Bob Schieffer: The President spoke to Vladimir Putin we are told for 90 minutes yesterday. The White House is describing it as the toughest phone call of his presidency. DO you think it had any impact?
What John Kerry said:
Secretary Kerry: Well we are going to have to wait and see but I think it was a very important conversation. The President was very strong, he made absolutely clear that this is unacceptable and there will be serious repercussions if this stands. The President asked Mr. Putin, in fact told Mr. Putin that it was imperative to find a different path, to roll back this invasion and un-do this act of invasion. He pointed out the many different ways in which Russia could have chosen to act. I mean if you have legitimate concerns about your citizens go to the United Nations, ask for observers, engage the other country’s government. There were any number of choices available to Russia, Russia chose this brazen act aggression and moved in with its forces on a completely trumped set of pre-texts claiming that people were threatened and the fact is that is not the act of somebody who is strong that is the act of somebody who is acting out of weakness and out of a certain kind of desperation. We hope that Russia will turn this around. They can. Again and again all week President Obama and I and others have insisted that we believe there is a way to deal with this issue. This does not have to be a zero-sum game. It is not Russia versus the United States, Russia v Europe, this is about the people of Ukraine, the people of Ukraine are who initiated what happened there. Their President Yanukovich, supported by Russia lost all support, all legitimacy, he fled in the night, his own supporters deserted him, they went to their parliament and they voted according to their parliamentary process so this is a democratic process that has placed this new government where it is and president Putin and Russia ought to respect that.
Via Jim Geraghty on Twitter. The bolding is mine, and I did so to highlight what will probably be the Obama administration’s talking point on this issue. It is, of course, absurd – particularly in the eyes of anybody who will personally have to deal with Russian ‘weakness’ in the next week or so. At this rate, the Russians are poised to ‘weakness’ their way across roughly two-thirds of Ukraine…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: On the one hand, the situation in Ukraine has a remarkable lack of white-hats involved and the American people probably wouldn’t support military intervention on the part of the least-bad faction. On the other hand, that the Obama administration would still suffer severe domestic political fallout from admitting that is not exactly my problem. On the gripping hand, these guys campaigned on a platform that condescendingly sneered at the GOP for still worrying about a regional former imperial power that retained both its grudges and its nukes, so I suggest that the Obama administration just try to walk off the karmic backlash. It’s not like they have any alternative, after all.