President Obama summed up the situation in Crimea this week with a simple assessment: The West and the world are not headed back to any Cold War with Russia. Rather, we’re only engaging in a clash of ideals.
Specifically, he said the ongoing crisis in Ukraine that has seen Russian President Putin build up his military presence at the border is a “contest of ideas” that pitted a couple of powerful leaders against democratic principles, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mr. Obama also said that “this is not another Cold War that we’re entering,” Time reported.
He made the statements during a stop in Belgium, before a crowd of students and dignitaries.
Mr. Obama also offered this analysis: The fight is between the “old way of doing things” and a “young century,” The Los Angeles Times said.
“The contest of ideas continues for your generation,” Mr. Obama said, the media outlet reported. “Russia’s leadership is challenging truths that only a few weeks ago seemed self-evident: That in the 21st century, the borders of Europe cannot be redrawn with force, that international law matters, that people and nations can make their own decisions about their future.”
His statements came shortly after NATO’s top general warned that Mr. Putin may now want to turn his military eyes toward Moldova and annex Transnistria.
“There is absolutely sufficient force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Trans-Dniester if the decision was made to do that. That is very worrisome,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander, in various media reports earlier this week.
Mr. Obama’s assessment also came after Moldova President Nicolae Timofti sent a stern — an anxious — message to Russia, both expressing concerns over the growing Russian military presence on the border and warning Mr. Putin to stay away. Mr. Timofti advised Russia of the “mistake” it would make if military leaders tried to annex its Transnistria area in the same fashion it’s annexed Crimea, Radio Free Europe reported.