 Morning Must Reads. I think economic options are best from us, but as noted, it's up to the Europeans to do most of the heavy lifting. Ukraine may have an interesting option. They supply utilities to Crimea, including electric power, so maybe they can cut off ALL utilities for a short time as a warning. If Russia cuts off gas supplies, then Ukraine can shut off the power permanently. If Russia wants Crimea, then they can supply everything to them. Now if Russia ever invades the rest of Ukraine, then of course all bets are off. Thoughts, Jay?

pow13
pow13

I need a little help here in understanding this situation and would like both sides of the issue. I grew up in cold war times and have seen an animosity between Russia and the US, but that was actually before the break-up of the USSR. That said, the Ukraine is in Civil war and I do not think Russia started it. There is a small part, almost could be called a large island, that is "pro Russian." and even had Russian military bases already there. Why shouldn't Russia send what can be called peace keeping forces (I believe at their request) to keep the peace in that area until the government stabilizes. Why not create two separate countries, since they appear to have been that way for a while now. 


That said, what is to stop the EU from sending Peace keeping troops into the other part of the Ukraine (also would be at their request). Why should the United States even get involved? The EU governments should be the the ones to send troops in and not NATO. Let the EU prove its worth and staying power. If the EU cannot handle this by themselves, then maybe the member governments that make up the EU should build up their own military and not rely on this dreamy EU concept.


The US is the biggest debtor nation in the world and this just goes to show that the US to also to weak and inadequately prepared to deal with a situation like this. Maybe the US should reconsider its costly role as the world's police and get back to living within our means. It is sad when a small country like Norway could be in a better position financially to do something about this so called crises than the great United States. 


There are quite a few ways to look at this. Which is right?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@thegwoe  What did you expect ? He is a decorated warrior and served his country with honor and pride. Nobody underwent the suffering he had at Hanoi Hilton and still maintained his pride and dignity. Even Obama with his community organizing skills.

jmac
jmac

@CristianMP  He's got a naval base there.   We invaded Iraq and we had no reason to do so except our President decided he had to take out a petty brutal dictator with no real power and based the reason we were doing it on lies.   


We're a global economy.   We and other nations can hit were it hurts - the pocketbook.  We don't need a bully with a red line acting macho.





BobMiller
BobMiller

@necessary3vil  Maybe the United States offers to replace the natural gas from Russia as a way to place pressure on them to back down. 

SpikeLee
SpikeLee

@sacredh "Russia isn't Iraq"

Ukraine could be Russia's Iraq if Putin is Russia's GWB.

ahandout
ahandout

@deconstructiva While you're thinking Jay, why do you let those "regular swampland readers" censor comments like the KGB by flagging all opposing comments?  Censorship is hardly becoming to a news organization. 



BobMiller
BobMiller

@pow13  The EU military option is a joke. I read a few months ago they did not know if they could effectively defend themselves. The EU has 27 nations with heads of military. The top EU commander is a French Air Force officer. I will you to form your own opinion on this choice. But here is a French video from an interview with the EU top soldier:http://www.france24.com/en/20130302-tallking-europe-general-patrick-de-rousiers-european-military-committee-defence-security-mali-european-union-terrorism/


It may give you some background about the makeup of the European Union military option, while it also is a reflection of what NATO is as an option now. 


I will state everyone knows the defense options in Europe are weak because they have slashed budgets for years. They rely on the United States backing of NATO. The Europeans in my opinion will sit around like they did in the 1930s. Instead this time they appease the Russians. 


Also if the United States has to (in my opinion) role up its sleeves and battle the Russians if their are escalations of hostilities from Russian troops. We will have to make a statement to them and the world. But the difference between what we did in Iraq where we had very little support from the world, and now will be public support from the leaders of nations. But I assume there will be a settlement where all sides can claim victory. I would prefer stay as the world's police then to leave it to the EU-check out the video and you will see why I write this in my post. We, the United States set up most of the Western world's economies after WWII. We now must still deal with this fact from a relic of the Cold War.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@pow13 The issue is that Ukraine is two different countries. The western part feels closer to the EU while the eastern part sees its future with Russia. The eastern part including Crimea feel angry at what the see as an overthrow of a legally elected government via a violent coup. Two other things complicate things even further the first is the fact that Crimea has no historical ties to the Ukraine being given to them in the 50s by Nikita Krushev. The second is the large role the far right wing Svoboda party is playing in the interim government. These self admitted neo-nazis provided many of the street protestors who clashed with the police in Kiev and now have a far larger role in the interim government than their base of support would warrant.

POACMG
POACMG

@pow13  I dont think you know what you're talking about.. Although (or if) the US is the biggest debtor nation, a vast majority of the county's debt is to itself... 


Our military although at or below pre ww2 figures is still the most powerful military in the world. Keep in mind that just because we are spending at or before ww2 amounts (in proportion to the times) does not mean that the rest of the world is ahead. It just means that as everyone has reduced their prowess down 3 notches, and we've reduced our respectively to the current times in regardless to OUR safety. You'd  be a fool to think that America would leave itself so vulnerable post 9/11. 



The US must value the 1990s treaty set with Ukraine to show that we are not a weak nation. We also have to value it or else we jeopardize the legitimacy of all other outstanding treaties. So if the United States' hand is forced into BOTG, its BOTG. (This is, for a lack of time, what led to WWI & WWII. Treaties are made to be valued like credit)


So, for you...


Either you act like you know what is going on in America in regards to home and foreign policy, or you just sit back and ask questions and not make assertions. Leave that for the educated voters and folks ready to push for the right decisions.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@pow13  

Thanks for your concern trolling. Your third paragraph gave you away. Are you here simply to bash America and slip in tired talking points about our debt situation, or are you here to discuss legitimate multiple ways to look at the situation?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jmac @CristianMP  The Democrats led by Hillary together with the GOP approved the invasion of Iraq. Please do include that Jmac. Try to be a little truthful as it is good for the soul.

ahandout
ahandout

@jmac @CristianMP   You might want to sssshhh about the red line stuff.  That was the last time that Obama embarrassed himself and Putin came to the rescue.  But, thanks for the laugh. 

thegwoe
thegwoe

@BobMiller @necessary3vil  lol  yea, send gas with a teleporter.?..  there is no NO pipeline from US to europe..


you must have have listened to John Boehner? he has the same useless idea 

JeffreyStone
JeffreyStone

@ahandout @deconstructiva Are you kidding?  Just because censorship is not overt doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  The very nature of our 'democratic' society prevents genuine balance every time anyone challenges the basic tenets of what our Marxist friends would call 'the ruling class'.  In 'democracies', censorship exists more in the form of under-reporting or omission of reportage rather than outright bans.  The effect is less harsh, but it amounts to the same thing - and works better than fascist or Communist censorship because it results in a populace effectively censoring itself due to never getting all the data to start with.  You can't get angry about something you don't know is happening, because someone doesn't want you to know it is.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

@ahandout

There is no censorship here since this site is private property. You should know better.

The right of free speech means that a man has the right to express his ideas without danger of suppression, interference or punitive action by the government. It does not mean that others must provide him with a lecture hall, a radio station or a printing press through which to express his ideas.

- Ayn Rand, "Man's Rights", Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

JosefStalin
JosefStalin

@BobMiller @pow13 

It's the USSR who set up US economy during and after WWII. Ever heard about great depression? 

Stay as the police is your own states and stop poking your nose in other peoples' business.

pow13
pow13

@POACMG @pow13  

Sorry, I should have said those were what people are saying in my work lunch break room, hence my question as to what is right? I have almost 13 children and want to know so I can help them understand better. I do not fully trust what is being said there. If I can get other perspectives, then I can help them see the world better. 

I am trying to get educated. Thanks for your help. I did not know about the 1990's treaty. Does this obligate only us to help them. If not, who else can help them?

pow13
pow13

@deconstructiva @pow13  I actually want to know what the issues are. Yes, I looked up what you said about our debt and you are right, a lot of our debt is owed to US people. Thanks. so does that mean that we can help countries like Ukraine? Our military is very advanced and compared to just a few years ago, so our dollars are being spent very well. Maybe I see all the propaganda from the Tea Party people about reducing the debt and do not know the full picture. 

What can we do with this Ukraine situation? Really. and should we? Yes, I want legitimate multiple ways to look at the situation...How can we help and would what we do actually help?

ahandout
ahandout

@JeffreyStone "You can't get angry about something you don't know is happening, because someone doesn't want you to know it is."


You make all good points and we certainly have censorship in our media today.


deconstructiva and his other "regular readers" on the Morning Must Reads thread, have discover they own way of censoring opposition.  They don't like to be proven wrong, or even hold an intelligent conversation so they have taken to flagging comments to have them removed.  I had a couple of posts here about their behavior and of course they flagged them and had them removed.  This is a growing form of censorship in social media and online blogs.


http://civic.mit.edu/blog/petey/a-brief-guide-to-user-generated-censorship


You may experience it yourself from the members of the "hive."

outsider
outsider

@deconstructiva @ahandout  


Be honest; we just don't like you handy. And you're not very bright, so your comments are pretty ridiculous. And take up space. Needlessly. 


HoofHearted
HoofHearted

@pow13 @POACMG  Before we debate the merits and pitfalls of American BOTG - please, what is "almost 13 children?"