90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Ukraine's Challenge To American Foreign Policy

Ukraine’s hot, the Mideast is a mess.  Is this White House shrewdly realigning American foreign policy or frittering away its powers?

*With Guest Host Jessica Yellin.

Pro-Russian activists shout during a rally at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, as the makings of an improved self-appointed government began to take shape, with demonstrators dug in for their third day at the 11-storey regional administration headquarters. (AP)

Pro-Russian activists shout during a rally at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 8, 2014, as the makings of an improved self-appointed government began to take shape, with demonstrators dug in for their third day at the 11-story regional administration headquarters. (AP)

Tensions in Ukraine reach a new boiling point as pro-Russian activists storm government buildings. On the ground:  charges and denials of hostage taking. Ukraine’s leaders brawling in Parliament as Russia masses 40,000 troops near the border. It’s not playing well in Washington, where Senators blasted Secretary of State John Kerry – accusing him of failing at foreign policy. This is the new test case for the Obama administration and its make-nice foreign policy. This hour On Point: crisis in Ukraine, and America’s  leadership on the world stage.

Guests

Elise Labott, CNN foreign affairs reporter. (@eliselabottcnn)

Thomas Pickering, distinguished fellow with the Brookings Institution. Career ambassador and former ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel and Jordan.

Kori Schake, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Former senior policy adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign.

David Sanger, national security correspondent for the New York Times. Author of “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power.” (@SangerNYT)

From The Reading List

The Economist: Last-ditch bargaining — “Mr. Kerry, in any event, must be running out of ploys to keep the negotiations alive. Since last July he has reduced his sights first to a statement of principles, then to a ‘framework’ for talks, and most recently to a non-binding American paper. Even that now seems too much for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to stomach.”

The Guardian: Iran’s choice for UN ambassador threatens to derail nuclear talks — “Senior US lawmakers who accuse Aboutalebi of involvement in the siege are rallying around legislation to prevent him access to the UN headquarters. On Tuesday, in the wake of the Senate’s endorsement of a bill that effectively targeted Aboutalebi, and as a new round of nuclear negotiations was getting underway in Vienna, Iran stood by its nomination.”

Vox: A Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine just got more likely. Here’s why. — “Ever since Russian troops annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in mid-March, people have been worried that Russia could try to push into eastern Ukraine as well. Like Crimea, parts of eastern Ukraine are majority Russian-speaking and having historical ties to Russia, so it stood to reason they could be next. That didn’t immediately happen, but since Sunday it has very rapidly started to look more likely. Here’s why.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Oh bummer

    America’s ‘foreign policy’ under Obama is comparable to terrorism. Obama’s illegal drone strikes have killed scores of innocent people in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Obama is a war criminal who must be arrested and prosecuted for his war crimes.

    • Acnestes

      Yeah, yeah. I’ve got some drying paint I have to keep an eye on. . . .

    • Shag_Wevera

      I actually agree with you about drones. All presidents from both parties moving forward are going to use them until someone stops them. It just doesn’t logically work to make this an “Obama” thing. Are you really telling us that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld wouldn’t at least have done the same?

      • Oh bummer

        Bush / Cheney are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, they need to be held accountable as well for their war crimes in a court of law. American Presidents, cannot be allowed to kill innocent people, no matter what their intentions are.

        • northeaster17

          We need to elect people who do not view murder as a political tool. It’s that simple.

          • Oh bummer

            Agreed.

        • Shag_Wevera

          I suspect drone use will decline as more nations develop them.

        • Coastghost

          Well, look out, Bill Clinton, too, if we intend to be thorough about this: the illegal NATO aggression in Spring 1999 violated both the UN Charter and the NATO charter itself (insofar as NATO was constituted as a defensive alliance and insofar as Milosevic was threatening no NATO member state in March 1999).

          • Oh bummer

            Clinton nearly started WW3 when he (accidentally) bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

            The US is always careful to bomb nations that can’t strike back at the US.

    • nj_v2

      Try to stay on topic.

      • Oh bummer

        This is on topic, Obama’s foreign policy.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Let’s take on the 800lb gorilla here, shall we? What are we willing to do if Putin has Hitler-esque designs on his European neighbors? Are we ready, willing, and able to fight a third world war? Is Europe? Imagine how this American populace would respond to victory gardens and rationing cards. Could we match the greatest generation?

    • northeaster17

      A tough call but if it all is on the line I think we could. The wake up call would have to be a doozy

    • John Cedar

      When you say Hitler-esque, are you talking about death camps? Attacks on the Brits? Or like when “the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor”?
      If not, Putin is more Lincoln-esque, “saving the [USSR] Union” and fighting for the civil rights of “Russians” oppressed in the south. Using the same totalitarianism that Lincoln used in the civil war (or perhaps less, so far).

