tv The Cycle MSNBC March 5, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
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ultimatum -- hold back from crimea or face the consequences. things get heated on capitol hill. in an irs hearing of all places. who said taxes weren't interesting? and house republicans reach, yes, the big 5-0. that's right, the 50th vote to dismantle the health care laws expected this hour. we begin with breaking news. >> the united states of america, the russian federation, and the united kingdom of great britain, we affirm that obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the independence of ukraine. and none of their weapons will ever be used against ukraine. >> we're waiting for another statement from secretary of state john kerry in paris after his marathon meeting with the leaders of ukraine, russia, and european ministers. right now, kerry is back behind closed doors with allies after meeting with russia's foreign ministers. this is an additional meeting. kerry was supposed to address the press and head back to paris
hours ago. but russia's lauvrov left withot speaking to his ukrainian counterpar. the white house saying no deal has been reality showed. but president pawn and chancellor merkel discussed a possible international effort to improve the standoff. in brussels, nato putting all military and civilian meetings with russia on hold and is reviewing all of its dealings with moscow, the russian envoy accusing nato of double standards here in holding cold war stereotypes. russia has until late tonight to reverse course in ukraine's crimea region or face e.u. sanctions and even possible expulsion from the g-8. the white house is looking to deescalate the situation. pro-russian protesters in crimea surrounded the car carrying the u.n. peace envoy. he did make it through the mob and headed straight to a local airport. the goal of the deescalation talk is a multipoint proposal.
send russian troops back to their barracks in crimea and limit numbers to a ukraine-mandated ceiling of 11,000. send in international monitors. the osce has military observers at the ready. this would pave the way for direct talks between kiev and moscow leading up to those ukrainian elections slated for may 25th. we start with nbc's ian williams in kiev to unpack all of this. ian, what can you tell us? >> reporter: hello. like you, we're waiting to hear from paris. waiting to hear what's been achieved if anything today. i guess the best we can hope for is that at least they've spoken. at least the meeting went on far longer than we thought. now there wasn't a lot of hope here in kiev when the making started. when it became clear that the russians wouldn't sit down with ukraine's own foreign minister who was there. also, just ahead of this meeting, sergei lavrov, the russian foreign minister, had flatly denied again that there
are any russians troops in crimea. he said, "how can we pull them back? how can we stop an occupation when these are self-defense forces? these are not russian." that really dampened hopes of any meaningful progress. at least they've talked, and at least it has gone on longer than we thought. the other big news, of course, is the e.u. weighing in with a big financial package, offering $15 billion worth of aid. that comes after yesterday's announcement of a billion dollars of -- of loan guarantees from the u.s. the priority, aside from calming down the security situation in crimea, is, of course, to try and stabilize the ukrainian economy which is in a terrible way with the russians turning the screws still more. the finance ministry here have been frank. they say we've got no money left. the coffers are empty, it's been stolen. also in the east, we've seen more violence, clashes between pro-russian protesters and supporters of the ukrainian
government. we've had the -- the government offices there occupied first by the pro-russians, pushed out, and then the pro-ukrainians. and now again today, the pro-russians taking control of that building and putting their flag up. so a pretty busy day here in ukraine. all eyes still on paris just to see whether any progress has been made. back to you guys. >> ian williams, thanks again. and stay safe. let's now bring in former white house advisory ambassador mark beg ginsburg and josh behr, officially a correspondent with "the new york times." on the same day you joined "the new york times," it's reported barbara bush canceled her subscription. weird coincidence. >> i know sheerks never li, she. >> that's clear. ambassador, there seemed to be three options. putin tries to keep crimea which seems like the most likely option. he retreat or pushes further
into ukraine. and given that the u.s. has this moral obligation to support democracy but also a moral obligation to not make promises that we simply can't keep. what should we be doing to prepare for each of these situations? >> boy, that is the best question i've heard on television yet. and it's going to be so hard to answer it because it is so good. look, let's be really clear here because it's a confusing situation that is changing by the minute. here is secretary of state kerry trying to negotiate some diplomatic agreement with russia to pull its troops out of crimea. guess what, that's not going to happen. already the russians are denying they have troops on crimea. what i think putin is basically hoping for is that he'll be able to retain under any negotiation a staging ground in crimea to further increase russian-oriented mischief in eastern ukraine. we're already seeing that. he would like to basically
