The Crimea Crisis
Russia escalated the Crimea crisis today by scuttling an old Kara-class cruiser in a chokepoint outside Novoozerne as the Crimean parliament scheduled a plebiscite to decide if the region would stay in the Ukraine or join Russia. The Ukrainian MoD published a picture of the ex-RFS Ochakov:
Popular Mechanics has an interesting article on the history of scuttling one's own ships to blockade an opposing Navy.
While I'm glad to see the 6th Fleet isn't cancelling the planned Black Sea operations of USS Truxtun (DDG 103), I was disappointed President Obama's statement just a few minutes ago didn't mention any military options NATO could take to protect the alliance's relatively new members in Eastern Europe from further Russian adventurism. (The Crimean seizure seems to be pretty much a fait accompli at this point.) Personally, I'd like to see the President announce the abandonment of the announced defense cuts from his newest budget, resumption on discussions of deployment of an ABM system in Eastern Europe, and specific reminders that the Baltic countries are an integral part of NATO. Don't be afraid to rub the Russians' noses in their failures during the 1990s.
One of the reasons I voted for President Obama's opponents in the last two elections was his lack of foreign policy credentials and his seeming naïveté about the presence of bad guys in the world who, it turns out, will not be nice to their neighbors if only their neighbors are nice to them. His selection of John F'n Kerry as his 2nd term SecState only heightened my concern that he didn't really understand that major power politics still exist in the world. I'm hopeful, though, that he's learning a valuable lesson now and can show a little more gumption in future crises.
Of note, it's interesting that Birther Central seems to be taking Russia's side. Is the anti-Obama crowd really so far gone that they're willing to support anyone who is opposing "Obummer"?