Sunday Chatter: Putin’s advances causing alarm; frustration with Malaysian government
March 23rd, 2014
03:19 PM ET
4 months ago

Sunday Chatter: Putin’s advances causing alarm; frustration with Malaysian government

For another week, the Sunday political talk shows focused on the missing Malaysian plane and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.

If you missed any of the Sunday political chatter, we've got you covered:


Obama’s defense: As Putin’s advances against Ukraine continue, with the storming Saturday of the Belbek air base, one of the last Ukrainian-held military installations in Crimea, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken defended the President’s response.

“This is exactly already a real cost for Putin and Russia and the economy,” Blinken said, referring to economic sanctions placed on top Russian government officials after Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula last week.

“What we're seeing every single day (is) Russia getting more and more isolated as the economy takes a bigger and bigger hit,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is having an impact on Russia, and this has to get Putin to think twice.”

Putin’s “growing” offense: But Andrii Deshchytsia, Ukraine’s acting foreign affairs minister, had a different perspective, saying that the chances of his country going to war with Russia are “growing.”

“We don't know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision. That's why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago,” Deshchytsia said on ABC’s “This Week.”

He added that Ukraine is “ready to respond” to Russian military aggression, despite the fact that the Ukrainian government has been telling U.S. officials that its military has been gutted over the past few years.

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “U.S. intelligence officials believe that Putin is not done in Ukraine.”

In defense of small arms: When it returns to Washington on Monday, the Senate is expected to take up a stalled aid package for Ukraine that includes $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, $50 million to enhance democracy-building and $100 million for improved security cooperation.

But senators and members of Congress from both parties appearing on the Sunday talk shows said more must be done.

“Unilateral sanctions are good but not sufficient,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The European Union has yet to agree to implement economic sanctions because member nations’ economies, some of which rely on Russian oil and natural gas, would suffer. Obama is traveling to Europe this week and is expected to make Russia a central component of talks.

Focus on Obama's Europe trip shifts to Ukraine

The elected officials appearing on the Sunday shows were also in favor of the controversial idea of providing Ukraine with military aid, including small arms.

“I think we can do more,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said on “Face the Nation” from Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

“We're not talking about even complicated weapons systems; we're talking about small arms so they can protect themselves, maybe medical supplies, radio equipment - things that they can use to protect themselves; defensive-posture weapons systems,” Rogers said on “Meet the Press.”

“You can do noncombatant military aid in a way that allows them to defend themselves, and that's all they want. No direct military action, they don't want U.S. boots on the ground. Neither do I,” Rogers added.

Durbin was the most cautious about the idea, but said on “Face the Nation” that small arms for Ukraine should be kept on the table.

“It may come to small arms,” he said. “I’m not ruling that out.”

Calls for small arms have been coming for a couple of weeks, but the Obama administration has yet to make up its mind.

“When it comes to military assistance, we're looking at it,” Blinken said on “State of the Union.”

“The facts are these: Even if assistance goes to Ukraine, that's unlikely to prevent an invasion.”

Obama’s critics: Even though Republicans have indicated their support for sanctions that Obama has implemented, he continues to be criticized by Republicans for his handling of Putin.

“This has been an administration that has been outthought and outmaneuvered by Putin,” Rep. Tom Cole said on ABC’s “This Week.”

And defeated 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney is living an “I told you so” moment.

After being mocked by Obama during the 2012 election for calling Russia the United States’ biggest “geopolitical foe,” Romney said Sunday the President’s “naivete” has resulted in “a number of foreign policy challenges.”

“Unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia's intentions, the President wasn't able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you're seeing in the Ukraine,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

Romney said Obama’s actions in Syria are “one of the things that led to the kind of aggressiveness you’re seeing from Russia today.”

The missing plane: As the international investigation of the missing Malaysian airplane with 239 people on board continues in the Indian Ocean, Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pennsylvania, said the Malaysian government, which is leading the investigation, is frustrating to work with.

“Well, frankly, I wish (cooperation) was better,” Meehan said of the U.S. involvement of the search for the Boeing 777 that went missing on March 8 during a flight from Malaysia bound for China. “The reports that I’m getting are frustration.”

“I think across the board people are looking for more in the way of openness from the Malaysian government, in terms of sharing the information they have in a timely manner,” Meehan, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on “State of the Union.”

The latest on the missing Malaysian airliner

The White House disclosed last week that the FBI would join in Malaysia's investigation by helping to retrieve deleted data on a computer flight simulator belonging to the plane’s pilot. The U.S. military is already working with Malaysian authorities, as are the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

Blinken cautioned not to "get ahead of the facts," adding that “there’s no prevailing theory” about how the aircraft vanished.

Kicker: Former President Jimmy Carter said privacy rights have been “abused” by the intelligence community.

“As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored, and when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it,” he said on “Meet the Press.”

CNN's Dana Davidson contributed to this report.


Filed under: Dick Durbin • Kelly Ayotte • Mike Rogers • President Obama • Ukraine • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. NameScott Lansberry

    Why not admit the Ukraine into nato? Putin would have to be crazy to invade if Ukraine was a member of nato. He uses the flimsy excuse of protecting russian speaking people in crimea to invade it, by saying they need protection. There are ethnic russians all over europe as well as in the western hemisphere too,, so where will he stop?

