President Barack Obama gave a moment of his time for a word about Russia in a recent CBS News interview.
We don’t need a war. What we do need is that countries like Ukraine can have relationships with their neighbors. [And not have those neighbors]…violate their sovereignty.
Carol E Lee and Colleen McCain Nelson wrote in The Wall Street Journal wrote shortly after that interview,
A protracted US standoff with Russia, which senior US officials said they now anticipate, would raise questions about Moscow’s cooperation on the unrest in Syria and curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
In Asia, US relations with China would become vital to offsetting declining ties with Russia…
US officials said they now plan for Mr Obama to spend much more time on Europe than he had intended….
I have some thoughts about Obama’s…musings.
We’ll have a war, whether we need it or not, if we don’t stop acquiescing to Russia, which is all that our barely noticeable “economic” “sanctions” amount to. Russia’s next move is to run over Moldavia, and then on to the Baltics, then Poland. Those last four are NATO members whom we’re treaty- and honor-bound to defend (just as we are Ukraine—that Belgrade Memorandum thing. We’re doing well on that one, aren’t we?). Or we abjectly surrender Europe to a resurgent Russia. This is the same situation that faced France and Great Britain as NAZI Germany successively overran its neighbors.
Regarding “unrest” in Syria (?? Jeffrey Dahmer was just having the occasional snack?) and Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons, we’ve never had cooperation from Russia. Indeed, the Russians actively are arming and replenishing al Assad’s forces, and they’re selling Iran nuclear reactors when they’re not helping the Iranians build their own. We don’t have any cooperation from Russia vis-à-vis northern Korea’s nuclear weapons program or their attempts to sell their weapons and nuclear technology to others, either, a matter those senior officials of Obama’s carefully omitted to mention. What is there to lose, then, from a protracted standoff with Russia in this arena?
On playing off the People’s Republic of China against Russia: how, exactly, does such a playing off become vital, and what is there to offset? It would be nice to play one against the other, certainly, but it’s not necessary, and (eliding the enmity between the two) given PRC aggressive acquisitiveness, encouraging its military adventurism anywhere is not optimal.
Nor is there anything to play off economically. Russia has nothing we need or want in trade goods, and while the PRC could be an effective trading partner, they won’t be until they stop being intellectual property thieves, and stop trying to use economics for extortion, as they attempted to do with rare earth shipments (sort of like Russia already has pulled, repeatedly, with its oil and gas).
The assumption that we can’t deal with both, separately and as they, are is a false premise.
Finally, there’s this:
US officials said they now plan for Mr Obama to spend much more time on Europe than he had intended…. … That, in turn, complicates Mr Obama’s promised focus on Asia….
Again, why? Is this another example of Obama’s arrogance–he thinks he’s better at foreign relations than his foreign relations experts in State? Never mind that State has the manpower to walk and chew gum simultaneously, even to deal with Russia and the PRC simultaneously?
If Obama doesn’t think his extended “staff” throughout the Executive Branch, particularly in State and Defense, are up the task, why are we spending taxpayer money on their salaries?