In the Crimea Crisis, the U.S. Turns the Screw

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ukrainian activists gather outside the White House on March 1, 2014 in Washington. Protesters gathered to rally against foreign involvement in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty)

The United States is not standing on the sidelines as the crisis in the Crimean Peninsula continues to develop. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced new sanctions that impose a ban on visas for officials and individuals who have taken steps to undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

The measure carries weight because the ban will apply to both Russian and Ukrainian citizens who are “responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the Obama Administration said in a statement Thursday. These new sanctions come on the heels of visa bans already imposed on individuals who are responsible for human rights violations and political oppression in Ukraine.

"We’re in a new phase of the struggle for freedom," Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev. "And the United States reaffirms our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to international law. We condemn the Russian Federation’s act of aggression. And we have, throughout this moment, evidence of a great transformation taking place, and in that transformation we will stand with the people of Ukraine."

Is the Ukraine crisis a reassertion of Russian pride and is Crimea becoming the symbol of Russia's reemergence as an empire in Eastern Europe? Many on Capitol Hill and in academia have long argued that the moment would come when Russia would try to get back some of what it lost after the fall of the Soviet Union—is this new crisis an "I told you so" moment from the voices in D.C. who never believed the Cold War is over?

Todd Zwillich, Takeaway Washington Correspondent, and Michael Hirsh, Chief Correspondent for the National Journal, join The Takeaway to explain.

Watch a video of Secretary Kerry's remarks below.


Michael Hirsh and Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]

n reno from San Fran

Please take away the "take away". Where is TOTN when we need sophisticated adult analysis?

What is the point of amplifying domestic partisan political recrimination. We ARE involved in a cold war with the Russians. The expansion of the EU and NATO as they encroach on the former Soviet Union are threatening to Russia. On the flip side the Russians when cornered do respond with thuggery, but we have seen this over and over again going back to the Crimean War and before that. They play geopolitical hard-ball.

Blaming Obama for this mess seems pointless. This is a replay of Georgia and the circumstances are similar - we don't have the military leverage to back the Russians down.

The key take away is that we need to accept that a cold war may resurface and if it does, it does. Otherwise, we act like Chamberlain at Munich.

Finally, to blame the Russians is also stupidly counter-productive. One can easily go back to post-WWII history and see how the US with it's Gehlen strategy worked to subvert Soviet influence and control of eastern Europe and very specifically the Ukraine. The Ukraine IS strategically important to Russia ... that is why Gehlen targeted it.

Perhaps we are actually better off if Putin overpkays his hand. Regardless, it is clear the Crimea is being absorbed by Russia.

Mar. 06 2014 03:28 PM
p thomas from usa

Just listening and heard you mischaracterize Mitt Romney’s position that he said Russia was our most “serious threat.” That is not correct, he said Russia was our "number one geopolitical foe." Big difference. Please try to at least get the facts right as you apologize for Obama's naiveté.

Mar. 06 2014 02:18 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Putin just needs the Ukraine and its resources for a couple of months in order to pay for the lost revenue of the Sochi Olympics.

Mar. 06 2014 11:48 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

McCain might be the right hot head to send to Russia and talk to Putin. We need someone crazy to represent us.

Consider Game Theorist Daniel Ellsburg "The Benefits Of Perceived Madness."
He suggests that acting crazy can stop people from having confrontations. He devised this plan during the Cold War as a way to deal with the potential for Nuclear War.

I grew up in The Bronx and this theory works well on the streets.

Mar. 06 2014 11:46 AM

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