Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ukraine/Russia: Update--Who in the Obama Administration Has the Capacity to Make a Decision?

According to Yahoo News, with Russian forces apparently rolling across eastern Ukraine, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on Thursday (August 28) that it is past time to call the escalating conflict a “war” and to label Moscow’s actions an “invasion.

“By any conventional definition of war, there is war happening between Ukraine and Russia. And it’s been occurring essentially since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014," Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations, said in a telephone interview. 

When Russian forces reportedly rolled into eastern Ukraine on Wednesday (August 27), the White House called it a “military movement...military activities and a continued effort to destabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine.” 

The US State Department described it as an “incursion” and explicitly declined to call the escalating conflict an invasion or “war.”

Back in March 2014, however, National Security Adviser Susan Rice had condemned Putin’s "invasion and annexation of Crimea, a strategic peninsula in Ukraine’s south.

COMMENT: The continuing and puzzling question is: "Which governmental entity is the 'decider' of when an invasion is an "invasion," prompting punitive action against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who seemingly is directing Russian forces into Ukraine?

Seemingly, the Obama Administration seems to be numb in its ability to promptly act. Who in the Administration has the capacity to make a decision?

Senator Murphy said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to “commence a conventional invasion” in eastern Ukraine was part of a pattern of “panicked reactions to moments of weakness.”

Earlier, NATO released satellite images that, the alliance said, showed Russian armored columns operating inside Ukraine. Russia has denied invading its neighbor.

At the US State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki bristled Thursday at the notion that avoiding the term “invasion” had any significant bearing on US policy.

“Our focus is more on what Russia is doing, what we’re going to do about it, than what we’re calling it,” Psaki told reporters. “Regardless of what it’s called, Russia’s actions need to stop.”