      Are we ready willing and able? How much oil does they have???

      • Shag_Wevera

        Hitler-esque meaning massive expansionism.

        • jefe68

          I think Khrushchev-esque makes more sense.

    • sickofthechit

      Those are the things (victory gardens, rationing cards) the cowards in the bush admin should have called for and did not.

  • William

    Putin remembers the glory days of Communism and wants to force them back onto his neighbors either by force or intimidation.

    • nj_v2

      Okay, then, let’s bomb him!

      What do you propose to be done?

      • William

        Stay out of it. Not our problem and let the EU deal with it.

        • sickofthechit

          WE made a promise to Ukraine that if they gave up their nuclear weapons we would protect them from aggression. End of story for me. charles a. bowsher

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Russia and the UK *also* signed that agreement – which was to respect their sovereignty.

            Russia broke their promise.

          • Art Herttua

            It is the US that was the aggressor, then Russia responded. Now the US continues the beligerance with 150 “blackwater” troops in Ukrainian uniforms.

    • brettearle

      Gross exaggeration.

      Typical Right-Wing knee-jerk response.

  • Cory

    using Vox now as our reading list?

  • Coastghost

    Is the US not obliged to repudiate “the Obama Doctrine” of US unilateralism? Apparently, Putin has no time for Obama’s declared willingness to violate national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
    Obama’s loose-lipped assertion of US unilateral intent in his 1 Aug 2007 Wilson Center address put the world on notice: why is anyone surprised that friends and foes, allies and adversaries around the world heard Obama’s unambiguous unilateralist declaration?
    It is up to Barack Obama himself to repudiate his self-professed doctrine, and if he won’t repudiate it publicly, the American public can repudiate Obama with impeachment for misfeasance or nonfeasance or some other impeachable offense like rank incompetence.

    • brettearle

      Are you actually suggesting that a position by the White House, which resulted in the elimination of Osama bin Laden, should result in an impeachable offense?

      • Coastghost

        I say that the policy implementation could well have been executed without Obama’s specific declaration of US intent under his Presidency.
        He was rebuked thusly by ALL of his rivals for the Democratic nomination in August 2007, including Biden and Clinton.
        That self-same public declaration is now undermining not only his Presidency but OUR national security, arguably.

        • brettearle

          Please quote from his address at the Wilson Center and also demonstrate, by
          citation [except for Right-Wing NutCakes like Beck or Coulter], where other pundits support this view you claim……

          ..of.a policy that resulted in the ELIMINATION of Osama bin Laden.

          Back up your claim….

          And please continue to ignore that Obama’s policy resulted in getting bin Laden–who was America’s number 1 public enemy.

          • Coastghost

            I rather doubt “Obama’s policy” was the efficient cause of the raid on Abbottabad.

            I don’t look to “other pundits” to support my view necessarily, certainly not on political matters.

            The Obama Doctrine is expressed fully in this one line from the Wilson Center address:

            “If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won’t act, we will.”
            Joe Biden understood that Obama’s declaration of unilateral intent, while it helped confer the appearance of testicular fortitude on Obama’s part, was a poor exercise in the conduct of US foreign policy: “You don’t telegraph that kind of thing”, Biden famously rebuked Obama publicly at the time: Obama’s declaration by rights should have deprived him of the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination, but we know what happened.

          • hennorama

            Coastghost — that sentence is not exactly new policy. It’s not like the US has ever been standoffish or skittish regarding the use of “actionable intelligence” when it comes to national security and “clear and present danger” on foreign soil.

            Saying it alound and in public is not exactly new either:

            “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.”

            -President George W. Bush, in his January 2004 State of the Union Address.

          • Coastghost

            hen: I have no doubt of US readiness and willingness to disregard national sovereignty and territorial integrity when perceived US interests are at stake.
            Obama’s assertion carried a specific specificity that Bush’s vague and general assertion does not come close to: the former is a specific policy declaration, the latter an expression of guiding principle.
            –or remind me if I missed it: did Sen. Joe Biden or Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. John Kerry rebuke Bush publicly for his assertion in Jan 2004?

          • brettearle

            Henn–

            Coastguard’s comments are Hamburger’s Helper.

  • Neil

    Is this audition week for failed Foxers????? I love the loaded questions…Is this a bumbling Obama foreign policy???

  • Oh bummer

    Obama has foolishly bought into the Neo-Con philosophy of world-wide American hegemony, that any nation that refuses to be subservient to Washington, must be isolated, broken, and have its govt. replaced with a govt. that will be subservient to Washington. This is the case in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Ukraine, and will soon be the case in Russia, China, and North Korea.

  • StilllHere

    A complete lack of engagement by Obama has given Putin free license to do whatever he wants. Where’s the reset button? Where’s the red line this week?

    • brettearle

      Oh, I see….

