As Russian-backed armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia requested — and received — authorization from the Russian Senate to use military force in Ukraine.Oh, pointedly, eh? What counts as pointedness here? Are points different from those lines Obama has been drawing? I don't see how there is anything Obama could have said that would have changed the imperative — from Putin's perspective — to invade Ukraine. This all looks so perfectly predictable in retrospect.
The actions signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.
But the NYT tells us that this is "the first time" the Kremlin "signaled" "publicly" its "readiness to intervene militarily," but Obama had to have known it would play out like this.
The blunt response overcomes the pointed warning. I note the metaphor of relative sharpness, which reads like a desperate effort to give Obama the edge. Obama embodies the crazy academic dream of operating in the realm of words, words envisioned as weapons, words that might be blunt or pointed.
But Putin's "blunt response" to Obama's "pointed warning" is no verbal riposte. And however sharp, Obama cannot get a word in edgewise in the conversation Putin is starting.