For John, BLUF: A lot of potential down-side. Nothing to see here; just move along.
If the President, our President, wishes to send a message to President Vladimir Putin of Russia then he ought to do two things. First is promptly approve the Keystone Pipeline. The second is push for more fracking.
Why you may well ask? I expect that President Putin thinks he has Europe on a short leash due to all the oil and gas agreements that bind Europe to Russia over energy. The degree to which the United States can make up shortfalls will be important as this imbroglio goes forward. An early announcement that seems to run contrary to President Obama's expected position will be seen as a signal that the Ukraine Crisis has moved up in importance.
Now to a review of the news:
From The Daily Beast we have this headline—"Crimea Is Gone—What Does NATO Do Next?" The subheadline is "On the centenary of World War I, Europe's suddenly facing a crisis of Russian aggression. Why NATO must make a show of strength and reassure its Eastern members." And the lede and next two paragraphs.
Ever since Russia’s not-so-stealthy invasion of the Crimea in Ukraine at the end of the week, rhetoric has rung out in Washington and in Europe like a call to arms. Except that it’s not—or not yet.Here is a summary from Agency France-Presse. It has a nice chart and it raises the issue of "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P).
“There will be costs,” said President Barack Obama. Secretary of State John Kerry upped the ante, condemning “the invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory.” NATO called an emergency meeting on Sunday to address “Russia’s military action in Ukraine. And because of [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin’s threats against this sovereign nation.”
The Russian parliament meanwhile approved use of Russian troops throughout Ukraine, if Putin decides to do that. And the panicky interim prime minister in Kiev responded, “This is the red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war [against] my country.”
Putin said it was his duty to protect ethnic Russians in Crimea and southeastern swathes of Ukraine that have ancient ties to Moscow and look on Kiev's new pro-EU leaders with disdain.Another little tidbit is the Budapest Memorandum, in which the Western nations agreed to provide guarantees to Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. If Ukraine gets crushed, especially without a response from the West, NOONE will ever again give up their nuclear weapons or potential for nuclear weapons. This one is a no brainer.
Russian officials also argued they had no need to ask the UN Security Council for permission -- as Putin had demanded for any Western action in Syria -- because the wellbeing of their own citizens was at stake.
And here is a good question from a blog at Georgetown University, "Has Russia Begun Offensive Cyberspace Operations in Crimea?" If there is cyber activity it is likely to include some efforts to mess with Western Europe and the US, so expect the Internet to be running a little slow in the days ahead.
In summary, this situation could put "defense cuts" in a whole new light. And might be a way, albeit a bad way, to evaluate Keynesian Economics.
Regards — Cliff