      Putin has already annexed all of the countries lost by the Soviet Union, after its dissolution.

      • StilllHere

        Could be the plan.

        • brettearle

          Your comment is yet another example of Right-Wing, knee-jerk paranoia.

          • StilllHere

            Yours is left-wing collaboration propaganda.

          • brettearle

            Your response, above, is pathological rationalization.

    • creaker

      Criticism followed by a complete lack of what should be done. Completely useless and cowardly but it does allows one to be critical regardless of what the other person has done without making yourself available for scrutiny.

      • StilllHere

        The opposite of what is being done.
        Let’s see if you live up to your own standard, I doubt it.

        • creaker

          I’ll be honest – I have no idea what should be done – I think engagement would lead to escalation, escalation will lead to eventually committing to real action. How far do we go down that road?

    • nj_v2

      For the answer, Obama just needs to look into Putin’s eyes.

      • StilllHere

        Apparently it was enough to earn Putin’s rspcet.

  • nj_v2

    The Republicons just can’t wait to start up some more warring. Just what are they proposing should be done?

    • brettearle

      Thank you. Well said.

    • dust truck

      “Something must be done!” “Yes, something must be done!” “Well, let’s not stand and talk!” “Let’s DO it!” “I’m so mad I could SPIT!”

    • nj_v2

      One can sense Ms. Schake just champing at the bit.

  • OnpointListener

    A correction to Ms. Labot’s statement about the “weak” response to Syria:

    Congress wanted President Obama to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Syria. When the President sought authorization, a breakthrough in negotiations with Assad occurred, resulting in Assad’s agreement to turn over chemical weapons.

    • sickofthechit

      I believe that when he asked for it, CONgress said no.

  • Oh bummer

    Bottom line, Ukraine wisely chose to remain close to its historical, cultural, and religious ally, Russia, and not join the EU so that they could become perpetual debt slaves like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland have become.

    Sorry Obama, the good people of Ukraine said NO to the neo-fascism you tried to export there.

    • sickofthechit

      It might have had a little to do with the $15 billion Putin offered and threats if they chose otherwise.

      • Oh bummer

        So you would rather see Ukraine ruled by a bunch of violent, neo-fascist thugs funded by the West?

        Your pro neo-fascist response has been noted.

  • creaker

    Anyone going to mention Putin resurrecting possible missile sales to Iran?

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    What about canceling/postponing the contract between Exxon and Russia’s oil company? It is one of the biggest contracts ever – that would get their attention.

    • brettearle

      Interfering with Energy interests could lead to unyielding escalation

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        It could be that if we do *anything* it could escalate – and if we do *nothing* it could escalate.

        It seems to me that putting a big financial hurt on Putin has a better chance of limiting him, than anything else. No good choices – just a bunch of relatively bad ones. Like it is in Syria, and North Korea, and Egypt, and Afghanistan, and …

        • brettearle

          I think Energy is a provocative measure, from Putin’s point of view.. Putin could well overreact to such an action.

          Fooling around with Energy has a blinkered History.

    • creaker

      Do you think Exxon would allow Washington to do that?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Corporations are creations of the government, so I don’t think they have a say. Corporations are required to act within the law – if they want to exist.

        • creaker

          Corporations have a big say – unless lobbyists are in Washington for no real reason for existing. Monsanto is a good example of being able to change the laws they have to act within.

        • sickofthechit

          Yeah right. Funniest comment of the day! thank you. charles a. bowsher

    • Art Herttua

      Do you really think Exxon would alow that?

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        What say does Exxon actually have?

        • Art Herttua

          Say, shut down a couple of refineries for routine maintenance, have an accident at some others, oil goes up$10 a barrell. Tell me Senator, what can you do for Exxon?

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            Look, Putin is a criminal, and he gave Rex Tillerson a medal as a “Friend of Russia”. You do business with a criminal who then breaks international law and an agreement they signed with Ukraine – and you may take a hit.

            Russia depends utterly on their oil revenue. The US president can stop or delay that contract.

          • hennorama

            Art Herttua — sorry, but that’s nonsense.

            Shutting a refinery might result in a price spike in the price for refined petroleum products, but not in the price of oil, which is only the raw material, and which would remain unconsumed and would not need to be purchased during the shutdown.

            In other words, the available supply of oil would either be unaffected or would increase, depending on where the refinery gets its oil supply. This would leave oil prices either unaffected or lower.

            Kinda simple.

          • Art Herttua

            Yes it is rather simple. Do a google search for: refineries shut down price effect. Sorry you didn’t understand my point, but I don’t think you want to.

          • hennorama

            Art Herttua — thank you for your response.

            Notably, you have not disputed that your original post is wrong about the effect of a refinery shutdown on the price of oil.

            Better luck next time.

