Foreign Policy

One Week, 180: Obama Admits Crimea Is 'Gone'


Last Wednesday President Barack Obama marched off to Eastern Europe to make clear to Vladimir Putin that the U.S. has Ukraine's back and that Russia better not violate its sovereignty anymore.

The president said from Estonia, where he was pushing for greater NATO defense of the Baltic states (which are NATO members), but no direct action regarding Ukraine (which isn't a NATO member), "We will not accept Russia's occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea or any part of Ukraine."

One week later, it's apparent Obama had no expectations of Ukraine regaining its lost peninsula and no intentions of doing anything about it.

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today claims he had an encounter with the president that went something like this:

I was in a meeting in the White House a few weeks ago, and the president was giving us a synopsis of the problems around the world, and I said, "You didn't mention Crimea. Is that just gone?" And the basic answer was, "Yeah, that's gone."

If the account is true, it's not particularly surprising. Obama has shown little will to help Ukraine. After all, good relations with Russia will always be politically more important to the U.S. than the independence of Ukraine. Vox acknowledges that "the U.S. is taking some tougher steps in Ukraine" in terms of economic sanctions against Russia, "but they are not very much." America has zero history of strong ties with Ukraine, anyway; we've never even sent a Ukrainian-speaking ambassador to them. And, despite Kiev's pleas that the U.S. sell them some newer military equipment, Obama cannot because Russian intelligence has deeply penetrated Ukraine and would almost certainly get its hands on any sensitive technology we might send.

Ukraine's 45 million citizens' best hope for not becoming as miserably unfree as Putin's actual constituents is that the Kremlin accepts that it cannot afford this war any longer. Russia is on the verge of recession, Crimea is a money pit, and hundreds of mothers of Russian soldiers want to know why their sons are dead.

On the bright side, Ukraine yesterday announced that 70 percent of Russia's invading force has left the country since a ceasefire was announced last week.

For more Reason coverage of Ukraine click here

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157 responses to “One Week, 180: Obama Admits Crimea Is 'Gone'

  1. Well, it is.

    1. No shit. Actually it would have been much worse if the US President refused to see the reality even in private. Claiming in public that Crimea is still a part of Ukraine is Obama’s job. Believing in it in private–that would be completely stupid.

      1. The US never officially legally recognized Soviet control over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

        1. The 1970’s National Lampoon used to make jokes about the “tiny, enslaved Baltic states.”

        2. That’s what I expect to happen with Crimea. Until WW3.

        1. My comment, like Crimea, is gone.

    2. Crimea is sort of a Texan indepedence situation, or so it would seem. Probably best to put our foot down about Novorussiya, not Crimea.

  2. So when Barry craps out of office, do you think he’ll hire someone to write a proper memoir, or will he just publish the greatest hits from his fanfic livejournal “The President Who Saves the World and Everyone Thinks Is Awesome”?

    1. And will it come out in an authorized Klingon version?

      1. Please, Obama has proven himself so dishonourable that no Klingon will be willing to translate the d’blok’s words.

        1. Um, he’s married to one, silly.

          1. That’s a Wookie. Wookies have no sense of honour or shame.

            1. Yeah, sure but I bet you’d still let the Wookie win.

              1. Well yeah, I like my arms. Michelle’s new weight loss program is killer.

    2. “Obama: the memoirs of a closet libertarian.” Penned by the author known as “palin’s buttplug”.

      1. Being There, Part II

        1. Hey, don’t slander Chance with that comparison. I’d take Chance in a fucking heartbeat right now.

        2. Sorry that’s his memoirs from his time in the Senate, where all his votes were “present”.

      2. In other words, penned by Dave Weigel.

        1. He has to finish up his crappy prog rock book first, which is part of the reason we don’t see him around here much lately.

          1. (crappy (prog rock)) book, crappy ((prog rock) book), ((crappy prog) rock) book, or (crappy prog) (rock book)?

            1. I never got the hang of LISP. Maybe rewrite your comment in Haskell.

        2. Your boner for Dave Weigel is even weirder than that Suki thing you did a few years back.

          1. “Suki’s dead man”

            -in the Dave’s not here voice

    3. So when Barry craps out of office, do you think he’ll hire someone to write a proper memoir

      I’m sure Bill Ayers would be happy to crank out another one.

