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Obama's biggest test: Ukraine

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 8:32 a.m. MDT

President Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this Monday, March 3, 2014 file photo, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.  (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press) President Barack Obama pauses as he answers a question regarding the ongoing situation in the Ukraine, during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this Monday, March 3, 2014 file photo, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press)

On Saturday, the United States suspended its participation in the G-8 talks that are set to take place in June in Sochi, Russia, as reported by USA Today. Alsol, Secretary of State John Kerry is making his way to Kiev, Ukraine, amid the Russian incursion of Ukrainian sovereign territory.

According to the National Journal’s Michael Hirsh, Ukraine is going to be Obama’s biggest test.

Hirsh says that while there are serious consequences tied to how the U.S. responds, it is critical Obama does it quickly and does it strongly.

“At stake is not only the future of Ukraine, where the chaotically disorganized opposition to Yanukovich is waiting and wondering, but in the Middle East and throughout Asia, where many leaders have taken to questioning America's commitment to the world,” writes Hirsh. Then after Obama pledged and backed down on Syria, “… Putin and other world leaders appear to view him as indecisive and unwilling to take risks.”

House intelligence chief Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace this past Sunday that while Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing chess, Obama is playing marbles.

Rogers said that the U.S. has been embarrassed on the world stage from Syria to the nuclear negotiations where Russia got everything it wanted. He says that this all began with our “absolute retreat on our missile defense system in Poland and Czechoslovakia. It caused huge problems for our allies and emboldened the Russians, and it really has been a downhill slide.”

As well, Obama fails to understand that “American inaction creates a vacuum,” according to Charles Krauthammer.

Krauthammer writes that Obama wants stability, but only sees Ukraine as crisis management. “American neutrality doesn't allow an authentic Ukrainian polity to emerge. It leaves Ukraine naked to Russian pressure.” He goes on to say that the U.S. must “balance” Russia’s power if there is to be a positive outcome.

Many, including Ian Bremmer writing in the Business Insider, are concluding that Russia’s military intervention into Ukraine is the most “seismic geopolitical event” since 9/11. What will Obama do?

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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