strangle ukraine's capacity to negotiate any further agreements with the european union. he wants more russian representation in kiev's parliament. he wants to basically ensure that he returns before a coup. the problem is simple -- does the united states have the stomach along with its european allies to turn the screws on putin enough without putting boots on the ground to add to -- to basically stop him from annexing crimea. i'm afraid that's not going happen. >> josh, i wish i could ask questions as good as abby's, but i'm hamstrung by the useless chest-beating from conservatives about how weak obama is. listen to john mccain -- >> this president does not understand vladimir putin. he does not understand his ambitions. it's time we woke up about vladimir putin. it's time that this
administration got real. >> i love when john mccain talks about keeping it real. lindsay graham also tweeting putin basically came to the can collusion after benghazi, sawyer, egysyria -- syria, egypi think putin believes obama is all talk and no action. unless we push back soon, the worst is y-- the who srorse is come. grammatically incorrect. but this has no impact on presidential decisionmaking. and i would move that it actually hurts the country. >> i think this actually matter less here than it matters, say, with syria. in syria we had a debate over whether we would have a military strike. we're not going to go to war with russia. if you look at things john mccain is suggesting substantively, some are good ideas. he said that we should have an aid package to the ukraine which the sioux coming through with. he was saying we should have imf support and said we should speed
georgia's move to nato -- those are things we're not probably going to d'amato the thing is, to the extent that obama can telegraph to the russians that he's under pressure from congress to take a hard line with them, mccain and his allies might be strengthening the president's hand here. there's less of a risk than in other situations that they could goad the u.s. into a war. >> that's an interesting take. ambassador, talk about german chancellor angela merkel's role in all of this. john cassidy over at "the new yorker" is writing she may be the key to a solution, pointing out that russia is germany's biggest supplier of energy. we know that merkel spoke with our president last night. she spoke with putin several times since the crisis started. could she be a key player in potentially resolving this situation? >> yes. absolutely. i mean, germany, after all, is the most important military and economic power in europe.
the problem here, as you rightfully point out, is that most of germany's natural gas supplies run through that natural gas pipelines through ukraine, from russia, to germany. she's already signaled that she's not in favor of imposing economic sanctions on russia. well, if she's not in favor of supporting economic sanctions on -- on russia as well as denying russia a space in the g-8 and turning that into the g-7, it sort of defangs the capacity of the united states to act forcefully with putin if he decides that, well, what -- what matters to him if he moves his forces into eastern ukraine. who's going to stop him. >> yeah, and josh, i also want to touch on the energy and economics issues which are important here. >> yeah. >> a lot of attention, of course, on the fluctuations in the russian stock market. so speak to that, but also the energy dynamics here and the geostrategic importance of ukraine. >> so i think the cornerstone of
vladimir putin's popularity is that he came in after yeltsin after high inflation, shrinking economy, and stabilized the economy largely on the basis of natural resource exports. russia and europe need each other. russia needs to sell gas to europe. half their government revenue comes from natural resource exports. it's actually russia that is more economically constrained here. we've seen that in the stock markets. russia's stock market fell about 11% on monday. it's since recovered somewhat, but it's still down about 6%. if you look in europe, their stock markets fell, but they recovered completely or almost completely. the u.s. stock market is actually up this week. it's clear the risk is asymmetrical. russia has the big economic risks. that's the key thing constraining putin now. you have chancellor merkel taking a cautious line. but it russia keeps pushing, if they were to invade eastern ukraine, it would be increasingly untenable for
european powers to hold back on sanctions against russia. russia is less able to afford an economic standoff with the west than the west is able to afford one. >> interdependence. might save us all. ambassador mark ginsburg and john barro, thank you both. next, will congress fast truck to the ukraine? congressman peter welch with the inside track. and president obama just finished something to raise the minimum wage. more that. [ female announcer ] who are we? we are the thinkers. the job jugglers.