  3. Obama cannot because Russian intelligence has deeply penetrated Ukraine and would almost certainly get its hands on any sensitive technology we might send.

    Our “for export” stuff is like what the Russians sell – not your best, not your latest. We sold M1’s to the Iraqis…but they didn’t get the latest model with the latest kit. If we wanted, they could be armed to the teeth with AA missiles (like Georgia used to great effect until they ran dry) tanks, “export” F-16s, earlier model/refit M1’s, M2/M3’s, etc. It is a matter of want to or should we.

    /Ordnance Officer off

  4. Ukraine learned a valuable lesson in why you never ever turn over your nukes in exchange for promises of peace.

    1. A harsh lesson, and one it’ll almost certainly never get a redo on.

      1. Assuming that Russia leaves without annexing Donetsk and Luhansk this time, Ukraine has a couple years to ready itself for round 2.

    2. I guess Iran won’t be conceding anything any time soon.

      1. I think the experiences of the late Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi would be enough to discourage anyone from giving up a nuclear weapons development program.

    3. Also, don’t piss two decades of independence away on corruption.

      1. Russia has pissed away centuries – not that that helped the Ukrainians any…

    4. So did Gaddafi.

    5. Libya, too. So glad that everyone paying attention now knows that the rule is nukes or be pushed around.

    6. Kinds like idiots who think gun control is a swell idea.

    7. No, that lesson was learned by Gaddafi and Hussein.

      Ukraine never had the capacity to secure its nukes and keep them off the black market. Handing over the nukes was a simple matter of necessity, as the entire Ukranian arsenal was rather openly for sale on the black market at the time.

  5. Hard to understand why Barry can’t find allies for his new strategy in the Middle East.

  6. “After all, good relations with Russia will always be politically more important to the U.S. than the independence of Ukraine.”

    Unfortunately, Vladimir Putin seems to give less than a shit about good relations with the USA. The Bamster will need every bit of his post-election flexibility in the days ahead.

    1. What in the world makes anyone think that giving up on Ukraine would make Russia have good relations with us? I mean, besides wishful thinking? Certainly history teaches us otherwise.

  7. So, does Captain WarMonger have to give back his peace prize now? He’s sounding remarkably similar to Boosh!

    1. No, don’t be silly. He carries a D behind his name.

  8. Waaaaa?

    I recommend the Ukrainians mount a 100-year, grinding, Palestinian-style struggle to retake their sacred soil.
    Or emigrate.

    1. They’ve already been fighting a long time for their land, and got genocided, but no one remembers that.

      1. -6,000,000 Kulaks

        1. You ever read their (probably apocryphal) letter to the Sultan?


          1. Apocryphal or not, that is the most excellent piece of diplomacy ever.

          2. Certainly – I can only hope that was at least partially real.

            You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

          3. That’s great. Thanks for the link.

          4. That’s funny, I just so happened to read that for the first time in my life just a few hours ago.

      2. and got genocided

        As a regular reader of the New York Times I demand a citation for this extraordinary claim!

        1. just rumors from the Welsh:

      3. Russia has fought 7 bloody wars for Ukraine so it has a claim to it as well one would think. They “possessed” it for over 800 years until Yeltsin. Not to mention the Kievan Rus, are the foundation of the Russian people. If we go back to the Ulrichs then well…where do we draw the line?

        Perhaps Mongolia has an opinion on who owns the Ukraine…and Vienna too. Should we ask them?

        1. Yep cause murdering a bunch of people is what determines who is the rightful sovereign.

          This whole self a determination thing is passe.


    Oh hi, ISIS.

  10. Crimea gone, 30% of invading Russian troops still in Ukraine after the cease fire, and the bear is only getting hungrier. The next two years are going to be interesting times.

    1. I’m glad I’m too old for the draft.

      1. Maybe for the first rounds.

        1. Even the NBA was smart enough to stop after 2 rounds.

      2. I still have many years available for call up from the Retired Reserve!

        *looks for Russian dictionary, dusts off Arabic phrase book*

    2. Russia started dicking like this with Ukraine a few years ago.

      “Russian Gas Supplies to Poland Drop by a Quarter”…..a-25401262

      Time to brush up those talking points about the folly of NATO.

