Send the Sixth Fleet to Ukraine? To Do What?

Naval vesselsU.S. NavyMembers of the Wall Street Journal editorial board want the U.S. to "deploy ships from the Europe-based Sixth Fleet into the Black Sea, and send the newly commissioned George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean." Their counterparts at the Washington Post fault President Obama because he thought he could "radically reduce the size of its armed forces," but say he could "play a leading role" if he's forceful enough. Senator John McCain wants, "President Obama to rally our European and NATO allies." And House Speaker John Boehner insists, "At what point do you say enough is enough? We are at that point." We're at that point all right—of realizing that there are limits to what even a superpower can do when a nuclear-armed thugocracy like Russia decides to go romping, again, in one of its traditional playgrounds.

Sixth Fleet? Really? Is Russia supposed to believe that the United States is going to war to preserve Ukraine's independence? Do the pundits drawing a line want us to go to war to preserve that independence?

Ukraine has a long and storied history, marked in part by the need to draw its borders on maps in pencil. Surrounded by powerful and quarrelsome neighbors, it has been carved up by...everybody. It's even been carved up by its own people, in a flurry of mayflie-lived states that briefly filled the vacuum left by the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire.

In the modern world, Ukraine has the misfortune to share a 1,400-mile border with an increasingy assertive Russia, led by a cartoon of a strongman, and a warm-water naval port with Russia's Black Sea Fleet. It's also heavily dependent on its neighbor for natural gas and owes Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly, $1.55 billion.

Which is to say, Vladimir Putin and Russia have a lot of leverage in Ukraine, short supply lines. and military forces already in place.

The United States is in a position to wag its fingers, perhaps impose some sanctions, but faces very real limits on the credibility of its demands and threats. No matter how powerful the U.S. military may be, any promises the U.S. makes to the Ukrainian people as they face down some of the world's worst neighbors are going to be hollow and false. American officials can't—and shouldn't—make promises that they're in no position to keep. Hollow assurances may lead Ukrainians to assume that they'll get backing that won't materialize—just as many Hungarians felt betrayed after NATO (understandably) failed to intervene to support the 1956 uprising despite encouraging pro-freedom rebels through Radio Free Europe and other official media.

Even worse would be the U.S. actually getting involved in the conflict, though even uber-hawk McCain concedes "there is not a military option."

Whatever happens in Ukraine depends primarily on the ability of Ukrainians to defend themselves and their independence. History isn't encouraging on that point, but Ukraine isn't defenseless, either.

But the United States isn't in a position to correct all the wrongs of the world. We look foolish when we can't back up our words, we might lead people to expect what can't be delivered, and we risk being drawn into conflicts in which we're at a serious disadvantage.

Taking a non-interventionist position recognizes the limits the world imposes on even the most powerful players. It may not be pleasant to have to watch events play out—but it's better than making them worse.

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  • ||

    The Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan.

  • Restoras||

    I thought it was Average Russkie..

  • ||

  • Mickey Rat||

    A diet rich in root vegetables and cabbage will have that result.

  • Tony||

    Maybe since it's Russia this time the war boners will be so intense they they will require long-term hospitalization.

  • RBS||

    I always thought Red Storm Rising would make a great movie. I don't really want to see the real life version though...

  • db||

    I've been thinking the same thing.

  • thom77||

    Hahahaha... I just made this comment on another site.

    Clancy was ahead of his time!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They're going there to protect the Sudetenland.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Good article. Glad to see the Hungarian fiasco mentioned. I was thinking about that same thing as I started reading this. My dad was a paratrooper at the time and his plane was headed to the Hungarian border when they got the call to abort. Something about Soviet tanks lined up along the border brought reality into play.

  • DarrenM||

    It's easy to talk tough from the safety of leather armchairs in the Congressional offices.

  • DJF||

    There are limits on how many foreign warships can go into the Black Sea. 30,000 tons equals around 3 US destroyers and a frigate

    “”””””Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits

    No more than nine non-Black Sea state warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of no more than 30,000 tons, may pass at any one time, and they are permitted to stay in the Black Sea for no longer than twenty-one days.”””’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....sh_Straits

  • nuffcedmcgreevey||

    Who cares, because Murica.

  • DenverJay||

    Duh. Only pussy pinko liberals think that Murica has to abide by the terms of treaties that we sign. America has been fooling dumb-asses into signing treaties that we have no intention of abiding by since at least the Indian Wars. If anybody is still stupid enough to think that we will abide by the terms we agreed to... well they get what they deserve.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Right. *THAT* is the reason we're not going to invade Russia.

