Ukraine: Obama Learned Nothing From History




It seems that the Obama Administration learned nothing from the Bush blunder in the 2008 Georgian War.

Like some schoolyard provocateur, the Bush administration encouraged the Georgians to poke Russia in the eye. We then stood by as the Russians crushed Georgia like a jelly donut because there was nothing else we could do.  That was a repeat of earlier scenarios in Poland in 1953 and Hungary in 1956.  We got the locals all juiced up and then realized we could do nothing to sustain their uprising.

Once again, we have encouraged a Russian border state—this time the Ukraine—to threaten the Russian sphere of influence.  Once again, the locals will be crushed like a bear stepping on a cheese blintz.

Yet the Russians are doing nothing different than we have done for 200 years.

In 1812 we invaded Canada in a failed attempt to drive out the British. Since the time of the Monroe Doctrine (1823) we have openly claimed a Sphere of Influence for the Western Hemisphere.  In the name of that Doctrine we have overthrown elected (e.g. Chile 1973, Guatemala 1953) and unelected governments to numerous to list. The Congressional Research Service counted 234 military actions between 1798 and 1993. It involves in excess of 70 countries.

At this very moment we are attempting to overthrow the government of Venezuela even though it was duly elected.

Not content with the Western Hemisphere, in 1953 we overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran.

This year we supported the mob actions in the Ukraine in 2014 that overthrew the corrupt government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych even though it was democratically elected.

Whether it is true or untrue, whether you believe it or not, Russian President Vladimir Putin sees the events in the Ukraine as a test run for an American strategy that could ultimately put him in the same crosshairs as Yanukovych.

More importantly, Russians see this as a threat to Russian sovereignty and security.

The European wars of the 20th century left tens of millions of dead Russians.  Russian paranoia is not without some basis in fact.  It was the reason that they demanded and got domination of Eastern Europe in 1945.   It was recognition of a Russian necessity.

Russia will never accept a border nation that is aligned with the West.  This is their version of the Cuban Missile Crisis with Putin playing the part of JFK.   The Russian people are rallying around Putin at a rate of 99 to 1.  I suspect that even the women in Pussy Riot are aboard.

The Ukies are about to get squashed.

22 Responses to “Ukraine: Obama Learned Nothing From History”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Samis accurate. We need to stay out of the Ukraine. Until the 1950s, Crimea was part of Russia. We have no business there at all.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:


  3. Michell Rubinstein says:

    Once again the POTUS threatens Putin but has nothing more than a strained bark to push forward. Why threaten if your not going to move forward with your threats. How many red lines are you going to draw?The cat is out of the bag with respect to Putin. Its agreed there are many talking points with our allies that need to be discussed and agreed upon before action is taken, whatever action that may be. Just do it!

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    1) It’s “Ukraine” – absolutely not “the Ukraine” (that was the title of the old captive republic of the now-disintegrated Soviet Union).

    2) Russia already has a border nation that’s aligned with the West. The United States has a northwestern border (the western part of Alaska) with Russia. Cape Dezhneva and Cape Nunyamo of Russia are and have long been neighbors with Cape Lowenstern and Point Spencer of USA.

    3) Russia shares a border with Norway too – and like the United States, Norway is a member of NATO.

    4) Russia also shares a border with Japan, which is not a NATO member but has a “Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security” with the United States (in effect since 1952) which is effectively a mini-NATO binding Japan and the United States together as the joint military defenders of the entire territory of both nations.

    5) Nothing happening in Ukraine constitutes any kind of threat to Russian sovereignty or security.

    6) Ukraine is a sovereign country, and Russia is violating its own treaty obligations – as well as international law – by interfering with the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to replace their government (please refer to the wise words of Thomas Jefferson on this subject, written most clearly in the United States Declaration of Independence).

  5. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:

    Plan B.

    Send George W. Bush over there, let him and Putin have a stare-down contest.

    I mean, you know, George is really good at eyeballing the Ruskies.

  6. Wayne Arnold says:

    Mr. Fields, your column is well written. Hope, logic and the history of the region will rule the day at the White House.

  7. Sam The Sham says:

    There is little that Chicken Kiev Obama can do in that theater. Not to say that he can do nothing there, but his options are limited. His options in the Western Hemisphere are very much open, especially considering the Russian Navy’s recent dockings and bases they are trying to set up.

    Obama missed that National Security Meeting on the Ukraine. It does not matter what his advisors have in mind because Chicken Kiev already knows exactly what he will do….nothing.

  8. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Ha

    The only only year round naval base for Russia in Europe is in the Crimea. Unlike Gitmo, this actually is a strategic interest for Russia.

    The Russians spent hundreds of years to secure that base. Do you think they are going to allow the Ukraine to take it away.

    The funny thing is that it was Khrushchev who attached it to the Ukraine after WWII. At the time I am sure he never imagined an independent Ukraine which, after-all, had been part of Russia since the Middle Ages.

  9. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Sam Fields flunks geography yet again!

    Russia itself borders the Black Sea. There is enough Russian coast on the Black Sea for literally hundreds of naval bases. From Vityazevo to Vesloyoye alone is 230 miles, and that’s not even counting the much, much longer Russian coastline along the Sea of Azov – which connects directly to the Black Sea via the Strait of Kerch.

    Russia can very, very easily replace Sevastapol with Black Sea naval bases on Russian soil. Your claim that Sevastapol is some kind of crucial asset is simply preposterous.

  10. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    It is time to put Putin in his place. He is invading a soverign nation. The other UN nations France, Germany, the Brits, etc will back us. Let him hunt tigers, bears, w/ his shirt off. Oh no we must protect the Ukranians. Get out Putin. If he kills one person over there, we must stop him. The President must act……

  11. SAM FIELDS says:

    Maybe you should send Putin a letter advising him that he should accept negating more than 500 years of Russian interests by moving the Black Sea fleet to Rostov in the Sea of Azov.

    Mediterranean Sea access is difficult enough with the Dardanelles thru Turkey. The
    Straits of Kerch narrows to as little as 2.8 miles which is the distance from downtown Fort Lauderdale to U.S.1 and I 595.

    Imagine what would happen if a President agreed to bottle up our Navy like that? Does impeachment sound about right.

    I have not even gone into the Crimean commercial considerations for the Russians or the fact that the majority of the population is Russian and not Ukrainian.

    After hundreds of years, the Russians finally secured a year around warm water port in the 18th century. They spent the next 200 years protecting it (e.g. the Crimean War.

    I am sure you can show Putin how this was all unnecessary.

  12. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    When “W” said he looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul, he mistook a black KGB hole for the soul.

    And Obama’s no better. We’re weak and sinking worldwide, with no influence of much importance. 2016 is so far off.

    Oh,John Kerry will fix it? Ya’ think?

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Rostov is YOUR suggestion to Putin, Sam; mine was to use the 230 miles of Russian coastline that is directly on the Black Sea, which for the most part is south of Sevastopol and thus even warmer than the existing Crimea location.

    I pointed out the Sea of Azov only as an available backup, just in case Russia needs to build more naval bases than the 230 miles of Black Sea coastline could support.

    All naval vessels in the Black Sea, including the entire Russian Sevastopol group, are “bottled up” inside the Black Sea already – the only path to the Mediterranean is a very narrow passage through Istanbul, Turkey into the Sea of Marmara, followed by another narrow passage through Gallipoli and Canakkale (all also in Turkey) into the Mediterranean. Turkey is of course a NATO member, very well-equipped with extensive area denial capabilities, and it has been NATO strategy for many decades to bottle up Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the Black Sea if military conflict occurs.

    Crimean commercial considerations involve foreign trade, not Russian military invasion.

    The majority of the Crimean population speaks Russian, as is the case in much of southern and eastern Ukraine, and in Crimea 58% are ethnically Russian – and this is because Josef Stalin committed genocide against Ukrainians by forcing 238,000 Crimean Tatars out of Crimea and into Russian gulags (prison camps), where half of them promptly died.

    On 18 May 1944, the entire population of the Crimean Tatars was forcibly deported in the “Sürgün” (Turkish (Crimean Tatar) for exile) to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet government… An estimated 46% of the deportees died from hunger and disease. On 26 June of the same year, the Armenian, Bulgarian, and Greek population was also deported to Central Asia. By the end of summer of 1944, the ethnic cleansing of Crimea was complete.

    Crimea depends on the rest of Ukraine for nearly all of its electricity and water, as well as 70% of its food. The lastest polls of the topic (conducted in 2009) showed that Crimeans opposed the idea of becoming part of Russia. Just as many people who are ethnically Mexican consider themselves Americans, many ethnic Russians in Crimea consider themselves Ukrainian.

    Putin is a smart fellow. He knows that his country has Ukrainian blood on its hands already (Stalin’s legacy). He knows that Russia can very easily build naval bases on its own Black Sea coast. Whether the rest of the world can persuade Putin to do the right thing – instead of abusing Ukraine any further – is what we are all about to find out.

  14. Chaz is really Timmy says:

    I thought Timmy Stevens would go away (perhaps get the night gig at Dairy Queen)once he got his very minimal 15 minutes of notoriety.
    Please Timmy, move out of Mom’s spare bedroom, become employed and stop reminding us that you got your 15 lousy minutes. Geesh…

  15. Alice McGill says:

    Why would Obama be interested in learning anything from history? He dishonors his own history. He is determined to make history on which he can stamp his personal brand. Events that happened in the past are irrelevant to him.

  16. count lf chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Sam fields is so selective to be incorrect more than correct. Crimea was a Moslem khanate with large Armenian Jewish and Greek communities and no Russians until the 1700s when Russian tsars conquerored Tatar and Turkish arms. 500 years is simply wrong. Further the Jews Armenians Greeks as mostly merchants forced out by Lenin and stalin by the late 1920s when the first Russians arrived as industrial workers. During world war two stalin expelled the Tatars who in small numbers have returned to lands they lived on since the 11th or 12th century.

    as for donets n kkartov, the Russian speakers are mostly Russian miners n other industrial workers who were settled there after the soviet induced famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the period before we two

  17. SAM FIELDS says:

    This discussion has been a classic case of lining up facts to justify one’s position.

    It’s beginning to sound like historical arguments of Israelis versus Palestinians or Catholics versus Protestants in Northern Ireland.

    The best, logical and fairest way to deal with these things in the 21st century is to have the Crimean region decide by election.
    Next September 18th the Scots will be voting to see if they want to leave the UK and go independent.

    Apparently the Crimea will be having a similar election this month. While I question holding such an election of this magnitude on such short notice, I am not opposed to letting the people decide such a basic issue for themselves.

    [Note to the idiots that are going to bring up 1861. That secession movement would have denied millions of Black slaves the right to vote on secession The power to decide Southern secession was restricted to White men whose main interest was in maintaining an evil institution.]

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Update: Putin is already building a new Russian naval base at Novorossiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast…

    … Russia has been quietly building a potential replacement [for Sevastopol] at Novorossiysk, a commercial port a couple hundred miles east that has the notable distinction of actually being in Russia. It could house the Black Sea Fleet if Russia were to lose Sevastopol, and further expansion of naval facilities there could reduce or even eliminate Russian dependence on Crimea. …
    Map of Novorossiysk here:,Novorossiysk,+Krasnodar+Krai,+Russia&gl=us&ei=SFEbU6eIO8yikQfErIGYBA&ved=0CDkQtgM

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Sam Fields strikes out again!!

    As President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union Council President Herman Van Rompuy, and Ukranian authorities have very clearly explained, Crimea cannot secede from Ukraine and join Russia instead by its own vote, because that would violate both the Ukrainian Constitution (which requires that any change to the borders of Ukraine be approved by all Ukrainians in a nationwide referendum) and international law.

    Sam, as a lawyer you should have actually heard of something called a Constitution, and as a lawyer you should have at least some vague awareness that something called international law actually exists. It was bad enough to openly display your total ignorance of geography here, but now you’re embarrassing yourself in what is supposed to be your area of professional expertise. Maybe you should seriously consider studying and actually understanding subject areas before you write articles for publication!?!

    And Buddy, what kind of journalism standards are you upholding here by giving this level of sheer ignorance a public platform? Can’t you at least limit your guest columnists to topics that they actually know something about?!?

  20. Ha Ha Ha says:,_2014

    […] the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to unilaterally secede from the United Kingdom, because the constitution is a reserved matter for the parliament of the United Kingdom. […] In January 2012, Lord Wallace, Advocate General for Scotland, expressed the opinion that the holding of any referendum concerning the constitution would be outside the legislative power of the Scottish Parliament […] The UK Parliament could temporarily transfer legal authority to the Scottish Parliament to prevent this […] The two governments [Scotland and UK] eventually signed the Edinburgh Agreement, which allows the temporary transfer of legal authority [for the purpose of conducting this referendum].

  21. Ha Ha Ha says:

    […] Russia has unilaterally invaded Ukraine’s territory, and not by invitation, in self-defence, or with UN blessing. That is contrary to international law and the UN Charter, and amounts to the international crime of aggression.

    Ben Saul is Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney.

  22. Ha Ha Ha says:

    […] Marc Weller, Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge, examines the legal issues raised by Russia’s intervention in Crimea. […]

    The autonomous Crimean territory may indeed be legally entitled to argue for a change in its status. However, according to international precedent, it cannot simply secede unilaterally, even if that wish is supported by the local population in a referendum.

    Instead, it would need to engage in genuine discussion about a possible separation with the central authorities in Kiev. Alternatives, such as enhanced autonomy, would need to be explored.

    International practice generally seeks to accommodate separatist demands within the existing territorial boundaries.

    Moreover, international law does not recognise a divorce at gunpoint. Crimea cannot proceed with a possible secession or even incorporation into Russia while Moscow holds sway on the ground. […]