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strengthen his hand. and the majority of the leaders working with our committee chairs on a bailout package, also working with them on possible bill dealing with sanctions that could strengthen the president's hand. >> the u.s. house could vote as early as tomorrow on a deal to fast track more u.s. aid to ukraine. for that, let's bring in congressman pete welch, on the oversight committees on national security, homeland defense, and foreign operations. also the chief deputy within the white house -- chief deputy whip in the white house. we always love having you. >> thank you. pleasure to be here. >> there's been a lot of criticism of president obama's handling of the situation so far and also of his foreign policy in general that is handling syria, drawing that red line and not following through. it's essentially invited the ukrainian crisis. he's been called weak, indecisive, mike roger said that putin is playing chess and obama is playing marbles. do you think the president
should be tougher on putin? what do you make of the criticism? >> two things. one, the important thing is the policy. and in fact, we do have to provide aid. european union has over $15 billion, the house and senate are going to consider a billion dollars in aid. and what that will help do is -- give some stability to the ukrainian economy. and this is a continuation of the collapse of the soviet union. that's really what's going on in ukraine. they wanted to align with the west, their president rejected that despite the overwhelming support of ukrainian people. now we have the aftermath of the disintegration and the putin invasion. number one, aid. that's what we have to too. we should consider sanction -- what we have to do. we should consider sanctions. and this is bizarre -- i think people get. it a lot of the republican criticism of the president comes from folks who think we should have a couple hundred thousand troops on the ground in iraq, who don't want to come home from afghanistan.
the fact is when you ask, all right, what should the president do, they basically come back to practical suggestions that secretary kerry and president obama are making. there's an enormous amount of bogus politics. i'm heartened that when it comes to aid, a prakctical response, t can make a difference in aligning ukrainians with the west. and i think give a boost to democracy. that's i think eventually what we'll do. >> that boeing us politics is rampant. historically -- bogus politics is rampant. historically, when you were considering a political situation, you didn't have back benchers throwing pot shots. it doesn't help the process that republicans using this sort of situation to score cheap political points. >> well, that's right. i think it undercuts their credibility. you know, the fact is they blame obama for the weather, they followed they could. >> yes. >> the investigation that anything that president obama could have done that would have
affected putin -- i mean, keep in mind putin is concerned about what we say and the europeans say. he put a lot money into sochi to try to burnish his image. now he's destroyed it with one act. he does not want to live with that. there is restraint that comes with the messages given by the president, by the secretary in the european union. you know, secondly, the realistic situation here is that there is an organic economy. and if we do sanctions, how we do them would be very important so that they hurt putin and don't hurt us and hurt our allies. particularly in the european union. so people know when there's adult supervision around here that this is complicated. what is simple is that we want to do all we can to help the -- >> congressman, i'm sorry weercwe're going to break in. we have secretary of state john kerry speaking in paris now. >> thank you. >> first of all, i want to thank the foreign minister and the french government for a
tremendous job of hosting the international support group on lebanon today. and i really don't want -- none of us want the importance of what we came here to talk about with respect to lebanon be lost in all of the obvious discussions that have taken place with respect to the question of ukraine. but the countries that came to paris today for this very important and timely meeting are all of us bound together by very strong commitment to lebanon. as syria's conflict spills over lebanon's borders, and as the refugee crisis grows, we are deeply concerned for the security and the sovereignty of the people of lebanon and for their simple ability to be able to chart their own futures and fulfill the same basic
aspirations that they share with everybody else on this planet. the president pulled out and showed a dramatic charting that goes for the last few years. four different charts that show the extraordinary change in lebanon, the numbers of refugees, as every year upwards, the entire country has become a splotch of red instead. instead of red dots, the entire border is really red today because there are almost a million refugees in lebanon. this has an extraordinary impact on the internal dynamics of a country. people who are looking for work, people who work for less, it drives wages down. changes the nature of that nation. so the united states is very proud to have provided lebanon just in the last year or so with
