Monday, March 30, 2015

Memo to Indiana: This is the religious freedom you don't have. And never did.

Here is a Constitutional news flash for governor Mike Pence, the Indiana state legislature and the people who actually elected these idiots about their new religious freedom law:

Your religious freedom gives you the right to practice your religion in your private lives  any way you wish.  And believe anything you wish. And express that belief any way you wish as long as you do it in such a way as to not impose it publicly on anyone else in any way. That's the religious freedom you and everyone else has. And that's all the religious freedom you have.  Thanks to the Constitution.

You do not have the right to impose or exercise any religious beliefs that interferes with the rights of anyone else to do anything lawful. Like buy flowers. Or get a cup of coffee. Or go bowling. Or anything else.

 The days of medeival Europe when religion and religious dictums were the justifcation for burning people alive at the stake, most of them women,  and religion used the force of law and miliary power to commit atrocities by imposing religious rule on people who wanted nothing to do with those beliefs, ended in America with the U.S. Constitution.

Religious freedom in America means that if you want to hold your nose and hop on one foot as  part of your religious beliefs no one can stop you and you're free to do it as long as you don't impose your beliefs on anyone else and the exercise of your beliefs do not infringe on anyone else's rights or freedoms.

It also means that if you do business in the public arena you can't require people to  hold their nose and hop on one foot in order to get served or to enter your business.  And you can't refuse to serve them if they refuse or think your beliefs are idiotic either.  Your religious beliefs ends with you, you personal life,the  non public places to express those beliefs and congregating with those who share them. That's it.  Which is why Tennessee lost the Monkey Trial. And made monkeys out of those who passed the law that banned teaching evolution in the schools.

The so called " religious freedom" law in Indiana justifying the right of any business to refuse to serve anyone who's own lifestyle or beliefs offends a business owner's  religious beliefs is not just unconstitutional, it's a thinly veiled attempt to impose local societal religious beliefs and personal ideas of morality, ideas that many people find repugnant,  on those who don't share them, dont believe them, have no scientific basis, and want nothing to do with them. All sanctioned by the state.

The KKK used  their religious beliefs to murder and commit atrocities against African Americans and anyone else they considered outside their ideas of racial purity and claimed the christian bible as their justification. 

The Catholic church used and fostered anti-semitism in medeival Europe and into the 20th century against Jews who they saw as a threat to their authority and rule because of the refusal of Jews to accept the church as having any real authority or to accept their dictums many of which were created to strengthen church power over the individual as Thomas Jefferson pointed out in  many of his letters which is why he championed separation of church and state.   

The Puritans sentenced women to hang based on their religious beliefs when women didnt conform to their ideas of morality by accusing them of being seductress/ witches. As did the Catholic church in medevial Europe who regularly burned women alive using their religious beliefs as justification calling any woman whose behavior didnt conform to church authority a witch.  And anyone  who didn't accept church teaching completely or questioned it was also likely to be executed for heresey, a word whose Latin root means "to think for oneself".

That too all ended in America with the U.S, constitution that stripped religious entities of any legal or legislative power. And no laws could ever be passed to the contrary. If they were,  like the old Blue Laws, they were struck down. 

Indiana's law states in part that no law can be passed or enforced that would place "an undue burden" on a person's religious beliefs and that any business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone if doing so offends those beliefs and would present an "undue burden".

 The U.S. constitution says the opposite -- that no law can be passed based on religious beliefs that can put any burden undue or otherwise,  on anyone else for any reason.  In other words if  youre religious beliefs or the exercise thereof creates any burden on others in a public place, it stops.  Which means if someone comes into your store who does not conform to your religious or moral beliefs, if they reject your ideas of morality and refuse to hold their nose and hop on one foot,  the U.S. constitution says there is nothing you can do about it. 

 The constitution says no law  can be passed that establishes religious beliefs as a ruling legal document in favor of or against anyone.  The Indiana law says  the opposite.

Aside from the fact that Indiana, it's legislature and governor are all being mocked  around the country for their new law and it seems from a  business point of view its already been such a disaster that the conservative Chamber of Commerce is putting out press releases saying the law isn't necessary,  aside from all that, the  Constitution is going to win as soon as the law is challenged. Whether Mike Pence or anyone else likes it or not. And all that's going to be left of Indiana's law is the bad taste it leaves in everyone's mouth about Indiana and it could carry that stigma for a long time to come. Unless they hire a gay PR agent to try and change it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Obama's empty threats to Israel.

Following Netanyahu's election, news outlets like CNN are "reporting" that in a conversation with Netanyahu Obama "warned" that in light of Netanyahu's pre-election statement disavowing a Palestinian state, that Obama would have to "reassess" the U.S. relationship with Israel.

This of course carries as much weight as anything else Obama has ever had to say on anything which as history has shown, is nothing.

The reason the word "reporting" is in quotes is that the content of a private conversation between world leaders only gets "reported" when the White House wants it to and uses the news media like a PR arm. Its for public consumption and is designed to make Obama look tough which as the world has seen in the past is the equivalent of Obama putting his face in the hole of a fun photo He-Man cut out at a mid west state fair. 

Obama in reality is reassessing nothing because there is nothing to reassess. Obama's statement is supposed to make Netanyahu nervous but it's as empty as anything else Obama has ever proclaimed and won't be taken seriously now. Netanyahu cares about one thing -- security and nothing is going to change that. And that includes dismissing another calculated "leak" to the press that Obama is "considering" supporting a UN resolution that supports a two state solution based on pre 1967 borders. Which puts Obama's face back into the photo op  cardboard cut out since, given what happened when the Israelis pulled out of Gaza in 2005, is not now going to be a consideration. 

What has to be remembered is that Obama has no credibility in the middle east and hasn't since before his first election. It was Obama himself who poisoned the well and destroyed his credibilty and  any possibility that he would be able to be perceived as an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians in any peace negotiations.   And he managed to do that before he was even elected. And he did it to try and get votes. 

It was in June 2008 when candidate Obama,  aware that Florida could be a swing state in the presidential election and mindful of Florida's substantial Jewish population, gave a speech to AIPAC designed to appeal to that vote that in the end destroyed his credibility forever in the mid east.

Following his usual pattern of saying whatever he thinks he needs to say at any time to anyone to  get what he wants he told the 7,000 Jews attending the conference that he supported a single unified undivided Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.

This gave him what he was looking for -- a standing ovation from the 7,000 American Jews in attendance.

But it also showed that not only was Obama not qualifed to be president,  he was careless, reckless, shallow, and had no grasp of the seriousness of the job he was pursuing. Or what would be expected of him in peace negotiations  if he were elected president. None of that mattered at the time. Getting  votes did. 

For decades the final status of Jerusalem was to be the last issue considered in peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That's why it was called "final status". The reason was obvious. It was the single most contentious issue in the negotiations, more so  than the right of return which is still a non-starter for the Israelis. 

It was always believed by U.S. negotiators that if a deal could be reached on everything else, the sides would be more willing to find a compromise on Jerusalem rather than see everything else go down the drain over that one issue.

Obama's statement while embraced by Israel and American Jews, blew that idea and his own credibility out of the water for the Palestinians.  At the time it essentially yanked the rug out from under their feet before a single negotiation took place under the auspices of a soon to be elected president Obama. At one time, under the arm twisting of Bill Clinton,  Ehud Barak had offered Arafat half of East Jerusalem as the capitol of a Palestinain state in order to finalize a peace deal, something no Israeli prime minister had done before or since.  Arafat rejected it demanding all of East Jerusalem and launched the Infitada,a series of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis. Which is why the Palestinians instead of having their own state have been in the state they're in.  It is not likely any Israeli prime minister will ever offer part of East Jerusalem again but that was still no reason for a presidential candidate to issue a public statement that put an end to Palestinian hopes on Jerusalem or took away a negotiating position.

Within 24 hours of candidate Obama's statement which was treated like the shot heard round the middle east, the Palestinians and other Arab leaders attacked  Obama angrily and relentlessly.

Which led to what has become most typical of Obama and the one thing people can always count on the most. He reneged. 

Within 24 hours of his being attacked by the Palestinians, he did an about face and claimed the world misunderstood him, that they didn't fully comprehend the meaning of his words, that he didn't really mean he supported  a single undivided Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel but that what he really meant  by undivided was that he supported a "Jerusalem with no barbed wire."

The fact that there had been no barbed wire in Jerusalem since 1967 when it was taken by the Israelis in the 1967 war ( whose intent, on behalf of the Palestinians, was to wipe out Israel) Obama's attemp at backtracking was so lame and dishonest, it made " my dog ate my homework" sound believable. There isn't a 3rd grade substitute teacher anywhere who would've taken that explanation seriously from an 8 year old.

The Israeli response to Obama's reneging and his immediate about face  under pressure was also predictable. From that moment on, before he was even elected, Netanyahu would not trust Obama as far as he could throw a nuclear reactor. And the Palestinians didn't trust him either. And with Obama's history of backtracking and concessions on everything from healthcare reform and other domestic policy to his foreign policy failures, from red lines over Assad's use of chemical weapons to the current collapse in Yemen, it  only  re-enforced Netanyahu having no faith in anything that Obama says not the least of which would be his ability to negotiate an effective nuclear deal with Iran.

 In short, as he has proved over and over again, Obama's word on anything is worthless. Whether it's "considering" sending arms to Ukraine, or "reassessing" U.S.-Israeli relations. 

But ironically it could be said that his June 2008 speech and subsequent about face did manage to unite the Israelis and Palestinians on one issue -- their mutual contempt and distrust of him. And its the single biggest reason why Obama has been the most ineffective of any U.S. president in dealing with the middle east peace process, why his relationship with Netanyahu is so strained and why Obama's current PR attempt with his threat to "reassess" the U.S. relationship with Israel  is taken as seriously as  Obama's other  statements (when Obama made his famous "red line" commitment to launch a missile strike against Assad if he used chemical weapons Obama added at the time, " and everyone knows I don't bluff").

According to a "report" in the New York Times, Obama has said he will not "waste his time" managing Israel-US relations and will leave that to Kerry. As if he ever managed them at all. Or had any influence on anyone.  Presumably that  also means Obama will instead continue to waste his and everyone else's time on everything else he has to deal with  whether it's more of his decisive and effective action in stopping  Putin in Ukraine, coming up with new words in dealing with Isis who he once called the "junior varsity", or currently overseeing the evacuation all U.S. personnel from Yemen, the country  he touted not long ago as one of his great anti-terrorism policy successes.

What does give a glimmer of hope is that Obama will no longer waste everyone's time dealing with U.S.- Israeli relations or the peace process as has been the case with everything else  for the previous six years and was the case during in his eleven years of elective office before running for president as a politician  who never had a single legislative accomplishment , even a minor one, in all those eleven years. And it continues to show.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nancy Pelosi: an insult to everyone's intelligence.

Days before it was given some were calling Netanyahu's speech before congress on Iran and the nuclear talks, historical.  Five minutes after the speech Nancy Pelosi made comments that could accurately be called hysterical..

Pelosi called Netanyahu's speech on Iran which pointed out the obvious flaws in Obama's position and his lack of negotiating skills "an insult to the intelligence of the U.S." Which was itself insulting to the intelligence of everyone involved.

In attempting to act as a political flak  for Obama she ended up insulting the intelligence of everyone in the House chamber and everyone in the United States and around the world including the Saudis and Egyptians and anyone who had the temerity ( and good judgement) to disagree with her and agreed with Netanyahu or at the very least felt his position and concerns deserved to be heard. 

Pelosi  has embarrassed herself before on matters of policy but she embarrassed herself even more by thinking she had some gravitas or authority moral, political or intellectual,  to speak for the entire country and the congress.  What she did was display exactly the kind of partisan political knee jerk arrogance , intellectual dishonesty and stupidity that Netanyahu was there to warn against. 

Democrats and Democratic voters remember that  it was Pelosi who betrayed and sold out her own conscience, Democrats in the House and those who voted for Democrats in 2008 by supporting Obama's sell out and capitulation to the health insurance lobby on health care reform by agreeing to drop the public option which led the Democrats over a cliff in the 2010 elections because of the betrayal by both Obama and Pelosi on the promise of a public health care option, reneging on that promise even though Democrats had the votes to pass it.

Pelosi's embarrassing comments naturally ignored her own failures and Obama's well established lack of negotiating skills, his established lack of backbone and a history of selling out and caving in to an adversary whether it was the health insurance industry, Wall Street, Putin in Crimea and eastern Ukraine or backing down from his own red line with Assad over the use of chemical weapons. None of which has been lost on Netanyahu. 

Add Obama's horrendous judgement in refusing the advice of his former Secretary of State three years ago and 3 former Secretaries of Defense who all quit rather than carry out his policies of refusing to arm the moderate rebels in Syria to fight the fledgling Isis, instead writing them off as "the junior varsity" and you have one foreign policy disaster after another all of which could have been avoided with better and tougher and more principled decisions instead of Obama's bad judgement and decisions that made a bad problem a thousand times worse as both Isis , Syria and what Putin did in Crimea and eastern Ukraine proves. Again, none of which is lost on Netanyahu but which would have far more serious consequences with Iran having a nuclear weapon. In fact it could be reasonably said that after George W. Bush, Obama is the worst foreign policy and domestic policy president the country has had since Richard Nixon.

The White House also criticized Netanyahu's speech by saying Netanyahu didn't offer an alternative plan that in Obama's words, " I could see".   That Obama couldnt see it doesn't mean it wasn't there. If he could've seen it Netanyahu probably wouldn't have been there to make the speech in the first place.

Netanyahu actually did offer an alternative as he pointed out himself in response to Obama's remarks. In fact the "nothing new" comment from Obama and some anonymous White House flunky saying Netanyahu is all talk and no action ( this is what psychologists call projection)  sounded like something they had prepared before the speech was even given.

Netanyahu's alternative was increasing the sanctions on Iran not decreasing them,  until they were willing to give up any possibility of being able to make a nuclear bomb which meant,  in Netanyahu's  words, cutting off all paths to Iran being able to obtain a nuclear weapon. That included reducing their number of centrifuges,eliminating and dismantling their heavy water reactor which is only used to enrich uranium and plutonium to weapons grade  and to increase  the "break out" time for Iran to make a bomb if they decided to renege on the deal in the future. Netanyahu also wanted Iran's state sponsorship of terrorism to be part of the negotiation which it is not. All of that was new. Along with a mechanism to verify Iran's compliance with unfettered inspections to insure that a government who has been caught lying in the past , this time can't.

So it's no wonder Obama didn't see it as anything new. Because Netanyahu's alternative would actually mean getting tough with Iran and drawing a real red line that Iran cannot cross or suffer more and tougher sanctions. That was the alternative plan Netanyahu offered that Obama couldn't see, instead of the dog chasing its tail negotiations going on in Geneva where it's Obama and Kerry who are constantly afraid Iran will walk away if it gets its feathers ruffled when it should be exactly the opposite.

As for Pelosi she is the last person in the world who can criticize anyone about being "condescending". Right now the U.S. has 50 million people who cant afford healthcare coverage but who would have had it under the public option.  Which doesn't stop Pelosi from trying to tell them how affordable the health insurance they cant afford really is. Which  makes Pelosi the most condescending figure since Marie Antoinette. 

The Democratic party has been in a shambles because of the lack of leadership of both Pelosi and Obama, and with a March 24 deadline for the Iran talks approaching Netanyahu clearly wanted to shine a light and might help prevent Obama from selling a bad deal.

While Pelosi's comments were designed to politically protect Obama from criticism,  Netanyahu's speech was designed to protect Israel and the United States and the rest of the world from an Iranian nuclear bomb. That is the real insult by Pelosi to everyone who knows there is no alternative to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Pelosi's politically motivated attempts to defend Obama's track record of failures which have already cost tens of thousands of lives in Syria and thousands of lives in Ukraine, and insisting Obama should just be trusted and  given the benefit of the doubt is not just an  insult to everyone's intelligence, it's farcical. And if Democrats have any hopes of winning in the future they need to realize it before the 2016 elections.  For Netanyahu, he can't afford to wait that long.

ADDENDUM: To highlight the true absurdity and weakness of the U.S. position in the Iran negotiations, almost making Netanyahu's point in warning against a bad deal, nothing could be more telling than what John Kerry said about the negotiations on Saturday, March 7. In expressing a united front  with the UK in the negotiations Kerry said, " We know what we are chasing and we are chasing after the same thing."

If Obama or Kerry knew how to negotiate it would be Iran, who wants all the sanctions lifted, who would be doing the chasing. Not the U.S. Which is why the talks will either fail or will result in Obama and Kerry trying to sell a bad and dangerous deal.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Netanyahu's speech: trying to prevent nuclear Obamacare with Iran and a bomb.

A lot has been written about Netanyahu's speech to congress with the emphasis on the superficiality of things like breaches in protocol,  mostly by some Democrats who see the speech as an afront to Obama as opposed to what is really is and what it was intended to be -- an affront to Obama's policy. 

The comparison to Obamacare is not politics nor has it anything to do with Republican attempts to overturn it. First and foremost it was a betrayal of Democrats and their voters and in pulling what amounted to a bait and switch by dropping the public option in an unnecessary capitulation to health insurance companies,  Obamacare became the most egregious sell out of a government policy to a special interest group -- the health insurance lobby -- in American   history. Netanyahu is trying to prevent the same result with a bad deal with Iran. Which it seems some Democrats still don't understand. Instead a few Democrats, roused by the White House decided to make an issue out of which side of the plate the salad fork really belongs. 

 You would have thought after getting wiped out in two elections for the same reasons --supporting or defending Obama's failures and his betrayals  of Democratic ideals and his promises reneged on over critical policies like healthcare with Obama caving in to the health insurance industry, Democrats would have learned a valuable lesson in what happens when you support failure for partisan reasons. Obviously they haven't and seem intent on doing what they do best politically -- shoot themselves in the foot especially in compromising their own principles to support Obama.

The reason for Netanyahu's speech is simply about one thing: Obama from the very beginning has proved he can't be trusted on anything much less a deal with Iran to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.  And Netanyahu knows what too many Democrats still won't admit -- that if Obama couldn't stand up to the health insurance industry, if he couldn't stand up to Wall Street, if he couldn't stand up to the threat of Isis calling them " the junior varsity" after refusing the advice of his former Secretary of State and three Secretaries of Defense to arm the moderate Syrian rebels to stop the threat and spread of Isis, if he wouldn't stand up to Putin in Crimea and won't stand up to Putin now  in eastern Ukraine, if he backed off his threat against Assad over the use of chemical weapons, why would Netanyahu or anyone else trust him to stand up to the Iranians and come away with anything more than a tepid, cosmetic, ineffective deal in order to claim success just like the ineffective cosmetic cave in on healthcare reform known as Obamacare?

A nuclear Obamacare with the Iranians is not something Netanyahu, nor most in congress are going to buy even if they do at Tea Party Left places like Daily Kos and ThinkProgress.

Hasn't anyone noticed that it's always Obama and Kerry who are afraid Iran will walk away from negotiations if they get their feathers ruffled? What kind of negotiating from a position of strength is that? Why isn't it the Iranians who are afraid the U.S.  will walk away? They're the ones who want all the sanctions lifted that are strangling their economy. 

Some in the news media like CNN are trying to put the best White House  face on Netanyahu's speech on behalf of the White House by trying to peddle the nonsense that it could hurt U.S. Israeli relations  and that the speech could backfire, calling the 34 Democrats who won't attend the speech (out of 535 members of congress) a "major backlash against Netanyahu" . But no one that matters takes that seriously. Nor their contention that it is somehow hurting U.S. -Israeli relations. It isn't. It only magnifies the strained relations between Netanyahu and Obama which goes back to June 2008 and got subsequently worse which the news media either out of their usual incompetence or cowardice over reporting anything that could jeopardize their White House  "access",  ignores.

The distrust of Obama by Netanyahu began when Obama ruined any chance to broker a mid east peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians  after  a speech he made to AIPAC  in June 2008 when he proved he was not only no statesman or even cared about accomplishing anything other than getting elected, but that  he was willing to say anything to anyone at anytime to get what he wanted politically regardless of consequences. Consequences that have affected his entire presidency when it comes to the middle east. And Netanyahu knows that too. 

It was in June 2008 that Obama made a speech in front of AIPAC  whose clear and obvious purpose was to appeal to the Jewish vote anticipating the need for Florida's electoral votes in the upcoming 2008 presidential election and Florida's substantial Jewish population. In that speech Obama sent shockwaves through the middle east when he said that he "supported a unified single Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel". Obviously so does Netanyahu and most Jews and Israelis, except that for decades U.S. negotiators had gotten both sides to agree to put that most contentious issue, the final status of Jerusalem, the last issue on the agenda in the hopes that if agreements could be made on everything else the two sides would be more likely to try and find some compromise  rather than see everything go out the window over Jerusalem. 

Obama's  politically self serving statement calculated to get the hoped for Florida Jewish vote took Jerusalem off the negotiating table and yanked the rug out from under the Palestinians feet  and while he was rewarded  in the moment with a standing ovation by the 7000 Jews at the conference, the reaction of the Palestinians and most Arab countries around the world was predictable. They went berserk.  They called Obama's reckless and politically self serving public statement biased and that he could never be trusted by the Palestinians or the Arab world. 

Obama's response was to do what he has done his whole political career and throughout his entire presidency in the face of the slightest adversity -- he immediately reneged on his original statement of committment and reversed himself  trying to claim everyone misunderstood him (kind of like " I never campaigned for a public option") . Sounding more like the ingratiating Eddie Haskell from the old Leave it to Beaver series than a presidential candidate, he tried to claim that what he meant by supporting a single unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel was "a Jerusalem with no barbed wire". That's what he said. Even though everyone knew there hadn't been any barbed wire partitioning  Jerusalem since 1967.

Now it was the Israelis turn to be infuriated and they were. And it proved to both sides that Obama couldn't be trusted and that his word on anything was worthless. It's the single biggest reason why he has been the most ineffective president in history in dealing with Israeli-Palestinian issues and why there has been nothing but deep distrust by Israel and the Palestinians, even more so by the Palestinians as bad as Obama's relationship with Netanyahu is. And it's that justified and fundamental distrust that gets carried over into any negotiating  Obama does with Iran. 

None of this gets pointed out by the mainstream news media either because of stupidity, fear of angering the White House and jeopardizing their "access"  or just  plain incompetence.  In an interview on CNN's State of the Union Dana Bash asked a former Israeli ambassador why the relationship between Netanyahu and Obama was so bad from the very beginning. It was like the speech Obama made in June 2008 and his reversals never took place.

Obama destroyed his crediblity with both the Israelis and Palestinians and not only was his original statement,even if he believed it (though there is no archeological record that Obama has ever actually ever believed in anything) reckless and irresponsible for someone who one day might have to be seen as an objective and honest broker,  it proved to both sides his word couldn't be trusted.  And it  not only  put the entire middle east peace process on hold for his entire presidency but the result is Netanyahu doesn't trust him as far as he can throw a nuclear reactor. 

All that  Obama accomplished with the Israelis and Palestinians  was to unite both sides in their mutual contempt for him. So it should come as no surprise that Netanyahu, on an issue as vital to Israel's security as a nuclear Iran, something vital to U.S. interests as well and the entire world given that Iran is the world's largest source of state sponsored terrorism,  isn't going to trust Obama to negotiate anything real given Obama's history and his track record of weakness and failure and making bad decisions and a bad   problem worse ( see Isis, Syria, Ukraine).

To underscore the disconnect by the White House , John Kerry actually said on Sunday that the Obama administration's diplomatic record "entitles it to the benefit of the doubt" in the negotiations with Iran. He actually said that. As if the previous six years of Obama's presidency and it's failures never happened. 

For those interested in reality, Obama is entitled to the benefit of the probability of failure and making a bad deal rather than no deal just to claim he accomplished something. Like the 32 million he said got health insurance under Obamacare who don't exist. Or the 10 million he claimed got health insurance who didn't have health insurance before . Who also don't exist. This isn't mixing metaphors . It's what Obama's track record shows he is. And what  he's willing to say or do and why he can't be trusted. 

Just as Obamacare concessions to the health insurance industry completely failed to fix the two main problems healthcare reform was supposed to fix -- getting healthcare coverage for the 50 million Americans who don't have it and lowering the obscenely high cost of healthcare for those who do -- there is concern that any deal negotiated by Obama won't solve the real problem -- to prevent Iran from enriching uranium or plutonium to the 20% needed to make a  nuclear weapon. It's not complicated. It's simple. 

Kerry's comments has to make Netanyahu more certain than ever that deciding to give the speech to congress was the right thing to do. Especially given Kerry's most recent comment that one of the major "sticking points" is the percentage  of Uranium that Iran will have the right to enrich. This isn't a "sticking point".  This is the whole point. 

