Arnaud de Borchgrave: US 'Powerless' to Intervene in Ukraine

Thursday, 20 Feb 2014 09:26 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The bloodshed in Ukraine marks "the beginning of a civil war" in which the United States has "no appetite" for getting involved, international journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave tells Newsmax.

Citing Iraq and Afghanistan, de Borchgrave, famed for his work at Newsweek, said "there's no appetite for getting involved in a third such venture," by intervening in Ukraine or Syria.

"I can't imagine anything worse than being involved in the heart of Russia, or what used to be Russia," he said in an exclusive interview. "It's a very awkward moment for the United States, looking upon these two very dangerous situations and not really being able to do anything besides diplomatic pressure — which everybody is ignoring."

In more bloodshed in Kiev on Thursday, 70 people died in battles that erupted after protest leaders ignored calls for a truce by President Viktor Yanukovych on Wednesday. The death toll so far this week is nearly 100.

Ukrainian television showed video footage of protesters being gunned down by police — and comrades trying to protect themselves with shields as they came to their aid. Teams of protesters carried away bodies on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood.

President Barack Obama on Thursday again condemned the violence, as Republican legislators liked his promise of "consequences" to last year's "red line" threats to Syria over its use of chemical weapons.

The White House retreated after it learned that hundreds of Syrians were killed in gas attacks in that country's civil war.

Meanwhile, de Borchgrave told Newsmax that Obama's failed policies in the Middle East were reminiscent of the lack of foresight by world leaders in 1991 when Russia defeated communism, ending the Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By admitting Russia to NATO, world leaders could have prevented the Ukranian unrest, he said.

Protesters are battling Yanukovych's efforts to align Ukraine more closely with Russia than with the European Community. The nation of 46 million people has long divided its loyalties between Russia and the West.

"You give the Russians not the feeling of defeat, but the feeling of having conquered communism, had they been a part of the NATO alliance," de Borchgrave said. "This would have been a brilliant geopolitical move, which nobody was paying much attention to at the time.

"The whole things boggles the mind, since this was so easily avoidable," he added. "When you put all of this together, and look at the situation in Syria — and what's happening between Russia and the Ukraine today — you see that we are absolutely powerless to intervene."

The only way to resolve the Ukranian crisis is through diplomacy, de Borchgrave told Newsmax.

"That's the way it seems to be right now. No settlement's been reached, or even a tentative settlement. We have European Community ministers wandering around, but they don’t seem to know what's going on — and this thing is spreading.

"It's not just now confined to Kiev, but it's spreading to other towns.

"I wish I could be more optimistic about what we could do, but I just don’t see anything we can do except diplomacy," de Borchgrave said. "Some tragic mistakes — or lack of foresight or lack of understanding of geopolitics — has gotten us into the mess that we find ourselves in today."

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