  • steedamike||

  • Outlaw||

    American officials can't—and shouldn't—make promises that they're in no position to keep.

    Too late.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....Assurances

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It should be noted that said memorandum only applies to nuclear attacks, and even then, all we are obligated to do in response is bring the attck up at the UN Security Council.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Exactly - and anyway, as I understand it, the Senate didn't approve it, so I'm naive enough to think it can't have legal force.

  • Outlaw||

    It probably doesn't, but is a prime example of American politicians making promises they're in no position to keep.

  • BardMetal||

    Why why why would we want to send the 6th fleet? The Russians are not going to back down, they've only wanted a warm water port for about a thousand years, and they're not about to surrender the only one they have.

    All this does is increase the chances of some dumbass Russian accidently shooting at a U.S. ship, or vice versa, and causing a huge international incident.

    Seriously why the fuck would anyone think this is a good idea?

  • db||

    Why can't they just move the Black Sea Fleet to Sochi?

  • Sugarsail||

    Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, they all think it's a pretty good idea.

  • ||

    They wouldn't if they put two brain-cell's to the problem. The very first non-military targets on US soil will be their facilities. Kind of hard to have a bottom line while looking into a smoking hole in the ground. Meanwhile all the startups are going to be pushing the stuff that didn't work the (last) time we lost.

  • Sevo||

    Let's hope Putin doesn't have to save Obo's sorry ass one more time. I'll bet he's getting tired of it.

  • Tony||

    Not everything in the world is about US presidential politics. I presume that's what you're talking about. I can't tell because you talk like a fucking moron.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|3.3.14 @ 4:58PM|#
    "Not everything in the world is about US presidential politics."

    Yeah, you pile of shit, they only start wars. And this one has started just about enough.
    If you'd like it more accurately stated, let's hope Putin doesn't have to save OUR asses from that lying bastard Obo one more time.

  • Tony||

    It's amazing how typing in customary English can make your argument seem more original. The problem with your semi-literate toddler speak is that every other rightwing moron uses exactly the same nonsense words. Do you have play dates where you do poop fingerpaints and discuss the latest names to call the president? Or is there a central idiot you all parrot? Someone on the radio? Someone with a giant fat fucking face maybe?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|3.3.14 @ 5:06PM|#
    "It's amazing how typing in customary English can make your argument seem more original"

    So you have problems with facts? And the problem is facts are commonly stated? And your response is that someone on the radios states them also?
    My goodness! What a fucking idiot!

  • Tony||

    I'd be pleasantly surprised to find out that you've stated a single fact in the entire time you've been commenting here.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|3.3.14 @ 5:17PM|#
    "I'd be pleasantly surprised to find out that you've stated a single fact in the entire time you've been commenting here."

    Shitpile, the only reason you haven't is your lack of reading skills.

  • VicRattlehead||

    Actually his comment holds the facts of the last conflict B.O. had with Putin, and your messiah got shown to the door with his constant war mongering, I actually had received a letter saying I was selected to be re-deployed to 5th Fleet if B.O. got his war he desperately wanted in Syria.

    so for a recap on diplomacy in the last round
    BO- bomb the shit out of everyone and kill kill kill
    Putin- Maybe there's a peaceful way to resolve it
    but you're right i can see how your blind hero worship is so awesome

  • sasob||

    ...the latest names to call the president?

    And here I had thought Obama was a Kenyan word that means lying bastard. Tsk, tsk.

  • PaulW||

    Please understand the chain of command in our military and come back when you've educated yourself, fuckwit.

  • JeffreyinSandySprings||

    the biggest fucking moron on this page is you - socialist tony. go back to the Daily Kos where you belong

  • JeffreyinSandySprings||

    the biggest fucking moron on this page is you - socialist tony. go back to the Daily Kos where you belong

  • JeffreyinSandySprings||

    the biggest fucking moron on this page is you - socialist tony. go back to the Daily Kos where you belong

  • Zeb||

    Yes, war with Russia is exactly what we need right now.

  • iEagleHammer||

    Think about the jobzzzz!!!!

  • Brian||

    Actually, I can imagine Paul Krugman, sitting in his office, prematurely ejaculating over the thought of the Keynesian stimulus.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....12973.html

    Sometimes, you have to draft a generation, to save it.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Send the Sixth Fleet to Ukraine? To Do What?

