Obama’s Sanctions

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Obama’s sanctions against specific Russian and Ukrainian politicians are worse than doing nothing. Why he would promulgate these sanctions is a mystery, given their drawbacks. Imagine if Putin made similar statements and moves on Harry Reid, John McCain, Victoria Nuland, aides to Obama, and other assorted officials in the U.S. government. He’d be a laughing stock. Obama’s sanctions are ridiculous.

Obama is acting like a scolding schoolmarm. Everyone to his political right is going to criticize him and demand much more concerted action, including military action. His silly sanctions invite this right-wing pressure. And, by the way, he and Kerry have said they will never recognize Crimea’s new political status. How foolish is such a statement in this world of changing political alignments? How foolish is that in light of the vote? Everyone with an ounce of sense knows that Russian soldiers didn’t force people to the polls and make them vote to join the Russian Federation in overwhelming numbers.

Obama’s sanctions are senseless considered as actions that actually accomplish anything. For example, Valentina Matviyenko is sanctioned for her status as Head of the Federation Council. She immediately replied, saying she was “the chair of the upper house of Russian parliament, not American Senate. I have always defended and will defend the national interests of Russia, not the geopolitical interests of the West. No one and no threats will ever frighten us. This is counterproductive.”

She noted that “This is political blackmailing, if we are to call things by their proper names. They in the United States know that I have no accounts, assets or property abroad. And I have never had business interests. This is why I regard this statement with respect to me as an attempt to put pressure on my position of principle and force me to change it.”

How ridiculous is it to sanction the President who was forced out of office in Ukraine and fled? There he is on the list:

“Viktor Yanukovich (Ukrainian President is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes.”

Another person on the sanctions list is a Crimean who helped organize the secession. He’s Viktor Medvedchuk.

“Viktor Medvedchuk (leader of Ukrainian Choice, is being designated for threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for undermining Ukraine’s democratic institutions and processes. He is also being designated because he has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and because he is a leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine and actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The phrases used are the same ones used to hang the tag of terrorist on those who assist terrorists in any way, but what has this Medvedchuk actually done that is criminal? For a negative article on him, but one that tells us what he has done, we can go back to July 2012 in the Ukrainian Week. What we discover is that this man has vigorously exercised his free speech right for the cause he believes in, which is integration with Russia. Nothing more.

Obama and his hypocrites have absolutely no case against this man.

These personal sanctions are preposterous.

At best, perhaps Obama thought that he had to do something in order to back up his earlier statements. They were folly and ill-considered, however. He seems to have searched for a face-saving device and sanctions were it. However, there are many other positions he could have articulated that would have extracted him from this step, which is also folly. A simple statement of regret would have done it. Instead, he has needlessly made confetti out of any principled U.S. position on major issues and principles of political organization. He cannot endorse a democracy that has a government installed by a violent coup while also condemning a peaceful referendum to alter a basic political relation. He cannot condemn Russian interference while conducting his own interference. He cannot articulate proposals based on principles of justice while issuing sanctions that violate such principles.

Where is Obama’s head? What in the world are he and his cohort of hypocrites, fools and idiots thinking?

6:40 pm on March 17, 2014