Thursday, December 18, 2014

President Obama Blinked
President Obama today signed the long-awaited Ukrainian Freedom Support Act but unfortunately it won’t have the effect that it could have had if he fulfilled all of its tenets.
What the President did today reminds me of one of President Nixon’s Captive Nations Week Proclamations, issued at the height of his détente with Russia, in which he spoke of unspecific oppression by unmentioned violators of undefined nations, completely rejecting the original purpose of the Public Law 86-90.
In his statement, Obama said that he wouldn’t institute new sanctions at this time but in the future sanctions would be calibrated in response to Russia’s actions. There is also no mention of the military aid that was in the law that was adopted by both houses of Congress.
President Obama’s paper tiger will not scare, force or coerce Putin to do anything, especially after the Russian leader’s hellfire and brimstone press conference earlier today. I’m sure the President heard Putin’s press conference or at least was brief about it and he blinked. Putin is preparing for war to defend his taiga with an American leader defending his principles and the free world with powder puffs.
Concerned Americans, especially representatives of the former captive nations who know that their ancestral homelands are imperiled by Russia, should express their displeasure with President Obama’s policy toward Russia through all means possible: telephone, fax, email, blog, tweets, some signals.
The following is his statement:
Today, I have signed H.R. 5859, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, into law. Signing this legislation does not signal a change in the Administration’s sanctions policy, which we have carefully calibrated in accordance with developments on the ground and coordinated with our allies and partners.  At this time, the Administration does not intend to impose sanctions under this law, but the Act gives the Administration additional authorities that could be utilized, if circumstances warranted.
My Administration will continue to work closely with allies and partners in Europe and internationally to respond to developments in Ukraine and will continue to review and calibrate our sanctions to respond to Russia's actions. We again call on Russia to end its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, cease support to separatists in eastern Ukraine, and implement the obligations it signed up to under the Minsk agreements.
As I have said many times, our goal is to promote a diplomatic solution that provides a lasting resolution to the conflict and helps to promote growth and stability in Ukraine and regionally, including in Russia.  In this context, we continue to call on Russia's leadership to implement the Minsk agreements and to reach a lasting and comprehensive resolution to the conflict which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  We remain prepared to roll back sanctions should Russia take the necessary steps.