          • Art Herttua

            Why can’t you do some researched before ridculing people? “Oil prices rose on Friday, led by gasoline futures following news of a major unit shutdown at an eastern Canadian refinery.”

            http://www.cnbc.com/id/100982718

          • hennorama

            Art Herttua — thank you for your response.

            If you feel ridiculed, that is unfortunate.

            However, you are in fact, wrong, which your own linked article helpfully points out:

            1. regarding oil prices:

            “Brent and U.S. crude found early support from positive U.S. manufacturing data and disruptions to Libyan exports. A short flurry in activity saw volume spike and crude prices jump 80 cents in the space of minutes.”

            Please note the absence of any mention of the refinery shutdown in the above.

            2. regarding prices of refined petroleum products:

            “Gasoline prices shot up after energy intelligence provider Genscape reported the shutdown of a 70,000 barrel per day (bpd) fluid catalytic cracking unit at Irving Oil’s 300,000 bpd St. John refinery in New Brunswick, Canada. The unit will be down for about a week, trade sources said.”

            Thanks again for your helpful response.

          • Art Herttua

            You are unbelieveable, “Please note the absence of any mention of the refinery shutdown in the above”

            The title of the article:

            Oil vaults on refinery shutdown, US oil settles above $106

          • hennorama

            Art Herttua — thank you for your response.

            You did read the article, right? Did you interpret it as saying that per barrel oil prices increased due to the refinery shutdown? If so, please lay out your logic.

            One supposes that you might not be a frequent consumer of financial news. The headline of the article refers to the “oil complex,” and the headline writers assume you understand that.

            Thanks again for your response.

  • Bigtruck

    It’s so nice that we have somebody in charge that has enough gray matter to know that violence, which will always there, should be a last resort. A person that is not so anxious to start a shooting war turning our children, not his, into hamburger so that he can direct business to his former company.

    We are Americans we are the best fighters and most powerful war machine the world has ever known. If we must fight lets go but as a last resort no first.

  • Oh bummer

    Putin doesn’t support al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, nor violent neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine,

    I wish the same could be said about Obama.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      No, he supports the violent, corrupt dictators.

      • Oh bummer

        True, Obama is pretty friendly with the Royal Saudi family, and the Emir of Kuwait.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          But no other US president was?

          • Oh bummer

            That doesn’t make it right either that Bush was holding hands with some Saudi prince.

          • sickofthechit

            That was no prince, that was the saudi king I believe.

          • Oh bummer

            Agreed, it was wrong of Bush to hold hands with the Saudi King,

            but Obama bowing to the Saudi King was even worse, by bowing, Obama was indicating that his subservience was to a foreign head of state.

            That seems treasonous to me.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            What *are* you on about?

          • Oh bummer

            You didn’t see Obama bow to the King of Saudi Arabia?

          • StilllHere

            It’s a Muslim thing, you wouldn’t understand.

          • Oh bummer

            Thanks, got it.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            You mean he did the formally polite thing in public to the sovereign head of a nation?

          • Steve__T

            What did you think of Bush’s painting of “his friend” Putin? or was it an invisible cat….

    • Human898

      Mr. Obama, at Mr. McCain’s request, could copy Mr. Putin and send in the troops. Good “solution”! It would be a short and minor intervention, right? How much has Iraq and Afghanistan cost us? This will be cheaper, right, in lives and dollars. Your wallet is open and your life available for expenditure?

      • Oh bummer

        Secretary of State, John (Skull and Bones) Kerry admitted the US was supporting Al-Qaeda in Syria, as well as neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine. Your President is a war criminal.

        • Human898

          Your solution? Complain about doing nothing in Syria, then complain when something is done because Al-Qaeda doesn’t like al-Assad anymore than the numerous other factions and they end up partaking in support for all those fighting al-Assad as well as one another?

          • Oh bummer

            Assad is no angel, but I’ll take Assad over al-Qaeda any day.

            Question, if the US is at war with al-Qaeda, and the Obama Administration is supporting al-Qaeda, isn’t the Obama Administration breaking federal law by aiding the enemy?

          • Human898

            Perhaps you should read more history, specifically about what the U.S. was doing in Afghanistan when the Soviets were there in the 1980′s and who they were supporting, relative to who we’ve been fighting there. Also, look into Iran, in 1953 as well as Iran-Contra. Look into exactly how al-Qaeda was “supported” in Syria and ask yourself how al-Assad is preferable to you. Is it because he’d use chemical weapons on you instead of blowing you up or hijacking our own aircraft?

