Putin imitating Hitler-style conquest, faces few obstacles from ‘weakened’ U.S.
-Russia Can Turn USA Into Radioactive Ash
-Ukrainian official: Government making plan to pull troops from Crimea as Russia takes control
-Sen Ted Cruz: Reverse Obama’s Disastrous Missile Defense Policies to Keep Putin in Check
-Three Ways to Staunch Russian Expansion Post-Crimea
March 18, 2014 by Greg Corombos
The lack of any significant deterrent to Russia’s annexation of Crimea makes more territorial grabs far more likely and is made possible by repeated demonstrations of U.S. weakness throughout the Obama administration.
Meanwhile at least four countries remain vulnerable to Russian aggression and annexation.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Crimea as part of Russia despite most Western nations declaring Sunday’s referendum illegitimate. In announcing the annexation of Crimea, Putin also declared Russia has no more territorial ambitions, a statement that experts say should send chills down our spines.
“When you hear someone who has just gobbled up a piece of real estate say they’re not going to do it again, the first thing you better look at is where they’re likely to go next,” said Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney, who served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy in the Reagan administration.
“As with Adolf Hitler, who promised after he gobbled up the Sudetenland that he would not take all of Czechoslovakia and did and then proceeded to move rapaciously through the rest of Europe, my feeling is we’re likely to see a similar kind of agenda playing out with Vladimir Putin,” Gaffney said.
He said eastern Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia and Lithuania are all extremely vulnerable to Russian annexation.
WND is now reporting Moscow has flexed its military muscle with jet fighter and helicopter flights over Georgia, a country with which Russia went to war in 2008. Putin also may now be looking to take the rest of Ukraine because of its geo-strategic importance.
“Nobody knows for sure, but what I think is likely is that we’re going to see more of this if there isn’t any appreciable cost to Putin. At the moment, such cost as the United States and its European allies haven’t been willing even to discuss, let alone to impose, are clearly inadequate to the task,” Gaffney said.
On Monday, President Obama announced he was tightening sanctions on a handful of key Russian individuals and that the U.S. would be in close consultation with its European allies. Gaffney said Obama’s response is “cosmetic” and barely got the attention of Putin and other key officials.
WND is also reporting there is an undertow of resistance among European companies toward further sanctions against Russia. After the initial, tepid sanctions assessed by the EU and U.S., Washington’s interest in further penalties likely will put it at odds with Europe, which relies on Russia as a major trading partner.
However, Gaffney believes there is a successful blueprint from the Reagan years.
“If we were serious about this, what we should be doing, recognizing that what we’re up against now is a guy with the ambition of constituting maybe the Soviet Union 2.0 minus the communist ideology, maybe it’s just the Russian empire. Whatever it is, it’s something very much akin to what we’ve seen in the past. When we dealt effectively with it in the past under Ronald Reagan, we not only contained this kind of behavior, we rolled it back. I think that’s the plan that needs to be adopted now,” Gaffney said.
So how much different is U.S. standing with Russia than just five years ago at the close of the George W. Bush presidency? How has Obama’s “reset button” and gestures like scrapping plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe hurt America’s ability to deter aberrant behavior by Russia?
And how would Putin calculate differently if this were early 2009?
Gaffney sees one major difference that emboldens Putin.
“For one thing, we would not have essentially eviscerated the United States military. We would not have seen the sequence of steps that have been perceived by our enemies. I call it the Obama doctrine, emboldening our foes, undermining our friends and diminishing our country. The combination of hollowing out our armed forces and demonstrating this kind of behavior has created what (former Defense Secretary) Don Rumsfeld quite accurately has described as a phenomenon of weakness that is provocative,” he said.
“I think if you were to go back to 2009 and you had not seen these sort of steps, we might have been in a position to check this kind of aggression or deter it in the first place, which we are sadly not able to do today.”
But now that we’re in our current position, what does Gaffney expect from Obama if Putin seeks to acquire more territory?
“My guess is from what we have witnessed to date – both in this immediate crisis and over the previous five years of this presidency – is that he will basically say never mind about those red lines,” he said. “He will find a way to accommodate himself to the new reality, only in this case that reality is going to continue to become uglier by the day.”
LISTEN to AUDIO the WND/Radio America interview with Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney at the link below
Russia Can Turn USA Into Radioactive Ash
Here is a startling Russian-language news broadcast that explains why.
March 18, 2014 by Tom Hinchey —
The largest nuclear deterrent of Russia is a fully automated system that guarantees a nuclear attack response, even in case of total destruction of lines of command and communication of key people and death.
Ukrainian official: Government making plan to pull troops from Crimea as Russia takes control
MARCH 19, 2014 AT 12:43 PM
Ukrainian official: Government making plan to pull troops from Crimea as Russia takes control.
Sen Ted Cruz: Reverse Obama’s Disastrous Missile Defense Policies to Keep Putin in Check
March 19, 2014
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding Russia’s annexation of Crimea:
With a few strokes of his pen, Vladimir Putin has in recent days both created the Republic of Crimea and annexed that new entity into the Russian Federation, thereby violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine. To hear Putin tell it in his address to the Duma, this action is not only perfectly legal, it also rights a historical wrong in which Russia was “robbed” of its rightful claim to the Crimean peninsula in 1954.
President Obama has disputed the legality of these actions, observing that “President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don’t think that’s fooling anyone.” The reality, however, is that Putin is not concerned with international law or historical justice. His sole focus is on correcting what he considers to be the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” by reassembling the Soviet Union. Ukraine is only a step in this process. That is the real challenge the United States has to face, which we cannot do when we are agonizing over what our respective legal teams think.
There is an historical model we can consult for guidance in this crisis, as deterring Soviet aggression without engaging in military conflict was exactly what President Ronald Reagan had in mind when he proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative thirty-one years ago next Sunday.
The genius of SDI was that it did not recklessly attack the Soviets but rather neutralized their threat through our technological advantage. Derided as a “Star Wars” style fantasy that was impossible to realize, President Reagan’s vision was a major component in the effort that brought down the Soviet Union without firing a shot, as no one ever started a war with a weapon called missile defense.
The Obama administration has unfortunately shown little enthusiasm for missile defense, beginning with the decision to cancel plans for a ballistic missile defense system in Central Europe, announced on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 2009. This pattern continued with the arbitrary and unnecessary concessions made to the Russians limiting our global deployment of missile defense in the New START that was implemented in 2011 and remains in force until 2021.
Most recently, on March 14th the Government Accountability Office released a report titled “Regional Missile Defense: DOD’s Report Provided Limited Information; Assessment of Acquisition Risks is Optimistic.” It provides the depressing assessment that what missile defense programs we still have planned in Europe are going to be delayed to the tune of years because of technological glitches and cost overruns—a failure that would not have been tolerated if missile defense was a priority for the Commander in Chief.
This report could not have come at a more inopportune time, but perhaps it can serve as a wake-up call that President Obama’s policies on both Russia and missile defense have collapsed and should be immediately reversed through the following actions:
-The President should begin the process of withdrawing from New START according to the provision of Article XIV(3) of the Treaty, which declares “Each party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests;”
-The Secretary of Defense should engage in a full re-assessment of our missile defense posture in Europe with the purpose of restoring or expanding the installations cancelled in 2009; and
-The Secretary of Defense should, in conjunction with this work, engage in a thorough review of the delays and costs over-runs of the existing missile defense programs for Europe with the goal of accelerating their scheduled implementation.
These simple steps would send a clear and unequivocal signal to Vladimir Putin that the United States is unafraid to stand with our allies for our own national security interests.
Today his sights are set on Ukraine, but if he continues undeterred tomorrow it could be Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, the Czech Republic, or Poland. Meeting his challenge now with strength, not appeasement, would be the best way to ensure that this does not happen, and that we do not squander our hard-won Cold War victory over the Soviets.
Three Ways to Staunch Russian Expansion Post-Crimea
19 Mar 2014 by Dr. Sebastian Gorka
The crisis will not go away. Tuesday, for the first time, a Ukrainian officer was shot and killed by the Russian forces in Crimea. It’s no longer just about posturing and local referendums anymore.
The Prime Minster of the UK, who was lampooned for so long as just a self-promoting Tony Blair in conservative’s clothes, has called for the permanent expulsion of Russia from the G8. If you don’t think America should just sit back, let other nations respond, and at the same time send the powers that be in Beijing or Tehran the message that we don’t care if borders are redrawn by force – then what should be done?
My day job is educating counterterrorism officers, members of the special forces community, and federal law enforcement agents to think strategically. I always tell them the most important thing you can do is the ask the right questions and answer the “So What?” question at the end of the day. So here we go, in a thumbnail sketch, for Ukraine.
What do we know about Russia? It is driven by a corrupt elite and has been for the last hundred years. (Doesn’t matter what they called themselves, Tsarists, Communists, or former KGB colonels.) It acts as a regional bully. Nothing surprising there. Just think about the end of WWII, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Georgia just a few years ago.
What’s new? Two things: the Kremlin is now prepared to use force to enlarge its national territory, and even neutral states – like Sweden – are afraid and want to join NATO.
So what? Why should we care?
Whatever you think of our “adventures” in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last thirteen years, you can probably agree that it would not be good for America if a full-scale war erupted in Europe. I would add that – in a related fashion – the security of our treaty allies remains important and that we have some interest in the survival of the small numbers of people who live in non-NATO nations that are pro-American.
Subsequently, we need to come up with an objective for our national response that realizes these interests. That’s what being strategic actually means. Given the above, and if we don’t want a shooting match to drag us into another war in Europe, I would argue that America’s mission is to make Russia think twice about its grand plans to expand even further into the West. To do that we have to cause Putin enough pain personally that he decides that after swallowing the Crimea it’s better not to go any further.
To make him do that America should do the following:
1) Covertly attack the financial assets of the oligarchs. Putin was a second-rate KGB officer who is only in power because a handful of kleptocrats keep him in power. Hurt them and their off-shore bank accounts in Cyprus and the tanks stop rolling – fast. (We should also finally use our superb cyber potential to attack his government systems, just as NATO’s networks were attacked during the Kosovo campaign.)
2)Help the Ukrainian people help themselves. We will not – and should not – deploy US or NATO assets to fight for the independence of the Ukraine. However, the Ukrainians could use a little help. A good friend from an Allied nation has just returned from Kiev, and he tells me that the Ukrainian military is well disciplined and doing everything it can to resist responding to Russian provocations. However, the Ukrainian armed forces have been systematically weakened in recent years by Russia, especially in terms of equipment. Additionally, one of the first things the invading Russian forces did was steal all the encrypted communications code keys, so even if the Ukrainians wanted to fight, they can’t. Instead of giving guns to the jihadis in Syria – who want to kill us too, as well as Assad – we could give radios to the Ukrainians who actually like us and want to be our allies.
3) Revitalize bilateral relations with the Central Asian ‘Stans’ – who are hurting from Kremlin- imposed trade association agreements – and promote alternative ways to send all their surplus gas and oil to Western Europe without transiting Russian soil. At the same time launch a pro-fracking campaign in concert with the most Russian-energy-dependent EU and NATO nations. If they actually got going, they could be as oil-and-gas-independent as America could be if we get serious about fracking in the US.
Of course, all of the above would require us having an administration that understands “Big Boys Games” and wants to win.
Sebastian Gorka PhD is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of War and Conflict Studies at National Defense University, Washington, and an Associate Fellow of SOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University.