Iran says they only want to enrich uranium for medical and energy purposes. Uranium only needs to be enriched 1.5% for medical isotopes and 5% for fuel. It needs to be enriched 20% to make a nuclear bomb. There should be no "sticking point " as to the percentages. And no need for a heavy water reactor which so far Iran refuses to give up but is only needed to enrich uranium to 20%. 

Pointing this out  is what Democrats boycotting the speech are protesting and instead seem to be supporting what Netanyahu and many in congress  in both parties are trying to prevent --  a bad deal that  Obama calls  a good one and that left to Obama's judgement alone could end up as a nuclear Obamacare. Which is to say hazardous to a lot of people's health. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The debacle in Debaltseve: more death and destruction and the debacle of Obama policy in Ukraine.

The heart of the on going conflict between Russian backed rebels, Ukraine and the U.S. and Europe  is this:  hot air from Obama, Merkle and Hollande against the super heated air from Putin's missiles, tanks and heavy artillery as the above image from Debaltseve showing Russian Grad missiles proves. Guess who's been winning? And a recent poll shows the Russian people give Putin an 86% approval rating. The sanctions are working, huh. 

The fake cease fire negotiated in Minsk which Obama had hoped would let him off the hook without having to do anything meaningful, didn't simply fall apart, it never was in the first place. It was as much a failure as Obama's policies of sanctions to stop Putin. And the failure of his policies in general in microcosm since they are all based on the same approach. 

Separtist rebels using Grad missilies, tanks, heavy artillery and troops sent by Putin never stopped firing on the town of Debaltseve even after the cease fire was supposed to take effect  and eventually rebels took the railway hub driving outgunned Ukrainian troops from the town. Ironically the battle after the cease fire  was the single bloodiest battle in the entire 10 month war.

Five days after the rebel capture of Debaltseve, the rebel offensive has   continued  against the strategic city of Mariupol and the village of  Kurakhovo . And Russian tanks and troops were seen as late as Friday,  continuing to cross the border into Ukraine to bolster the separatists 5 days after Moscow agreed to a cease fire in a conflict they claim they are not party to. 

It's clear Putin knows he has Obama and the West on their heels and back pedaling and is pressing for as much territory as Obama will allow which if history is any example would probably include Brooklyn except Putin would face a lot tougher opposition in Brooklyn than he would face with Obama.

Putin hasnt just been laughing in Obama's face for year  he keeps spitting in it. And Obama's response has been for the most part,  "does anybody have a tissue"? The best the Obama administration seems to be able to do in the face of Putin's military offensive even after a cease fire is Kerry calling it  " a land grab" and "completely unacceptable". Not just "unacceptable" mind you, but to show just how tough Obama is it's "completely unacceptable" which is more diplomatic-speak for 
" does anyone have a tissue"?

 Its become obvious to everyone that Putin's cease fire proposal had one aim -- to allow the rebels to take more Ukrainian territory by force and essentially say, " what are you going to do about it"? The U.S. and European answer  so far  has been "Nothing".

What was put out for domestic consumption is that Obama is "considering" sending defensive weapons to Ukraine. He could have just as easily used the word "fiddling over". 

The result is the  "stupid stuff " Obama continues to do based on  his organizing principle exposed by Hillary Clinton of " don't stupid stuff" . Which is why Netanyahu is concerned about Iran. 

It was Obama who oversaw and practically directed the surrender of Crimea to Russia because was afraid of a confrontation with Putin. Putin knew it and kept taking what he wanted. It was Obama who told the interim government in Kiev at the time  " don't do anything to provoke Putin" after Outin put 40,000 troops on the Russian -Ukraine border. Which led to the morale deflating images of the Ukrainian military surrendering to Russian backed rebels in Crimea . And gave Putin the go ahead to take more. Which he's been doing. 

 Obama's response to Putin's continued use of Russian weapons and troops to grab as much of Ukraine as he can has been " the sanctions are working" . This is the substitute for refusing to live up to the 1995 U.S.- Ukraine pact that guaranteed Ukraine's defense and sovereignty in return for giving up 2000 of their soviet made nuclear weapons. 

So Putin's Russian backed separatist forces, ignoring what everyone knew was a phony cease fire agreement in the first place, has continued to press the offensive to take even more of Ukraine's territory having no fear or concern over Obama's so far empty threat to send arms to Ukraine.

In something so laughable it sounded like a line from Dr. Strangelove, the Russians are also objecting to the presence of UN peace keepers to monitor the cease fire claiming that peace keeping would violate the terms of the cease fire. No response from the U.S. 

The debacle in Debaltseve and Ukraine in general is Obama's policies collapsing under the weight of his own weakness while he continues to look for ways to avoid standing up to Putin.  Which Putin knows and is what is really behind Obama's refusal to send much needed weapons to Ukraine. 

Obama and his advisors  still keep peddling the story that the sanctions are working. They are not working not even against Russian bus drivers, car salesman, office workers and cleaning ladies to whom they are targeted as Putin's 86% job approval rating shows . Obama has been attacking credit cards while the Putin backed rebels attack towns and cities killing thousands.

From the beginning Obama's response to Ukraine's request for weapons was to send them what a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine called " camping equipment". Obama's idea of " don't do stupid stuff". And the consequences are obvious. 

If Obama had any real decision making ability or grasp of effective policy he'd be sending arms to Ukraine right now. First as a message to Putin and the rebels that the party is over. And secondly, even if the cease fire manages to hold, the weapons Obama would send would be a deterrent to Putin  to start the war again by sending in more arms and troops. Facing equal military weapons against his own forces  is the only price Putin is not willing to pay since it would mean heavy Russian casualties and the destruction of military equipment. 

With the weapons they need and without Russian troops Ukraine would clearly defeat the rebels and were actually on the verge of doing so in Donetsk when Putin sent in reenforcents to stop it.

 If Ukraine had those weapons Kiev could demand that all territory taken by rebels after the cease fire be given back.  If not then armed with U.S. weapons Ukraine could go back on the offensive and retake the territory .

Instead  Obama, Hollande and Merkle offer the usual empty talk of appeasement characterized by false cliches like  "there is no military solution only a diplomatic one. "

When another country uses military force to take what doesn't belong to them, the only response is military. It's called national defense. 

