[guest post by Dana]
I’m going to open a fresh thread on the Russia-Ukraine situation. Things are pretty fluid right now. Journalist Dimitri Alexander Simes sums up Putin’s demands:
Putin lays out three conditions for normalizing relations between Russia and Ukraine. They are:
1. Ukraine recognizes Crimea as part of Russia
2. Ukraine renounces NATO aspirations and pledges neutrality
3. “Demilitarization of Ukraine”
Mitch McConnell responds to the ongoing crisis with a level head:
“Through his rhetoric and actions, Vladimir Putin has turned his back on the Minsk process and diplomacy in favor of escalation and invasion of a sovereign country.
“Every indication suggests these actions will almost certainly be used as a prelude to even further aggression and an even larger invasion. If that occurs, many Ukrainians could die. The humanitarian consequences could be catastrophic. And the threat will not stop with Ukraine. All the free nations of the world will be affected if Putin’s aggression is allowed to stand unchallenged.
“The world is watching. Our allies, our adversaries, and neutral countries will all judge the West by our response — and plan their futures accordingly.
“As he escalates his war against Ukraine, Putin must be made to pay a far heavier price than he paid for his previous invasions of Georgia and Ukraine. This should begin, but not end, with devastating sanctions against the Kremlin and its enablers. The President should waste no time in using his extensive existing authorities to impose these costs.
“Our NATO and EU allies must likewise take action to impose significant costs on Putin. Germany’s suspension of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a welcome but overdue announcement and must be turned into permanent cancellation.
“We must also stand by the brave Ukrainians fighting to protect their sovereignty. The United States and all friends of Ukraine must ensure a pipeline of support, including arms, flows to Ukrainians resisting Russian aggression.
“We must also shore up NATO’s defenses along its eastern flank and make clear that aggression against NATO countries will be met with an overwhelming collective response.
“Finally, the United States and our allies across the world must fully acknowledge the growing threats posed by decades of Chinese and Russian military modernization. We need to rebuild our atrophied ability to deter and defend against aggression by these adversaries. That means we must invest more robustly in our own military capabilities to keep pace. Our budgets have to reflect reality.
Prior to President Biden addressing the Russia situation today, the White House called Russia’s actions an “invasion”:
[T]he White House signaled it considers Moscow’s actions in Ukraine to be an invasion. A US official noted a “severe response” is in the works.
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday recieved authorization from the upper chamber of parliament to use Russian troops outside of the country. He told reporters this was necessary to formalize the military’s deployment in two rebel regions of eastern Ukraine, which Russia recognized as independent on M+onday.
The White House called the provocations an invasion of Ukraine.
“I am calling it an invasion,” deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told CNN. He said, “sanctions on Russia will be rolling out in a matter of hours.”
And just now:
President Biden: "This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine…so I am going to begin to impose sanctions in response." pic.twitter.com/OZjeHMa7b1
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 22, 2022
Hey, Barack Obama . . .2012 called, and it wants Mitt Romney back.
Others are admitting that Romney was right:
At the time, the attack worked. Obama cast himself as the candidate who understood the current threats — led by al Qaeda. Romney was the candidate still stuck in the Cold War age, a black-and-white figure in a colorful — and complex — world.
But today, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, Romney’s comments look very, very different. And by “different,” I mean “right,” as even some Democrats are now acknowledging.
“This action by Putin further confirms that Mitt Romney was right when he called Russia the number one geopolitical foe,” California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said on CNN Monday night.
What looked like a major flub during the 2012 campaign — and was used as a political cudgel by Obama — now looks very, very different. It should serve as a reminder that history is not written in the moment — and that what something looks like in that moment is not a guarantee of what it will always look like.