  11. I guess he’s just going to ignore the Budapest Memorandum.…..Assurances

  12. Hey I thought Russia was our friend now and Hillary reset relations with them. Just what in the wide world of sports is going on here?

    1. It’s almost like Staples’ “Easy” button is one giant lie!

      1. For some reason, the hapless Obama administration’s flailing puts me in mind of this great clip.

        The Eagle Eggs Were a Lie!

    2. Let’s see if Russia wants to go in vs. ISIS.

      1. We’d have to get them drunk first.

        OK, drunker.

        1. I am friends with a Russian. Their livers are not human.

      2. Unlike us, they may have learned something from Afghanistan.

  13. Obama has shown little will to help Ukraine.

    And get called an interventionist here?

    Seriously, whatever he does some people will take the opposite side.

    1. What do the peanuts have to say?

    2. Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy fucking walrus-looking piece of shit! Get the fuck off of my obstacle! Get the fuck down off of my obstacle! NOW! MOVE IT! Or I’m going to rip your balls off, so you cannot contaminate the rest of the world! I will motivate you, IF IT SHORT-DICKS EVERY CANNIBAL ON THE CONGO!

    3. LEAVE OBAMA ALONE!!!111

    4. How, by acknowledging the truth that he has little will and that noting pragmatic justifications for his position, am I “taking the opposite side”?

      1. *and then

        1. Where’s your car dude?

      2. I stand corrected for your article. The sentence I quoted is not the call for intervention that it seems to be when isolated.

    5. “And get called an interventionist here?”

      Good grief buttplug. As if Obama cares what he gets called by anybody, let alone the few writers and commenters on the Reason web site.

  14. “America has zero history of strong ties with Ukraine, anyway; we’ve never even sent a Ukrainian-speaking ambassador to them”

    Didn’t Richman write something earlier about US diplomats having engineered a coup in Ukraine or something? And how US meddling was responsible for all their woes?

    Was that my imagination?

    1. Yeah, but they didn’t engineer the coup in Ukranian!

    2. Victoria Nuland,McCain, Biden all visited Ukraine to touch base with CIA. Biden got a plush job for his son out of it. OK, what if in the near future Mexico decided that it wanted to join the Chinese East ASian co prosperity sphere and Chinese agents caused the Mexican government to collapse. Don’t you think the US would go all Woodrow Wilson and start encouraging a rebellion?

      1. Only if the Chinese East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere turned the border into a Berlin Wall and stopped illegal migrants from entering the US. That would upset all Democrats, Chamber of Commerce Republicans and would be one of the few things that Reasonoids would accept as an act of war, justifying a military response.

      2. The Mexican government hasn’t collapsed yet?

  15. So? Reason keeps tell us it’s not our problem, so if Russia has swallowed Crimea, good on them. It doesn’t really matter what Obama says, does it.

    1. If Obama does it then Reason opposes it.

      Cuts payroll taxes? Oppose. Cuts Medicare Advantage subsidies? Oppose. Proposes cuts to SS via C-CPI? No comment on that yet.

      1. Reason opposed cutting payroll taxes?

      2. You mean CCCP, aye?

    2. Obama cut he Bush deficit in half and pulled out of Iraq – that fucking statist!

      1. Obama cut he Bush deficit in half and PULLED OUT OF IRAQ

        Ah I think after last night those talking points are a bit ah obsolete.

        You really are a comic genius shreek.

        1. Funny how he gets other countries to do the ground work.

          Libya was an excellent blueprint. He did use Special Ops to kill bin Laden though. I am sure you opposed that since you are so consistent.

          1. Its not a war if we just bomb. Yeah that is the ticket.

            And as we found out in Libya, the way to handle any situation is to just go in and randomly bomb people until we can declare victory. I mean Libya turned out just swimmingly.

            IF it wasn’t so sad and so serious, it would be the greatest surreal comic act in the history of the world.