 To say otherwise is appeasement. That voice was clearly evident when Merkle talked about the unacceptablity of Russia trying to take territory in eastern Ukraine that  "Ukraine considers  to be theirs" . Considers?  The way Germany considers that Berlin belongs  to Germany? Why is Merkle even suggesting that there is any controversy or real dispute over whose territory has been invaded and  is  being occupied by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine? 

The solution in Ukraine right now  has been and is a military one, which Obama and Merkle and Hollande are trying to avoid. The solution is to stand up to Putin arming the separatists who without Russia's troops and weapons would be militarily defeated. This is what makes Obama's excuse that giving the Ukrainian military weapons wouldnt do any good since  "they couldn't win a war with Russia".  Ukraine is at war with the rebels. There is no full scale war with Russia. And by saying Ukraine would lose a full scale war with Russia  is Obama signaling to Putin if he did launch a full scale war the U.S.  would do nothing? Maybe this is why Gdnerdl Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commader of NATO recently said the U.S. Is not doing enough to stand up to Putin. 

Ukraine does not have to defeat Russia. Putin would not officially invade Ukraine with Russian troops. Ukraine needs to defeat the rebels. So Obama's most recent rationale for not sending weapons is irrationale. 

One other false reason Obama gives for not sending weapons to Ukraine is that those weapons could fall into the hands of the rebels. Which shows there are people in the White House either not living on the planet earth or are so used to lying and getting away with it they will throw out anything they believe the news media will let them get away with which they almost always do.

The rebels don't  need American weapons. They are being supplied with all the tanks, heavy artillery and Grad missiles they want  by Russia. And it is both insulting and a lie to assume the Ukrainian  military would lose against the rebels when they were on the verge of defeating them even without U.S. weapons. 

It's the same argument Obama used against arming the moderate  Syrian rebels which led to the rise of Isis. 

While Obama and the West keep saying there is no military solution in Ukraine there is one person who thinks there is. Vladimir Putin. And until Obama and his so called advisors are ready to admit that and decide whether the U.S.  is going to stand up to it or be cowed by it and force Putin to back down Putin and the rebels will not stop.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Netanyahu: Fiddler On the White House Roof.

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address members of congress in March on the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and its turned into the usual partisan type of bickering and oneupmanship with some Democrats trying to defend the indefensible which is Obama's policies or lack of which sorry to say, got them thrown out of congress in two elections. But getting lost in the breach of protocol are the real issues involved which is the nuclear negotiations with Iran and trying to get a deal on eliminating their ability to produce a nuclear warhead, negotiations which, for those keeping score, have already failed once before. 

The deadline for a deal that a lot of people besides Netanyahu think is leading to a bad one, came and went and another of Obama's red lines was skipped over. The deadline was extended to the end of March and that has everything to do with the timing of Bohener's invitation and Netanyahu's acceptance, not the Israeli election. 

Netanyahu's acceptance of the visit ruffled feathers in the White House because Bohener invited Netanyahu without first consulting the White House which he didn't have to do but which has generally been the protocol.  But it should also be seen for what it is -- not just a political poke in the eye to Obama, but a signal as to what a lot of people in and out of congress already feel about Obama's policy towards Iran.

Netanyahu's visit is understandable. Its purpose is to make clear his opposition to a negotiation many in congress also aren't happy with, and its also based on one other factor. Netanyahu doesn't trust Obama or his word and for good reason: throughout his presidency Obama has never lived up to his word on anything and in the Middle East poisoned  the well as an honest broker in terms of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations before he was even elected, a little fact most in the news media ignore because to report it is to criticize everything that's gone predictably wrong about Obama's presidency whether its foreign or domestic policy. Because there is a pattern. 

Obama as always negotiates from a position of weakness. The same weakness that led him to advise the interim government in Kiev when Russia was trying to seize control of Crimea to " do nothing that will provoke Putin", essentially telling Kiev to surrender.  Which they did and which led not only to the illegal strong armed annexation of Crimea but the wider war in eastern Ukraine.

When a bipartisan group of senators wanted to pass a bill that did nothing more than tell  Iran that if there was no deal the sanctions that were lifted would be reimposed and more sanctions would be levied,  Obama opposed it and gave as a reason that such a bill  would cause Iran to walk away from the negotiations.

That is weakness. Why should Obama be afraid Iran will walk away if its in Iran's interest to make a deal and if they are telling the truth that they have no nuclear warhead ambitions?   On the surface it seems simple. The sanctions are there because of Iran's nuclear program which presently has the capacity for producing nuclear warheads. Iran says their desire is only to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. If so they should have no trouble agreeing to the dismantling of their heavy water reactors which have no other  purpose than to produce weapons grade uranium. Heavy water reactors are not needed to refine uranium to produce medical isotopes and other peaceful forms of energy which Iran claims is their only nuclear ambition. 

Why doesn't Obama take the position that it is in Iran's best interests to make a deal if they want to see the sanctions lifted, and make that deal on the West's terms not Iran's and based on Iran's own assertions?  It is  Iran that wants the U.S. sanctions  lifted. It is Iran that was caught lying before about their nuclear program. 

Yet it's been Obama who is afraid that if an additional sanctions bill passed, Iran would walk away when it is Iran who should be afraid the U.S. is prepared to walk away and sanctions reimposed. 

Netanyahu knows this. He also knows as almost all Democratic voters know who have been burned by Obama's reneging on promises before that Obama's word on anything is worthless and cant be trusted. This isn't rhetoric. It's  a well documented and provable fact that only the sycophants on the Tea Party Left web sites and some Democrats ignore. Kiev knows it only too well. So do civilians and the moderate rebels in Syria. So did voters who believed Obama and the Democrats would make good on their promise of a public health care option only to see  it dropped in an Obama concession to health insurance companies and the Obamacare substitute fall on its face. And concessions is exactly what concerns Netanyahu and most members of congress. 

Obama destroyed  his own credibility in the middle east before he was even elected. It was in June 2008, as  a candidate for president that Obama gave a speech in front of 7,000 Jews at AIPAC - the American Israeli Political Action Committee in Washington D.C. that forever destroyed any chance he had  as a force in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The motive behind Obama's speech was political.  Florida was the most important swing state in the country and Democrats still had memories of hanging chads and a specious and contested 500 vote margin and Supreme Court interference  that gave the presidency to George W. Bush.

Florida figured to be a key state in the 2008 election. And Florida has a significant Jewish population. So Obama gave a speech at AIPAC attended by 7,000 Jews and in that speech made a significant announcement -- that  he supported a unified Jerusalem, one Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. This is a universally shared view by Jews and supporters of Israel but a shocking statement from a presidential candidate who might one day have to be involved in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
But the statement had the immediate effect Obama intended - a standing ovation from the 7,000 Jews present and ostensibily from Jewish voters in Florida and around the country.

The statement revealed how  truly incompetent, politically motivated, self centered and unqualified  for the presidency Obama was and that his personal political priorities came first regardless of consequences. 

Jerusalem was and still is the most contentious issue regarding negotiations for a Palestinian state in any Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.  Every negotiator since negotiations began decades ago, had gotten both parties to agree to make the final status of Jerusalem the last thing on the agenda. It was always the hope of  U.S. negotiators that if they could get the two sides to agree on everything else, each side would be more likely to come to some change in position regarding Jerusalem rather than see everything else achieved go down the drain. 

Even if you do support a single unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel as it is now and reject  Palestinian demands that East Jersualem be their capitol,  if you are a principle in the negotiations and are supposed to be an honest and objective broker, you don't say it. Because its up to the parties to decide whats in their own best interests. Which is not to say Israel would ever agree to partion Jerusalem -- Ehud Barak had offered to partion part of East Jerusalem for the capitol of a Palestinian state in 2000 and Arafat rejected it and launched the Infitada. Its unlikely any Israeli prime minister will ever offer it again and the Palestinians will have to live with their decisions, something Arafat on his death bed said he regretted.

But Obama's public statement as a candidate took Jerusalem right off the table  in return for a five minute politically motivated standing ovation. And the Palestinian reaction was predictable. They went beserk.

Within 24 hours the entire Arab world issued statements condemning Obama for his statement about Jerusalem.

This time it was Obama who reacted predictably. He reneged and backtracked on his statement backing a unified Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. Within 24 hours of the Palestinian backlash Obama put out a preposterous and  laughable statement that the whole world misunderstood him, that when he said he supported a single unified Jerusalem he meant "a Jerusalem with no barbed wire." No kidding. That's what he said. Despite the fact that there has been no barbed wire in Jerusalem since the Israelis' recaptured it in the  1967 war.

Obama's immediate reversal  naturally infuriated the Israelis who realized then that Obama's word on anything was worthless and he couldn't be trusted. And the Palestinians didn't trust him either.

If Obama accomplished anything with that speech it was to actually unify the Israelis and Palestinians in their mutual contempt for him. A contempt that continues to this day and is the single biggest reason Obama has been the most ineffective U.S. president in history in dealing with Israeli-Palestinians negotiations.

No one trusts him. And Netanyahu certainly doesn't trust him on Iran.  Obama's failure to arm moderate Syrian rebels which led to the rise of Isis and a crisis situation and his handling of Ukraine which led to the annexation of Crimea and all the death and destruction in eastern Ukraine that followed only re-enforces Netanyahu's lack of trust.

This is the context and backdrop of not just Israeli skepticism about any deal with Iran led by Obama, but also by most in the U.S. congress including many Democrats though because of  blind partisanship some Democrats feel the need to defend Obama and talk of boycotting Netanyahu's speech,  something as mindless in their defense of Obama as the far right's mindless attacks.

The tune Netanyahu is playing  is a simple one: Obama can't be trusted. And history proves it repeatedly.

In 1995 after the fall of the Soviet Union,  the U.S. signed a pact with Ukraine where we told Ukraine that if you give up your 2000 nuclear weapons we will guarantee your sovereignty and defense. Obama from the beginning has refused to honor that pact and commitment and has looked for any way out, something that wasn't exactly unnoticed by  Putin. Netanyahu sees that too. And knows no deal that Obama makes with Iran is going to be a good one. Or one that anyone could count on Obama to enforce.

The negotuations as they stand now are not going well for the U.S. Iran has been bragging recently that the sanctions have done nothing to deter their nuclear ambitions  (sound familiar?) They bragged that  they had 200 nuclear reactors before the sanctions and and now they have 20,000.   That sounds like a much bigger poke in Obama's eye than Netanyahu making a speech in front of congress. 

Iran is playing as if they are holding all the cards. And Obama is  playing the same way  and keeps talking about not doing anything that will upset them and cause them to walk away ( just like he told the interim government in Kiev not to do anything that might upset Putin while he was annexing Crimea).

This is why Netanyahu is going to give his speech despite Obama's displeasure, and the superficial pouting of some Democrats who say they won't attend.  And the tune Netanyahu will  be playing will be to convince members of congress, most of whom don't  really need convincing that it is Obama and his negotiations with Iran, who is  really doing the fiddling.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Obama position on Ukraine mostly fetal.

"We have a profound interest in promoting a core principle -- that large countries do not bully small countries". President Obama,January 23. 20015.

Given all the strife, killing and destruction initiated by Russia from their strong armed violent illegal annexation of Crimea to their invasion of eastern Ukraine with Russian tanks, missiles and thousands of Russian troops which has killed thousands and destroyed lives and Ukrainian cities and towns  in Putin's attempt to take over and absorb eastern Ukraine, and considering it's global implications, it is hard to imagine a more trite, trivial,  juvenile , immature and embarrassing  statement of foreign policy over a major crisis from a U. S. president. So much for soaring rhetoric. Which soars about as much as a paper plane. Which is about the same level of military aid Obama has sent to Ukraine. 

On Saturday rebel shells killed 30 more civilians including 2 children and the once modern airport in Donetsk is a shambles. Obama's response was that he"condemned the killing" once again reaching into the politicians handbook of trite, trivial,  meaningless political cliches which no doubt sent Putin into paroxysms of remorse.

To date Obama's offer of help to the Ukrainian government against Russian military aggression has been, in the words of a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, nothing more than"camping equipment". While Putin sends in tanks, troops, and anti-aircraft missiles, one of which shot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine killing 186, Obama counters by sending the Ukrainian military Meals Ready to Eat, no doubt to be used to throw at Russian tanks.

