As Situation Worsens In Ukraine, More Outside Analyst Question Handling Of Foreign Policy

Officials tell The New York Times that Secretary of State John Kerry,is now open to discussions about providing lethal assistance to Ukraine, which is line with the position taken by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has said he backs sending defensive weapons to the Ukrainian forces.

The reconsideration comes at a time when peace talks have collapsed as fighting has intensified in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

Brian Bonner of the Kyiv Post reports that a group of U.S. foreign policy experts, including former ambassadors to Ukraine Steven Pifer and John Herbst, have issued a call on the Obama administration to provide $3 billion in military assistance to Ukraine in the next three years.

For some, the time has come to admit the inevitable — the situation in Eastern Ukraine is no longer a conflict, but a full-scale war.

“The time has come to admit that diplomacy is not all-powerful, and that endless calls for peace, in the absence of real conditions for peace, eventually devolve into demagoguery. Such calls are outwardly very humane, but inwardly devoid of content. Of course, even a ‘bad peace’ is better than a ‘good war,’ but even a ‘bad peace’ is not always attainable,” writes Pyotr Romanov in The Moscow Times.

“In this way, the current escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine was inevitable. Implementing the provisions of the Minsk Protocol is impossible if the conflicting parties are unwilling to take even the first step in the process — observing a cease-fire,” he adds.

The paper released by the U.S. foreign policy experts, says Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl, is the latest sign of division over foreign policy within President Barack Obama’s own party about the direction his foreign policy.

“For more than two years, a breach has been opening between President Obama and the foreign policy establishment of the Democratic Party. Last week, as Russia pressed a new offensive in Ukraine and the Senate debated sanctions on Iran, it cracked open a little wider,” argues Diehl.

In addition to Ukraine policy, there is dissention over Obama’s policy on Iran with a growing number of “Democrats worry that Obama is offering too-generous terms while failing to challenge Iran’s conventional aggression” in the Middle East, at the expense of the nation’s traditional alliance with Israel and Arab allies.

Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf is no less kind in his analysis of the Obama policy toward Iran, writing that it is possible that “by the time Obama leaves office, no other country on Earth will have gained quite so much as Iran.”

He does concede that the administration is not solely culpable, but “there is no doubting that some of the remarkable gains that seem to be on the near horizon for Tehran will have come as a result of a policy impulse that was far closer to the heart of the president than is the on-again, off-again Asia initiative (which was really much more the product of the ideas and efforts of a bunch of his first-term aides and cabinet members than it was of his own impulses or those of his innermost circle).”

And last week, it was notable that four former senior military leaders went on the record in voicing their concerns in congressional testimony about where U.S. foreign policy was heading.

 

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