            1. Surely there is some meaningful difference between what we did in Libya and what we did in Iraq in 2003?

              1. Yeah there is a lot. Namely that the entire country of Libya turned into a Islamist terrorist training hell hole immediately rather than just the northwest quarter 12 years later.

                Looking to Libya as a model for anything other than what not to do is something only you and shreek would be dumb enough to do. But don’t let us stop you from doing it.

                1. “Namely that the entire country of Libya turned into a Islamist terrorist training hell hole”

                  Which is so different than the result of the much, much larger intervention in Iraq that you supported, right?

                  1. Which is so different than the result of the much, much larger intervention in Iraq that you supported, right?

                    So is it the same or not? If its the same, then I guess Iraq 2003 is a blueprint too. If they are both equal failures, then I guess Libya is a bit comical to hold up as a blueprint for the future.

                    Maybe instead of just trolling and screwing up every thread with pedantry Bo, you should develop a position and think think about these issues. Just a thought.

                    1. It’s like comparing spending 200,000 dollars on a degree in basketweaving to getting a degree in the same at the local community college.

                      I think you have some deeply felt need to equate these apples and oranges given you’ve admitted to supporting the greater of the two blunders.

              2. Not to John and a few others here.

                Iraq = Libya. EXACTLY THE SAME!!

                1. No, Iraq has a government. Libya, not so much. Again Shreek, you are really outdoing yourself here. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time.

                  1. “Iraq has a government”

                    Speaking of bellylaughs.

                    1. Does ISIS control the entire country BO? No, they contol about the Northern quarter. The rest of the country under the control of the Kurds and the Iraqi government. Moreover, those are the people shreek is talking about how smart Obama is for using them. Iraq does have a functioning government. If you are so stupid you wont’ admit that because it doesn’t fit whatever nitwit narrative you are telling yourself these days, well that is your problem not ours.

                    2. You’re becoming increasingly hilarious, pointing to the Iraqi government (you know, the same one whose corruption and brutality helped give rise to ISIS) as evidence of the success of your nation building madness.

                  2. Iraq has a government

                    I thought that was the problem.

              3. Meaningful difference in cost and the strategy and tactics of the campaign, yes. Meaningful difference in the outcome for the particular countries? None. Islamists taking over vast swaths in both places.

                I guess the only difference is that one backed the non-proliferation issue with the threat of force while the other completely destroyed any chance of future non-proliferation talks bearing any fruit because it proved that even if you play ball on non-proliferation, we’ll fund worse enemies to murder you and sodomize your corpse.

                1. I’d say spending a trillion dollars and five thousand lives and getting X and spending far less and no casualties and getting X is itself a meaningful difference.

                  As a non-interventionist, both are examples of interventions that are bad for several reasons, most of which I think they will make things no better and perhaps worse. But I certainly can recognize that one intervention was orders of magnitude greater than the other.

                  1. Sure Bo, that totally makes Libya a success and anything but a tragic failure on the US’s part.

                    Its a blueprint I tell you. Just randomly bomb and destabilize entire countries and make no effort to do anything put a new government in place of the one you just helped destroy.

                    Your position boils down to “Obama is not even going to try to accomplish anything” so that is better.

                    Just stop it and go away.

                    1. “and make no effort to do anything put a new government in place of the one you just helped destroy.”

                      Here it is in an nutshell fellows, what John wants in his interventions is some good old fashioned trillion dollar nation building! Anything else will simply not do (even though he says at the same time they are the ‘same thing!’).

                    2. Yes Bo. If you are unwilling to restore order in the country whose government you just destroyed, you shouldn’t go in in the first place. Just bombing and leaving the place in chaos is both illegal under international law and profoundly stupid. In fact it is of the three choices (do nothing, occupy, or destroy the government and leave) the worst choice of all.

                    3. Yes John, bombing, occupying, spending thousands in blood and billions in treasure in nation building, and still not leaving any order is the way to go!


                    4. Yes Bo. It is this little thing we like to call INTERNATIONAL LAW. It is illegal to destroy a government in a country and not assume the responsibilities of an occupying power. It really does effectively mean, “you broke it you bought it”.

                      You are just being a troll and trying to save shreek, so responding is pointless. But yes, in the day and age of terrorism, creating failed states is even worse than occupying.

