Streetwise Professor

August 4, 2014

I Try To Catalog His Inanities, But It’s Hard to Keep Up

Filed under: History,Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:47 pm

In his press conference last week, Obama responded to a question about whether the US would provide lethal assistance for Ukraine:

Well, keep in mind, the issue at this point is not the Ukrainian capacity to outfight separatists. They are better armed than the separatists. The issue is how do we prevent bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. We’re trying to avoid that. And the main tool that we have to influence Russian behavior at this point is the impact that it’s having on its economy.

Where to begin?

First, the “separatists” are pretty well-armed, so it’s not so clear that the Ukrainian military has a decisive advantage. A stalemate produced by conflict between two roughly matched forces would lead to a greater effusion of blood.

Second, a major reason to bolster the Ukrainian military is to deter Russia from invading, or from increasing the strength of the “separatist” forces. Bolstering the Ukrainian military would realistically achieve these outcomes. And both, by the way, would reduce and prevent bloodshed in Ukraine.

Third, giving the Ukrainian military a more decisive advantage over the separatists would speed its victory, which would be perhaps the best way to reduce and prevent bloodshed in Ukraine.

Fourth, why rely on a single “tool” to “influence Russian behavior” (i.e., economic sanctions) when other tools are available? Multiple tools, especially complementary ones like military, diplomatic, and economic measures, are usually far more effective when used in combination, rather than one at a time.

Fifth, it’s a little late in the day to “avoid” bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. The war is well and truly underway.

There might be good reasons for not providing lethal assistance to Ukraine (and intelligence as well). As is his wont, however, Obama didn’t provide them. His justification for this policy-which is part of a pattern, as witnessed by the refusal to provide ammunition and arms to the Kurds desperately fighting ISIS-is beyond inane.

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  1. In the meantime, a group of who knows who in Moscow have congratulated Obama on his birthday at the US Embassy building in a creative way.

    Comment by LL — August 6, 2014 @ 4:40 am

  2. @LL, it might me easy to guess who is that Who. Somebody who is very very angry at latest round of sanctions against Russia coming from the West 🙂

    Comment by Europeo — August 6, 2014 @ 5:25 am

  3. In an unrelated news, Snowden is looking at 3 years to life in maximum security Russia. I wonder what he’s gonna do for a living in there. Joining a Kremlin internet troll brigade is an obvious option.

    Comment by Ivan — August 7, 2014 @ 11:30 am

  4. Guys, you just don’t get it. the O is a member of the reality based community. only in his and most of their cases, reality is what they define it to be. the war hasn’t started, because he/they say so. The Separatists aren’t that well armed, because he doesn’t say they are. This is either an extraordinary case of magical thinking in the Freudian meaning of the term, or true maliciousness and egoism. I vote the later.

    Comment by sotos — August 7, 2014 @ 1:37 pm

  5. Or Obama watches the same Ukrainian National Security Counsel releases every else does and sees that in 2 months they’ve cut the separatists in half. Maybe he like the idea that Russia is both increasingly overtly fascist — undermining pro-Russian sentiment in EU –, increasingly pretending to be autarkik — which is a great waste of their rubles — and continues to push more of their military personal into a war they know they will never really win. It sucks for Ukrainians of course but for America the way Putin is acting is perfect. Russia is bleeding money, America isnt viewed as a hegemon by the Europeans and the Russian cache of foreign reserves is being sucked up down blackholes of geopolitics.

    Comment by d — August 7, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

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