By Kristine Bearss
Crimea’s parliament announced on March 6 that it plans to hold a referendum on March 16. The referendum is for Crimea to decide whether it will join Russia or remain part of Ukraine. This has come after many weeks of deliberation amongst world leaders on how coercive measures taken against Ukraine would be received.
President Barack Obama spent an hour on the phone with President Vladimir Putin, which resulted in Putin taking further action in his military invasion of Ukraine. Obama had a 90-minute follow-up phone call, which Secretary of State John Kerry described to CBS News as Obama telling Putin “that it was imperative to find a different path, to roll back this invasion and undo this act of aggression.”
But it appears his words have continued to be brushed aside by Putin as he continues to roll military vehicles and personnel across Ukrainian boundaries in Crimea.
Obama said that he is, “confident that we are moving forward together” and that Russia’s actions “violate international law.”
Kerry assured the United States that there will be economic sanctions put on Russia while calling for a peaceful resolution to the Russian-Ukraine conflict. Kerry told CBS that he did not approve of Russia’s “incredible acts of aggression” and that, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”
Unfortunately, President Putin did not seem concerned on 21st century war etiquette. Nor does he seem worried about violating International law. The United States is now hurrying to place those economic sanctions on Russia in order to convince the March 16 vote not to take place. However, Putin does not appear to be too concerned with that either.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that any sanctions against Russia “would inevitably hit the United States like a boomerang.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared Putin’s rhetoric of needing to protect Russian ethnics in Ukraine to that of Hitler’s rhetoric for needing to protect German nationals in Eastern Europe. At a closed charity event for the Boys and Girls Club, Clinton said, “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s.” Later, Clinton spoke at the University of California saying, “I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”
The interesting matter is why the expertise of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have not been utilized by the White House to develop an appropriate response for the U.S. military to make.
During the 2008 elections, Palin accurately warned that Russia would inevitably invade Ukraine if U.S. foreign policy did not advance.
“After the Russian military invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” she told Foreign Policy.
Palin’s prediction came with much dispute from the Democratic Party.
Similarly, Mitt Romney announced during the 2012 elections that he believed that Russia was in the top geopolitical threats to the United States.
President Obama responded by saying, “The 1980s are not calling to get their foreign policy back, because you know, the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
Perhaps President Obama should have used a little more discretion when he snidely brushed aside these warnings. Ukraine’s foreign minister stated on March 10 that his country was essentially in a full-on state of war with Russia. He stated that Russia is Europe’s greatest geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War.