respect to its development process. $340 million the last few years in humanitarian aid, and we will continue to support the lebanese armed forces and other security institutions. of course, you can't talk about the values of sovereignty, security, and determination and economic opportunity without coming quickly back to the events of the last days in the ukraine. ukrainians told me yesterday in kiev how desperately they wanted government that has the consent of the people. and in an economy that gives them a chance to be able to live just like everybody else. i told the story of a person that had been to australia, who came back and said, we just want to be able to live the way other people live. the way we've seen them live. today our fellow foreign ministers and i met separately
with our ukrainian counterpart, the foreign minister, and our russian counterpart, foreign minister lavrov. we met as a group of concerned countries. we agreed to continue intense discussions in the coming days with russia, with ukrainians, in order to see how we can help normalize the situation, stabilize it, and overcome the crisis. and those intentions are intentions that are shared exactly as i have described them between russia, the united states, the european countries, and ukrainians who were here. all parties agreed today that it is important to try to resolve these issues through dialogue. the united states with our partners is focusing intensely
on a remedy. and i don't -- i don't believe as any of us believe, president obama doesn't believe it, i don't believe, the other countries we're working, i know they don't believe that any of us are served by greater or further con in fromation. and also, we met today to discuss these issues because we cannot and will not allow the integrity of the sovereignty of the country of ukraine to be violated and for those violations to go unanswered. russia's violation of ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity has actually united the world in support of the ukrainian people. and this morning, secretary hagel announced that the defense department is taking concrete
steps to reassure our nato allies steps like expanding our aviation detachment in poland and our contributions to nato's baltic air policing mission. this is on top of other steps that the united states has already taken. steps like suspending our bilateral discussions with russia and trade and investment, suspending u.s./russian military engagement, and suspending preparations for the g-8 summit in sochi. as i said yesterday this kiev and as president obama has said, as well, and as i said to foreign minister lavrov today, russia made a choice -- we have clearly stated that we believe it is the wrong choice, that is the choice to move troops into crimea. russia can now choose to deescalate this situation.
and we are committed to working with russia. together with our friends and allies, in an effort to provide a way for this entire situation to find a road to deescalation. the united states is ready to work with all parties to make that happen. and to make it happen as soon as possible. we renew our call for russia to speak directly with the government of ukraine, to send troops back to their bases and to welcome international observers and human rights monitors, and we've seen today with what happened with special envoy seri just how important it is to ensure the safety of those monitors and of those observers. ukraine's territorial integrity must be restored and must be respected. from lebanon to ukraine, the united states stands ready to help our friends in a time of
need. and today, those needs obviously are great in different places. different kinds of needs? n different places. we especially thank our friends here in france for their partnership as we work to address these challenges and many others. for instance, iran's nuclear program. we're working together, violence in the central african republic, we're working together. the pursuit of reconciliation in mally, we are working together. all of these efforts require international cooperation. so coming together as a community of nations, as we did today, is the best way to resolve these kinds of problems that concern us. and today, i believe we initiated a process that over the next couple of days we hope can bring us to that deescalation and to a path for the protection of the integrity of the country and for the building of stronger relationships between other
nations. on that note, i'd be delighted to take any questions. >> our first question comes from amy buren of the "washington post." >> thank you. mr. secretary, just renewed the u.s. call to russia to speak directly to the new ukrainian government. you were hoping that that would happen today, right? right now between lavrov and the ukrainian foreign minister who accompanied you here apparently for that purpose. why did that effort fail, and what did a-- assurance did you get if any from the russians that they might be willing to have that kind of conversation in the future? >> well, let me make it absolutely crystal clear. i had no expectation, zero expectation that today that kind of a meeting would take place. i did not expect it, and we did not ask the foreign minister to come here for that purpose. so the premise of the question
