Here’s What It’s Like To Be Rocketed On Your Way Home In Ukraine

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Pro-Russian separatists indiscriminately rocketed the Ukrainian city of Mariupol over the weekend in the possible start of a Russian offensive to obtain a land route to Crimea.  The Grad rockets used are built for saturation coverage and cannot be aimed.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama’s Foreign Policy Blunders To Explode

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

When it comes to foreign policy, 2014 might have seemed unstable. But the actual shooting wars were well contained.

As we look forward to 2015, however, the landscape looks more chaotic than ever.

Let’s take a tour through the top five foreign policy blunders that are about to erupt over the coming months…

Blunder #1: Iran. When Obama entered office, the containment of Iran was a primary objective of American policy. Iran was using Russian and North Korean technology to become a nuclear power with a stated objective of ending the “Jewish” occupation of Palestine.

Iran’s nuclear program is an existential threat that Israel cannot (and should not) allow. 2015 is the year Israel moves unilaterally to end this threat.

Obama has been trying to coax Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions through diplomacy. This has been an adventure in naivety. To his surprise, Obama’s coaxing has only given Iran the time and ability it needed to consolidate its technological gains.

Expect Iran to become a flashpoint in 2015.

Blunder #2: Syria. Next up is Syria. (Iran and Russia are involved here, also.) Bashar al-Assad has hung on as Syrian President against all odds. His civil war, which began as a legitimate democracy movement, metastasized into the Islamic State.

If Obama had left well enough alone and not encouraged jihadi warriors with his support of the Arab Spring, then Assad would have likely never seen his country disintegrate. We’re now in Syria fighting – essentially, with Assad – because of Obama’s earlier bloopers.

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Blunder #3: Iraq. The Islamic State also was greatly helped by Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq. Iraq has suffered under unbelievable incompetence by both Bush and Obama.

Bush should have never dissolved the Iraqi Army. And just as a new one was finally taking shape, Obama left the field, and they disintegrated (this time on the battlefield).

Blunder #4: Ukraine. Circle around to Ukraine, and you see Obama pushing Russia up against the wall with economic sanctions and military aggressiveness within sight of their border. How would America feel if Russia made a deal with Mexico to station Russian tanks on our southern border?

Ukraine deserves freedom, but real freedom will result not from economic sanctions and blustering talk. The country suffered horribly in 2014. Its currency has lost half of its value. Food and medicine are scarce; and in parts of the country, a live shooting war is taking place.

Vladimir Putin shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. Putin has been aggressive and has tried to look strong, but he’s Russian and proud. The way to deal with Russia is how Reagan handled the situation. Be firm, but also extend the hand of friendship. Eternal economic sanctions only hurt the lower classes. The elites never feel the pain.

Blunder #5: Asia. Asia also has some really urgent problems. Rhetoric is heating up between India and Pakistan. These two nuclear powers just can’t keep from fighting. Essentially, it boils down to a religious war between Islamic Pakistan and the Hindu-influenced Indian government.

Obama has ignored Pakistan and encouraged instability there by using a highly destabilizing drone policy in which the United States insists it has the right to kill people inside of other sovereign nations. This is a policy fraught with unintended future consequences (none of them good).

Bottom line: I hope you’re prepared… Any of these Obama failures has the ability to spin out of control and strike U.S. financial markets – creating uncertainty, which limits economic growth and the future of peace.

 

This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ukraine Just Increased The Chances Of All-Out War With Russia

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Today, the Ukrainian parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution rescinding its non-aligned position in a bid to eventually seek NATO membership. This action follows earlier statements by Ukrainian President Poroshenko that NATO membership is the best defense against an aggressive Russia taking territory from Ukraine. This may well be the case; however, this action makes the possibility of all-out war with Russia a much more likely possibility.

The simple fact is, as we have said before, Russia will never allow Ukraine to join NATO regardless of international norms, laws, or global opinion, at least while Russian President Putin is in power. This is just reality. Putin has based his entire presidency on this truth. He has stirred up Russian public opinion over Ukrainian Nazi sympathizers in Kiev and in the East. He has whipped up resentment against the United States and blamed them for the Ukrainian revolution which deposed Yanukovych and which was illegal in their eyes. There is no way Putin could just say, “Oh, everything I said was not true and Ukraine can join NATO and the Americans win.”

The Moscow Times reports today, “Any accession to the Western military alliance is likely to take years, but a NATO spokesman in Brussels said: ‘Our door is open and Ukraine will become a member of NATO if it so requests and fulfills the standards and adheres to the necessary principles.’” This is Putin’s worst nightmare and he will not allow it to happen.

In addition to the current political realities, there is the historical connection, which we have discussed on these pages before. Slavic civilization started in Ukraine, in the old kingdom of Kievan Rus’. Once Kiev was overrun by the Mongols in the thirteenth century, the princes moved north for safety and this was the beginning of what we now know as Russia. Russia and Ukraine are brothers. No Russian leader who is attempting to rebuild the Russian empire can allow them to join NATO. It would be political suicide.

The Moscow Times also reports, “Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Ukraine’s renunciation of its neutral military and political status a ‘counterproductive’ step that would only boost tensions around the crisis in the east.”

Russia has shown its willingness time and time again during this conflict to openly use overwhelming force in order to get what it wants in Ukraine, Western sanction be damned. They will not hesitate to do what is needed to keep their influence over Ukraine in the future. What form this control takes is yet to be seen.

 

Photo Credit: Niyz News (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

House Chooses New Cold War With Russia

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Last week, the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!

For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the US government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn’t like.

The resolution condemns Russia for selling weapons to the Assad government in Syria. But the US has been providing weapons to the rebels in Syria for several years, with many going to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that the US is currently bombing!

The resolution condemns what it claims is a Russian invasion of Ukraine (for which it offers no proof) and Russian violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. But it was the US, by backing a coup against the democratically elected Yanukovich government in February, that first violated that country’s sovereignty. And as far as a military presence in Ukraine, it is the US that has openly sent in special forces and other military advisors to assist the government there. How many times have top US military and CIA officials visited Kiev to offer advice (and probably a lot more)?

The resolution condemns Russia for what it claims are attempts to “illicitly acquire information” about the US government. But we learned from the Snowden revelations that the NSA is spying on most of the rest of the world, including our allies! How can the US claim the moral authority to condemn such actions in others?

The resolution attacks Russian state-funded media, claiming that they “distort public opinion.” At the same time, the bill demands that the thousands of US state-funded media outlets step up their programming to that part of the world! It also seeks “appropriate responses” to Russian media influence in the rest of the world. That should be understood to mean that US diplomats would exert pressure on foreign countries to shut down television networks like RT.

The resolution condemns what it claims is Russia’s provision of weapons to the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with Russia, while demanding that the US government start providing weapons to its proxies on the other side.

As I have said, this is one of the worst pieces of legislation I can remember. And trust me, I have seen some pretty bad bills. It is nothing but war propaganda, and it will likely lead to all sorts of unintended consequences.

Only ten Members — five from each party — opposed this reckless resolution. Probably most of those who voted in favor did not bother to read the bill. Others who read it and still voted in favor may have calculated that the bill would not come up in the Senate. So they could vote yes and please the hawks in their districts — and more importantly remain in good graces of the hawks who run foreign policy in Washington — without having to worry about the consequences if the bill became law.

Whatever the case, we must keep an eye on those Members of Congress who vote to take us closer to war with Russia. We should thank those ten Members who were able to resist the war propaganda. The hawks in Washington believe that last month’s election gave them free rein to start more wars. Now, more than ever, they must be challenged!

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is Putin Blinking Or Preparing For War?

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Today, it was reported that fighting eased between pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian military in East Ukraine. Shelling from Novorossiya was said to quiet almost completely.  Bloomberg also reported that Russian troops were observed repositioning themselves along the Russian border.

In addition, Moscow announced that an eighth convoy of humanitarian supplies would leave Russia for Ukraine shortly. So fighting is quiet along the eastern front.

This begs the question: is Russian President Putin blinking in the face of Western sanctions as has been suggested by some in the Western media? Or is he simply preparing for further conflict (or even all-out war.)

I vote for the latter. As I have said before, there is no way Putin can stop now. He would be seen as weak and eventually deposed.

He is all-in in Ukraine. The current lull in the fighting must be serving some type of tactical or strategic purpose. My guess is that the pro-Russian forces are preparing for a new offensive to pressure Kiev and take more territory for Novorossiya.

The Moscow Times in it’s opinion page today stated:

 Putin may have decided that full implementation of September’s Minsk agreements, leading to a stable cease-fire and a gradual restoration of full Ukrainian sovereignty, would ultimately diminish Russia’s leverage over Kiev’s foreign and security policies. This explains the latest military surge and sham elections in the Donbass. Now the task is to force Kiev to negotiate a new framework for the Ukrainian state directly with Russian proxies.

The immediate goal of a new offensive may be to take the airport at Donetsk. There have been multiple rebel offensives on this target recently. Obviously, the airport is a key objective.

Further strategic objectives could be to bring down the government in Kiev and replace it with a more Russian-friendly force. Tension between President Poroshenko and his Prime Minister has been in the news recently.  The Kremlin most likely sees this as an opening to exploit.

In any case, expect fighting to break out again shortly in Eastern Ukraine. Russia will not back down, sanctions and the West be damned.

Photo credit: plavevski / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom