Source: Mike Malloy
Did you see Secretary of State John Kerry on CBS' Face the Nation yesterday? The main topic of discussion was what the US could or should do about Vladmir Putin's invasion of the Ukraine. But it's Kerry's ironic language in describing the invasion that raises eyebrows:
"'It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country,' Kerry said on 'Face the Nation' Sunday, adding that Russia has violated Ukraine's sovereignty and several of its obligations under international agreements. 'You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.'"
Good point, John, but how does that square with the United States' repeated invasions of other nations on trumped-up pretext? Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq ... what kind of moral authority can we claim when we lecture Putin on the sovereignty of Ukraine? And we hate to remind you, but you voted to give Dubya the authority to invade Iraq in 2002, given all that trumped-up evidence Colin Powell paraded in front of the UN.
Kerry is headed to Kiev today to meet with the new Ukrainian leadership and the parliament to "reaffirm the United States' strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity," State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said in a statement. Meanwhile, Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is begging the US and other G8 nations to come to their defense, as the Russian invasion picks up steam.
Kerry's talking tough about "consequences" Russia might face if it doesn't withdraw troops from the region, stating on Face the Nation that the US and G8 nations were prepared to "go to the hilt" to "isolate" Russia, implying tough economic sanctions could follow. But it's questionable what actual clout Kerry carries. Take Germany, for example, which relies on Russia as its main source of petroleum. It seems doubtful that Angela Merkel would cut off trade with Russia and deprive German business and consumers the fossil fuels they need to function. And the US has a serious credibility issue following the foreign policy disasters of the Bush regime, as Foreign Policy reports:
"The first statement by the U.S. president failed to deter the Russians. His key sentence was 'The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.' Russian forces blew past that warning like tanks at an unguarded checkpoint. A later 90-minute phone call between Obama and Russian Vladimir Putin yielded no better results.
"The most urgent matter is to re-establish the American credibility so regrettably squandered over the past several years -- in Afghanistan by simultaneously announcing a surge and a retreat, in Iran with unenforced and ever-moving red lines, and in Syria with incomprehensible vacillation that left Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a stronger position after American threats. Credibility is the coin of the realm in international politics. Allies and adversaries need to know again that America will defend its interests. When the president speaks of 'consequences' and 'costs' associated with violations of international law and failure to comply with arms control and nonproliferation agreements, the country cannot afford to have other nations doubt his resolve."
Feels like a cold war is brewing again...