Editorial: Not nuts about Obama's talk

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 03:05 PM.

U.S. officials warned Russia that Obama and other European leaders were unlikely to show up at the G8 summit in the Olympic resort city of Sochi if the Ukraine crisis was not resolved. “Going forward, Russia’s continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation,” the White House warned in a statement according to several news agencies.

Unlikely to show up? Wow. Them’s fightin’ words! Big deal. Like the centuries-long ties between the Ukraine and Russia don’t wildly transcend the G8 summit’s value to the Russians.

The Russians know that whatever “isolation” the U.S. can impose is restricted by our need for their influence in Syria. They know our words have little, if any, force behind them. We shouldn’t talk about “consequences” unless we can back them up with real action.

The recent American penchant of late for lots of talk and little action reminds me of General von Lüttwitz sending the following ultimatum to General McAuliffe, United States Army, acting commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division on Dec. 22, 1944. The German general sent the following message to McAuliffe whose 101st Division in the Belgian town of Bastogne was surrounded by German forces:

“To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.

“The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.

“If this proposal should be rejected, one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A.A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.

1 2 3 4

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top