Why American Energy Matters

On Thursday The Daily Signal posted a story about American coal imports to Ukraine. One of the problems in the attempted Russian takeover of Ukraine is the dependence of the country on Russian energy imports.

The article reports:

“In recent years, [Kyiv] and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on. That changes now,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in July, announcing an $80 million deal to ship more U.S. coal to Ukraine.

“The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative,” Perry said.

…Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has often leveraged its power over Ukraine through the energy economy. Particularly, by cutting off gas supplies in winter. Consequently, energy security remains a linchpin for Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty from Moscow.

“Energy for years has been and continues on a daily non-military basis to be the prime Russian instrument for corrupting and subverting Ukraine,” Stephen Blank, senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, told The Daily Signal.

American energy independence (and the ability of America to export energy sources) can play an important part in determining world politics. As America becomes more energy independent, the hold that OPEC has had over the American economy lessens. As America becomes more energy independent, we are free to choose our friends and allies on the basis of their commitment to freedom and democracy rather than having to support dictators and tyrants because they supply the oil our economy needs. Green energy is not the solution to this problem–the technology is not yet developed enough to be practical and cost efficient. At this time, the world runs on fossil fuel, and we need to make sure that we can power our economy with our own resources.

A Tale Of Two Collusions

I’m tired of hearing about a meeting of the President’s son that resulted in nothing while at the same time a presidential candidate who actually met with a foreign power to interfere in  the 2016 election got totally ignored. Just as an aside, I don’t think foreign meddling in an election is all that unusual–look at the Obama Administration’s efforts to influence the last election in Israel. They were unsuccessful, but they certainly tried.

While the Democrats and the media are screaming that Donald Trump should be hung from the yardarm, they have totally ignored the efforts of the Clinton campaign to use the Ukrainians to opposition research on Donald Trump.

On January 11, 2017, Politico posted an article with the headline, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.”

The article reports:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

At this point I would like to note that the Russian hacking of Democratic emails is probably an urban legend with little basis in fact. First of all the Democratic National Committee (DNC) never allowed to FBI to directly examine their computer servers that they claimed were hacked. Second of all, how would simply releasing private information influence a campaign–would the release be damaging if it contained only mundane campaign information? Let’s not forget what the leaks contained–evidence of giving Hillary Clinton debate questions ahead of time, evidence of rigging the Democratic primary elections, and generally sleazy stuff. Had the DNC not been engaging in sleazy behavior, the leaks would not have mattered.

The purpose of sharing this information now is to remind everyone that in the mainstream media nothing is as it appears. I don’t believe Russia successfully interfered in our election. I believe they may have tried, but I don’t believe they were successful. Because our voting machines are not interconnected, it would be very difficult to actually change the results of an election–you would have to have hundreds of hackers at hundreds of locations, and voting machines would have to be connected to the internet. Although voting results are reported on the internet, the voting machines are not directly hooked up to it.. I have read reports of voting machines tallying votes incorrectly, but as far as I know, that has nothing to do with the Russians. At any rate, Donald Trump was duly elected, and it is time to move on.

Something To Consider When Watching The Presidential Endorsements

Breitbart posted a story today about the fact that The Financial Times has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. It is amazing that anyone would support someone who has so consistently flouted the law and has obviously jeopardized America’s national security. Just to add to the mix, there is a rumor going around that the leaked emails are not coming from Russia, but are the work of NSA employees who fear for the safety of America if Hillary Clinton is elected. So why would The Financial Times endorse such a flawed candidate–because she will maintain the status quo and continue the slide toward global governance.

Breitbart quotes the endorsement:

Rarely in a US presidential election has the choice been so stark and the stakes so high. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has provided high drama, amply demonstrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s reckless, last-minute intervention in the saga of Mrs Clinton’s emails. But there must be no doubt about the gravity of the 2016 election, for America and the world.

The international order of the past 70 years is fraying, maybe even breaking down. The Brexit vote in June likely removes a pillar of the EU. The Middle East points to a shattered system; further east, in the Pacific, China is becoming more assertive, challenging America’s dominant role in the region and the postwar Bretton Woods system. Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has become emboldened, threatening Nato’s borders, spreading havoc in Syria, and apparently orchestrating leaks to influence the US election itself.

This is a moment for the renewal of American leadership. One candidate has the credentials. Mrs Clinton has served as first lady, senator for New York and US secretary of state. Mr Trump deals in denigration not diplomacy. He has abused allies, threatening to remove east Asia’s nuclear umbrella, sideline Nato and unleash trade wars. Mr Trump casts himself in the role of a western strongman to stand alongside the likes of Mr Putin.

This is called spin. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have done more to damage the reputation of the United States around the world than any of their predecessors. As I write this, the Philippine government is moving away from America and toward China, Russia is amassing troops in Europe for a move against Ukraine and the Baltic states before Obama leaves office, and the “Arab Spring” loved by President Obama and Secretary Clinton has turned the Middle East into a war zone and Iraq into an Iranian satellite. The diplomacy of President Obama and Secretary Clinton has been damaging to America and to the world. Even without the emails and the mishandling of classified information, Hillary Clinton would be a disaster as President. However, she does represent the status quo and the continuing move toward global governance. The enemies of American sovereignty love Hillary Clinton for President.

Does President Obama Have A Relationship With The Concept Of Truth?

Last night Breitbart.com posted a list of the top ten lies told during the State of the Union speech. I watched the speech last night and wondered what world President Obama was living in. I am thoroughly disgusted with the President and with Congress for not shutting down executive orders. I fear for an America whose politicians ignore the U.S. Constitution. The guilt is on the part of both the Democrats and the establishment Republicans.

Breitbart lists the lies. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The lack of truth in the speech is amazing:

1. “[W]e’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.”

2. “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”

3. “That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage.”

4. “Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.”

5. “We’ve protected an open internet…”

6. “Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results.”

7. “No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.”

8. “As someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time.”

9. “We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria [from Islamic State].”

10. “Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America.”

Now let’s look at a few facts.

President Obama did slow down the growth of government spending, but not until the Republicans took the House of Representatives in 2010. Generally, President Obama has had higher deficits than the Presidents before him.

The American economy is not currently healthy–the labor participation rate is down and wages are stagnant. The economic recovery has been very slow and is not yet complete.

There is at least one article every day about people forced to give up their health insurance because of huge increases in premiums due to ObamaCare. ObamaCare has not been a successful healthcare solution.

Wall Street did not cause the economic crisis. The roots are fully and correctly explained here.

President Obama’s Net Neutrality policy has limited freedom on the Internet–not opened it up.

President Obama’s policy on clean energy has wasted millions of dollars on companies that have gone bankrupt, killed the coal industry, and blocked the Keystone Pipeline that would have brought jobs and brought America closer to energy independence.

I am not sure our allies feel safe. Ukraine never received the help it needed, and certainly Iran had no second thoughts about capturing our sailors. A more accurate statement would be that our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.

We are making a show effort to stop the Islamic state in the Middle East. We have been on the wrong side of history since the revolution in Egypt. We have supported the Muslim Brotherhood to the point of having their members in the American government.

Opening relations with Cuba has not helped anyone. The government of Cuba is still aligned with Russia and Iran and is still imprisoning political dissidents. All we have done is provide them with more money with which to do their mischief.

Any resemblance to the world as it is and the world painted by President Obama is purely coincidental. The speech was a waste of airtime. I would have been better off watching reruns of the Weather Channel.

Why Nuclear Disarmament Is A Really Bad Idea

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that Russia’s envoy to NATO has stated that Russia will bolster forces in Ukraine and has not ruled out bringing nuclear weapons into Ukraine.

The article reports:

“Everything that we do in Crimea fully complies with all obligations of the Russian Federation under international treaties. We do not violate anything, there are no prohibitions on us deploying certain weapons systems,” said Alexander Grushko, the envoy, when asked if nuclear arms would be placed in Crimea.

Grushko also declined to say whether nuclear arms currently are deployed inside the Ukrainian territory forcibly annexed by Russia in March 2014. He made the remarks in a video press conference from Moscow with reporters in Brussels, where NATO headquarters is located.

European Command spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said Grushko’s comments were “rhetoric” and a “diatribe” that would not alter the NATO position on the issue.

Russia stopped worrying about NATO when President Obama changed his mind and did not sent the missile shield to Poland.

The United States Congress has asked that the secretary of defense notify them within seven days if Russia brings nuclear weapons into Ukraine and explain the U.S. strategy and response.

The article concludes:

There have also been U.S. intelligence reports indicating Russia plans to deploy nuclear arms in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, where Iskander short-range missiles are said to be deployed.

Grushko, meanwhile, also called on the United States to withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe, specifically from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey.

“I am talking about the practice of the so-called nuclear missions of the NATO states,” he said. “It’s not a new issue, it emerged before the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was signed in 1968.”

“It is strictly forbidden under the NPT. The first article of the treaty prohibits nuclear countries to convey any nuclear arms or other nuclear explosive devices to anyone directly or indirectly,” he added.

“The U.S. must pull out these nuclear bombs to its territory,” Grushko said. “It would be a serious contribution to strategic stability and security in Europe.”

The United States is believed to have around 200 nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal is at least 2,000 weapons.

If we do not stand up to the Russians at some point, there is a good possibility that they will seize control of more European territory that belongs to countries we are supposed to be allied with.

In November of last year, I posted a story about Ukraine that included the following:

A deal was signed on February 5, 1994, by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma—the then-leaders of the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and Ukraine—guaranteeing the security of Ukraine in exchange for the return of its ICBMs to Moscow’s control. The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

That deal, known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, was not a formal treaty but a diplomatic memorandum of understanding. Still, the terms couldn’t be clearer: Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine…reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”

I don’t think we have lived up to our part of the bargain. Ukraine is one more country that we are supposed to be allied with that the Obama Administration has treated very badly.

At Least Someone Is Standing Up For The Ukraine

Yesterday the U.K. Telegraph reported that there was a very tense exchange between Vladimir Putin and David Cameron at the G20 summit.

The article reports:

The Russian president is reportedly planning to leave the summit early on Sunday and miss its official lunch in response to repeated criticism from western leaders.

The move comes after Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, threatened to “shirt front” Mr Putin – a form of physical confrontation. Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, told Mr Putin: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I’ll only have one thing to say to you – get out of the Ukraine.”

Mr Cameron told Mr Putin that he is at a “crossroads” and could face further sanctions after the pair held “robust” discussions on Ukraine.

During a tense 50 minute meeting Mr Cameron warned that Russia is risking its relations with the West and must end its support for Russian separatists.

Let’s remember how we got here. In March of this year the U.K. Daily Mail reported:

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

It gets worse. In March of 2014, Newsweek Magazine reminded us:

 A deal was signed on February 5, 1994, by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma—the then-leaders of the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and Ukraine—guaranteeing the security of Ukraine in exchange for the return of its ICBMs to Moscow’s control. The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

That deal, known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, was not a formal treaty but a diplomatic memorandum of understanding. Still, the terms couldn’t be clearer: Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine…reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”

 I am not convinced that any of the countries involved have lived up to that agreement. America has done very little to ensure the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine (we gave up Crimea very easily, and it is very rarely spoken of in the news).

However, there is good news in this–as the price of oil falls, the economy of Russia will also spiral downward. If America begins sending natural gas to Europe, Russia will lose part of the bullying tactics they have employed in the region. Also, just to make it even more interesting, as the price of oil falls, Venezuela will also continue its economic spiral downward. The falling price of oil will also impact some of the despots in the Middle East that have had a strangle hold on American diplomacy for generations.

American energy independence is important as a security matter, but it is also very important as a component of American foreign policy. As the price of oil falls, we will begin to see the impact of that decrease in international politics.

Some Perspective On Recent World Events

It’s been a rough week for many of us. We have watched Russia invade Ukraine (after very little fuss was made about the fact that Russia has already taken over Crimea), we have watched unspeakable acts of terrorism by ISIS, and some of us have wondered exactly what the role of the United States should be in all of this. The Canada Free Press posted an article today that might provide some perspective.

Do you remember the Frank Capra movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life?” The basic premise of the movie is that the main character, George Bailey, experiencing many of the stresses of life, wonders if the world would be a better place if he had never been born. The author of the article in the Canada Free Press applies that concept to America.

The article states:

I wonder if the world is currently having an It’s a Wonderful Life experience.  There have always been challenges on the world stage and it was fashionable to blame the United States for most of them.  We were accused of interventionism, imperialism, brinksmanship and bellicosity among other sins.  Some, even in our own country, stated openly that if the United States would just stay out of the world’s business, we could all coexist happily and peacefully.  The natural conclusion was that the world would be better off if the United States had never been born.