    Be sitting ducks for the land-based russian bombers surrounding the Black Sea, apparently.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    It's called a "Sunburn" missile.

  • ||

    Dear WSJ Editorial Board -

    Grab your rifles and head out. You don't have glue on your shoes. We will be right behind you.

    - Fuck you very much.

  • Sevo||

    ..."We will be right behind you."

    Roughly 5,000 miles.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    +1 Abraham Lincoln brigade

  • VicRattlehead||

    "Battalion 1 stand up! You will be the first wave, dubbed operation human shield your job is to stand in front and protect the second battalion. Make sure you protect our tanks and planes too!"

  • Bubba Jones||

    What has been more damaging? Russia's intervention in the Ukraine, or our promotion of the drug war in Mexico?

  • fredtyg||

    The U.S. would be doing the same thing as Russia if Texas try to secede. How would we like Russia to tell us to back off if we ended up in civil war?

  • Bam!||

    Except Texas would probably win a war against America.

  • iEagleHammer||

    The mass exodus of conservatives to Texas in this scenario would be quite amazing.

    I'd set up a road side anti-Obama T-shirt stand.

  • sasob||

    I wouldn't bet on that. There's a reason why the largest military reservation in the continental US is situated deep in the heart of Texas.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    The Ukraine isn't (wasn't?) part of Russia; it's been it's own sovereign country for 20+ years. The US trying to prevent Texas from seceding isn't analogous.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    A closer analogy would be if Britain had decided to try to reconquer the United States 20 years after the Treaty of Paris.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Didn't that happen?

  • PaulW||

    So freedom is dependent on the point in time of which you are owned?

    Makes complete sense.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    No, just making the point that fred's analogy wasn't that great.

  • GILMORE||

    NEEDS MOAR EQUIVOCATIN

  • nailzer||

    AMERICA IS NOT THE WORLD POLICE!

  • iEagleHammer||

    Dude, all America cares about is helping the little guy. That's why removed that evil asshole in Iraq.

    And stopped the genocide in Sudan.
    Stopped the drug war.
    etc...

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Commentary Magazine Takes shot at Rand Paul Over Ukraine (bonus Chamberlain reference)

    "The Russian invasion of the Ukraine poses a tremendous challenge to President Obama...But he isn’t the only one...Kentucky Senator Rand Paul should be just as concerned...

    While Paul’s strong performance in his drone filibuster and clever distancing of himself from his father’s extremism has enabled him to expand his libertarian base, this was only made possible by the complete absence of a debate on foreign policy among Republicans. Where once support for a strong defense and a robust U.S. presence abroad was mainstream GOP thinking, war weariness after Iraq and Afghanistan and cynicism about President Obama has made Paul’s neo-isolationism to become acceptable and perhaps even popular on the right.

    But Putin’s seizure of the Crimea is forcing Republicans as well as the administration to think...in a way they haven’t for years. In response, some on both the right and the left are responding by asking why the fate of the Ukraine should interest Americans...Though they self-consciously avoid echoing Neville Chamberlain’s characterization of Czechoslovakia in 1938 after Munich as a “faraway country” when distancing themselves from Ukraine’s peril, there’s little question that they are just as willing to have the West abandon it as it did the Czechs."

    http://www.commentarymagazine......rand-paul/

  • DarrenM||

    Neville Chamberlain’s characterization of Czechoslovakia in 1938 after Munich as a “faraway country”

    Except the Ukraine really is far away, even taking into account the world getting "smaller".

  • iEagleHammer||

    "his father’s extremism"

    Because he's such an extremist. God forbid we have a balanced budget, stop stealing from people, and leave the middle east alone.

  • ||

    John Boehner insists, "At what point do you say enough is enough? We are at that point."

    Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do
    I have a perfect puzzle for you
    Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-dee
    If you are wise, you'll listen to me

    What do you get when you send in the fleet?
    and our resources further deplete
    your grandstanding efforts will surely fall flat
    What do you think will come of that?

    I don't like the look of it

    Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-da
    If you're not greedy, you will go far
    You will live in happiness too
    Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do

  • LynchPin1477||

    Excellent

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Remy needs to record that, stat.

  • creech||

    Is there no Ukrainian patriot willing to die in the process of assassinating Putin? No one can be protected 24/7 (unless one is agreeable to living in a bunker) from someone willing to die.

