Saturday, June 21, 2014

Another War Not Responsibly Ended

I know, we declared the Ukraine crisis as over. But Russia didn't sign off on that fantasy.

Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine:

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels that "at least a few thousand more" Russian troops had been deployed in what he said was "a new Russian military build-up" around the Ukrainian border. He called it "a very regrettable step backwards."

He said the Russian troop deployment would be a "positive step" if it were aimed at sealing the border and preventing the flow of fighters and weapons to the separatists,

But this is not "what we're seeing," said Rasmussen.

No, we're seeing Russia send tanks to the pro-Russian secession militias in eastern Ukraine:

The Ukrainian government briefed Western diplomats in Kiev on Friday and told them it has evidence that 10 additional tanks, along with fuel trucks and supporting vehicles, crossed the border between the countries in the last 24 hours. The U.S. official said the U.S. government has independently confirmed additional tanks departed from a deployment site in southwest Russia on Thursday.

I noted that Russia's dispatch of forces to the Ukraine border had nothing to do with reducing violence in Ukraine:

Putin can claim it is to stop illegal crossings and cope with refugees fleeing "fascists", but the real reason is surely to enable Russian men and supplies to enter Ukraine to participate in the fight.

And fancy that, Russian tanks are being supplied to the separatists in Ukraine.

The Obama administration declared "mission accomplished" over Ukraine and the president resumed his golfing schedule.

But despite the president's fawning court jesters who argued that Putin "blinked" in the crisis and backed down, the aggression is not over and we must act like it:

ALMOST three months have passed since Russia annexed Crimea and began stirring up rebellion in eastern Ukraine. For most of that period the hope of Western leaders has been that tensions there will gradually dissipate and that the crisis will just go away. That hope now looks deluded.

The argument was that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, had got most of what he wanted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, not least a big boost in popularity at home. Partly thanks to two rounds of sanctions against individuals close to him, he had blinked: hence his decision to pull troops back from the border and more or less to accept Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s legitimate president after his election on May 25th. Thus there is no need for further sanctions that could wreak damage on Europe’s shaky economies as well as on Russia. ...

The past two weeks have exposed this as wishful thinking. Violence has increased in eastern Ukraine as the government in Kiev has sought to regain control and the rebels have fought back. The government’s unilateral ceasefire announced this week looks unlikely to work (see article). Evidence of deeper Russian involvement is ever clearer: not just rising numbers of Chechen and other Russian mercenaries but also the supply of weapons, including missiles that may have been used to shoot down a Ukrainian military aircraft, and even tanks that have rumbled over the border.

If our administration didn't have wishful thinking, there'd be no thinking at all. In their defense, they're not the first to believe that an aggressive thug regime has no more territorial ambitions.

But at some point, you'd think that the standard bearer of the "reality-based community" would recognize reality after being beaten by the reality stick over and over.

Russia sees us as their foe and is acting like it. That's the new reality rather than fantasies of a "reset" Russia or Putin "blinking" in the face of our steely resolve.