          • Human898

            Was the U.S. breaking federal law by selling arms to Iran, to arm the Contras? How about supporting Mujahideen in a war we claimed neutrality about (Afghan/Soviet)?
            When Kerry “admitted” we were “supporting” al-Qaeda, what exactly did he mean? We had a written contractual agreement with them? We handed cash over to people who had introduced themselves as members of al-Qaeda or by aiding and supporting some factions of those fighting al-Assad we inadvertently and indirectly also ended up aiding al-Qaeda (and that is the crux of the dilemma and conundrum about what to do about Syria) because they were unavoidably in the mix of the many factions fighting al-Assad? Would you suggest we sign-on to support al-Assad because he’s fighting al-Qaeda? What’s your advice and solution for how to handle the solution? How do you believe it will receive any less criticism from others than you’re offering of Kerry? Can you articulate that?

        • anamaria23

          Please reference Sec Kerry’s admissions.

  • William

    It would be so nice if John McCain would just retire and go away forever.

    • nj_v2

      It would give him more time to host Saturday Night Live.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why should Kerry placate McCain? He has never found an international incident that he hasn’t thought should be resolved with sending in the military.

  • http://www.CayerComputing.com/ Melissa A. Cayer

    May I suggest a joint yoga session. Negotiate while doing yoga.

  • Oh bummer

    Why did the Obama Administration give $5 billion to violent neo-fascist thugs in Ukraine to overthrow the democratically elected, internationally recognized govt. in Kiev, when the US infrastructure is crumbling?

    Apparently Obama didn’t get the memo that Detroit declared bankruptcy, and benefits to US vets are being cut.

    • anamaria23

      5 billion spent since 1992.
      Congress, not “Obama” is responsible for cuts to veterans and the Repub House recently balked at new veteran benefit legislation.

      • Oh bummer

        The Obama Administration did send $5 billion to help neo-fascist thugs take control in Ukraine (they even admitted it), and the cuts in benefits to US vets could not have been made without Obama’s approval.

        • Human898

          Who keeps whining about too much government spending? Then whines when government spending is cut?

          • Oh bummer

            Definitely not Obama, he’s added $7 trillion to the national debt in only five years.

          • Human898

            You of course subtracted from that the amount that was committed from the Bush administration and the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan? And you’re suggesting we move more toward military intervention than peaceful solutions? That’s sure to cut the national debt, no?

          • Oh bummer

            ‘We’ll show the world how tough we are’.

            What’s Obama going to do, order more drone strikes on some innocent civilians in Afghanistan?

        • anamaria23

          Please reference the 5 billion dollar amount. I could not find that info anywhere.

          • jefe68

            That’s because this bloke comes on this forum to fill it with misinformation and rants.

          • Oh bummer

            Misinformation? What part of Obama’s illegal drone strikes is misinformation?

            You’re just to ignorant to admit that your President, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize, is responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians with his illegal drone strikes.

          • Oh bummer

            Misinformation? You’re obviously talking about all the pro-Obama propaganda you keep spewing out.

          • hennorama

            anamaria23 — you cannot find it because it doesn’t exist.

      • hennorama

        anamaria23 — the individual to whom you responded appears to be obsessed, so no amount of evidence will convince him that what he types is nonsense.

        I’ve coined an acronym for him: DIRT

        Determinedly Ignorant Real Truther.

        • anamaria23

          His devotion to Mr. Putin is odd considering that were his posts directed at the leader of Russia in Russia, they would not see the light of day and would perhaps land him in “jail”.

          • Oh bummer

            Your President is going to be doing jail time for his illegal drone attacks which have killed innocent people in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

            Would you like to join Obama in the brig?
            Misery enjoys company.

          • JS

            If not American, what country are you from? Just curious.

          • notafeminista

            Same one all the folks were when the shoe was on the other foot. (Anyone remember the “I apologize” campaign after former President Bush was re-elected?)
            Leftists have short memories.

          • keltcrusader

            we could only hope

          • Oh bummer

            No, I’m positive that Obama will be arrested and prosecuted for his illegal drone strikes, which is a war crime.

        • Oh bummer

          For once I agree with you bird-brain,
          there’s a lot of ‘dirt ‘ out there to prove that your President, Obama, is a war criminal, who must be impeached, arrested, and prosecuted for his war crimes.

          • Oh bummer

            The above comment is for Henorama, who made a comment, and then ‘chickened-out’, (deleted the comment).

          • hennorama

            Oh, number and less-credible than Joe the Plumber — your record of inaccuracy, to be as polite as possible, continues unabated.

            As you can see, a “deleted” post isn’t actually deleted.

            No one will be interrupting normal respiration waiting for you to correct your nonsense.

  • M S

    Seems to me to that Obama is just short of actively promoting lawlessness both domestically and internationally.

    • Human898

      What would he have to do to step over that line? Send in troops? To do what? Promote “peace” in the same way Russian troops might?

