Third Party & Independents Archives

The Wrong President at the Wrong Time?

Nuclear power plant operators in Germany have set aside 34 billion euros in anticipation of the cost of scrapping Germany’s nuclear power program. It is estimated that it will be insufficient. As the world awaits some sort of response to Russia’s role in the MH-17 tragedy, it is worthwhile to reflect on the importance of energy independence. Chancellor Merkel and the EU’s response has, so far, been less than robust to put it mildly. Russian gas is of course to blame. It shouldn’t be the case in a rational world, but the only rational response to Russian aggression is to place a high enough cost on Putin’s actions to at least make him think twice. Any real sanctions must involve energy and that would mean higher energy bills for the average German and European voter.

What if Germany had not decided to eliminate the nuclear power option? It is possible, but merely possible, that Germany, and perhaps the EU, would have shown a little more spine. The next question is, what is Obama's excuse? Senator Dan Coates has published a call to action in the media today. He focuses on sanctions targeting Russia's state arms exporter in addition to energy sanctions. But the senator's call for a unified front is as important as any specific sanctions tabled. How feasible is it for the US to expect the Europeans to close ranks with a clear response of targeted sanctions? It may be that Obama's main task should be to make it clear to the Europeans themselves that they got themselves into this mess in the first place. Appeasing Putin has proven to be not just a losing game, but a dangerous game. Before America takes any further steps, whether sending military personnel or forging sanctions, they need to know that they have partners they can trust in Europe. Are the Europeans willing to take on the responsibility of facing up to Putin? They have to understand it is they who have to prove to America that it should spend money and personnel to help them push back against the shadow of Putin's tyranny. And Obama has to understand that the administration has to be tough with Europe in order to be relentless with Russia. It is doubtful he does. Liberal process, in all its bureaucratic splendor, can never achieve what a clear and forceful strategy can. Is it a case of the wrong president at the wrong time? Let's see if White House staffers have read Senator Coats piece. It would be a start.

Posted by AllardK at July 24, 2014 5:53 PM
Comment #381438

I don’t expect our CIC to stand up to any tyrant with military forces. The EU is militarily weak and NATO is fast becoming a world joke.

“The toxic brew of negative perceptions of Western/liberal military capability and political will is rapidly undermining the post-1945 order around the world. Reduced military budgets, global perceptions of American and European weakness, the outright dismissal of presidential redlines, and memories of total inaction like during the 2008 Georgian invasion or Syrian civil war have set the stage for future opportunism. More than one commentator has noted the similarities between Hitler in 1938 and Putin in 2014. Like Hitler did, Putin is playing a weak hand, though it is relatively stronger than the object of his aggression, and even token opposition by the West could cause him to fold. We now know that Hitler would have pulled his troops out of the Sudetenland in the face of any British or French opposition. Thus, what may matter most to global stability is the reaction of the West, and in the case of inaction, it abets opportunistic aggression.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 25, 2014 6:51 PM
Comment #381439

The usual. When it comes to foreign policy, conservatives clutch their pearls and wail, ‘won’t somebody do something?!’ And when Democrats do, they put their hands to their foreheads and faint from a case of a collective case of the vapors.

If you guys ever actually have a real, practical suggestion or alternative, please let us know.

Posted by: phx8 at July 25, 2014 8:57 PM
Comment #381442

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Posted by: kkadyr at July 26, 2014 10:45 AM
Comment #381448

phx8 asks for practical suggestions in dealing with Putin and his apparent aggression in Ukraine. I wrote; “The EU is militarily weak and NATO is fast becoming a world joke.”

Does phx8 disagree?

If what I wrote is true, then taking steps to strengthen the EU and NATO is desirable. The deplorable military capability of the EU and NATO has matured over a period of many years and for many reasons. If you wish to discuss this further, let’s do.

Posted by: Royal Flush at July 26, 2014 3:30 PM
Comment #381450

The EU and NATO are fine and most certainly do not need strengthening.

As of right now, Russia “has a total of seven divisions in its entire Western Military District, all of which are based on its own territory. Indeed, the entire Russian army today boasts about 25 divisions…

Today, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany alone field more divisions than Russia has in its Western Military District. These countries are backstopped by the rest of NATO, including, of course, the United States. And this raw count doesn’t take into account the general deterioration of Russian forces since 1991, a quarter-century that saw little equipment modernization. By the late 1980s, NATO already enjoyed a significant qualitative advantage over the Warsaw Pact, and that edge has only increased since then.”

Not only does the EU & NATO possess an overwhelming military advantage, we also possess a technological advantage as well as an enormous economic advantage. Russia has nuclear weapons, but they must suspect we already have the capability of completely nullifying them.

Russia and the Ukraine will need to work through this problem. For US interests, it will ultimately work out very well- if rebellion moves the parts of the Ukraine with large Russian populations into Russia, it will leave the remainder of the Ukraine with an even more thoroughly pro-western/EU/NATO population.

Posted by: phx8 at July 26, 2014 4:27 PM
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