UKRAINE: Having invaded the Crimean Peninsula over the weekend, Russian forces have now given Ukrainian forces an ultimatum (with times that have fluctuated) of 5 a.m. Tuesday morning to clear out (of their own territory) or face a “military storm.” That’s less than 10 hours away.
A few commentators and analysts have argued for letting Russia have the Russian-majority Crimea anyway. I can only say: Look at a map. There’s no question Vladimir Putin views Crimea as a beachhead for taking all of Ukraine, and thus beginning to reconfigure the Soviet Union. Even Nikita Khrushchev was more generous: He made Crimea part of Ukraine in 1954. As the clock ticks, I suggest listening to the leaders in the region—Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and others who’ve been in these trenches.
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY:President Barack Obama’s “there will be costs” reaction to the Ukraine invasion is inviting scorn from all sides. The lead editorial in today’s Washington Post: “President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.”
Also apt, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s analysis concerning the Middle East: “The Obama administration has exaggerated the impact of its rhetoric on Arab revolutions but has no clear sense of the kind of world it would like to see.” I’m with Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “Don’t hit until you have to, but when you do hit, hit hard.” Obama has turned Roosevelt’s dictum inside out: “Don’t hit under any circumstances, but if you do be sure you circle back with a slap at yourself and a few allies.”
ISRAEL: Case in point, President Obama used the opportunity of an invasion underway in Ukraine over the weekend to issue an ultimatum—to Israel.
NIGERIA: Twin blasts yesterday ripped through Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and ground zero for Boko Haram terrorists. The Red Cross puts the death toll at about 50, while other weekend attacks killed about 39. Stefanos Foundation from Nigeria reports that local sources say 100 were killed in Maiduguri, “and among ‘hundreds’ of maimed victims are survivors ‘without limbs, eyes, and horribly disfigured bodies.’” The attack took place in a crowded shopping district where food vendors and children were hawking goods.
CHINA: Islamic terrorists operating in China’s interior Yunnan Province killed at least 29 and wounded about 130 in a mass knife attack in the Kunming train station.
VENEZUELA: President Nicolas Maduro hoped granting an early Mardi Gras vacation to Venezuelans would quell street protests that have lasted more than three weeks. Wrong.