is -- is really just not factual in terms of what we were expecting. we brought him here because we knew that it was inappropriate for us to have discussions with minister lavrov whom i knew i had a meeting with without being able to consult with our ukrainian friends. and it would have been inappropriate for us to come here to paris and for a group of nations to join together and make some kind of an agreement without the appropriate consultation and engagement and involvement and signoff from the people who are concerned. this is a ukrainian decision. and we respect that. so we met, all of us, as a group of foreign ministers with the foreign minister from ukraine. we went through the things that we had discussed today. we solicited opinions. i will be in touch later tonight with the foreign minister as well as with the prime minister
of ukraine. they're traveling to brussels for meetings tomorrow with the e.u. and we will continue that discussion. i will also continue the discussion with foreign minister lavrov in rome tomorrow. foreign minister lavrov will then return to have discussions with president putin which he also did today. he will continue to have that discussion. and i will obviously have an opportunity to have -- have a discussion with president obama and with the team in the white house in order to discuss the road forward. but we had very thorough discussions today, very extensive. exchanged ideas. we both have thoughts to take back to our capitals and to our respective bosses. and i intend to do that and with hopes -- with hopes that the yesterdays that have been put on the -- with hopes that the ideas that have been put on the table can lead us to the place of
europeans. and they're meeting tomorrow. and i don't think it's appropriate for me to weigh in publicly on their deliberations. with respect to the premise, again, of your question, don't assume that we did not make -- have serious conversations which produced creative and appropriate ideas and possibilities for how we can resolve this. i think that we have a number of ideas on the table. i personally feel as if i have something concrete to take back and talk to president obama about so that i can get his input and thinking, advice on what he's prepared to do. and i believe that prime minister lavrov is in exactly the same position with respect to president putin. i don't think any of us had an
anticipation that we were coming here at this moment, in this atmosphere of heightened tension and confrontation that we would suddenly -- we were going to resolve that here this afternoon. but i believe we are doing what is appropriate and what offers the best chance of finding a way forward that the world would welcome that is without conflict. as we said, we agreed today, beth sides, and the ukrainians also that we are all better served if this can be resolved through dialogue. that's important. i think it was a strong indication in the conversations that took place not just between us but between us and our capitals that everybody is taking seriously the effort to try to find a way forward, but a way forward that satisfies the needs, that protects the
integrity and the sovereignty of the state of ukraine. and one that -- that obviously charts a path forward that has respect for the people of ukraine and the direction that they have chosen to move in. so i look forward to the conversations over the course of the next days. and we'll see where we are. but i think today was very constructive. without promising something that is not defined yet. without raising hopes that are inappropriate to raise. i want to be realistic. this is hard, tough stuff and very serious moment. but i'd rather be where we are today than where we were yesterday. >> great. the final question comes from margaret brennan of cea. >> thank you. thank you very much, mr. secretary. was there anything in your
direct conversation with sergei lavrov today that makes you believe that russia is no longer creating a pretext for further invasion? and did you hear anything that would assure you, make you rethink the u.s. threats to put sanctions on russia? that threat seems to have been weakened by european reluctance. >> i don't think it's been weakened at all by what you call european reluctance. the conversations i had today with the foreign minister of germany, the foreign minister of france, foreign minister of great britain, with the e.u. representative and with a number of other foreign ministers indicated to me that people are very serious about that. there's been no movement away from the possibility. and everything i said yesterday and the day before and through the week stands. that is where we are. but we are pursuing as president
obama indicated he would like to, in his comments yesterday and the day before, as i indicated on sunday, in my comments on television shows, we would prefer to find a -- an appropriate diplomatic solution to this. and i think everybody is better served through that. but we've also made it clear our determination to stand up to the integrity and the sovereignty of this nation, our disagreement with the choice that russia has made, and our hope that we can find a way forward that respects the rights and aspirations of the people of ukraine, east, west, south, all of ukraine. that's our goal. nothing has changed with respect to that. and what the europeans choose to do is -- is obviously their choice. we've made it clear that the decision to go into crimea is not without cost.
