The Admission

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February 1, 2015
Obama on the February “Transition”
Tom Winter

Admission, euphemism, and irony: a U.S. backed coup in Ukraine? No, it was brokering “a deal to transition power” there. Here it is, at 1:20 in this video: ”after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine…” And note the irony of what he says next. Is a coup a violation of international law? Is a coup a violation of “the integrity, territorial integrity, and sovereignty? Note, too, that there is an acknowledgement here that Putin’s actions after were a reaction to the “transition.”

Here is the relevant transcript:

ZAKARIA: Would it be fair to say that with regard to Russia, your policy has been pretty effective in imposing real costs on the Russian economy, but it has not deterred Vladimir Putin from creating instability in Ukraine. Conflict seems to have even escalated in the last few weeks.

OBAMA: I think that’s entirely fair. And I think that is a testament to the bad decisions that Mr. Putin is making on behalf of his country. You know, you think about where we’ve been in terms of U.S.-Russian relations; when I came into office, we talked about reset, and I established, I think, an effective working relationship with Mr. Medvedev.

And as a consequence, Russia’s economy was growing, they had to the opportunity to begin diversifying their economy, their relations across Europe and around the world were sound, they joined the WTO with assistance from us. And since Mr. Putin made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine – not because of some grand strategy, but essentially because he was caught off-balance by the protests in the Maidan and Yanukovych then fleeing after we had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine – since that time, this improvisation that he’s been doing has getting – has gotten him deeper and deeper into a situation that is a violation of international law, that violates the integrity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, has isolated Russia diplomatically, has made Europe wary of doing business with Russia, has allowed the imposition of sanctions that are crippling Russia’s economy at a time when their oil revenues are dropping.

There’s no formula in which this ends up being good for Russia.

The annexation of Crimea is a cost, not a benefit, to Russia. The days in which conquest of land somehow was a formula for great nation status is over. The power of countries today is measured by your knowledge, your skills, your ability to export goods, to invent new products and new services, your influence, and…

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