America, the irrelevant
Do you want to know what the Ukrainians think about American policy?
So would Defense Secretary Chuch Hagel. He's been trying to call the Ukrainian defense minister all week but no one is picking up the phone.
"We haven't been able to connect with anyone at the defense ministry," Kirby told Pentagon reporters, who repeatedly pressed him on the issue.
"How long do you let [the phone] ring," one quipped.
"We've been trying pretty diligently all week," Kirby said, noting this is the first time, as far as he knows, that Hagel has been unable to reach to his counterpart in another country.
"It's pretty unusual," Kirby said
Hagel last talked to the Ukrainian defense ministry in December, Kirby said, but not since.
Like the rest of the Obama administration, Hagel is "deeply troubled by the violence" in Ukraine, Kirby said.
According to staff in the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukrainian armed forces, so far, have not been involved in the violence against the protesters, but have been deployed to protect ammunition depots and other military assets, Kirby said.
On Wednesday, during a brief session with reporters while traveling in Mexico, President Barack Obama pointedly warned the Ukrainian military to steer clear of the violent protests in Kiev and anywhere else in the country.
It could be that the Ukrainian defense minister doesn't want to know what the US thinks.
Or, it could be that he doesn't care. Either way, it's a pretty shocking admission about US irrelevancy during a major crisis.
And as Andrew Malcolm points out, the Ukrainian defense minister may be doing President Obama favor by not responding to his latest "line" that cannot be crossed:
President Obama Wednesday stepped into the explosive political eruptions in Ukraine to gratuitously warn the embattled repressive government "there will be consequences if someone steps over the line."
After 1,856 days in office, this naive yokel, who promised he'd charm the world into loving America again, still cannot resist the temptation to utter empty threats to foreign leaders, threats that they know very well he has absolutely no intention of fulfilling, threats that diminish any surviving U.S. clout abroad.
Apparently Barack Obama doesn't remember the time Barack Obama drew a very public red line and threatened to do something really serious if Syrian President Bashir al Assad used his chemical weapons. Which he did. And which Barack Obama did zipola about. Except talk some more, which he thinks he's still good at.
Sure, Obama's south side was covered by Russian President Vladimir Putin appearing to broker a deal with Assad to relinquish the fixings for those lethal chemical stews, which the Syrian leader has now aborted. And about which Obama can only utter more warnings. Can you say yada-yada in Arabic?
All while al Qaeda and others turn Syria's civil war into an invaluable recruiting and training ground for a United Nations of terrorist wannabes.
While we're on the subject of Syria, just what are we going to do about their refusal to get rid of their chemcial weapons?
This is what the president said in September when the deal was struck:
"There are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act."
The Assad regime is not complying with the deal, and diplomacy has failed. What now, Barry? Another line that can't be crossed that already has been?
The world is tuning America out as Obama's empty threats and rhetoric is seen for what it is; the mouthings of a naive child whose failures are making the United States of America irrelevant on the world stage.