and now we need to go forward and see if we can avoid everybody being put in the corner where it's more and more difficult to find a path that presents you with the solution of dialogue. i was encouraged today that russia indicated that they would prefer to see the possibility to find that path. that's the beginning of the negotiation. and as you know this will go on, this discussion, for whatever period of time to time. -- period of time to come. this has not changed one bit. >> that was secretary of state john kerry speaking from the u.s. ambassador's residence in paris, providing an update on the situation in ukraine. meeting with prime ministers from our european allies, also
the russian foreign minister lavrov essentially saying they expect to continue intense discussions, that they have some creative ideas to take back to their respective capitals. and also saying that russia's violation of ukraine's sovereignty has united the world in support of the ukrainian people. and in that question-and-answer session segment there, it seemed like he was really pushing back on the idea that they hadn't made any real progress in these discussions. there had been some question or expectation that maybe russian foreign minister lavrov would meet with the ukrainian foreign minister. that didn't happen. >> that's right. we were reporting that at the beginning of the hour because there were those movements to see if those meetings might occur. there were basically three questions i counted here from -- from secretary of state kerry speaking, one from the "washington post," one -- all of the questions obviously saying basically show us the beef. what did you achieve -- >> what did you actually accomplish. >> what is happening. the secretary of state say somethings that -- something
that is reasonable. these things take time. sanctions are as always under the u.s. view, not the goal. it's a tall they may or may not pursue in concert with allies to try to break through what is now an untenable situation from the united states' perspective. the other things i thought were interesting there was the statement that, look, russia can deescalate this situation at any time. >> right. >> we've talked a lot about this in a binary way. the troops or personnel or whatever you call them depending on your vantage point are on the ground. secretary of state kerry speaking, i think, obviously for the obama administration and the united states but also trying to invoke as you put it the united world, saying that's not static at all. we can find through dialogue and an agreement some way to get out. and one of the things as we know on the table would be having international monitors or some other presence that would allow putin to at least save face. on the slip side, the russians look at this and say have all the meetings you want, we're not going anywhere. we don't actually the e.u. is going to come forward with
significant sanctions. >> right. there two were two takeaways that i took from that. one is dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. it seemed like john kerry wants to focus on that saying all parties involved agree that we really should try solving this any way we can, the dialogue. and saying that russia made a choice, they made a decision to put troops into crimea. and as you said, that violation united the world in support of ukraine. you know, we've talked a lot about president obama and the criticism of his handling of the situation. i think john kerry's been very strong. he's been over there, we saw him yesterday in kiev with the people of ukraine. he's brought it back to what it is. he's saying they want consent of the people. they want an economy that will louse people to live. i think he's bringing it back to -- that allows people to live. i think he's bringing it back to what they want. >> our interests in this area are so much more minimal than russia's. >> less -- more minimal than europe. europe has more at stake here, as well. >> absolutely.
what we're willing to do given what putin's willing to do is far different. that handcuffs us a little bit. i think the idea that we have to be strong to prevent another one somewhere else is not realistic in terms of the way that geopolitical situations work. i think economic measures dealing with sanctions, dealing with business entanglement will be much more effective than any military possibility. and also one note -- a poll came out recently, this week, from the kremlin. this is extraordiflare. 73% of russians told the kremlin they are against this intervention. so even the people of russia are not with putin on this. he is alone on this. >> also, we aren't talking about how the people in russia feel about this. how the people in ukraine feel about this. i think that needs to be part of the conversation. >> i think it's going to be tough to get putin to back off on crimea. he see its as predominantly
russian people. he believes the people want to be part of russia. it's -- strategically important, and he knows ultimately that there isn't a threat of military force, no one actually wants a war on the ground. so it's hard to see how we end up in a situation where russia backs off of the crimea, although you never know. >> yeah. and to your point, russia feels not only were these all soviet republics, obviously, but prior to that, khrushchev handed most of ukraine off and he was of ukrainian descent. when you talk about what we call international relations, contested land, they do not feel this is very contested. they feel strongly it's theirs. under international law, it's not. and we talk it sovereignty. even the united states is not calling this a complete invasion of sovereign lands because of how complex the history of that land is. and that, again, goes to the fact that not only russia but what abby's mentioning and your
