Putin Threatens Estonia and Holds Iran Talks Hostage, Obama Makes NCAA Bracket Picks

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Reuters reported Wednesday that Russia is now concerned about ethnic Russians in Estonia. This is the same concern he expressed for Russian-born Crimeans before he annexed their land.

Putin apparently doesn’t like the treatment of Russian-speaking people in Estonia.

A Moscow diplomat told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, that “Language should not be used to segregate and isolate groups.”Russia was “concerned by steps taken in this regard in Estonia as well as in Ukraine,” the Moscow envoy added.

This should alarm people. It certainly is alarming to Estonians.

Hillary Clinton was absolutely correct when she compared Putin’s tactics in Crimea to the tactics used by Hitler who “protected” German-speaking people in foreign countries prior to World War II, but this isn’t a tool that was reserved by Hitler. It’s a common approach used by oppressive dictators and imperialists.

Also in the news today, a Russian diplomat warned the West that they may change their stance over the Iran peace talks based on the reaction to their takeover of Crimea, according to Time.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia didn’t want to use the Iranian nuclear talks to “raise the stakes,” but may have to do so in response to the actions by the United States and the European Union.

“We wouldn’t like to use these talks as an element of the game of raising the stakes taking into account the sentiments in some European capitals, Brussels and Washington,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying. “But if they force us into that, we will take retaliatory measures here as well. The historic importance of what happened in the last weeks and days regarding the restoration of historical justice and reunification of Crimea with Russia is incomparable to what we are dealing with in the Iranian issue.”

This is a direct result of Mr. Obama’s perceived weakness.

When Russia moved to take over Crimea, what was Mr. Obama’s response? It was to say that he recognized Russia’s common heritage with Crimeans. It could not have been a weaker statement. Should Russia take over Alaska since 2% of their population is Russian? How about Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY? It has such a large ethnic Russian population that it is called “Little Russia.”

The sanctions Mr. Obama imposed are against 11 Ukrainians and Russians, not even top-tier people, who, for the most part, are better known for their anti-gay stance. They were warned for two weeks that their assets could be frozen and it’s highly unlikely they left any assets to freeze. The EU plans to sanction 21 individuals but we don’t know who they are.

Unless the U.S. and the EU plan to sanction Putin and all of his top aides, it is hard to know how this is anything but a grand display of weakness.

The Iran peace talks are a great giveaway and we should be threatening to abandon them, not Russia.

The talks do not include Israel though they are the ones who face the most serious and most immediate threat.

As part of the treaty being worked on, Iran will be allowed to continue nuclear enrichment. They have said they are giving up nothing. Iran will have nuclear capability if the deal goes through. In other words, the U.S. will give up sanctions in exchange for concessions that can be reversed in weeks.

Iran is a terror state that will never agree to give up their heavy-water facility, their underground facility, their uranium, or their centrifuges.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry have pushed for Israel to return to 1967 borders with some land swaps to win peace with Palestine. It’s a feckless policy that puts the entire onus on our ally. Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have repeatedly said they will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Our allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) see us as a nation in decline.

The World Tribune reports that Riad Kahwaji, chief executive officer of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said the weak U.S. response to the Russian seizure of Crimea reinforced their image of a declining America.

Kahwaji, who is close to the GCC leadership, said the crisis in Ukraine lowered expectations of Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on March 22.

“The wide growing perception in the Middle East region, as well as other parts of the world, is that the United States appears to be a fading power incapable of protecting the interests of its allies and unable to stand up to bold challenges,” Kahwaji said.

“The ongoing situation in Ukraine could not have come at a worse time for Washington because it has only reinforced the perception of a weak America on the retreat.”

We will drive our allies into the arms of the enemy. Some will they have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons.

Radical Islam is emboldened, Russia is emboldened, and Obama continues to steer the United States on the path to decline. This is what happens in a world without a powerful United States. We have a president who votes “present” on every issue unless it involves additional entitlements and payoffs to cronies. While in both the state senate and the U.S. senate, Mr. Obama was known for voting “present.” Some things never change.

Mr. Obama’s response today was to take military options off the table. “We are not going to be getting into a military excursion in Ukraine,” Obama said in an interview with KNSD, an NBC affiliate.

People don’t want to send the military into Ukraine but there are military options such as sending in strategic help and munitions. He needs to immediately re-establish the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine is withdrawing from Crimea and gave up two Crimean bases today. Mr. Putin will go into Eastern Ukraine because Mr. Obama has done nothing to dissuade him.

Mr. Obama is supposed to be the guaranteer of our ally’s sovereignty, but he thinks all the U.S. is obligated to do is arrange for diplomatic talks and send messages no one will listen to.

Another world power is invading other countries and Mr. Obama wants to frighten Putin with empty words.

You will be pleased to know, however, that Mr. Obama took time out from his busy schedule today to pick his teams for the NCAA basketball tournament.

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