  • Sevo||

    creech|3.3.14 @ 5:10PM|#
    "Is there no Ukrainian patriot willing to die in the process of assassinating Putin?"

    Looks like about half the Ukrainian patriots want to thank him.

  • Sugarsail||

    good point...if the Ukranian people are so hell-bent on sovereignty, where are their George Washingtons? Where are their Paul Reveres?

  • Sevo||

    Sugarsail|3.3.14 @ 9:45PM|#
    "good point...if the Ukranian people are so hell-bent on sovereignty, where are their George Washingtons? Where are their Paul Reveres?"

    Given the US record, I'd guess the Ukrainians figure they're both in DC.
    Hey, we trained the world to call on the US taxpayer to solve all problems!

  • ||

    They've been sovereign for about 20 yrs.

    More like where are the James Madisons, William Hulls, and Andrew Jacksons?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Are you talking about Tartar Sauce?

  • ||

    Is there no Ukrainian patriot willing to die in the process of assassinating Putin?

    The question assumes a boatload of honor that doesn't exist today.

    Is there no Ukranian patriot willing to sacrifice himself, his family and friends to the last acquaintance in a media stunt that will turn a zealous tight-fisted leader into a martyr for his successor Medvedev?

  • Lonely Stalker||

    The 101st Chairborne commands Ukrainian Patriots to play a little bit the Mooslim. Pretty please?

  • Stilgar||

    Leave it to the Republitard neocons to find a new adventure because after all Iraq and Afghanistan was mostly about the Army and Marines!

    Lets see.. Ukraine is in our nationaal interests because... its 70th on our list of trading partners? Because it is on the border with Russia?

    All of this BS just makes look Putin look far bigger than the tiny dick that he is. That Russia can at best project power a hundred miles or so from its borders and into shit holes.. well what more do you need to know? That it wants to sail its decrepit navy in the bath tube that is the Black sea?

  • GILMORE||

    "Republitard neocons"

    you know, the website your handle links to is actually pretty smart, coherent, and sensible.

    Which leads me to presume you have nothing to do with that website.

  • califernian||

    Actually, that's a great label for the warboner republicunts urging for intervention in Ukraine.

    Fuck.

    Them.

    Send your own sons you assholes.

  • Sevo||

    califernian|3.3.14 @ 11:00PM|#
    "Actually, that's a great label for the warboner republicunts urging for intervention in Ukraine."

    And can we presume you feel the same way for the Dem warboner Obo who was saved by Putin?

  • califernian||

    yes

  • mtrueman||

    " Ukraine is in our nationaal interests because... "

    Question
    Since when did libertarians here start talking about "our national interests?"

    Answer
    Since embracing nativist collectivism became a means to back out of a fight with a bully.

  • DJF||

    Don’t send the Sixth Fleet, send the US military drag queens.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3eHX3xZGyw

  • wwhorton||

    I mean, if you really want to scare the shit out of Putin, drag queens with Marksman badges and 9" heels.

  • fredtyg||

    J.D. wrote, "...when a nuclear-armed thugocracy like Russia".

    Excuse me? Seems to me the U.S. is much more thuggish and aggressive than Russia. We've dropped bombs on more countries than any other country in the world, and at least Russia keeps their conflicts close to home where they can have some excuse for self- interest.

  • DenverJay||

    Technically, "thugocracy" refers not to the actions of the country, but rather to the criminal nature of the ruling class. So, to properly realate the term to the U.S., instead of referring to our bellicose military actions, you would need to refer to criminal and thuggish actions by our leaders. And, as we all know, there are no criminal or thuggish actions by our leaders.

  • Sevo||

    ..."And, as we all know, there are no criminal or thuggish actions by our leaders."

    At least between 3PM and 3:04PM today.

  • DenverJay||

    wink*

  • Pulseguy||

    Because O and Holder were taking their regularly scheduled Monday afternoon nap at that time. Together, as usual.

  • Robert||

    Anybody have any assessment on how much liberty the avg. individual Ukrainian would have as a Ukrainian vs. as a Russian? Like WSPQ style, only scaled realistically?

  • GILMORE||

    Are we talking a gay Ukrainian? Or an African Swallow?

  • Robert||

    Avg.

  • DenverJay||

    aah... the old "take them over and force them to be free" argument... actually, from what I have heard from my Ukrainian friend, who visits the old country once a year, the country is almost as corrupt and drunk as Russia, but has a more transparent and fair election system.

  • Sevo||

    ..."but has a more transparent and fair election system."