And now, thanks to the hapless, incoherent and inept foreign policy this nation is currently following, the world is able to see exactly what happens without the active engagement of the United States.

The author concludes:

For years, many inside and outside this country complained about America taking on the job of the world’s policeman.  Like a policeman, the United States reminded all that disorder, lawlessness and violence would not be tolerated, that someone was always watching, that there would be consequences for aggressive acts.  This authority made some uncomfortable.  But a world without the United States, like a community without a policeman, is dark, hopeless – sure to be overwhelmed by villainy and consumed by chaos.

The movie has a happy ending.  George Bailey realizes he is indispensable to a community that is happy, orderly and safe.  We can only hope the United States also has a second chance to resume its position as an indispensable member of the free nations of the globe.  In the meantime, the world gets to see what life is like without us.

The election in November will determine whether or not our current state of affairs has a happy ending. It is up to the voters of America to elect people who can counter the haplessness of this President.

An Emboldened Russia Begins To Move

There was no real cost to Russia for taking over the Crimean region of Ukraine, so Russia has decided to see exactly how far it can go. There are three stories linked on the Drudge Report right now that are merely a taste of things to come.

The three stories are:

RAF Jet Chases Russian Planes Away

U. S. Troops Arrive in Poland For Exercises across Eastern Europe amid Ukraine crisis

Russia Says Conducting Military Drill Near Ukraine

The first story is from Sky News. The story reports:

Two Russian bombers which flew close to UK airspace have been chased away by an RAF jet fighter.

The aircraft, believed to be Tupolev 95s, were spotted off the coast of northeast Scotland.

They were turned away from Britain when an RAF Typhoon was scrambled from Leuchars airbase, near Dundee.

Crews stationed there are on standby to intercept unidentified aircraft at a moment’s notice.

…The two Russian planes were escorted by the Typhoon, as well as military aircraft from the Netherlands and Denmark, until they flew off towards Scandinavia.

Also known as ‘Bears’, the aircraft – turboprop-powered bombers which also conduct airborne surveillance – have been used for more than 50 years.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The Russian military aircraft remained in international airspace at all times and they are perfectly entitled to do so.

“Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.”

If you believe the denial by Russia that the planes entered UK airspace, I have a bridge you might be interested in buying. You can have all the tolls.

The second story is from Fox News.  The story reports:

U.S. Army paratroopers are arriving in Poland on Wednesday as part of a wave of U.S. troops heading to shore up America‘s Eastern European allies in the face of Russian meddling in Ukraine. 

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said an initial contingent of about 600 troops will head to four countries across Eastern Europe for military exercises over the next month. 

First, about 150 soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy, are arriving in Poland. 

Additional Army companies will head to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and are expected to arrive by Monday for similar land-based exercises in those countries.

Six hundred soldiers is not going to stop anything, but it might send a message that continued aggression against former Soviet satellites will not be accepted.

The third article is from Reuters. It is a correction of a previous article. The article states:

Russia on Wednesday conducted military exercises in its south-western Rostov region, which borders Ukraine, a spokesman for Russia’s southern military district said.

Another probe to see if the NATO nations or any other nations are willing to stand up to the naked aggression of Russia.

I hope that our State Department and Defense Department are smart enough to get out of this without starting World War III. Unfortunately, I am not optimistic.

 

 

 

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History Repeats Itself In A Frightening Way

USA Today is reporting today that Jews have been ordered to register in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk. The article shows a picture of the leaflet that was given to Jews emerging from a synagogue. The leaflet asks that all Jews over the age of 16 pay a registration fee and provide a list of all the property they own “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated.”

The article reports:

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the reports.

Pushilin acknowledged that fliers were distributed under his organization’s name in Donetsk but denied any connection to them, Ynet reported in Hebrew.

Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media.

…Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear whether the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

Either way, this is frightening.

We need to remember that the Jewish people are ‘the canary in the coal mine.’ When the Jewish people are treated badly, bad things will follow. I am not recommending that America send military forces into the Ukraine, but we need to move quickly to get Russia out of there. I strongly suggest collapsing the Russian economy by developing our own energy resources. If the price of oil drops, the Russian economy will be in serious trouble. America needs leadership that will make this happen.