point, crystal, a lot of the people live in that area see this much more in concert with the history of reunification. >> and i think another tricky situation to navigate here, as you were mentioning, europe has a lot more at stake in terms of an economic relationship with russia. germany in particular gets the majority of their energy from russia. so they are much more reluctant to break economic ties with russia to impose the sanctions that could hurt their economy. >> i find myself tired of the united states being the world's policemen. if something happens, we must do something. i understand that it plays a very valuable role for the glen burnie for us. being that way, that there would be a lot more aggression if we weren't at all willing to do things. but it also -- it often comes back to, always comes back to what are we getting out of that. what have we gotten out of that the last 30, 40 years? >> if we don't fill that vacuum -- >> who? will. >> he's going to step into it. >> absolutely. >> you know, there is a need for --
>> what is the good for us? >> there is a need -- there's a lot of good for us in terms of having a stable world order, in terms of having democratic regimes and peace around the world. we haven't been great at accomplishing that, but that's the goal. >> a lot of money and -- >> can't pull back from the world and say we're done with this, we're going home. >> no, i don't want to be isolationist, i'm not rand paul. but we must do something when russia isn't invading -- >> therethere's a number of peo you speak for -- i think we also have this moral obligation to support democracy around the world. to your point of it keeps a safer world. >> how well has it worked? if iraq and afghanistan -- how well has it worked? >> i think john kerry is walking a fine line of we need to solve this via dialogue. we're not saying we're going to bring troops in and try to engage that way. i not he's really trying to walk
the fine line. >> i think a world this which the u.s. looks at putin taking over whatever parts of the ukraine he feels like are his and the u.s. just says go ahead and do it, i think that world is a very scary place. >> and that's -- that is part of the threat here that is in common. there's a multilateral approach. if you listen to secretary of state kerry again, as we've been reporting, he's saying they are making some strides. that's what they want to do to have something to but pretries against what putin is doing. i have an editorial about the situation in a bit. and up next, a view from the white house. ♪ nothing says, "you're my #1 copilot," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪
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who? geico. secretary of state john kerry spoke from paris moments ago. the obama administration has been placed in a tough situation with the crisis in ukraine and dealing with vladimir putin. nbc's kristen welker is at the white house. the tone seems today to be a little bit more relaxed. >> reporter: i think that's right. you heard secretary of state john kerry really trying to deescalate the situation, saying that the u.s. is willing to work with its partners to try to come up with a solution. again calling for russia to remove trauove troops from ukra. all of this going on amid back channel discussions going on at the highest level. secretary kerry meeting with his counterparts, sergei lavrov, today. i think that the administration is trying to give putin a way
out, what has been described as an off ramp, if you will. it's not clear that russia is going to agree with that. but that is one of the options . and it comes as congress is preparing to take up the issue of sanctions. the house prepared to take up that issue tomorrow. initially it seemed as though they weren't going to take up that issue until next week, but i think there is a real sense of urgency to get something done, to keep the pressure on russia to pull out of ukraine. so you're going to see that debate start to take place tomorrow on the hill. but certainly this is a volatile situation, so i think these conversations are going to continue to go on at the highest levels here at the white house and throughout the administration as they tip to try to deescalate the situation. >> obviously we want to deescalate the situation. but i think russia knows that we're only going to go so far
militaril militarily. we won't meet them boot for boot in crimea. so doesn't that give the russians a lot more leverage in the situation? >> reporter: i think that's the big question here, where is the leverage. and depending on who you talk to, there are a range of opinions. but i can tell you that there is a sense that sanctions could have a bite, particularly sanctioning the oligarchs, that would have an impact on vladimir pure continu putin. we'll have to wait and see, but that is one thing the u.s. is looking into. another canceling the united states participation in the g-8 summit, potentially revoking russia's membership to g-8. so they are looking at a whole range of options. but you're right, military option is not on the table at this point. >> and finally, what are the next steps? where does kerry go from here, where does president obama go from here? >> reporter: we understand kerry will meet with lavrov again
tomorrow. we believe that that is the plan. and president obama i anticipate will continue to have conversations with his counter parts. we've been covering this over the past several days and he has been reaching out to merkel, putin, among others as this continues. so i think you'll continue to see that type of telephone diplomacy, if you will, and then there will continue to be high level meetings here at the white house. the white house security council has been meeting fairly regularly about the situation and secretary kerry will continue his dislodiplomacy ove. >> all right. thank you very much. up next, three rules for how to deal with the ukraine. in taste, freshness, and nutrition? it's eb. want to give them more vitamins, omega 3s, and less saturated fat? it's eb. eggland's best eggs. eb's. the only eggs that make better taste and better nutrition...