                    5. Here it is in an nutshell fellows, what John wants in his interventions is some good old fashioned trillion dollar nation building

                      How about just not destroying nations to begin with. That would kinda render the perceived need for reconstructing them moot.

                    6. I agree, but I think it is incredible to say the two are, from a non-interventionist position, equivalent. On every metric the Iraq war was a larger, longer intervention, and with at best the same terrible results.

                  2. and spending far less and no casualties

                    Well, there was that whole matter with the embassy in Benghazi, but I digress.

                    Either way, this was largely my point, Bo. Yes, one was much cheaper and less costly in terms of lives. But the net result was the same. It is worth noting however that the U.S. support for Libyan Islamist rebels (and the administration’s belief that this was somehow a successful way to conduct regime change) was one of the things that ultimately a) strengthened the Islamist cause throughout the region and b) produced a set of circumstances whereby the current administration would seek to arm the very same people it now claims must be bombed.

                    1. Don’t bother Bo with facts and second order effects Bo. If the war in Libya didn’t cost any American lives at the time, it is a success and a blueprint for the future.

                      He is just trolling at this point and trying to save shreek’s sorry ass.

                    2. You’re being patently dishonest since I never said either action was a success or blueprint. Rather I’ve said they were both ineffective, made things worse and generally wrong. The difference is I recognize one blunder to be orders of magnitude smaller than the other, which you interestingly supported, right?

                    3. You’re being patently dishonest since I never said either action was a success or blueprint.

                      In fairness you didn’t. You were just trolling and had no point. I made the mistake of giving you too much credit and assuming you had a point beyond screwing up a good laugh at shreek’s expense.

                      You are right. You didn’t make that point or really any other point to speak of. Not sure how that helps you though.

                    4. You’ll get no argument from me that Obama’s interventions have been ineffective and even made things worse. My only point was that the ones Bush did got the same result while costing much, much more in blood and treasure. It’s like comparing Bush’s Medicare D debacle to Obama’s ACA abomination, both are bad but it’s incredible to not see the latter as a bigger wrong by orders of magnitude.

                    5. My only point was that the ones Bush did got the same result while costing much, much more in blood and treasure.

                      Which is to say your point was “but BOOSH”, which is no point.

                    6. My point was simply to say that your point of ‘Bush in Iraq=Obama in Libya’ is quite silly.

                2. Meaningful difference in the outcome for the particular countries? None.

                  Correct. That is why saving $2 trillion is so impressive by comparison.

                  1. You do realize that we could’ve also saved the however many hundreds of millions we spent on arms bombing Ghaddafi and also not have had the issue of Libya becoming an Islamist territory altogether.

                    Sure, not spending $2 trillion fucking things up is better than spending $2 trillion fucking things up. But not fucking things up is probably the best course of action.

          2. Libya was an excellent blueprint

            Indeed it was.


            Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

          3. Libya was an excellent blueprint

            I know we pick on the shreek franchise, but come one. That is comedy gold. Anyone who can’t laugh at that has no heart.

  16. You’re still accepting a lot of bad information as gospel.

    Yes, Crimea is gone, as per the will of the people. Ukraine doesn’t deserve to keep the Donbass, either.

    1. agreed. The Independents keep showcasing that neocon Michael Weiss. Kmeile is the most willing to stand up to them on the panel.

    2. You may be right. The problem here is that Obama shot his mouth off and made it a big deal only now to walk back. That is not a good thing. The other problem is that we talked the Ukraine into giving up their nukes only to now walk away from them when Russia swallows them up. That is also not a good thing.

    3. Yes, Crimea is gone, as per the will of the people.

      Those “people” being Vlad and the Russian Army.

      Ukraine doesn’t deserve to keep the Donbass, either.


  17. OT ESPN is reporting that the cops have a voicemail from the NFL confirming that in April they sent the tape of Ray Rice playing the knock out game with his wife. So either Gadell saw it and just didn’t care or the NFL headquarters is so incompetent that it managed to ignore a video that was destined to produce a public relations nightmare.

