For Obama, Crimea is a Welcome Distraction from Iran

Noting the inherent contradictions in Obama's foreign policy, one is left with only one logical conclusion.

Mark Langfan

OpEds Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan
Mark Langfan

Obama is clearly desperate to distract the world from Iran and from realizing that his Iran Interim Nuclear agreement is a farce - or shall we say a bomb (literally and figuratively). 

Obama's agreement  will enable Iran to quickly develop a nuclear bomb under the world's radar and everybody from the Saudis to the Israelis and the Russians knows it. How can he distract the world, and the American people, and even Putin, from Iran's imminent nuclear weapon acquisition? By having the headlines full of a falsely hysterical drama with Russia over the Crimea and Ukraine.

It is enlightening to note the differences between Crimea and other world flash points in Obama's foreign policy. 

1. The West Ukraine, Nazi-collaborating people's revolution against Russia's man in Kiev, Yanukovych, is totally kosher;  the Egyptian people's revolution against Obama's favored Neo-Nazi Muslim Brotherhood is 100% un-kosher. 

2. Obama lifts virtually all sanctions against Iran's building of nukes and keeps the 'agreement' top-secret; Obama installs sanctions against the world's only other nuclear-superpower, Russia, for protecting a Russia-contiguous region linking Russia's to its only warm weather seaport. 

3. Obama moves aircraft carriers out of the Persian Gulf so as to not offend a pre-nuclear Iranian genocidal regime which is threatening to annihilate "every spot" of Israel;  Obama orders a solitary US Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103) into the Black Sea (that has to leave in 15 days from entry into the Black Sea under the Montreux Convention) to closely threaten a nuclear-armed Putin over the Crimea that is loaded with Russia's latest Bastion hypersonic anti-ship missiles with a range of 300 kilometers. 

4. It is within the bounds of international law when the Muslim Kosovo and Muslim Bosnia "self-determine" that they are independent from Serbia;  it's World War 3, if a Russian-super-majority in the Crimea self-determines its independence from Ukraine that has been injecting hundreds of thousands of Muslim Tatars into Crimea so as to skew the current demographic balance against the extant Russians.

And before anybody waxes poetic that "America is a democracy, and Putin is a dictator," one should realize that Obama is now a de facto tyrant.  He has egregiously trampled the US Constitution, illegally used the IRS as his personal Stazi, unilaterally enacted his own laws by making up over 20 substantive ObamaCare changes, and doing anything else he wants as if he has a dictator's powers. Obama has unilaterally "enacted" regulations that have made a mockery of America's "rule of law." 

It's gotten so bad, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 4138, called the "Enforce The Law Act" (which passed 233 to 181 with 5 Democrats voting in favor) which attempts to force Obama to enforce the laws he's already legally obligated to enforce, by allowing the Congress the right to sue the President for not enforcing the law. This is in response to the current situation where Obama enforces the laws he wants, doesn't enforce laws he doesn't like, and unilaterally changes any laws that are in-between to whatever he wants. 

Obama is, in effect, a worse dictator than Putin because he is attempting to turn the world's greatest and longest-existing, stable and succesful democracy into a land governed by dictat.  Obama may ultimately be a worse dictator than Putin.  No one knows to what extent Obama will continue to destroy the workings of American democracy.

What does the above have to do with Russia's "illegal occupation"? What "occupation"? In the 1997 Ukraine-Russian "Black Sea Fleet Agreement" the Ukraine agreed to base 25,000 Russian troops on Crimea.  And, to be more specific, Article 8.1 (translated from the Russian, the official language of the treaty, so Russia's interpretation is final) states "The upkeep of military formations on Ukrainian territory, their manning, their funding, and their provision with all kinds of supplies and stores are insured by the Russian Federation." 

This specific 1997 Treaty clause creates an omnipotent Russian sovereign web across the entire Crimean peninsula.  And here is the humdinger 1997 Treaty clause 8.4 "[Russian] Military formations at their stationing locations and during transfers may implement protection measures in accordance with the procedure established in the Russian Federation Armed Forces and in cooperation with the competent Ukrainian organs." ("in cooperation" is a meaningless phrase in form and function.).

Taken together, these two 1997 Black Sea Treaty clauses specifically allow Russian troops to protect all manner of supply and transit to and from all their Crimean bases.  Russia, "in accordance with the procedure established in the Russian Federation," believes that to defend its troops' transit in Crimea it needs to control the entire Crimea. 

Before the Ukraine negotiates its next Treaty with Russia, it needs to get a good real estate attorney to draft the Russian troops sections, not NATO military forces to ex post facto fix a lop-sided treaty with a nuclear super-power that supplies all its natural gas. 

All this is not to be taken as advocating for Putin. The Russian leader is a dictator arming horrible people, including Assad and Iran. It merely shows that Obama's military and "diplomatic" escalation of the Russian move into Crimea is wildly disproportionate to Russia's actual infraction of the treaty between the two entities.  And, not only is his reaction asymmetrical, it risks exposing US troops to a US-Russian hot war. 

Obama now has new reasons to claim that he is powerless to stop Iran's becoming a nuclear-armed state.
Obama is bad at making "peace,"  but he is even worse at war. Note Iraq and Afghanistan.  And for all Obama’s sound and fury, given the 1997 Ukraine/Russia Treaty and Crimea’s vital nexus to Russia, Obama can escalate very little before risking a real war on the Black Sea against the Russians. In that worst-case scenario, Obama would have unilaterally retreated from the Middle East and watched 200,000 Syrians Sunnis get mass-murdered, only to get into a nuclear war with Putin.  

The immediate and sole existential danger to the world and world peace isn't Russia's occupation or annexation of the Crimea; it's Iran's acquisition of a nuclear bomb.  And that's where Obama's Crimean overreaction has its true catastrophic effects. Obama now has new reasons to claim that he is powerless to stop Iran's becoming a nuclear-armed state.

Obama will say "I can't even plan to attack Iran, when I'm almost at war with Putin over the Crimea."  Hence, Obama has a great reason to keep Crimea on a medium-simmer for as long as possible - at least until Iran explodes a nuclear test device and officially joins the nuclear weapons' club.

Then Obama will say, "I can't effectively convene a meaningful Geneva Nuclear P5+1 appeasement 'chat' with Iran to force a nuclear deal, when Kerry is threatening 'severe consequences' to Russia Crimean annexation."  He might add: "Russia isn't putting enough pressure on Iran because of the Crimea."  

And next, Obama will say, "I can't get Russia to agree to sanctions against Iran on Iran's nuclear file, when I'm issuing sanctions against Russia on Russia's Crimea file."

Before Crimea, Obama's actions to stop Iran's nukes were, at best, ineffective, feckless, and counter-productive.  After Crimea, Obama will claim to be "totally paralyzed" from acting as if he is doing something. 

Bottom line, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all alone against a nuclear Iran. 

People who are interested in world peace should tell Obama to forget the Crimea, which was settled at the end of World War II (coincidently at Yalta that is on the Crimean Peninsula).  Everyone needs to refocus everything on stopping Iran's nukes, or it will be the beginning of World War III.

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