Marco Rubio Said What?

Obama Administration

Marco Rubio is very serious.

Put simply, Russia should no longer be considered a responsible partner on any major international issue. The Russian people should see that Putin’s actions will bring about a decline of Russia’s status as a global power, not a return to supposed Soviet glory.

That’s fine until we need Russia to put pressure on Iran, as I thought we did. We’re not worried about Iran any more?

To this end, Obama should urge U.S. allies to impose an arms embargo on Russia. It is unconscionable that NATO allies would send arms to Moscow even as it violates Ukrainian sovereignty.

I didn’t know Russia was dependent on NATO nations for arms. Uh, it isn’t. Russia doesn’t appear to be importing arms from anybody, although it exports quite a lot

Third, I welcome the fact that Vice President Biden is in the region this week to bring a message of reassurance to our allies and partners. I hope those assurances include a specific and clear response to requests by Georgia and Ukraine for lethal military support from the United States. It is shameful that even as Russia attempts to carve up Ukrainian territory, Ukraine’s request for weapons, intelligence sharing and other assistance has been turned down by the Obama administration. We also need to deploy additional military assets and even U.S. personnel to our allies, including Poland and the Baltic states.

Lethal military support? We’re supposed to go to war over freakin’ Crimea?

WaPo’s editorial board is raving that the Russian annexation of Crimea poses a threat to “European and global security,” because it’s clear (to them) that Putin intends to keep going and annex “former Soviet republics with substantial populations of ethnic Russians.” They want Estonia and Latvia to be accepted into NATO last week.

In Georgia and now Crimea, Putin took advantage of massive political instability and, in the case of Georgia, the presence of an ongoing separatist movement. I’m not aware of any such instability in Estonia and Latvia. So it’s not obvious to me what Putin’s long-term plans are. A military move on those two countries would be a very different act from what just happened in Crimea, it seems to me. And given their location, if Putin made such a move, I’d expect NATO to respond whether Estonia and Latvia are members or not.

And I can’t bring myself to read Condi Rice’s opinion. If anyone ever relinquished any right to express an opinion on foreign policy, it’s her. Well, her boss, too, but he doesn’t seem to care.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 20, 2014 @4:20 pm

    Marco’s just trying to show people that he’s Presidential timber.

    Sadly, what he’s proved, is that he ain’t even a toothpick.

    I’m sure I can’t be alone in feeling thankful that Barack Hussein Obama is our level-headed President, and not hot-headed John “America’s Sh*ttiest Fighter Pilot” McCain, or a richy-rich sociopathic religious nut, like Mitt “What do you mean, I got 47% of the vote?!?!?!” Romney.

    This isn’t America’s fight.

    We can sanction.

    We are sanctioning.

    And we will do still more sanctioning.

    To call for “lethal military support is sheer lunacy on a level I can’t even comprehend.
    It’s like the “Stupid” and “Ignorant” trains left the station a long time ago, and there’s nothing left, except the little choo-choo that goes to the mental asylum.

  2. uncledad  •  Mar 20, 2014 @4:37 pm

    “We also need to deploy additional military assets and even U.S. personnel to our allies, including Poland and the Baltic state”

    Sounds like a last minute addition to a poorly written 10th grade report? Will the GOP ever elect someone with a functioning brain?

  3. moonbat  •  Mar 20, 2014 @5:20 pm

    At the risk of triggering nightmares, I read a bit of Condi Rice, because she was a purported expert on the USSR. Didn’t get all the way through it, but she was a lot more intelligent about it than Rubio:

    The Russian people should see that Putin’s actions will bring about a decline of Russia’s status as a global power, not a return to supposed Soviet glory.

    Putin is wildly popular in Russia, and those who are old enough, miss the Soviet days. With its natural resources, and with the Arctic and Siberia opening up due to climate change, I think the Russian people are having a good laugh at fools like Rubio, if they’ve ever heard of him.

  4. erinyes  •  Mar 20, 2014 @6:24 pm

    Indeed, moonbat. My advice to rubio; stay thirsty, my friend.

  5. anthrosciguy  •  Mar 20, 2014 @7:15 pm

    Actually, one of the things France is considering is stopping the shipment of two of their Mistral warships, but they want assurances that the UK will take equivalent action against the assets of Russians. Apparently Russia’s infrastructure is so degraded that they can’t put together decent ships.

    BTW, the deal for the two assault ships was put together under the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, who’s a right winger.

  6. Doug  •  Mar 20, 2014 @7:29 pm

    Diplomacy should be pragmatic. Crimea is a done deal. From Putin’s point of view, it was quite justified given the public hostility showed by the new government in Kiev who voted (as nearly their first action) to de-legitimize Russian as a language in Ukraine. This really happened and it was an announcement (to Putin, at least) of planned repression against Ukrainians of Russian descent. I can argue either side of what happened next – Putin moved troops into Crimea to preempt a move by Kiev to ‘pacify’ the angry Russian/Ukrainians. This created the space for Crimea to secede. Was it ‘legitimate’? No. Was the revolution that deposed the old government legitimate? No.

