Press Conference, U.S. Cobgressional Delegation in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 15, 2014
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U.S. Congressional delegation in Kiev, March 15,2014
Surprise, surprise; President Obama announced yesterday the U.S. would not use military force against Russia over its annexation of Crimea saying it wasn't part of NATO and the alliance would use force only in defense of a NATO country that was threatened. In other words it's fait accompli.
Obama also acknowledged that "Russia has a right legally to have its troops on its soil", or more to the point, "As emperor of the realm I deign you Putin can have your army on your territory but I reserve the right to deploy my troops anywhere I want because as the "exceptional" president of my "exceptional" people, well that's what we do; got that little man."
Presumably, the president was referring to Russian troops conducting military exercises in Russia close to the eastern border of Ukraine.
But since the Crimean referendum held on March 16 with the people voting to join and subsequently being annexed by Russia, much harrumphing has been heard in the West particularly the talk of the Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia- all ex-Soviet satellites now incorporated in NATO- being threatened with a possible invasion by Russia. This came primarily from Vice President Joe Biden stirring up hysteria with his "land grab" comments during his recent soiree into Poland supposedly to "calm" Baltic anxiety. Well Joe, Putin has shown no sign he's off his rocker even contemplating invading any NATO country.
All this was followed by Obama and his G-7 cronies-it was the G-8 before the U.S. impetuously pushed the others to exclude Russia-met to discuss-what else- sanctions on Russia for annexing Crimea. Actually this G-7 pow-wow was just a 2 hour meeting on the sidelines of the broader 50 plus nation summit meeting to discuss nuclear security and which Russia did attend.
As for the snub by the G-7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov put it this way," The G-8 is an informal club, no one gives out membership cards and no can expel members. If our Western partners believe that the format has exhausted itself, so be it. We are not clinging to it".
Meanwhile the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa-also in attendance at the nuclear security conference-collectively issued its own statement rejecting sanctions against Russia urging nations to resolve their conflict at the U.N. "in a calm and level headed manner" as "the current approach does not contribute to a sustainable and peaceful solution." Hmm; the BRICS sound pretty level headed calling for diplomacy and cooperation while the West issues threats, ultimatums and sanctions.
As for the scheduled G-8 meeting that was to be held in Sochi, Russia in June, the G-7 announced they would gather in Brussels, formally excluding Russia. See Lavrov's quote above and it's likely Putin's as well.
But really, all this aspersion and vitriol toward Putin and Russia are primarily symbolic gestures and Obama put the exclamation point on the whole matter by rejecting any military retribution over Russia's annexing Crimea.
As an adjunct to the events of the last 10 days, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev told RT News  on Monday Crimea may become a Russian special economic zone (SEZ). According to the article the minister of economic development, Alexey Ulyukaev said, "Russian investors are ready to carry out projects in Crimea worth $5 billion, developing tourism, agriculture and port services". He indicated a development corporation for Crimea will be created as part of a special federal target program.
Also as a SEZ, local residents would be free from paying income and property taxes for the first 6 years. Another economic minister said, "Interest in the region is huge, as everybody understands that it will be actively developed by the state".
I don't know but developing "tourism, agriculture and port services" in Crimea doesn't sound like Russia is on some aggressive war footing.
But you won't find Medvedev's comments reported by our own corporate media. They're too busy regurgitating the propaganda line as the un-official organ of the state, the standard practice of all authoritarian regimes.
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