Wall Street Journal on February 29, 2016, reported on the risk that the West is accepting as normal the Russian incursions into Georgia and Ukraine. Excerpts below:

The traditionally tolerant Atlanticist Dutch—tough enough to be flying F-16 raids against Islamic State in Syria—will stage a national “advisory” referendum next month on whether the European Union should grant associate status to Ukraine.

…consistent polling says the Dutch will tell the Ukrainians to buzz off when the Netherlands votes on April 6.

For symbolism, this would be a “no” result weighing about a ton. It expresses multiple currents of contempt for the European Union. Even more, it argues that as a result of Russia’s unchecked military successes and effective hybrid-warfare techniques—in the Dutch case, involving little orange disinformation-men?—here’s a core European country that would look like

it sees an advantage in placating Vladimir Putin.

…the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has warned the Dutch that rejecting the Ukrainian association agreement “could open doors to a continental crisis.”

…the Netherlands cold-shouldering Ukraine could mutate into a groundswell in Germany, where Russia’s annexation of Crimea has found a place alongside Moscow’s 2008 theft of two Georgian provinces on the list of willfully forgotten Kremlin conquests.

…both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande appear battered, the recent fawning visits to Moscow of leaders from the parties of Germany’s grand coalition encourage more Russian provocation.

And the Obama administration? Its self-imposed absence from influence on Europe intensified nearly two years ago when the White House saddled up a German horse to handle Ukraine diplomacy but disregarded its riders’ Russia-related limitations.

In all of this, Ukraine remains Europe’s unwelcome case of conscience. “It’s an enormous irritant,” a Brussels official told me. “There are countries that think, ‘couldn’t Ukraine be bargained off in some way?’ ”

…U.S. Gen Philip Breedlove, has warned the international community against accepting “the situation in Ukraine as the ‘new normal.’ ”

In a statement, he spoke last week of Europe’s “somber reality,” its “growing instability fueled by a revanchist Russia” and of a continent that largely remains financially and economically “stagnated” while coercible through its dependence on Russian energy.

[His] boss, U.S. Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford, has argued, without effect, that it would be “reasonable” for America to furnish Ukraine with defensive weapons.

It’s a reasonable conclusion. With borders on four NATO members, Ukraine ought to receive the American antitank weapons necessary to make a Russian onslaught against it a matter of unacceptable casualties for Moscow.

…with the diplomacy he delegated to Germany nearing a dead-end on Ukraine, President Obama continues refusing to supply this inadequately protected friend with a minimal means of dissuasion. It’s a stance that emphasizes his administration’s major part in the accelerated geopolitical implosion of the West.


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