    March 23, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Chris-E...al

    I sure NSA leaker Snowden told Putin . 0bama said he could do it . All 3 are just alike anyway . Hurtfull to the U.S. and must love every min of it ! Cant you tell yet . They Did .

    March 23, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. ABDELKADER

    There was no Russian invasion and there is not going to be any, nor will there be military exercises or occupation. It was all lies and falsehood made up with library shots and footage by the Western media, especially Aljazeera, BBC and Sky News and fed to ABC, CBS, NBC and the warmongering Fox News. All Putin did was to prevent a civil war and to keep Crimea and ethnic Russians out of harm's way. Unlike the American political charlatans in the Obama administration and the hypocritical British Batman and Robin, the Russians are not stupid enough to get involved in the Ukraine and will not even touch the Ukrainians with a barge-pole.

    March 23, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Teapot dome and their tea bags

    Wonder how the Chinese would act if Taiwan had a referendum to be annexed by the US?

    Or if the Chinese annex some ethnic Chinese territories now in Russia.
    The Russians have so much land, and the Chinese have so many people, do the calculus.

    Bad move by Russians, they will pay by alienating more countries, including the Chinese.
    The irony is that they could have gotten Crimea in a better way and come out top, with good relations with Ukraine, Europe, and the US.

    Stealing and bullying seems to be part of a corrupt lifestyle. But let's not forget that Ukrainian legislator beating up the manager of Ukranian TV. The Slavs create their own problems, the US should be very careful and not back losers or encourage Russia. Sanctions make sense.

    Meantime the lifespan of Russians decline because of their leadership.
    They are just sowing the seats for their future civil wars.

    Enjoy your spoils Russians, but you may end up like the python that ate the crocodile.

    March 23, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. Tony D

    Obama’s defense: As Putin’s advances against Ukraine continue, with the storming Saturday of the Belbek air base, one of the last Ukrainian-held military installations in Crimea, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken defended the President’s response.
    “This is exactly already a real cost for Putin and Russia and the economy,” Blinken said, referring to economic sanctions placed on top Russian government officials after Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula last week.
    “What we're seeing every single day (is) Russia getting more and more isolated as the economy takes a bigger and bigger hit,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This is having an impact on Russia, and this has to get Putin to think twice.”
    ---

    Obama and his merry band of incompetents are in so far over their heads it is ridiculous. Sanctioning a few people is going to make Putin think twice??? They obviously don't have a clue about who they are dealing with and what his goals are. Putin is laughing... all the way to Kiev. Why? Because he knows Obama and the rest of the gutless Europeans are unwilling to do anything, except appease Putin. Putin could care less about sanctions and the other slap on the wrists the west is issuing. Body bags is what Russians understand. Ask the Afghanis...

    March 23, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. king

    Obama need to start conducting war exercise with Ukraine inside of their country, before Russia takes it over and imbedded themselves in Ukraine infrastructure, this would mean Obama would have to destroy the whole country just to get the Russian army out. if Obama and NATO get in first, Russia would have to think about losing its whole army to try and do something to Ukraine then. especially with the world most powerful naval armada sitting right in the black sea. Obama just cannot afford to allow Russia to insert it selves in the infrastructure of Ukraine, because this will be another Iraq war, then America and NATO would have lost. Obama you got to decide quickly because every day we waits, it embolden Putin to move. now as to the mystery of boing 777, i think this a suicide mission, because if something this big that have the world attention, and their is no terrorist to take credit is not terrorism. they need to investigate the pilots and see what kind of problem any of them was going through at the moment. we have to be realistic and admit that every one on board is dead, now the only other thing that is not coming up is that this plane might have been seized by aliens. i know this far fetched, but it might be possible. this is why so much attention is being payed to this mystery. i am sure these countries are not spending all this money to recover a plane and a few dead bodies.

    March 23, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  7. Paulinthedesert

    Exactly how can the USA afford all the help it plans on giving to ukrain when the USA can't even afford to feed its own citizens or provide them with health care ( As so many repubs whine about on a daily basis)?

    March 23, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. S. B. Stein

    I would have liked to have an aircraft carrier group just show up. That would have been a bit of concern for the Russians.

    March 23, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  9. me too

    Irrelevant to the article... I an disgusted that you, CNN, Where I tell everyone to go for fair news, prints Opinion articles by people such as Mitch McConnell, et al, as if you were reporting fact! At least have the decency to call it what it is. An opinion column, or make it part of blog where both rider are presented. Losing me.

    March 24, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. me too

    Sides. oops.

    March 24, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Namebadtobone

    bad when even president carter kicks you to the curve.

    March 24, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  12. Humbrrto

    The European Union has yet to agree to implement economic sanctions because member nations’ economies, some of which rely on Russian oil and natural gas, would suffer ? .... who figured the above statement out. because the people of Crimea, refused to ratify any new constitution, if any, by the Kiev rioters that overthrew the Ukraine government .
    Rogers, Durban and them are a farce with small arm politics and throwing non existing money overseas while cultivating lies to embezzle US Funds,. Its time to get rid of people like that.

    March 24, 2014 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  13. Humbrrto

    All Nobel prize Obama did was alienate a working partner.

    March 24, 2014 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  14. kcyankee

    Romney is a genius. I'm sure that Putin would be afraid of him.

    March 24, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |