On Wednesday the US and President Obama gave a strict, convincing message to Ukraine regarding the growing unrest in that country. However, many experts say that there is little the US can do in this situation and that some of the president’s comments regarding the escalating violence in the region is probably an empty threat.
The president said that he condemns those violent actions that killed 26 Ukrainians on Tuesday alone. He spoke before the Thursday morning fights that left even more dead and wounded. It is also reported that fighting has spread beyond the nation’s capital, Kiev, and there are indications that protesters have taken over some government buildings in the western part of this region.
Obama says he expects the Ukrainian government to exercise restraint when dealing with protesters who are acting peacefully and also added that there could be “unspecified consequences for excessive action.” He did not elaborate on what these consequences could be.
Despite his bold statements, analysts close to the situation feel that there is little that outside involvement could do to help pacify the region. They warn that it will be especially difficult to make a difference if the Ukrainian military begins to aid the government’s actions against the protesters. Obama added in his speech that he believes Ukraine’s military should not get involved in this incident.
The US government is also insistent that this will not turn into a battle between Russia and the United States over a smaller nation. Obama said this will not turn into a “Cold War chessboard” and added that he hopes a government can be unified from the two sides that will open up the possibility of free elections run fairly. Ultimately, US policy appears to be rooted in the belief that the people of Ukraine can bring about their own destiny.
The United States has authorized a ban on visas for 20 senior members of Ukraine’s government. According to the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas, this appears to one of the few actions the US can legitimately take in this crisis. Haas says that he believes there is very little the US and their European allies can do that will impact the situation.
“My own hunch is this is going to continue to escalate,” Haas told CNN. Haas also said that the main point of interest for those following this story should be whether the military would back the government or if it would be on the side of the protesters and remain in their barracks.
On Wednesday night there was a truce announced between the opposition and the Ukrainian government in order for negotiations to develop and to aim them towards bringing stability to the region. Obama said that he will be watching that situation closely and expects to see the government to not use violence when it does not have to. Now, this morning that truce has crumbled into more violent fighting and more death.
Although the president did offer some strong remarks on this situation, his top advisers seem to suggest that any type of US involvement is doubtful. Although the White House is treating this as an extreme situation, the US and its European allies seem to agree that there is not much good that can come out of direct involvement in the Ukraine at this time.
By Nick Manai