it has been a whirlwind for ukraine since its government fell apart on february 22. ukraine has formed a new government, of course. it's planned elections for may and faced incursion by russia. and today the eventu may accept t accepted the country $15 billion. either president obama is a weak leader or it demonstrates hypocrisy? the players are jockeying for control. so what they say publicly is a weak indicator of what they mean. take putin. he's using one of robert green's class ib laws of you power win through your actions, never through argument. putin's objective is to provide jekt power and at that time foot hold in ukraine. he's doing that. in foreign policy, words are cheap tools. putin is fine using them to
offer propaganda to allies like the claim that the ethnic russians are in danger. now, rule number two. follow the money. after russia, the ukrainian republic was the soviet union's most important economic component. it produced quadruple the output of the next republic on that list. today it remains the second largest exporter of grain in the world. putin's greatest leverage isn't his weapons, it's energy. russia is the world's largest oil exporter and second in natural gas. a lot of countries rely on russia for a lot of power which makes russia powerful. ukraine is almost completely dependent on russia for energy. you can imagine if russia just turned off the lights? you don't have to. russia who supplies almost a quarter of the natural gas. talks broke done and today russia's gas monopoly gave the
order to cut off gas to ukraine. >> that was from 2009 and that remains on every's mind in the region. and now for our final rule, beware of emotional hawks. we've heard a lot from these folks. conservative emo hawks believe in the president just demonstrated strength or anger, foreign nations would act differently. republicans say putin would never have done this if obama had been tougher. never mind he takes the actions regardless of who is in charge of the country. never mind this is more about russia and crimea than it is about us. would he hear be stronger so much it starts to sound plausible. this trend was documented back in the iraq debate. the idea that vague things like simple will, resolve and perceptions of strength and
weakness completely ruled foreign policy instead of, well, you know, economics and weapons and supply routes and national interests. the truth is more complicated and it is more depressing. if president obama has erred in his foreign policy, it's not for lacking strong responses from drone attacks to targeting bin laden and gadhafi. if anything, he's erred in going down some of that road of occasional hawk posturing, threatening ominous costs when practical realities may require a lot more restraint. there are more bad actors and international law violators than any one nation can patrol militarily. even a strong nation like ours. and that does it for the cycle o today. "now" with alex wagner is up next. what is the definition of insanity? vote to go repeal obamacare over and over again andresults. it's wednesday march 5 and is
this "now". >> fireworks on capitol hill. >> republicans are desperate for the 50th time. >> you heard that right, 5-0. >> we'll vote to repeal the affordable care act. >> whether it's the first vote or the 50th vote. >> republican play book oig hammering benghazi and affordable care act. >> this is the right thing for the american people. >> i expect we'll have a very strong vote on our side. p. >> i'm tired of this. >> the hearing getting very heated. >> between congressional leaders, cummings a democrat and issa, republican. >> compare man abruptly ended the hearing and cut off cummings' mike. >> may i ask my question? >> we'red a skrourned. close it down. >> you cannot have a one-sided investigation. >> disdainful episode. >> it's like a toddler throwing sand because he's not getting his way. >> you can't leave out the facts because you don't like it and include the ones that you do. >> this is absolutely unamerican.