Obama's position on Ukraine as it was with Syria and arming the moderate rebels has been an embarrassment to U.S.  values and foreign policy, but more than that, has been spectacularly ineffective and led to catastrophe and the killing of thousands in Ukraine and tens of thousand more  in Syria as a result of ignoring the advice of his former Secretary of State and three Secretaries of Defense who all quit over his refusal to take what we now know was the best advice.

Since Putin's initial incursion into Crimea and the illegal annexation, Obama's position has been largely fetal. When separatists and rebels, many of them members of the Russian military and intelligence services, took over Crimea, beating, torturing and killing any who opposed them, Obama's specific direction to the interim Ukrainian government in Kiev at the time was to "avoid bloodshed at all costs"  ( something Putin and the rebels were not willing to do) and " do nothing to provoke Putin" who had massed 40,000 Russian troops on the Ukraine border to intimidate Obama. Which worked. This led to the images the world saw of the Ukrainian military surrendering without a fight. It was, in effect, Obama surrendering to Putin. With the ensuing consequences.

Obama's lack of will, moral conviction or resolve to stand up to Putin reached such lows during the annexation of Crimea,  that the usually sycophantic CNN actually did a segment on whether Putin had "bullied" Obama.

And this failure  to stand up to Putin not only led to the annexation of Crimea it has led to all the bloodshed and killing that followed, with Putin knowing there would be no consequences he would care about coming from the United States. That emboldened him further to step up his invasion of Ukraine in the east.

Obama has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of backbone to stand up to Putin and Putin knows it. Whether it was backing off his "Red Line" in Syria over chemical weapons under pressure from  Putin or backing down in Crimea and virtually instructing the interim government in Kiev to surrender,  Putin was willing to test Obama's lack of resolve in the east and in every instance saw Obama back down when and where it counted. 

Obama  continues to say that " sanctions are working" against Russia when everyone other than the average American journalist knows they are not.

The sanctions are having an effect on Russia's economy and hurting the average Russian citizen, but are having no affect on Putin who is not an average Russian citizen and who by the way is worth about $6 billion.  The sanctions are a complete failure in what they were intended to do --  stop Putin from sending Russian troops and military equipment to support the rebels in eastern Ukraine who without it would have been crushed by the Ukrainian military a long time ago. 

Instead  of countering and giving the Ukrainian military what it has repeatedly asked for and needed to stand up to the Russian aggression and support of the rebels, Obama has insisted  on following his own core principle as exposed by Hillary Clinton of " don't do stupid stuff".  Which has led Obama to doing nothing but stupid stuff. And leaves Obama continuing to waffle on what to do in Ukraine even though that has been clear for a long time with members of congress from both parties telling Obama what it is -- arm the Ukrainian military so they have what the means to do what Obama has so far been unable to do --  stand up to Putin and his policy of Russian military aggression in eastern Ukraine.

John Kerry's trip to Kiev and his speech was the language of appeasement and the defensive, underscoring Obama's posture. He said this was not a confrontation between East and West, that they were not looking for a confrontation with Russia that "no one is" and again making the same whiney statements about wanting a diplomatic solution, all the while as Putin sends in more tanks and troops than he has in the past and more people die and Putin gets bolder.  Kerry's announcement of $16 million in aid to the Ukrainian government, a pittance -- about what it costs the tax payers for Obama to fly to a plant in Dubuque and make false claims about the rebound of the econonmy (see the AP report on Obama's false statements and accounting tricks) --was offering the government of Ukraine a pacifier.

Kerry then gave a  speech in Kiev consisting of the words, " all we are asking of Russia ..".

Asking? After all this military aggression from  Putin and violating their own Minsk agreement, sending tanks, troops and other heavy weapons into Ukraine, Obama is asking?  Kerry then went on to ask that Russia withdraw heavy weapons, withdraw troops, stop aiding the rebels and close the border. And what do they  expect Putin's response is going to be? "Gee, why didnt you ask me in the first place"?

Obama is still wary of sending arms to Ukraine, because, according to reports,  he is worried about how Russia would react and whether Putin would escalate.  Obviously Putin has not been worried about how Obama was going to react or if Obama  and the West would escalate

The other argument  is that sending arms to Ukraine would not be enough to defeat Russia, as if that is the issue. Obama has done this before trying to defend his inaction on Syria by saying " what we did was not invade Syria" as if anyone ever suggested that we do when what was recommended was to arm the Syrian rebels, something Obama refused to do then which fueled the rise of Isis. It is a virtual impossiblity that Putin would order a full scale invasion of Ukraine when they have been denying any involvement since it started. And it would be unpopular with Russian citizens. And all Obama is doing  by not sending weapons is signaling to Putin that if he did invade, the U.S. would do nothing.

Months ago when Russia first began the annexation of Crimea and Putin sent in troops under the guise of "protecting Russian speaking people", it was pointed out both here and by Hillary Clinton  that Hitler used the same rationale and tactic for invading the Sudetenland claiming it was to protect the rights of German speaking people. Clinton's comments were mocked by ignorant journalists with headlines blaring, "Clinton compares Putin to Hitler", which she did not, but  pointed out a historical truth and reality that was ignored and has continued to prove accurate.  Had Obama and western Europe taken a stand in Crimea there would not now be a Russian led war going on in eastern Ukraine. And as if learning nothing from history, the U.S.  France, Britain and Germany, did not act and are are now facing a bigger problem which will get worse unless they finally draw a line in the sand and act -- which is nothing more and nothing less than sending lethal military aid to Ukraine to combat the lethal weapons Russia has sent.

If you want to know who the appeasers are, listen to those who say, "there is no military solution in eastern Ukraine". Those are people looking for any excuse possible, any way out of taking the action necessary to end the conflict. Because there certainly is a military solution in Ukraine. Just ask Putin. The solution is to defeat the rebels and separatists militarily as Ukraine was on the verge of doing last summer when Putin sent in more weapons and troops to stop it.  When the rebels who have tried to steal eastern Ukraine for Putin are defeated, that will be the solution and Ukraine can regain control of that part of their country.

The West has got to realize they are not going to outthink Putin and they are not going to outsmart Putin. All they can do is stand up to Putin and make the costs of continuing more than Putin is willing to pay. On his terms not theirs.

But for now ,instead of action we get another core principle from the commander of core principles which is "big countries shouldn't bully small countries". But what Obama leaves out  is what every parent and every kid in every schoolyard in the country already knows : the way to stop a bully is to stand up to him.