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09 March 2014


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patrick lang


Sorry about the formatting. Harper posted this in .doc and I can't seem to fix it. pl


Obama thinks this all about him
However, the perception is rising in the White House that, rightly or wrongly, the crisis has become a personal contest which can only be settled between Obama and President Putin. NSC officials tell us that this is both an advantage in that it lends weight to the exchanges between the two men and a drawback in that it involves Obama more intensively in the management of the crisis than he would otherwise wish.
As an NSC official commented to us: “Against all the odds, Obama continues to believe that he can do a deal with Putin. His telephone exchanges lead him to conclude that Putin is intent on building a position of strength from which he will then negotiate.” From talking to other high-level contacts in Washington, our sense is that Obama’s conviction that a deal is doable is not widely shared. Even in the State Department there are senior officials who are much less optimistic that Putin is interested in negotiating.

Putin already made his negotiation offer. Back to the February 21 deal or the Crimea is gone.

Obama is free to take that. If not, well, then the Crimea is gone.


Here is a link to the interview:



I wish the US would appoint Henry Kissinger as an envoy to handle this dimplomatically. He wrote a very astute article which has been published in several major newspapers worldwide.


The Russian have repeatedly said they are not invading Crimea. The media in the West have not properly analyzed why the Russians might be saying this. They insinuate Putin is crazy, since it is obvious that soldiers are there. But not acknowledging their presence officially means the Russians could end the military occupation of Crimea, while saving face as they would not have to admit a withdrawal.

The (totally bonkers, by the way) Referendum question could also be shelved indefinitely with one phone call from Lavrov or Putin to the Crimean Parliament.

Everything still suggests that a diplomatic solution to this aspect of the crisis is very much available for the taking. The US really needs to avoid making moves that amount to baiting and humiliating Russia. And NATO needs to taking a breather: the comparisons by several leaders of western democracies of Putin to Hitler are just madness. NATO right now isn't speaking with one voice. There needs to be a breather on talk of sanctions are worldwide repercussions. This benefits nobody.

Absolutely nothing good will come with seeing this crisis escalate. And for once, Israel ought to be reining in the US's statements. The way the rhetoric is going, Kerry is going to be sanctioning Isreal and indicting Netanyahu for allowing Israeli settlers in Golan to cast ballots in Israeli elections (not to mention the occupied territories, which, I suppose, Kerry would now say must be given immediately to Jordan and Egypt).

Most everyone, even the Palestinians thinks negotiations are the way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian-Golan problem. All Nato partners say the same thing. Nobody in that conflict is routinely trying to escalate to the speed and degree things are escalating in the Ukraine-Russia-Crimea conflict.

This is complete madness.

Richard Armstrong

No nation has ever invaded another that possessed nuclear weapons (border skirmishes between India an Pakistan don't count).

I think Ukraine now wishes they had kept their nukes. At one time the were the 3rd largest nuclear power in the world.


Start at 1:20....




"Kerry is going to be sanctioning Isreal and indicting Netanyahu for allowing Israeli settlers in Golan to cast ballots in Israeli elections (not to mention the occupied territories, which, I suppose, Kerry would now say must be given immediately to Jordan and Egypt).

Most everyone, even the Palestinians thinks negotiations are the way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian-Golan problem."

That is very humorous as I don't think anyone really thinks negotiations with Israel are going to solve a damn thing other than buy time for more settlements, 'facts on the ground' and more ethnic cleansing of occupied territories. The Golan Heights were captured in a war. Do you now think Golan should be recognized as sovereign Israeli territory? If so we should scrap the UN now - or expel Israel - as wars of conquest are against the UN charter.



yes, then the current government could ethnically cleanse Ukraine of all the Russians, and as General Dempsey points out in the interview, the 400,000 Rumanians; and that's just a start. Of course we would have a right - or an obligation according to the Obama administration - to protect those minorities, wouldn't we?



The points made here on SST about the neo-cons/neo-liberals are excellent and true; arrogant ideologues. They don’t give a damn about anyone except themselves.

There is an additional characteristic, entrepreneurship, risk taking greed. They get a rush taking risks to make money. Since the oligarchs seized power in the West, at the beginning of this century, not one has gone to jail for their looting.

Together they are rushing the world to a war between two nuclear powers in Ukraine that will destroy mankind.

Only General Martin Dempsey stands between them and us.

the Unready

Nuland's Knights at the ready...


Argentina (which may have had a bomb program at the time) invaded the Falkland Islands (Britain: a nuclear power).

Maybe some people in Ukraine wish they had nukes. I'm sure virtually everyone else at the time thought that unleashing a whole bunch of Ex-Soviet republics with such weapons would be total madness.

nick b

Before anyone flips out:


I wish Woodruff had asked Dempsey how he would react to having to fulfill NATO's obligations once the Ukraine joins NATO, which like other Soviet Republics (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) is what the R2P and Neocon crowds are all salivating over.

Can this president resist, given his generally weak character and his lack of anything to show on the foreign policy front after five years in office?


That was hilarious, thanks!

Suspiciously, over at The Onion I couldn't find any satirical posts on the Crimea or Ukraine.

Then I found this over at The People's Cube :)

Putin alleges Tea Partiers in Ukraine, wins over US media http://thepeoplescube.com/peoples-blog/putin-alleges-tea-partiers-in-ukraine-wins-over-us-media-t13277.html


KGB Colonel or community organizer/career politician?
Who you gonna bet on?



I think it is worth emphasising that neither the USA nor NATO have treaty obligations to Ukraine. None.

The: Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Budapest Memorandum) is just that - a memorandum. It is NOT a treaty, and does not impose any legal obligations on the signatories.

I think it utterly unlikely that the Russians will attack any NATO member which is what would trigger treaty obligations.

I also think it utterly unlikely that the Russians permit Ukraine to become a NATO member.




Argentina has claimed those Islands for a couple of hundred years. The Argentine government had not been subject to removal by a $5 billion dollar effort of the US government. Those who thought leaving nuclear weapons through out many former members of the USSR was madness were correct.


Dear Col. Lang,
I think I might have fixed the Harper formatting issues (fingers crossed); I did not correct the several typos I notice but removed several extra spaces and line-breaks. Thank you for your platform:

General Martin Dempsey, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a lengthy interview to Judy Woodruff on Friday night's PBS News Hour and delivered a carefully balanced picture of how the U.S. military is managing the unfolding Ukraine crisis, both reassuring European NATO allies that treaty obligations will be honored, while maintaining constant communications with Russian counterparts, to assure there are no miscalculations leading to conflict. Gen. Dempsey, clearly aware of the boundaries between military advice and political decision-making, did not attempt to under-play the danger of conflict, particularly given the occupant of the White House.

Asked by an aggressive Woodruff what kind of message the U.S. is trying to send to Russia, Gen. Dempsey calmly replied that ``We're clearly trying to send a message to Russia, almost exclusively through diplomatic channels, so that I do hae an open line with my Russian counterpart that I have used twice the last two days.

``But we're trying to tell them not to escalate this thing
further into Eastern Ukraine and allow the conditions to be set for some kind of resolution in the Crimea. But the message we are sending militarily is to our NATO allies.

``So, one of our responsibilities at times like this is to
reassure our allies. And so the deployments you mentioned into the Baltic air policing mission, into the aviation detachment in Poland, the deployment of the ship, are really intended to reassure our allies... Well, don't forget, we have actually, we have NATO treaty obligations under Article 5 for collective defense. And, so, when they ask us for reassurance or they ask us to for contingency planning, we respond, and we do have obligations with NATO.''

Pressed again on the possibility of a direct military
conflict, Dempsey remained focused on the diplomacy: ``Well, that's why we're seeking aggressively to resolve this diplomatically, before we would reach the point where there could be a miscalculation.''

Asked again about the Russian claims that the present
government in Ukraine is illegal, Dempsey reiterated, ``Of course they are. And they're trying to roll back to the February 21 agreement, and we're trying to suggest that, really, the clock started on February 24.

``Those are matters of diplomacy. Our role, as the military, is to seek ways to influence this without it being escalatory. And, by the way, I do have this open line with my Russian counterpart. So, everything that we have done, I tell him, here's what were doing. Here's why were doing it. We disagree fundamentally about your claim of legitimacy, but, as militaries, let's try to avoid escalating this thing.''

Dempsey concluded by acknowledging that there is a chance of escalation to military conflict and that the U.S. is constantly
re-evaluating the changing status: ``Well, that's a question that I think deserves to be assessed and reassessed and refreshed as this thing evolves. But, remember, we do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that, if that treaty obligation is triggered, we would respond.'' Military sources who carefully studied the Dempsey interview emphasized that Dempsey went as far as any Chairman could go in pressing for a diplomatic resolution and avoidance of conflict.

It is most fortunate that, at a time when the President of the United States repeatedly demonstrates his lack of diplomatic patience and experience, that there is a military chairman who has the diplomatic and military skills that the Commander-in-Chief so sorely lacks. This is reassuring, but is no guarantee that the President's continuing flight-foward, including his latest declaration of a National Emergency over the Ukraine crisis, is not going to land us in a senseless and potentially devastating strategic confrontation.


thanks but it is not fixed. He was in a hurry, posted it wrong and left town. I have asked him to fix it when he can. pl



you are not concerned? That's nice but the rest of us are. pl



"Thank you for your platform" That's kind of you. I occasionally write something here myself. As for Dempsey's interview, did you think we were not aware of it? pl


"Neither the USA nor NATO have treaty obligations to Ukraine. None."

Yet. What makes you think that the chicken hawks in charge of US foreign policy don't intend to bring Ukraine into NATO ASAP?


If that's the same article about the situation I read by Kissinger, I thought he had one or two good points but the rest seemed to hand wave the importance to Russia of the Black Sea Fleet and not having NATO kicking up its heels on Russia's border.

He seemed to continue to think this was just Putin messin' around for shits & gigs and not a break or be broken situation for Russia.


Good grief the weight on GEN Dempsey's shoulders. He's got a spineless Secretary over him who's more interested in turning the military into a social petri dish and a detached community organizer in chief on top of THAT guy.

"No easy days", indeed.


In response to turcopolier 09 March 2014 at 07:59 PM.

Sir, I made no mention of my concerns one way or the other. I said that I thought two things to be utterly unlikely the first of which was that the Russians would attack any NATO member thereby triggering treaty obligations. The second was that I thought it utterly unlikely that the Russians would permit Ukraine to become a NATO member.

On the basis of past performance I don't expect the Russians to be the ones to initiate hostilities. I am far more concerned that some NATO member will concoct a pack of lies which they will then wave around the place like a Secretary of State waves a test tube full of clear liquid at a UN General Assembly. I am very concerned about that.


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