  • Human898

    I find it interesting Mr. McCain thinks it’s OK to be “tough” with other people’s lives. Vietnam was an internal affair they we decided we needed to “get tough” over and it resulted in what, that was not likely to occur in anycase, perhaps without the loss of 60,000 American lives? How is U.S. intervention any worse that Russian intervention?

  • Oh bummer

    How ironic, a former KGB agent now supports freedom and democracy, and a former community organizer supports illegal drone strikes, al-Qaeda, and neo-fascists. The world has turned upside down.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      Putin “supports freedom” as much as any dictator. You seem to believe whatever Putin says.

      • Oh bummer

        Putin abided by the referendum, Crimea decided to rejoin Russia. It doesn’t get much more democratic than that.

        • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

          It was a ‘show’ referendum and it was pumped up by propaganda. Who knows what an actual vote result would have been?

          Putin had bought off the “elected” leader who fled to Russia.

          • Oh bummer

            The Russian majority that live there saw it differently and had no desire to be ruled over by the violent, neo-fascist thugs Obama, Kerry, and Nuland were openly supporting in Crimea, and throughout the Ukraine.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            They believed the propaganda from the Kremlin.

          • Oh bummer

            Being surrounded by neo-fascists who are threatening to kill ethnic Russians is propaganda?

            It sounds like you’ve bought the propaganda, Obama’s

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            There were many different groups of people in the Kiev protests. It was government forces backed by Putin that were actually shooting people in Maidan Square – and killing some of them.

            The leader of Ukraine was corrupt and a thug and Putin was propping him up.

          • Oh bummer

            The leader of the Ukraine had agreed to early elections, he most likely would have been voted out of office.

            Unfortunately Obama, Kerry, and Nuland couldn’t wait for the early elections and decided to act.

    • nj_v2

      Apologia for Putin looks so good on you.

      • Oh bummer

        You can write sympathy cards to Obama when he’s being tried for his war crimes.

        • StilllHere

          He writes sympathy cards for Obama now.

          • Oh bummer

            LOL! Thanks for the laugh.

          • nj_v2

            How cute! A convention of the Clueless Club.

    • jimino

      And the so-called conservatives are rootin’ for the commies. Yes, I’d say things have changed.

      • Oh bummer

        That’s what happens when you have a war criminal (Obama) occupying the Oval Office.

  • Coastghost

    Kerry is scary, so is our Nobel Peace laureate: with these two steering the ship of state, war with someone sounds likely if not inevitable.

    • Human898

      I hope you’re in the military and if not, plan to sign up today and check the box like Mr. Kerry did when Vietnam was being fought, to go where the bullets were. Apparently you would prefer John McCain at the helm? He has no designs on war with Russia?

      • Coastghost

        John Kerry’s “reporting for duty” at the Democratic Convention in 2004 hardly inspires confidence in his sage leadership. He sounded like Dukakis looked with his helmeted ride in an armored vehicle, and Obama’s Wilson Center address reverberates with their echoes.
        Chuck Hegel served in Vietnam, too, but his leadership at the Defense Dept. seems to regularly rankle the Pentagon and serving members of our armed forces.

        • Human898

          You’re trying to say what? McCain is more inspiring because he’s lost two presidential elections, divorced his wife when he came home from being a POW to find she had been crippled in a car accident and was as injured or more injured than he? Is it because McCain wants to get into yet one more military intervention with money he says the government spends too much of and by volunteering lives of others?

          • Coastghost

            I’m saying service in Vietnam is no guarantee of present-day competency in adjudging diplomatic, military, intelligence, and security issues.
            I also say that having a Nobel Peace laureate in the White House is an invitation to miscalculation, and Obama seems to have an actual talent for inviting miscalculations, of which Putin’s efforts in Crimea and Ukraine are but the latest example.

          • Human898

            You’re saying your posting on this board makes you the only person in the world to have credible criticisms for all your lack of any, moreover, viable solutions? Your “competency” and “credentials” are proven and measured by what?

          • Coastghost

            No, but you just did.

          • Human898

            You haven’t offered much of anything, but criticism and the suggestion that ‘just because, doesn’t mean’ someone else’s suggestions have any meaning. If we take your advice and “logic”, should we apply it to your criticisms and lack of any solutions?

          • Coastghost

            No, I’ve offered the specific recommendation that President Obama publicly repudiate his declaration of 1 Aug 2007, since his assertion of US unilateralism under his Presidency has clearly compromised his and Kerry’s blather about “respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity”, and in the absence of his public repudiation of his public declaration, impeach the Nobel Peace laureate for misfeasance or nonfeasance and/or rank incompetence.

          • Human898

            Do you ever apply your own recommendations to yourself? If so, good. If not, perhaps it is worth a try. You might also come up with some articulation of how you might do better and what exactly you are referring to when you have decided any action the President has taken has truly been unilateral by his actions that could be defined solely as his, not as ones that were begun previously. I hear criticism, but no alternative solutions and articulation of how they would be more effective and examples or proof of how, You may also take that “as you see fit”.

