Obama betraying democracy forces of Ukraine
Just as he did with the Green Revolution in Iran, which had the potential to topple the mullahs, President Obama is giving a cold shoulder to the Pro-Western demonstrators in Ukraine. Ever since President Viktor Yanukovych last November decided to pull out of a landmark treaty with the EU that would have swung that country of 45 million strongly into the orbit of Western democracies, and instead moved to resume Ukraine's status as more of a Kremlin satellite, the people of that country have rebelled and taken to the streets.
As the BBC reports, demonstrations have spread from the capital Kiev to elsewhere int he country:
The governor of Lviv, in the west, was forced to sign his resignation as protesters stormed his offices.
Other reports spoke of protests in at least five more western cities.
Two people died in clashes in Kiev on Wednesday, the first deaths in two months of protests over EU links.
At a minimum, President Obama should be publicly consulting with European leaders, who are closer and have a more direct stake in the fate of Ukraine, on methods to support the Westward movement of that country. Military intervention, it should be stressed, is out of the question. But other economic and political measures are available to use as leverage.
Moscow has long pressured Ukraine over its supply of natural gas to the country, threatening to cut it off and let Ukrainians freeze in the winters. Although fracking is not available as a short-term solution, the value of the Kremlin's energy card is rapidly diminishing, and if he had any guts, President Obama would be letting Putin know that his blackmail of Ukraine will have consequences. Right now, with the Sochi Olympics pending and Putin heavily invested in it as a showpiece, there are good levers to be grabbed.
But of course, President Obama will do no such thing. And we are stuck with him for three more years. Or to rephrase that: the world's dictators and bullies have three more years.
Hat tip: Charles Lipson