    OK, serious questions: What about the guy they just ran off? Was his election valid? Was he acting illegally?

  • DenverJay||

    The question was Ukrainian vs. Russian, so yeah, that guy was more legit than Putin...

  • Jon Lester||

    Leave it to US policymakers to ignore the desires of the Crimean people because, by God, we know better.

  • ||

    Yeah, OK, so we send the fleet. Then what? Posture impotently and then back down? Go to war with Russia? Russia isn't Libya or Syria. Russia is perfectly capable of eating an entire US carrier battle group for breakfast (they can simply send more bombers then said group carries missiles), and a Marine Expeditionary Force for dessert (Russians aren't 3rd world Muslims with no military tradition, they beat Germany...). And that isn't counting all their nuclear weapons...

    I don't see how either option makes the US better off.

  • wwhorton||

    Setting aside that we have absolutely no national interest, the Russian Navy is already there. That's kinda the tricky part. Even in the unlikely event we were able to destroy their ships in port, we'd succeed in...keeping them there?

    Look, I like a laugh as much as anyone but somebody's got to take the phone away from Barry. This is a situation in dire need of an adult.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Look, I like a laugh as much as anyone but somebody's got to take the phone away from Barry. This is a situation in dire need of an adult."

    Lemme take a look around to see if we can find one.

  • mitch77||

    PERHAPS:
    Before I finish that "Perhaps" I must tell you that I attack and refute conspiracy posts a few times a week usually. They are almost universally idiotic once examined with facts and logic.
    Here is one that REALLY troubles me: "The idea that Obama (et al) intentionally sent the Navy Seals to their deaths in that chopper code named "Extortion" (which would be absurdly on the nose BTW).
    And I do not subscribe to this one either *BUT* it is a lot more difficult to prove insane that most of them.
    If that were true then we must accept the fact that this pervert mooslim who supported the most twisted version of abortion and who has displayed a real and open love for tyranny and tyrants, is capable of even the most unthinkable evil.
    So why wouldn't he send the 6th fleet to it's doom.

    We know for a fact the man wants to remove the US from it's leadership position over the other nations. The economy is pretty much wrecked for the foreseeable future. This would probably tank the stock market and make us punks on the world scene.
    PRAY FOR OUR TROOPS!

  • ernieyeball||

    Pray for our troops?
    I do not presume to tell god what to do.
    Apparently you think you can...

  • DarrenM||

    Prayer is asking not telling. I suppose they are both the same to you. You must be married.

  • DarrenM||

    remove the US from it's leadership position over the other nations.

    I think this is generally meat for the ignorant constituency. Don't underestimate the temptation for many politicians, regardless of political affiliation, to control other nations.

  • DarrenM||

    er... read meat

  • DarrenM||

    RED, dammit!!!

  • Lonely Stalker||

    "This would probably tank the stock market and make us punks on the world scene."

    Implying the US isn't already considered idiotic punks with only a worthless paper dollar backed by future taxpayers and heaps of hypocrisy as assets by pretty much everyone.

    "remove the US from it's leadership"

    REMOVE KEBAB!

    Also, learn2spell. It's "its".

  • DenverJay||

    "It's" versus "its" is the hardest, most illogical rule in the English language. It is unfair to censure anyone for that mistake.

  • DenverJay||

    Or: "It's unfair..."

  • Sevo||

    Particularly minus an edit function, dammit.

  • Jon Lester||

    I spent over 20 years studying everything related to UFO's, other paranormal phenomena, and the conspiracy talk that went with all that, which was a great education in critical thinking skills and in the art of persuasive language. Yes, practically all conspiracy theories that get a public airing are crap, and invariably tailored for profitable entertainment purposes only.

    However, I have to break from the idea that you can't keep a secret between five people, because we know there's such a thing as organized crime, and always has been. It really doesn't take any great leap of imagination to see that Hillary had a full four years to purge the State Department of neoconservative influence, if she had any intention of doing so. For all we know, she may well be PNAC's favorite for 2016.

  • Malkavian||

    just as many Hungarians felt betrayed after NATO (understandably) failed to intervene to support the 1956 uprising

    Ironically, Khruschev, who crushed the Hungarian Uprising, built his political career in Ukraine, and was the head of the Ukrainian Communist Party. He also gave Crimea to Ukraine, starting the current mess.

  • DarrenM||

    And where we're done, we can kick China out of Tibet.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    Do you want fries with that?

  • Hawt Sauce||

    Woah. All the crazies and Russia apologizers found Reason.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    Sounds like the 101st Chairborne is out in force.

    Sign up, son!

  • Sevo||

    Lonely Stalker|3.3.14 @ 7:03PM|#
    "Sounds like the 101st Chairborne is out in force."

    Yeah, the Chairbornes have special training on Sundays!

  • Jon Lester||

    The word you want to use is "apologist," but an honest observer doesn't owe any apology for calling it as s/he sees it.

  • Rob5||

    I've got bad news for you: there is no 6th Fleet. It pretty much consists of ships that are transiting from Norfolk to the Persian Gulf (the 5th Fleet area). Bush and her escorts have a mission in 5th Fleet and will very shortly leave the 6th Fleet.
    Call it an empty quiver or false threat, but it ain't happening while we care about Afghanistan and Iran.

  • Rasilio||

    "Send the Sixth Fleet to Ukraine? To Do What?"

    Um the only 2 options are...

    1) Show how impotent we are because they sit there and watch the Russians do pretty much anything they want to do secure in the knowledge we won't do anything substantial to stop them.

    2) Get Sunk

    I mean I am a full believer in the power of the US Navy. As a practical matter it could pretty easily take on the combined navies of the rest of the world and win with 1 hand tied behind it's back. That however is in a battle in the open seas. Sitting in tightly confined spaces right off an enemy with a modern military's coast however and I don't care how good our missile defenses are that fleet won't last 2 days as wave after wave of ground based fighters and anti ship missles pound them

  • Raven Nation||

    I'm assuming that parts of the Black Sea are considered international waters. But, even allowing for that, is there any way sailing the "Sixth Fleet" (see above for scare quotes) into the Black Sea would not be deliberately provocative. Kind of like sailing a Chinese fleet into the Gulf of Mexico?

  • Wandering Texan||

    Hey now, the USS MTW is in the sixth fleet. Its only completely useless!

  • Lonely Stalker||

    "That however is in a battle in the open seas."

    Very useful for the last believer in WWI-era Risk Theory.

  • DenverJay||

    Lonely Stalker says "Its back, not it's"

  • Jon Lester||

    Among other things, the Russians have been responding to a threat of Islamist elements flying into Crimea from Turkey, and given today's interception of vehicles attempting to enter with explosives and weapons, that pretext seems to be reinforced. If they really felt audacious, they could threaten to seize the bottleneck at Istanbul and assume absolute control of who gets in and out of the Black Sea. I don't think any such thing would happen, but I'm guessing actual USN leadership would be quick to think of that if they were to be presented with this WSJ idea.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    "No matter how powerful the U.S. military may be, any promises the U.S. makes to the Ukrainian people as they face down some of the world's worst neighbors are going to be hollow and false."

    Sounds like someone is assaulted by the usual fantasies of "Russia Bad", "Ukrainia is a single ethnic block" and "Everyone needs us, because we are Good".

    Yep, our little show of perma-retardation and cluelessness allied with the burning desire of our generals to liberate more medals for themselves went very well in, say, Yougoslavia. A story of a major success.

  • DenverJay||

    Agreed. But Ukrainia was given assurances by the U.S. in exchange for giving up the nuclear weapons left in their country by the break up of the Soviet Union.

  • Sevo||

    They should have asked the Poles what allied 'promises' are worth. Pretty good bet no other country will make that mistake.

  • DenverJay||

    Yeah, my last name has many "k"'s, a "w", and ends with "ski"; my grandfather made sure I understood the worth of those promises at a young age.

  • Sevo||

    Man, your grandad and his compatriots got it from both sides, twice. And then from the other end.

  • DenverJay||

    A sign from "Family Guy": Welcome to Poland, a great place to invade" or something like that

  • thom77||

    Let's face facts here; if we really wanted to, we could wipe our asses with the Russian army. A conventional showdown against their forces on a European battlefield is what 90% of our equipment was designed for. We've wargamed every possible scenario for the last fifty years. We spend 100x more on our military than they do. Our average soldiers are better educated and more professional than their most elite troops. They have nothing even approaching the lethality of our weapons. They would present about as much challenge as the Iraqi army circa 1991. We would humiliate them.

    Of course, immediately following said humiliation, Putin would launch a nuclear strike against the East Coast to save face, and even after 75% of his missiles either failed to launch or crashed due to lack of maintenance, that would be it for human civilization.