          • Coastghost

            Self-recommendations of this sort (“Self, don’t unilaterally issue any expressions of unilateralism with respect to the conduct of US foreign policy”) would be inappropriate, to say the least.
            The mechanics for the raid on Abbottabad were in place well before Obama’s first election, all he did was green light the SEALs to proceed to target as and after the intelligence was duly processed.
            No one made Obama deliver his Wilson Center address except perhaps his political advisors.
            I continue to assert that the Obama Doctrine as he has enunciated it is undermining both his Presidency and risks imperiling US national security and diplomatic efforts. You disagree? You get no complaint from me.
            If I knew of a sure way to undo the Presidential election outcomes of 2008 and 2012, I would have spent time on that instead of posting anything here, believe you me. (I did not vote for Obama either time.)

    • HonestDebate1

      Israel said they are “deeply disappointed” in Kerry’s poof speech.

    • StilllHere

      Somebody needs to look strong for their tattered legacy or before a presidential run.

  • sickofthechit

    Please spare me from the “insights” of a forrmer John (“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran”) McCain operative. Until our Senator’s are willing to institute a nationwide draft that excludes no “privileged’ son nor allows cowards like Cheney to avoid service their input should have no place in deciding if we go to war. That is up to our Commander in Chief, currently Barrack H. Obama to decide and the Senate to confirm. May cooler heads than John McCain’s prevail. charles a. bowsher

  • kivenaberham

    free country use “monroe doctrine” invade a country and set up a military base and torture camps ( cuba ) to protect “free” countries ( anglo colonialist countries- include japan ). but the evil russian, well they are just invader. after all john McCain / REPOOPblican PARTY help get over 4000 American soldiers kill for 2 gas station ( kuwait and saudi arabia ) that is pretending to be countries. and more blood and more American treasure for a lost cost.
    i say YES!!! more war!!!! more weakling of American stand for a useless cause. VOTE REPOOPblican!

  • sickofthechit

    What does Sarah Palin see from her porch? Does anyone know?

    • brettearle

      Cross-Hairs

    • HonestDebate1

      She saw Russia taking Crimea years ago.

    • StilllHere

      Apparently more than Obama sees from his golf course.

  • HonestDebate1

    Evidently there are but two choices as reflected in these comments. Either Putin takes what he wants at will or we start WWIII.

  • Oh bummer

    The Ukraine ‘crisis’ is much ado about nothing. Former Soviet states are moving closer to their historical partner, Russia, primarily for economic reasons.

    What’s the alternative? Join the EU and become a perpetual debt-slave and end up like Greece?

    • Human898

      I agree here, the problem seems to be all those who seem to think there is no internal strife in the Ukraine and it is all Russia wanting to take the Ukraine back and that we should enter into a new military conflict with Russia and claims that Mr. Obama is a weakling if we don’t, a war monger if we do. What would you do? Are any people in the world allowed to choose their own destinies anymore without their neighbors having to approve of what they choose? Russia, sharing a border with its former state has an interest seeing some peace in the Ukraine and not have an internal civil war spill over. Certainly Russia would like to see the Ukraine do more business with it than others. Would the U.S. prefer its neighbors to buy their goods and services from the U.S. or some other nation, would the U.S. not be concerned about internal strife in a bordering nation (or not bordering one) that threatened oil imports or exports or other major trade? I’m not sure what the solution is, but to promote and support “the people” of the Ukraine decide for themselves and others, including us, keep out of it. I’m not sure how we become any less the heavyweight than Russia if we, for all intents and purposes act like Russia, only from the opposite angle. Putin should be intelligent enough, not just to know, but to remember that suppression didn’t work to “keep” territory when his nation was called the USSR and won’t work now and we should know that intervening in the internal affairs of other nations proves to be unproductive, but for defense contractors, undertakers and long term healthcare for the wounded.

      • Oh bummer

        Excellent post.

  • tbphkm33

    … and here we have Paul Ryan, along with the Republican “leadership” visiting Ukraine…

    • brettearle

      If it weren’t so satiric, I’d be reprimanding you for using tactics, more often employed by our political adversaries.

      • HonestDebate1

        Except that you don’t typically see this sort of thing from the right. We tend to prefer honest debate.

        • jefe68

          Yeah, honest debate, oh brother, what a laugh fest…

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoR731Sq_ns

          • brettearle

            Hope That Isn’t All Folks

          • HonestDebate1

            I doubt very seriously that is all we will see of gratuitous nastiness with no merit. I just don’t see the purpose.

          • HonestDebate1

            You do realize you just proved my point, right?

    • StilllHere

      Really, looks like Barry, Joe and their wives and daughters in their Burkas.

