President Barack Obama’s appearance at the 2014 NATO summit was more of what Americans have come to expect from him–empty promises made palpable with rhetoric and delivery, mixed with a heavy dose of self-importance and self-promotion.
Ukraine has been slowly twisting in the wind for months while the president has dawdled, offering non-lethal aid in the form of military meals-ready-to-eat and night vision goggles.
But the ability to see an enemy penetrate your borders means little without the means to fight back. At his address at the closing of the Newport, Wales 2014 NATO summit, the prescient sounded as though he was about to commit to real, military aid.
“Our alliance is fully committed in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and it’s right to defend itself,” he said, according to NBC News. “To back up this commitment, all 28 NATO allies will now provide security assistance to Ukraine.” (emphasis mine)
But then Obama whisked the possibility of lethal aid away in the next sentence.
“This includes non-lethal support to the Ukrainian military–like body armor, fuel, and medical care for wounded Ukrainian troops–as well as assistance to help modernize the Ukrainian forces, including logistics and command and control.”
This “aid” gives the Ukrainian military no adequate capability to defend itself, let alone mount an effective offense. Also, as former Congressman Allen West noted in his Friday column, the timing is pretty lame.
Obama committed unyielding support to Ukraine and its sovereignty — well, kinda late since Russia has the Crimea and is building a land bridge through eastern Ukraine as well. Obama said support to Ukraine will be via non-lethal support. But in case he hasn’t read his intel briefs, Russian military forces have invaded Ukraine and are using LETHAL force — hence why Ukrainian leader Poroshenko has succumbed to a cease fire. Yes, Russia realizes there are consequences to its actions – which is why Putin continues to advance, as no one is stopping him.
But while Obama saw hope in Russia/Ukraine cease-fire, journalist Maxim Eristavi saw it for what it was–all of which prompted a reply:
@MaximEristavi It never had any choice in the matter once NATO, or individual NATO nations refused to help it.
— Kaputar (@Kaputar) September 5, 2014
Syndicated columnist added his own thoughts in his Washington Post commentary, published Thursday evening after the real work was done in Wales and all that was left was the pomp and circumstance:
The real news from Wales is what NATO did not do. It did not create the only serious deterrent to Russia: permanent bases in the Baltics and eastern Poland that would act as a tripwire. Tripwires produce automaticity. A Russian leader would know that any invading force would immediately encounter NATO troops, guaranteeing war with the West.
But if Ukraine was left high and dry, Obama got what he wanted out of the summit–to be seen and noticed.
Back in 2011 when a United Nations group photo was taken, the president decided to wave to the camera, in an effort–I suppose–to stand out from the crowd. In doing so, b he blocked another person’s face completely from view. Here’s a reminder:
After the furor that created, one would think he’d have learned his lesson. Not a chance, though–it’s just not in him.
— DrewMTips (@DrewMTips) September 5, 2014
Here’s a closeup of the shot:
After leaving Wales, Obama decided to take a mini-vacation to Stonehenge–probably thinking what a wonderful golf hazard it would be.
Here’s a video clip of Obama’s remarks: