President Barack Obama has never felt more liberated as his presidency winds down and likens himself to a bear who has finally been let out of his cage. But while Obama is running loose around America, attending fundraisers, playing pool and golfing, the bear from Russia is burning down an entire country and making him look like a helpless cub.
Vladimir Putin for months has flexed his muscles in Ukraine by arming Russian-backed separtists against the Ukranian government with little resistance from the U.S. and Europe. While some continue to hope for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, the only thing Putin cares about is inflicting as much pain, suffering and death as necessary to achieve his goal of a Ukraine subservient to the Russian Federation. Last week’s downing of Malaysia Air Flight 17 which resulted in the death of 298 passengers proves this.
More brutal deaths are soon to follow as well. The Pentagon revealed Friday that heavier artillery in the form of powerful rocket launchers will be arriving from Moscow soon in a attempt to regain the momentum. This news also comes as Ukrainian forces are finally starting to turn the war around a little and forcing the Russian-backed separatists to retreat. This progress will not last much longer.
While it might seem inconvenient for the president to return to DC full time considering the fun he is having, there are things he can do to rein in Putin. One worthwhile step the president could take is pushing Congress to choke off Putin’s money. The best way to do this by passing the bipartisan Russian Weapons Embargo Act of 2014, introduced by Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind.; John Cornyn, R-Texas; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. Specifically, this legislation would ban the direct or indirect use of U.S. tax dollars to enter contracts or agreements with Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport, the state agency for export of Russian weapons systems and defense-related goods. It would also end all existing contracts and bar Defense Department contracts with any domestic or foreign company that cooperates with the company to design, manufacture or sell military equipment.
Another significant step to permanently changing the momentum in the war would be providing the Ukrainian military with the weapons it needs to defend its country against Putin and his stooges. A report from the Daily Beast Wednesday revealed that Ukraine last month requested from the U.S. and NATO radar jamming and detection equipment to counter the anti-aircraft systems Moscow was providing the country’s separatists. The request was ignored. Providing this equipment may have prevented the recent terror attacks.
We also have a moral obligation to arm the Ukraine considering we were the ones who disarmed them to begin with then-Senator Barack Obama helped leading the way. The Daily Mail had the scoop back in March:
“As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama won $48 million in federal funding to help Ukraine destroy thousands of tons of guns and ammunition – weapons which are now unavailable to the Ukrainian army as it faces down Russian President Vladimir Putin during his invasion of Crimea. In August 2005, just seven months after his swearing-in, Obama traveled to Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine with then-Indiana Republican Senator Dick Lugar, touring a conventional weapons site. The two met in Kiev with President Victor Yushchenko, making the case that an existing Cooperative Threat Reduction Program covering the destruction of nuclear weapons should be expanded to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds. After a stopover in London, the senators returned to Washington and declared that the U.S. should devote funds to speed up the destruction of more than 400,000 small arms, 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles, and more than 15,000 tons of ammunition.”
Obama cannot control what Europe does but he is capable of acting like a president and demonstrating some moral courage for once. Time is running out to put the Russian bear back in its cage.