  • Human898

    Didn’t we go through much of this not long ago in the Republic of Georgia with regard to South Osettia, but without all the criticism about not going to war with Russia over it?

  • Oh bummer

    The Obama Administration has admitted to funding neo-fascists in Ukraine ($5 billion), as well as supporting Al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria. You can’t forget about Obama’s deadly drone strikes.

    It’s not my fault that your President is war criminal.

  • Oh bummer

    The fact that the Ukrainian army has failed to recognize the legitimacy of the neo-fascist thugs that Obama, Kerry, and Nuland helped to install in Kiev, proves that Obama’s misadventure in Ukraine, failed.

  • gslouch

    Wait a minute! One thing the conservative female on the show forgot to mention is that we’re just getting out of two messy, long wars initiated by the knucklehead W! I want my president to be very cautious about involving the U.S. in another armed conflict. If I hear the word feckless one more time I’m gonna scream. Our president is doing just fine. What the heck do these people want him to do! Who went after Osama? Who sent more troops to Afghanistan! Give me a friggin break! The party of “No” isn’t happy unless they re bashing the president.. Knuckleheads all of you!!

  • LetsGetReal

    NPR, reflecting the rest of the US mainstream media, continues its unbroken run of only allowing anti Russia punditry on the air.

    • Oh bummer

      Excellent observation on your part, two reasons for that:

      -Most of the America MSM is infested with liberals who are supportive of Obama’s big-government, nanny-state, NSA is watching you, direction for America.

      - The FCC controls ALL communication in the US, in other words, ‘don’t report the truth’, just report the governments ‘version’ of the truth.

      Thank God for the foreign press corps, (RT in particular) which the FCC cannot control.

      • LetsGetReal

        Except that most and the more extreme saber rattling seems to be coming from where it usually does: the right. Not because it’s appropriate, sensible or responsible, it’s none of those, but because it’s an opportunity not to be missed to yet again discredit the president – this time for not getting involved more rigorously. In Libya he got panned for getting too involved.

        RT – Russia’s Fox TV. Just (a lot) more sophisticated – not a stretch.

  • Jim Surkamp

    all these discussions are simplisitc – when we send an army to vietnam, iraq, afghan – far from home – inevitably the country THERE will eventually prevail. as they say they have the time, we have only the clock. to hear these youngish hard-hitting “pundits.”

  • CAYdenberg

    You can say what you want about George W, but he would not have stood for Putin’s aggression. He would have carpet bombed Saskatchewan by now.

    • twntrs

      You might have meant Alaska – once owned by Russia and from whence Russia can even be seen (on a clear day) according to the vice presidential candidate chosen by the nation’s leading sabre rattler in residence.

    • James Nicholson

      In response let me say this. With what you said comparing George W to the 2014 Administration. This might seem moot or you might question it, but look at even the way an Online Story is presented..O.K. this Ukranian crisis, the lead-up to the situation now. The pictures, the vivid pictures of the Euromaidan peaceful protests ‘occupys’..to the molotov red nights and Police with shields. It’s like the pic above that goes with this On point story. This high-megabite vivid action pic. Which, you can read into it what you like. You can even say it makes 1/2 the story or influences it. Totally influences it __ Tho this ‘Show’ talks about Obama foreign policy..getting a thumbs down..lets just look at Ukraine & Ukraine only. Since late November, people occupying the Maidan. But going back to early ’90′s..post Soviet split..it’s ‘Allways’ been a country 1/2 in favor of Europe, 1/2 Russia. 10 years ago how did the Ukraines in Crimea identify? A strong Russian identification. The action in November & since..have been going on in Kiev. The Molotovs, nail grenades? The Euromadan. Why would people think that actions such as that would be attractive? Attractive to people in Crimea? Ukraine has had Billionare Oligarchs ‘just like in Russia’. But anyway, The Kiev Parliment keeps turning over & over. Russian troops march on their side of the boarder..and with the motion, Crimea wants to be part of Russia. 20 years ago they had a 90% identification..10 years ago? 90% identification. Eastern Ukraine? Strong Russian identification. So….who would we be liberating them from? For 20 years Ukraine has been Russia-lite. Billionare Oligarchs, corruption. And some political drama which makes it look romantic. It’s a country that can be rescued maybe. But only 1/2 of it.

      • CAYdenberg

        Is that YOU, Mr. Bush?

        Oh, sorry, James, your command of language and clarity of argument reminded me of someone there for a moment.

  • http://hammernews.com/ hammermann

    Here’s a long article that says that Ukraine’s new Gov isn’t up to the task, but Putin has probably provoked his ultimate overthrow that this invasion was designed to prevent.
    http://voices.yahoo.com/imperial-stretch-putins-crimean-invasion-12588480.html?cat=9

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
2 Comments