    I am actually starting to think this is going to be the end of Gadell. If a commissioner can’t make sure that it doesn’t turn into a PR nightmare whenever one of the players turns into a miscreant, what good is he? Handling things like this and making sure it doesn’t hurt the league’s image is at least 50% of what they pay him to do. It is difficult to imagine how he could have fucked this up worse. Such are the wages of hiring an idiot son of a Senator yes man to be your CEO.

    1. If only we had a recording of him telling his mistress not to bring black people to the games (but permitting her to get banged by a well known black person infected with HIV) then we could finally be free of his reign of terror and capricious order in which he attempts to change the rules of the game in order to get Peyton Manning a ring against a QB other than Rex Grossman.

      1. You think you are kidding. Part of his problem is that he has been such a dick to the players, the Union is perfectly content to watch him go down. Had he not been such a dick, the Union could be a lot of help here. They could stand up and at least present a united front. As it is, what incentive do they have to save his sorry ass?

        At this point, I don’t see how the NFL ends this embarrassment without sacking him. If they really wanted to turn this turd into a rose, they would fire Gadell and hire Condeleza Rice. She has always said her life’s ambition is to be the Commissioner of the NFL. The media would immediately go orgasmic at the prospect of a black woman being head of the country’s biggest sports league. And hell, she probably would do a good job. She couldn’t do any worse.

        1. Hasn’t she been running Stanford U? I don’t know if the institution that gave us Richard Sherman is a good model…

          1. I guess they should fire Jim Harbaugh too then.

          2. She was National Security Advisor on 9/11. “No one could have seen that attack coming” – except Richard Clark and others.

            In BushLand she earned a promotion for that.

            1. BUSHPIG!!!

              It never gets old shreek. It really never gets old. But you forgot CHRISTFAG!!!

              You are comic genius shreek.

              1. Sorry, but silly terminology aside, I think PB has a point that the same woman that helped defend and usher us into Bush’s foreign policy debacles is probably not the best person to lead any large agency out of trouble.

                1. usher us into

                  An ushers job is to point us to where we intended on going in the fist place.

                  1. in the fist place

                    I kinda like that typo.

            2. And she is BLACK too shreek. My God how the thought of a black person running the NFL must gall you.

          3. I don’t know if the institution that gave us Richard Sherman is a good model…

            So you’re just an obnoxious niners fan then? It all makes so much sense now.* However, Sherman is actually a pretty damn decent chap. That he ended up hating Harbaugh makes him A OK in my book.

            *It should be noted that I hate Stanford more than you ever could. That hate courses through my veins at the mere sight of John Elway, Andrew the Ogre Luck, and Jim Harbaugh (1996, Lin Elliot, the day my innocence died).

            1. I actually like Stanford’s football program, it was kind of a joke.

        2. John, the only people that give shit about this Ray Rice thing are Ravens fans and other people who don’t like football.

    2. That’s quite a trick the NFL is doing – making the cops look good.

  18. I went back to Crimea,
    But my republic’s gone.
    There was no gas station,
    There was no downtown.

  19. Was gonna back-up the red-line in Syria but I got high,
    Was gonna get the Russians out of Ukraine, but I got high,
    The world is turning to shit and I know why, (why man?)
    ‘Cause I got high, ’cause I got high, ’cause I got high.

  20. Hey, I thought we were “all isolationists now”, so who cares?

  21. Some have been saying Obama is the Antichrist. Well, check out his horns.

  22. The people are still there, and the land is still there. The one difference is which set of thugs claims to rule those people, and a few drops of ink on the map.

  23. I wonder why nobody is bringing up Clinton’s major role in all of this. it was Clinton who used NATO’s military force to take Kosovo away from the Serbs who always considered Kosovo hallowed ground of Serbia because that is where their army was defeated and they were enslaved by the Turks. The KLA used the same tactics that were used in Crimea, hat of a referendum and a powerful army backing it up. In addition, it was Clinton who helped talk the Ukrainians out of their nukes for a piece of paper and promises Clinton knew he couldn’t keep.

  24. Putin put a Soviet Spy ship in Havana harbor just as the Olympics ended. It was a test, and we failed miserably. What would John Kennedy have done? Now, he can do whatever he wants and can afford. The US, under Obama, will do absolutely nothing to defend the freedom of Eastern Europe.

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