Obama Says U.S. Military Not An Option In Ukraine

Apr 28 2014, 3:18pm CDT | by

There will be no U.S. military involvement in Ukraine, President Barack Obama reconfirmed in Manila on Monday.

“Why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?” he said in a snub to the weekend war hawks on the Sunday morning talk shows.

“Frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people have no interest in participating in,” Obama said. “Do people actually think us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could deter the Russian army?”

Ukraine has practically begged the U.S. for military aid to help fight pro-Russian militants on its border with Russia.  But senior government officials said that would be a waste of time and treasure.

“There’s not going to be any scenario where the Ukrainian military is brought quickly up to parity with the Russian military,” one administration official said during a press conference in Washington today.  ”This is not the type of action that usually has the most significant deterrent on Russia’s calculus.  We have a far greater ability to affect Russia and impose a cost on Russia by imposing sanctions rather than by that type of provision of assistance.”

A second round of sanctions was announced Monday by both Washington and Brussels.  Seventeen companies with ties to Russian political figures or oligarchs believed to be providing support to anti-Ukrainian militants were sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury, including more subsidiaries belonging to the Rossiya Bank group and visa sanctions on Russian politician Igor Sechin, the chairman of Russian oil major Rosneft.

Obama played good cop to Treasury’s bad cop in reaffirming his pledge against a Western military response in Ukraine.  His move follows reports today that British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond told his military commanders that British troops “would not go into battle to help save Ukraine if Russia invaded.”

Under such a scenario, Russia will likely face harsher sanctions.   The Obama administration has not named any names of companies on its future hit list, saying there was no need to make forecasts at this time.  Washington is acutely aware of the fact that Gazprom — one of the companies that would exact the harshest punishment to date against Russia — supplies nearly 30% of Europe’s natural gas.  Russia has retaliated against political foes before by turning off gas supplies.  It is unclear whether the U.S., currently awash in natural gas, could quickly make up for Russian shortfalls.  Or come close to Russian prices.

Obama is attempting to remove the tail risks associated with the tense situation in Ukraine. But with elections less than a month away there, tensions are expected to worsen.

Russia expert, Keith Darden, wrote in oped in The New York Times on Monday that the “war on truth” in Ukraine is a symptom and an accelerator of Ukraine’s chances of a messy and bloody outcome. Darden believes the only path toward peace is through free and fair elections on May 25. But this cannot be accomplished without Kiev incorporating the country’s south and east into the government mainframe as soon as possible. As it stands, pro-Russian factions in border towns in the East have hinted at wanting to become autonomous regions, or secede.

Last month, on March 16, the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine’s Black Sea voted to be annexed by Russia.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has observers on the ground ahead of next month’s election.  But the Kiev government and Russian separatists restrict its movements.  Eight OSCE monitors were kidnapped over the weekend by the separatists in Slovyansk, a city in the Donetsk province roughly four hours by car from the Russian border.  May’s election will most likely be ripe with conspiracy theorists from both sides.

Darden says Russia, the U.S., Ukraine and Europe should give OSCE more resources and authority to provide a neutral accounting of facts to avoid election myth-making.

“Ultimately, though, the ability to restore legitimate authority lies in the Kiev government’s hands,” Darden writes. “Kiev seems set on doing so through force of arms, but legitimacy does not grow from the barrel of a gun. It comes through fair elections. For them to be seen as fair, Kiev’s leaders must better incorporate the country’s south and east into the government before the voting begins. If they don’t, Russia might incorporate them first – at the point of its own guns.”

See: The War On Truth In Ukraine – The New York Times

U.S. Overtakes Russia As Oil & Gas Giant – WSJ/>/>

European Leaders Urge Obama To Export U.S. Natural Gas – The Guardian


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Spanish health worker to return after possible Ebola contagion
Madrid, Nov 21 (IANS) A Spanish health worker, associated with the "Doctors without Borders", (Medecins San Frontiers) will be flown back home from Mali, Friday after a possible Ebola contagion.
US military may extend anti-Ebola mission in West Africa
Washington, Nov 21 (IANS) The US military may extend its mission to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa beyond six months, if there was a surge of new cases.
Britain fastest growing G7 economy: OECD
London, Nov 21 (IANS) Britain has the fastest growing economy among the G7 group of developed nations, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported Thursday.
WhatsApp behind half of Italian divorce cases: Attorney group
Rome, Nov 20 (IANS) Almost half of the divorce cases in Italy rely at least in part on information gathered through the instant messaging service WhatsApp, according to the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Latest from the Network

Mark Wahlberg's wife compares him to Harry Styles
Mark Wahlberg's wife thinks he looks like an older Harry Styles. Rhea Durham - who has been married to the 'Ted' star since 2009 - is pleased he is cutting off his locks for charity so he doesn't resemble an older...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Beyonce 'rescued' sister's wedding
Beyonce Knowles ''rescued'' her sister's wedding. Solange tied the knot with videographer Alan Ferguson last Sunday (11.16.14) but the nuptials nearly resulted in a disaster when the 'Losing You' hitmaker reacted badly...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Spanish health worker to return after possible Ebola contagion
Madrid, Nov 21 (IANS) A Spanish health worker, associated with the "Doctors without Borders", (Medecins San Frontiers) will be flown back home from Mali, Friday after a possible Ebola contagion. According to the...
Read more on Business Balla
Jack Johnson Files for Bankruptcy
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has filed for bankruptcy.According to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch, Johnson has earned $18 million during his 10-year NHL career. However, almost all of it is...
Read more on Sport Balla
Reeves to star in Tarsem Singh's 'The Panopticon'?
Los Angeles, Nov 21 (IANS) Actor Keanu Reeves is said to be in negotiations to star in film "The Panopticon" under the direction of Tarsem Singh. "The Matrix" actor is in talks with Good Universe to take on the lead...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
US military may extend anti-Ebola mission in West Africa
Washington, Nov 21 (IANS) The US military may extend its mission to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa beyond six months, if there was a surge of new cases. "We have to be prepared for this to go longer than...
Read more on Business Balla
World must recognise threat of terrorism: Bashar al-Assad
Damascus, Nov 21 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that international acknowledgment of the threats of terrorism is one of the factors determining the future of the region. Addressing the members of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
Protests over missing students turn violent in Mexico
Mexico City, Nov 21 (IANS/EFE) Protests over the abduction and apparent killing of 43 students in Mexico turned violent Thursday, as protesters blocked roads and hurled crude bombs at the police. The protests happened...
Read more on Politics Balla
When Knightley feared being fired from 'Pirates ...'
Los Angeles, Nov 21 (IANS) Actress Keira Knightley says she feared being fired from the"Pirates of the Caribbean" film. Knightley took on the role of Elizabeth Swan in the movie, and it was the film that catapulted...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Committed to defend all our allies: NATO secretary-general
Riga, Nov 21 (IANS) NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Thursday said that the alliance is committed to protect every member country. Stoltenberg reiterated NATO's commitment following his meeting with Latvian...
Read more on Politics Balla