Roger Cohen of the New York Times points to the grave dangers of further Russian aggression in the Ukraine, and the temptation Washington might feel to sacrifice the Ukraine in exchange for vital Russian assistance in making a deal with Iran on the nuclear issue.
See Roger Cohen, “The Iran-Ukraine Affair,” New York Times, November 10, 2014.
Cohen suggests Putin may have designs on all of the Ukraine, while pointing out the formidable military force he has amassed within and on the border of the eastern Ukraine. He reports:
…There is every reason to believe he has designs on all Ukraine. The West’s mistake has been to think that Putin is not serious in wishing to reconstitute the Soviet Union in new guise.
The current Russian buildup has all the signs of preparation for an offensive. Large, unmarked convoys of heavy weapons and tanks manned by personnel without insignia on their uniforms (like those who took over Crimea) have been seen rumbling toward the front lines in rebel-held territory. Sophisticated artillery and ground-to-air missile systems have been moved into position. Units all the way from the east and far north of Russia have been massed. You don’t move military units thousands of miles for nothing.
A retired NATO general who recently held talks with the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, told me that intelligence estimates are of some 45,000 regular Russian troops on the border; tens of thousands of Russian irregulars of various stripes inside Ukraine organized by a smaller number of Russian officers and military personnel; some 450 battle tanks and over 700 pieces of artillery.
“Ukraine has no real fighting capacity to face all this,” he said….
Cohen connects the dots, and draws the right conclusions.
Watch what Vladimir Putin does, not what he says.
Not only the future of the Ukraine — and freedom from tyranny like that East Germans escaped when the Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago — but also the whole future of NATO and the Atlantic Alliance are at stake.
The U.S. should impose harsher sanctions on Russia today, for its ongoing military aggression in the eastern Ukraine and its undermining of the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014, including the ceasefire and 12-step peace plan it established.
“The Russia-Ukraine War: Minsk Protocol near collapse; What is at stake; Harsher sanctions against Russia needed,” The Trenchant Observer, November 3, 2014 (updated).
The Trenchant Observer