Obama fiddles while Ukraine burns

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The situation in Ukraine is spiraling out of control before our very eyes, and it all could have been prevented by strong deterrence.

After Putin’s latest announcement condemning the Ukrainian government’s actions to take back its own property, John Kerry stated, “Following today’s threatening movement of Russian troops right up to Ukraine’s border let me be clear…the window to change course is closing.” I do agree with John Kerry, the window is indeed closing, and it’s our fingers that are about to get smashed.

The Associated Press reports, “Russia announced new military exercises Thursday involving ground and air forces near its border with Ukraine, swiftly responding to a Ukrainian operation to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country’s tumultuous east. The Ukrainian move, which killed at least two people, brought new threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who denounced it as a “punitive operation.”

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It seems that a new Ukrainian military offensive has resulted in the deaths of now five pro-Russian insurgents. “If the Kiev government is using the army against its own people, this is clearly a grave crime,” Putin said. Putin’s statement, and the announcement of new military maneuvers, sharpened anxiety over the prospect of a Russian incursion into Ukraine. Could the death of the five pro-Russian insurgents be the “trigger point” that Putin has been seeking to provide him the cover to invade Ukraine under the auspices of protecting ethnic Russians?

During my 22 years in the military, one of the maxims I learned is that “the enemy has a vote.” Regardless of your plans and intentions, if you do not consider the most dangerous possible course of action of your enemy, you will not be prepared. If not prepared, you will probably not attain victory. This philosophy of warfare is an integral part of the thought process of any military leader. That was why Sun Tzu’s Art of War was mandatory reading when I was a young Lieutenant. While traipsing across Asia, I would advise our commander of the armed forces, Barack Hussein Obama, to pick up a copy and read it before heading back to America.

Why? Because he’s getting his “clock cleaned” by Russia and China. Events are unfolding and escalating to a point where they may not be contained — and as history has evidenced during World Wars I and II, each war encompassed an ever-increasing global conflagration.

While we have deployed a very small contingent of American paratroopers from Vicenza, Italy to Poland and the Baltic States, no one is really fooled — most importantly Putin. In Army vernacular, this was either a demonstration or a feint. The difference is important. Both of these are deceptive operations, but with divergent objectives. A feint is used to deceive the enemy, while you move to conduct an operation elsewhere — a prime example was in Desert Storm when we made the enemy believe we would conduct a major maritime amphibious operation landing in Kuwait while we secretly moved into the deep desert. A demonstration is the presentation of forces with no intention of conducting any further operation. It is an attempt to deter enemy aggression without action.

Vladimir Putin understands these tactics and quite surely at this point, sees the repositioning of the small number of US troops as a demonstration, not a feint, and that means he disregards their existence — especially so when President Obama stated early on that “there would be no military option.”

I ask you, who has the upper hand in this situation?

This seems to be a pesky little problem for President Obama. Perhaps Jimmy Fallon’s comic caricatures on The Tonight Show, such as the Obama/Putin/Dr. Phil skit, are not setting well with the thin-skinned Obama — who is being portrayed as more of a bystander to global events than an influencer. If Obama continues his role in this crisis as bystander in chief, we could see a repeat of the 1930’s “protection” of ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland — and you know how that ended up.

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