    But back to pragmatism. Both revolts happened and undoing them will require a huge military investment. Russia doesn’t seem to have any intention of reversing by force the revolution that deposed their puppet president. The US and Europe aren’t going to invest troops to reverse the Crimean secession.

    Going forward, we have served notice on Russia that military expansion by force will get a response. (Putin has served notice on the former republics that Russia will protect the Russian people.) If we understand each other, further punishment is counter-productive. An escalation of hostility and threats is dangerous between nuclear powers. (Serious understatement.)

    I wish Russia would bring before the UN the complaints of discrimination and persecution against ethnic Russians who are citizens in the former Soviet republics. Russians know – and that’s why they are cheering Putin on. Being stubborn as he is, Putin won’t make his case globally. He will settle his scores Mafia-style, breaking kneecaps at a national level.

    Essentially, I approve of what Putin is doing but not how he’s doing it and I’m extremely frustrated that the media is covering the underlying dynamic of ethnic Russians in the former republics and the political position Putin has adopted. The opportunity for an open dialogue in the UN and in the western press about fair treatment for expatriated Russians would go a long ways in securing Russian cooperation. In other words, if the UN was a vehicle for securing equal treatment for Russians around the world, we might see a lot less of the Russian veto in the Security Council.

  7. JMG  •  Mar 20, 2014 @8:36 pm

    It was my belief that Estonia and Latvia were NATO members. My error, I guess. Prediction: The Republican Presidential nominee for 2016 will say nought about Russia because Americans don’t care.

  8. moonbat  •  Mar 20, 2014 @9:35 pm

    erinyes – I love The Most Interesting Man in the World. His act completely one-ups Steven Colbert in the world of commercials.

  9. Swami  •  Mar 20, 2014 @10:19 pm

    Two my favorite most interesting man in the world quotes are: “He once parallel parked a train” and “Sasquatch took a picture of him”.

    Stay thirsty my friend!

  10. erinyes  •  Mar 21, 2014 @3:49 am

    I like the one about police stopping him for questioning because he’s so interesting.
    Thanks for the link, moonbat !

  11. joanr16  •  Mar 21, 2014 @8:55 am

    “He once parallel parked a train” and “Sasquatch took a picture of him”.

    Pooty WISHES he was that guy. I think it goes a long way to ‘splainin the current predicament.

  12. Swami  •  Mar 21, 2014 @10:35 am

    I hear that Pooty wrapped up his annexation today. I think there was someone in the Bush administration who summed up the whole dynamic of what Pooty did.. Something like…We take bold action and move on leaving you behind in a daze scratching your head trying to figure out our forcefulness.

  13. dr. luba  •  Mar 21, 2014 @12:56 pm

    “Was the revolution that deposed the old government legitimate? No.”

    Why? Because Putin says so? I suppose no revolution is technically legitimate. But the president took off, having fled the country for Russia. The parliament, the same parliament that was there before the revolution, replaced him with a temporary president and has set elections. Those elections will be open to international monitors, and will actually offer voters choices.

    Once a ruler shoots at his own people, and unlawfully takes away their rights (speech, assembly), after having looted the country to the tune of 60 billion dollars, he loses his legitimacy.

    This was an internal affair of the Ukrainian people. They worked it out amongst themselves.

    Crimea was another matter. The Russian troops moved in, cut off all the media except Russian propaganda stations. (Which now is all of the media in Russia, sadly. Putin just closed down the last non-government broadcaster.) Crimean were told the fascists were coming to kill them, that there had been pogroms in Ukraine, and that 670,000 people had fled Ukraine for Russia.

    The referendum was arranged in a couple week’s time, and no neutral monitors were allowed in. The choice was join Russia now, or declare independence (and join Rusiia in a week or two). (See note below, which I’ve recopied from my response on the previous thread). And despite the Tatars, Ukrainians and others sitting out the election, >80% turnout was claimed, including 123% in Sevastopol (where it seems the Russian troops were allowed to voted. How democratic.)

    Re the ballot:

    The constitution that the current government has reverted to was the 2004 constitution of Ukraine, which featured a weak president and strong parliament.

    The 1992 constitution that the ballot was referring to was that of Crimea of May 5th, 1992, which declared Crimea to be independent; this was corrected by the constitution of May 6th, in which Crimea remained an autonomous part of Ukraine.

    The ballot was worded this way to confuse foreigners into thinking there was actually being a choice provided. Since the junta installed by Russia had already said they would join Russia if the second option was chosen, there was no actual choice. It was Russia now, or Russia next week.

  14. maha  •  Mar 22, 2014 @10:49 am

    Crimea for many years has been an autonomous republic more or less attached to Ukraine, and not entirely integrated into Ukraine, and if Crimeans had wanted to remain an autonomous republic more or less attached to Ukraine they still had that option on the ballot. It may be the terms of the attachment were a change from the old status quo, but it was still a choice, and if people really cared about staying attached to Ukraine to any degree they would have made that choice, I would think. But they did not.

    For me, it mostly comes down to what Crimeans themselves want, and I don’t think any of us can know that from here. It may be they’re mostly OK with being annexed by Russia, or maybe they aren’t, but it may be awhile before the picture clears. In the meantime, I wouldn’t assume, either way.

  15. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 21, 2014 @4:15 pm

    I defer to Dr. Luba.
    She’s far more knowledgeable than I am on this subject.

  16. Swami  •  Mar 21, 2014 @4:34 pm

    Well, wouldn’t it be a duma as opposed to a junta?

  17. PurpleGirl  •  Mar 21, 2014 @7:44 pm

    Has a right-winger used the phrase “captive nations” yet? Who will be the first one to do so?

  18. pluky  •  Mar 21, 2014 @9:37 pm

    What’s Putin’s next step? He needs to figure out how to annex/separate enough of eastern Ukraine to connect Crimea to Russia proper. Otherwise the logistics of supplying energy, telecommunications, and water to the peninsula are formidable.

  19. Doug  •  Mar 21, 2014 @11:37 pm

    plucky – what’s the connecting point between Alaska and the lower 48?

    dr luba suggests that there was no choice in the election, That’s not true. There was an option for the people to declare with Russia vs being with Ukraine. You can argue the meaning of the 2nd option like a lawyer, and it’s not relevant. The vast majority of Crimea selected to align with Russia. Was it a free and fair election? Not by a long shot. Was the will of the vast majority of Crimea to align with Russia – almost certainly.

    dr luba does not address the issue of discrimination and persecution of ethnic Russians in other countries of the former USSR, nor was there a response to the issue which prompted a response by Russia – the vote to make the language of Crimea, Russian, a non-language in Ukraine. This was a blatant announcement by the new government of Ukraine that hey were hostile to Russia – which is understandable, and that they intended to take out their frustration on the Russian speaking Ukrainians concentrated in Crimea.

    I seem to remember an invasion of an island nation called Granada to protect US students who were resident there. So the US can invade a foreign country to protect Americans there, but if Russia invades a country in its ‘sphere of influence’ (to use the State Department phrase) to protect its ethnic population, it’s Germany invading Poland.

    The points about Russia being heavy-handed in controlling the media are valid. On the other hand, in Kiev a TV station manager was slapped around by a member of the new parliament for broadcasting Putin in Kiev. They wanted to arrest the station manager, but were prevented. So let’s not paint the new gov’t as knights on white horses.

    Dr luba also does not address the scenario – post revolution – had Crimea announced its intention to seceded from Ukraine without the protection of the Russian army, wouldn’t the army of Ukraine have been dispatched to quell the revolt by force?

    Mind you, just two weeks earlier, the protesters in Kiev were denouncing the use of force to dismember their movement but a pro-Russian movement in Crimea is illegitimate and can be crushed by force??

    I have no doubt that the majority in Crimea did not want to be in the new gov’t – without the Russian occupation, the will of the majority would have been thwarted by military force.

  20. Swami  •  Mar 22, 2014 @2:22 pm

    Ann Coulter is a mess.. if you ever want to do a study in body language, she’d make for the perfect example in noting how the pronouncement of the tongue conflict so openly with the gestures of the face when one is consumed with insecurity and self admiration. She’s a mutt.. and if she were a canine she’d be an Afghan Hound. No offense to Afghan Hounds.

  21. erinyes  •  Mar 23, 2014 @2:15 pm

    Oh swami, I view her as a mixed breed; the love child of Thurston Howell the third and Barbie.

  22. Swami  •  Mar 23, 2014 @2:52 pm
  23. dr. luba  •  Mar 25, 2014 @12:33 pm

    “dr luba does not address the issue of discrimination and persecution of ethnic Russians in other countries of the former USSR, nor was there a response to the issue which prompted a response by Russia – the vote to make the language of Crimea, Russian, a non-language in Ukraine. This was a blatant announcement by the new government of Ukraine that hey were hostile to Russia – which is understandable, and that they intended to take out their frustration on the Russian speaking Ukrainians concentrated in Crimea.”

    Russian is spoken by nearly all Ukrainians, as just about everyone is bilingual. There was no vote to “ban” Russian, there was a vote to remove from it status as an official state language. This would have reversed a law that was passed 9 months earlier. And that effort failed, because the president vetoed it.

    The government may be hostile to RUssia, but is is not hostile to Russian speakers. Much of the government is Russian speakers, including the prime minister. Much of the Maidan was Russian speaking, and much of the press material they produced was in Russian. Russian was not at risk in Ukraine.

    But that is neither here not there. Putin did not invade because Russian speakers were at risk, but because he wanted to and he could. Just like in Ossetia and Dagestan.

    And, NO, there was no option to stay a part of Ukraine. It’s not about parsing. It is about how the referendum was worded–annexation to Russia or Independence. And the second option was only theoretical, since the prime minister of Crimea (installed in a Russian putsch) had already made it clear that an independent Crimea would immediately ask to join Russia. Those who opposed joining Russia sat out the election, and didn’t vote, as there was no choice for them to make.

    So yes, a referendum with one choice on the ballot, held under occupation by a foreign military force, with no outside observers allowed is surely the most democratic way to go. I think the fact that 123% of the residents of Sevastopol voted for indicates this.

    As Stalin noted, “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” And Putin follows in Stalin’s footsteps.