Diplomacy, like politics, may be the art of compromise, but so far it has not sped the Obama-Kerry plow very much in the Ukrainian crisis. Apart from some hand-wringing in London, Madrid, and Paris, not much is being done to persuade the Russian army to back off.
Angela Merkel has proved ‘reluctant’ to impose economic sanctions on Russia, as Germany and Russia have “deep economic ties.” As Harry S Truman might have said, “The buck stops her.” So far the other European states, including those that border Ukraine, are also showing themselves to be equally timorous in the face of naked aggression near their vulnerable frontiers.
For those with a sense of history, the whole business is starting to look a lot like the Sudetenland déjà vu all over again… With the leading nations of the EU playing the Neville Chamberlain role, Mr. Putin may get away with his land grab after all.
Sen. John McCain seems to be hell-bent for war, but that’s hardly likely. Sadly, neither are the economic sanctions that might move Putin to pull back. At least the United States has offered $1 billion and the EU 14 billion euro to Ukraine to help ease its economic plight. But that’s a long way from resolving the crisis.
So President Obama and John Kerry find themselves between the rock of Merkel and the hard place of McCain, trying to work out a negotiated solution. I suppose the job is not made easier with our troops still in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Okinawa and other areas where hospitality has long since turned to animosity. There’s also Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to deal with. It’s not easy being a superpower. But people seem to expect us to do things, even if it is hardly any of our business.