President Obama unleashed the full power of his rhetorical magic. Cable news commentators on CNN and MSNBC spoke to the ‘strong’ statement by the President regarding Ukraine. A Wall Street Journal reporter in Russia, whose name escaped me, hit it on the head stating that President Putin would pay no attention to President Obama’s statement and will view it as weak!
Let’s go with the ‘strong’ statements by the President.
“Deeply destabilizing”, ouch!
“We will stand with the International community”; take that!
“We will coordinate with allies”; no, no please stop I can’t take the pressure!
“There will be a price to pay”; take that Vlad. Oh, maybe not, as the President also said we will “coordinate with Russia”. What the hell does that mean?
And then overnight the administration leaked they’re real hammer; we might decide to miss a meeting. Oh no, please, not that!
And of course, as was the President’s predilection after many incidents including Fort Hood and the Boston bombings he cautioned restraint on the part of the victims. He commended Ukraine on its restraint as if they have much of an option.
We’re not going to engage a shooting war with Russia, that would be foolish but there are actions that could be taken. Unilateral economic and diplomatic sanctions could be applied. Economic sanctions won’t cripple Russia but it would be ………….. wait for it ……………… a strong leadership position. Diplomatic sanctions could include recalling our Ambassador and kicking the Russian Ambassador out of the country. U.N. actions are a non starter as Russia will veto any Security Council actions.
Re-start the missile defense program in Eastern Europe that the Russians hate so much on an expedited basis. Expand NATO membership more aggressively in Eastern Europe; we’re going to need to replace Turkey eventually anyway. Exclude Russia from further G 8 attendance. There are Russian operatives in the U.S. we would hope that the FBI has identified some number of them, they should all be sent home. Cancel any and all educational and cultural exchange programs immediately. If we want diplomacy to be our first option there has to be a price to pay for the absence of diplomatic progress.
I suspect none of the above is on the table for the Obama administration.