The Budapest Memorandum, circa 1994, Ukraine Edition

The Budapest Memorandum was a security agreement signed Dec. 5, 1994 by US President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister John Major, Russia’s Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma for Ukraine. Not having a meaningful military of its own, but did have nuclear weapons, the Budapest Memorandum was Ukraine’s agreement to dismantle their nuclear capability in exchange for security guarantees for their sovereignty and protection of their borders.

The Budapest Memorandum was affirmed as recently as Dec. 4, 2009 when China and France joined as signatories to this agreement. And no one, except Russian President Vladimir (the dog killer) Putin denies that the generic troops in the Crimea part of Ukraine that came from Russia are in fact, Russian troops. And no one, except Putin, believes that the Russian-speaking Ukraines there need protecting by him. By all other accounts, including the Ukraine government, Russia has invaded their country and violated their border and sovereignty.

With Russia keeping the unarmed Ukrainian military from their posts with its military, including firing warning shots at them, preventing them from going to work (picture above), some Ukraine officials are calling on the Budapest Memorandum for the help they were promised.

Arsen Avakov, the new interior minister and member of Fatherland, the party of oligarch Yulya Tymoshenko, alleged that the international airport in Sebastopol in the Crimea had been blocked by Russian forces. He wrote on Facebook, “I regard what is happening as an armed invasion and occupation in violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provoking of armed bloodshed on the territory of a sovereign state.”

By invoking terms of a 1994 agreement, he aims to provide a casus belli justifying Western military intervention in Ukraine.

Two things are certain. There is no will on the part of the signatories of the Budapest Memorandum to use military force to repel the Russian troops from Crimea. And, the world now sees who is calling the shots, and it is not President Obama and the United States.

There are plenty of sanctions that can be placed upon Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Sanctions that will hurt their economy and the Russian people. But what remains to be seen is where Putin will stop. Will he move on to Kiev and claim the whole country? Then move on to another former Soviet satellite country in a move to effectively re-establish the former Soviet Union?

It is clear that the time to act to prevent this has long past. What is surprising (not) is that the only people who could see this coming were Republican politicians like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. An examination as to why that is reveals the differences between the two parties. The Republicans deal with reality whereas the Democrats deal with the way they think things ought to be, or, the way they want them to be.

Putin knows this, and just as sure as Palin and Romney knew what he was all about, Putin knows how far in over his head Obama is, and what he’s all about. One pundit characterized it this way, “while Putin is playing chess, Obama is playing marbles.”

Refusing to admit this foreign policy debacle, the Democrats in Washington are criticizing Republicans for blaming Obama for letting this crisis grow into a crisis. It wasn’t Republicans that took an apology tour throughout the Middle East and Egypt. They didn’t voice support for the green movement in Iran, then abandon them in support of the Mullahs. They weren’t the ones that sparked the Arab Spring in Egypt, supporting the students and people who wanted democracy, only to abandon them after Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood took over. They weren’t the ones voicing support for the Syrian opposition, then doing nothing to help, until it was too late to help. Now a couple hundred thousand dead and millions in refugee camps later, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah have taken hold in Syria. And Putin is on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

What President Obama has shown the world is that the United States is all talk and can not be a trusted ally when the going gets tough. Trying to save face, Obama’s response is one for the ages. As big as the lie of the year was. Ukraine is hearing, if you like your country, you can keep your country.

President Obama’s statement on Russia’s action qualifies for the joke of the year . . .

I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength, but rather, is a reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling.

If Russia’s move into Ukraine is not a sign of Putin’s strength, then it is an example of Obama’s weakness, naiveté, and incompetence.

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