  • DenverJay||

    Maybe that's why Putin wants the Ukraine back so badly: perhaps all the ICBMs weren't removed, and the Kremlin ran across paperwork showing where all the reliable missiles were hidden.

  • iEagleHammer||

    Sending a naval fleet can only be a childish and stupid symbolic act. Why would we need to? We have approximately 18 billion military bases in Europe and the middle east. We could just drop bombs with ground based planes.

    All of the chest puffing has got to stop. Idle threats make the entire U.S. look bad. Of course that's what our current emperor is best at.

  • Response||

    Nuclear weapons are the great equalizer. It's why we would never go to war with Russia unless they were invading a very strong ally. It's also why once Iran get a nuke that we will pretty much stay out of the Middle East. It's also why we probably knew Iraq didn't actually have readily available nukes.

  • Taco||

    I hope the global zero people realize that in a world without nuclear weapons, we'd be watching the beginning of WW3 right now. Over fucking Crimea.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    In a world without nuclear weapons, we would have already had WW3 around about 1946

  • Taco||

    Fine WW4

  • Sevo||

    Taco|3.3.14 @ 8:34PM|#
    "Fine WW4"

    How 'bout WW-IX or so. The point is that nukes made world wars obsolete. If it weren't for them, we'd have a lot more dead by now.
    Yes, I am defending nuclear weapons; I think they have saved millions of lives.

  • Taco||

    Created or saved.

  • DenverJay||

    Hell, even a drugged out Brit like Ozzy knew that much!

  • ejpoleii||

    Well, we want to reduce our military budget so losing a few aircraft carriers and support ships would do it.

    If the Ukrainians really want to resolve the issue they should shut down the pipelines through their country until Russia plays nice. They can't beat the Russian army but they have enough to destroy a lot of the pipelines if the Russians attack them. Also would give the Europeans a lot of incentive to help resolve the issue.

  • DenverJay||

    I'm guessing that securing those pipelines was one of the highest priorities of the Soviet U... er I mean the Russian Federation.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    And what we could do to Russia is allow unlimited exploration and production of oil and natural gas and unlimited export of the same.

    We could also start building more nuclear power plants and encourage the Europeans to give up their no nuke hysteria and do the same. We could also encourage them to start developing their own shale deposits via hydraulic fracking,

    The Russian economy is a one trick, fossil fuel pony.

    Increasing the world supply of fossil fuels as well as nuclear alternatives will increase prosperity for the west and knock the stuffing out of the Russian economy.

  • Sevo||

    ..."encourage the Europeans to give up their no nuke hysteria and do the same. We could also encourage them to start developing their own shale deposits via hydraulic fracking,"

    Pretty sure the EUROs would gladly trade any remaining freedom for the Russian boot and no fracking.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It's 2014. They already have.

  • Sevo||

    NotAnotherSkippy|3.3.14 @ 10:26PM|#
    "It's 2014. They already have."

    So long as they get free access to a medical care queue and a month's time off in the summer, who cares what the costs are?

  • Johnimo||

    What would John Kennedy do? The Russians have a spy ship docked in Havana. What would John Kennedy do?

  • Taco||

    If JFK suddenly came back to life right now, what would he do first:

    A) go to a Latin rite mass with Mel Gibson
    B) demand to serve the remainder of his presidential term
    C) attempt to bang Scarlett Johanssen
    D) claw frantically at the inside of his casket

  • VicRattlehead||

    C. Bang Scarlett Johanssen

    JFK Zombie wouldn't have much of a coffin left by now to claw out of

  • DenverJay||

    uh be a complete pussy like he was the first time? (Despite the myth propagated by the leftist media, who all have hard-ons for all the Kennedys, for some reason.

  • Taco||

    Say what you want about Nixon, he wasn't afraid to send in the B-52s, if the situation called for it.

  • Sevo||

    Taco|3.3.14 @ 9:57PM|#
    "Say what you want about Nixon, he wasn't afraid to send in the B-52s, if the situation called for it."

    And I should be happy?

  • Taco||

    I don't know that happiness is the proper emotion to have for events that transpired four decades ago that have almost no impact on your current life. I'm leaning toward no emotional response at all toward Nixon's foreign policy. I mean, unless you flew in Linebacker II or something.

  • DenverJay||

    "encourage the Europeans to give up their no nuke hysteria"

    While the US is still in "OMG nuclear bad" mode, Europe is quite fond of nuclear power.

