Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Invasion Isn’t a Matter of Terminology
The US State Department – popularly referred to as Foggy Bottom – is living up to that moniker by attempting to conceal what Russia has perpetrated against Ukraine.
According to Justin Sink of The Hill, the White House is not ready to designate last week’s Russian combat troop movements in southeastern Ukraine an “invasion” despite warnings from Kyiv and NATO that military forces had crossed the border.
This is in contrast to countless history books that have said that when armies of one country cross the border into another country to wage war against its soldiers and citizens it is an invasion. It was called an invasion when armies of the Third Reich crossed the border into sovereign Poland in September 1939 and defeated Poland in a month.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki avoided questions about whether a full-scale invasion had occurred last Thursday, noting the query was “a discussion about terminology.”
“It doesn’t change what kind of support we are providing, what kind of discussions are happening within the administration,” Psaki said in an interview with MSNBC.
“What we’ve seen here is an escalation of aggression by the Russians. A pattern, actually, over the last several months, that's what we're concerned about and that's what we're watching closely,” she added.
Psaki offered this lame observation despite the fact that NATO called the Russian incursion into Ukraine an invasion and Ihor Prokopchuk, Ukraine’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told NBC News “What we registered is a direct invasion of the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine.”
Psaki warned that the US and other world powers were considering even more drastic sanctions against Moscow and had “a range of tools at our disposal” to respond to what they regard as aggression. “There are still sanctions we could do,” she said.
Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans appreciate US support for Ukraine but the word aggression does not convey the extent of what Russia has been doing to Ukraine since January. Moscow has been aggressive toward Ukraine for centuries and that aggression turned into an inevitable violent invasion and war this year.
Refusing to admit that Russian combat troops have invaded Ukraine signals US weakness to Russia. Denying this Russian invasion is also a futile attempt by Washington to shield itself from having to undertake forceful steps to repel Russian invaders from sovereign Ukraine.
Ambassador Samantha Power, US Permanent Representative to the UN, who is known for her forceful rebuking of Russian UN Permanent Representative Vitaliy Churkin, cautioned on August 8, some three weeks before last week’s Russian invasion: “Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory – including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid – would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming. And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine.”
That finally happened.