 

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All Elections Have Consequences

The 2014 mid-term election is rapidly approaching. We can’t change the White House, but we can change Congress. Unfortunately we have two more years of President Obama in the White House. One of the consequences of that fact is the decline of respect for America around the world.

Military.com posted an article yesterday that illustrates how far America has fallen during the Obama Administration.

The article reports:

A Russian Su-24 fighter jet made multiple low-level passes close to a U.S. destroyer in the Black Sea in the latest “provocation” by Moscow related to the crisis in Ukraine, Pentagon and White House officials said Monday.

The Russian Jet never flew directly over the Arleigh Burke Class destroyer Donald Cook but at one point made a pass at 500 feet within 1,000 yards of the ship, Pentagon officials said.

The article further reports that the destroyer did not go to battle stations. Why not?

The article further reports:

Carney also said that President Obama was expected to phone Russian President Vladimir Putin to protest the Cook incident and warn of tougher economic sanctions if Russia fails to pull back the estimated 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders.

Carney stressed that the faceoff with Russia was not intended to start a new Cold War but “we have profound differences with Russia, and we confront those differences directly.”

“I can assure you that Russia’s provocations and further transgressions will come with a cost,” Carney said, referring to economic sanctions that are being discussed with the European Union.

“Certainly if they go further down the road in attempting to destabilize Ukraine the costs will continue to grow,” Carney said.

I think Russia has already figured out that President Obama’s red lines are drawn with invisible ink. We need someone in the White House who will honor the treaty obligations we made with Ukraine and make sure we honor our treaty obligations with NATO, because President Putin will be testing those shortly.

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How To Stop The Advance Of Vladimir Putin

Frank Gaffney, Jr. posted an article today at the Center For Security Policy website explaining how to stop Vladimir Putin’s plans to create the former Russian empire.

The article explains how Putin uses the price of natural gas to advance his program:

Russian president Vladimir Putin has just increased by over forty percent the price of natural gas Russia supplies to Ukraine.

This isn’t the first time Putin has used energy as a weapon against Ukraine and others. We should be doing everything possible to make it the last time, though.

Russia’s role as a major exporter of oil and natural gas is a two-edged sword. Yes, the Kremlin can squeeze those dependent on its exports for political or strategic purposes. But the Russian economy is also critically dependent upon such energy sales.

America has the answer to both stopping the Russian blackmail of Ukraine and to collapsing the Russian economy. It’s actually very simple. Begin to develop and export our own natural gas resources. It would probably take less than a year and Russia would lose its leverage over Ukraine and much of Europe. It’s simple and would also help the American economy.

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Why Foreign Policy Matters

None of us have a 100% chance of predicting the future, but we expect our leaders in Congress and the White House to be well enough informed to make sure they don’t do anything that will hurt us internationally in the future. The current situation in Ukraine is one example of a Congressional bill that later had serious unintended consequences.

Today’s U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about a bill passed by Congress that destroyed the stockpile of weapons Ukraine needs to defend itself against Russia.

The article reports:

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea.

In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site.

The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.

After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.

…Many of the artillery shells shown in photographs from Donetsk, multiple weapons experts told MailOnline, would be the same types of ammunition required to repel advancing Russian divisions as they advanced to the west, had they not been destroyed.

…’Vast stocks of conventional munitions and military supplies have accumulated in Ukraine,’ Obama said in am August 30, 2005 statement from Donetsk. ‘Some of this stockpile dates from World War I and II, yet most dates from Cold War buildup and the stocks left behind by Soviet withdrawals from East Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and Poland.’

‘We need to eliminate these stockpiles for the safety of the Ukrainian people and people around world, by keeping them out of conflicts around the world.’

More than a year later, President George W. Bush signed into law a proposal authored by Obama and Lugar.

In addition to the destruction of these weapons, many of the weapons were sold to the United States, Libya, and Great Britain. There is no way any of this activity made the world one bit safer.

The article concludes:

Sky News video broadcast on Tuesday showed Russian troops firing automatic weapons over the heads of apparently unarmed Ukrainian Air Force personnel near a contested airfield in Crimea.

Foreign policy matters. This is an example of what happens when Congress and the White House do something that down the road endangers the freedom of people in other nations.

 

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A Very Insightful Comment

Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJ Media yesterday about the current war in the Ukraine.

Mr. Ledeen states:

It’s not as if we’re at war, after all.

And we’re not.  Only our enemies are.  It’s like target practice for them.  Fortunately, they’re not very good at it, and so they miss a lot. When they win, they find ways to screw it up.  They took over Egypt, remember?  Then lost it in the “biggest demonstration in human history” (thus sayeth the BBC).  They were on the verge of taking over Tunisia, but no more.  They made a hash out of Ukraine and Venezuela, then lost the first and are facing the people’s wrath in the second.  They keep trying to organize lethal rocket and missile attacks on Israel, only to get destroyed.

 

But we choose not to be at war.

 

The article concludes:

 

For those who actually want to see the world plain, the global network is luminously clear, from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran and Syria, to Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua.  Those are the nations aligned against us.  They support a variety of terror groups, from al-Qaeda to Islamic Jihad to the various Latin American guerrillas, and they work in cahoots with the narcotics mafiosi.

There are two keystones in this global network:  Iran and Venezuela, with Russia manipulating them both as best Putin can.  If we see the world plain, the current revolutionary turmoil in Venezuela is enormously important, arguably the most important hot spot on earth today.  For if the Castroite tyranny in Caracas were to fall, it would be a devastating blow to the Axis of Evil.  The bad guys know it;  that’s why, in addition to Cuban intel officers and special forces, Hezbollahis are moving from Damascus to Caracas.  Khamenei knows there’s an intimate connection between what happens in Venezuela and what happens in Syria.

But America has chosen to cut its defenses and remain at peace (until we are attacked by the part of the world who chooses to wage war). We need a President, a Congress, or a State Department smart enough to play chess. Evidently we don’t have one.

 

 

The Cost Of Poliltical Partisanship

One of the problems in America right now is politicians who value their political party more than they value their country. As a result of that values system, statements from the other party that should be heeded are mocked and ignored. We saw this principle in action with Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential campaign and with Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday reminding us of the events in 2008:

Palin said then:

After the Russian Army 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.

Levin (conservative talk radio host Mark Levin) said her comment was “dismissed as a very strange comment by the eggheads in and out of Washington.” And Levin mocked those who derided Palin for not thinking that “Russia’s our friend… they would never go into Ukraine.” As Breitbart News reported, Blake Hounshell, who was then at Foreign Policy magazine and is now at Politico, wrote that Palin’s comments were “strange.”

Her comments may have been “strange,” but they were obviously 100 percent accurate.

Breitbart further reminds us:

Because she was running on the Republican ticket, Sarah Palin’s comments were ignored and mocked. No one on the Democrat side of things was willing to listen to her.

When Mitt Romney ran against President Obama, something very similar happened. Steven Hayward at Power Line posted the story yesterday (along with the video):

John (John Hinderaker at Power Line) noted before how the Obama campaign attacked Mitt Romney in 2012 for saying Russia was our most important adversary, but it’s also worth taking in Obama mocking Romney in their third debate, saying that “the 1980s want their foreign policy back.”  That’s actually starting to sound pretty good.

I don’t know what difference it would have made if Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney had been listened to, but I can’t help but think that we would have been able to react in some way had we been prepared for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One analyst I was listening to this morning felt that if America does not do something to help the Ukrainians, Russia will turn its sights to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The world is getting very complicated, and we have a President who is so convinced he knows everything that he is not paying attention to what is going on around him. Putin is playing chess and President Obama is playing checkers. President Obama needs to listen to people on both sides of the aisle–it might avoid some serious mistakes.

 

 

 

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Russia Is Playing Chess, America Is Playing Checkers

The U.K. Telegraph posted an article today detailing the rapidly changing situation in the Ukraine. As it stands now, Russia admits that it has moved troops into the Ukraine, and the Ukraine has regained control of an airport taken over by Russian troops. Please follow the link above to the article to read about the latest events.

The article reports:

US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to relieve diplomatic pressure that has increasingly assumed Cold War overtones by announcing that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured him that Moscow “will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Putin also appeared to take a more conciliatory approach late on Thursday by vowing to work on improving trade ties with Ukraine and promising to support international efforts to provide Kiev with funds that could keep it from declaring a debt default as early as next week.

As I said, checkers.

I don’t have a lot to say about the situation in the Ukraine, because I believe there may be a whole lot of things going on under the radar that I am unaware of. However, I will say that I suspect that there are many people in the Ukraine that are longing for freedom as they have seen it in the West, rather than the type of government they have seen in Russia. My prayer is that this situation will end peacefully with a free Ukraine. However, Putin is flexing his muscle, and America right now does not have a muscle to flex. That is not good.

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Some Perspective On The Ukraine

On Thursday the U.K. Telegraph posted an article by Edward Lucas about the situation in the Ukraine. Obviously, events there are moving very quickly. The U.K. Daily Mail posted an article by Mark Almond yesterday. Both articles point to the danger of the spread of the unrest in the Ukraine. Please follow the links to the articles. There is a lot of information in both articles.

The article in the Daily Mail reminds us that the Ukraine is made up of both Russians and Ukrainians. Each group has their own concept of what the country’s relationship with Europe and Russia should be. There is a serious division among the population of the country.

The article in the Telegraph states:

Without Vladimir Putin, Ukraine would be at peace today. It was Russia which forced Ukraine to shun the economic agreement offered by the EU in October, launching a crippling trade war against Ukrainian exports. It was Russia which offered cheap gas and soft loans as the Ukrainian economy tottered. It was Russia which installed hundreds of “advisers” in key Ukrainian public bodies and ministries, including the SBU secret police, to ensure that they toe the Moscow line. Without Russia’s silent putsch, Ukrainians would have not have needed to build barricades in the streets in protest at the regime’s misrule. Even then, without the continued and escalating Russian pressure on Mr Yanukovych, the conflict could have been defused.

We have seen enough of Putin to know that he will not let the Ukraine move toward Europe politically and economically without a fight. President Putin has openly stated that his dream is to bring back the old Soviet Union.

The Telegraph reports:

But Russia’s interference in Ukraine has intensified in recent months, just as Western efforts have floundered. European policymakers still cling to the notion that talks with Russia can bring a mutually beneficial solution to Ukraine’s agony. That is a false hope. The Kremlin does not like win-win solutions. It likes outcomes in which it wins, and its detestable Western rivals lose, preferably humiliatingly – this, for Mr Putin, is a matter of personal prestige. In short, though the EU finds the whole notion of geopolitics old-fashioned and unappealing, geopolitics is happening on its doorstep. And it is losing.

America is out of the game, too. The Obama administration has neglected its European allies since the day it took office. Its senior official dealing with Ukraine, Toria Nuland, is admirably energetic – and blunt (she recently declared “F— the EU” in a phone call to her ambassador in Kiev, bugged and then leaked by Russian intelligence). But she lacks the clout to make the wheels of policy turn in Washington. Without Moscow’s interference, the EU and United States could marshal their modest resources to make a difference. Faced with Russia in all its implacable fury, both are outgunned. The fallout from Edward Snowden’s leaks of secret material from the National Security Agency has corroded and weakened the transatlantic alliance: fury with American snooping in countries such as Germany has paralysed what should be vital discussions on security.

Hopefully this will end with freedom for the people of the Ukraine, but I am not optimistic. I remember how hard Poland fought to be free of the Soviet Union. Putin does not give up easily, and he does not compromise.

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The Future Of The Ukraine

Max Boot posted an article at Commentary Magazine today about the recent events in the Ukraine.

The article states:

The agreement reached between President Viktor Yanukovych and Ukrainian opposition leaders is about as good as the anti-government forces can possibly hope to get.

Mr. Boot points out that the foreign ministers of Poland, France, and Germany, all of whom are in Kiev, all signed the agreement. The Russian delegate refused to sign it.

The article reminds of the risk the protestors will take if they refuse to sign the agreement:

Yet, many protesters in the streets are not prepared to accept what is largely a victory. Many of them refuse to disperse from Independence Square until Yanukovych resigns. Their position is understandable but misguided. As Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski reportedly told demonstrators: “If you don’t support this [deal] you’ll have martial law, you’ll have the army. You will all be dead.”

Sikorski should know what he is talking about, having spent a good part of his life as a refugee from Poland, which saw the imposition of martial law in 1981.

If the people in the streets of Kiev are willing to accept the agreement, they will avoid an all-out war and the imposition of martial law. I believe that if they sign this agreement, the countries whose delegates also signed it will make sure that the current leadership of the Ukraine and the Russians abide by the agreement.

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