    Wikipedia "Nuclear power is the primary source of energy in France. In 2004, nuclear energy made up the largest share of France's energy consumption at 39%.[1] Looking purely at electricity, though, 407 TWh out of the country's total production of 541 TWh of electricity was from nuclear power (75%), the highest percentage in the world.[2]"

  • DenverJay||

    hit submit before I was finished, lol.

    A few more examples, from the same source:
    "Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 17.7% of national electricity supply in 2011, compared to 22.4% in 2010."

    Italy, on the other hand, has dismantled many of their old nuclear power plants, and is fairly reliant on Russian gas.

    The other major consumers of Russian gas, I believe, are countries that once fell in the Soviet sphere of influence, such as Bulgaria.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    France is really the exception. The Brits are blowing harder into their windmills to keep the lights on, and Germany is doing the same as the Brits but also burning some of this brown rock they keep digging up. Germany is shutting down their nukes at idiotic speed.

    Eastern/East-Central Europe is a bit more open to nukes than the econut West.

  • DenverJay||

    Well, the Brits have been practicing "blowing" for a while now, eh?

  • DenverJay||

    But seriously, the issue with Eastern/Central Europe is that building nuclear plants costs a lot of money, creates a lot of civil and outside protest, and takes many years before producing power. Whereas Russian gas is already available, has the infrastructure inplace to make it instantly usable, and is still relatively inexpensive.

  • Sevo||

    DenverJay|3.3.14 @ 11:13PM|#
    "But seriously, the issue with Eastern/Central Europe is that building nuclear plants costs a lot of money, creates a lot of civil and outside protest, and takes many years before producing power. Whereas Russian gas is already available, has the infrastructure inplace to make it instantly usable, and is still relatively inexpensive."

    Yep, the short-term solution is the Russian natural gas.
    And so far, even given the thugery of Putin, I've yet to see any credible claim that Ukraine (all of it) is really upset with Putin.
    Obo claims Putin has violated sovereignty. OK, support the claim.

  • Taco||

    Are you arguing that unless an outside observer can prove that Ukrainians unanimously oppose Russia's actions, that Ukrainian sovereignty hasn't been violated? I am not, by a long shot, arguing in favor of military (or any other type) of intervention here, but c'mon, that Ukrainian sovereignty has been violated is manifest fact at this point.

  • mtrueman||

    Don't see hardly any expressions of sympathy let alone solidarity for the millions of Ukrainians who may be in for a protracted and dangerous drama.

  • KHFleischer||

    Best editorial on the subject that I've seen, thus far.

  • ||

    What's a mayflie? Is it anything like a mayfly?

  • ||

    The true danger for the Russian government here is attempting to pursue tactics that would result in conventional warfare with the United States, because that would literally be civilizational suicide. Underestimating our power is pretty much the most retarded thing anybody could do. If Putin wants Russia colored red with the blood of its population, he's going about it the right way.

    I also think the Kremlin really has no clue just how lucky they are Obama and his cronies are in power right now, because if, say, Ronald Reagan were President, Russian would, by last Thursday, have become an extinct language.

    I'm not so sure the global powers would be quite as willing to resort to nuclear weaponry as people seem to think.

  • VicRattlehead||

    Agreed, Nuclear war is like solo tic-tac-toe, you win and lose at the same time.
    6th fleet into the black sea is a terrible strategy and would eliminate our largest aircraft carrier in a day or 2 pending on how long it took the rest of the russian fleet to blockade the straights and shell our fleet into oblivion if they did anything. the best strategy is selling ukrainians the means to defend themselves and deploying a few low notice high impact operatives to assist in taking out key points.
    The point of an A-team is to be a force multiplier and train the communities to defend themselves, If they truly want independence then they can fight for it themselves.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Regardless of what the WSJ says, we are not going to send the 6th fleet or any other forces into the area.

  • VicRattlehead||

    Never underestimate Chocolate Nixons need for grandstanding

  • steedamike||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....Assurances

    Or - we could just give them some nukes and write the treaty off.

  • ibcbet||

    I was thinking about that same thing as I started reading this.

  • Je' Czaja||

    You say "Whatever happens in Ukraine depends primarily on the ability of Ukrainians to defend themselves and their independence." The people in Crimea like Russia. Is it up to them to determine their own association? Do we believe in self-determination or not? The western-sponsored coup installed oligarchs and Nazis and the Crimeans are afraid of them. Why is this never reported?

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