The latest violence in Ukraine is very serious. Sec. Hagel he had it right when he said, "This is a delicate time." Some people see this as another chapter in the Cold War, the standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. Sec. of State Kerry says that's not the case. But you have to wonder what is going through Russian President Vladimir Putin's mind, because this situation certainly looks different from his perspective.
Right now, I think the odds that the U.S. would send military forces into the region are very low. But there's some talk in the Senate of sanctions. The Ukrainian government is on the verge of collapse. Anything that could go wrong has already gone wrong. This is a really tough one.
The Russians went into Georgia when there was unrest there, and there is a possibility that they could do the same for Ukraine. The hope is that that does not happen, because once you have crossed a line like that, what is the next response? I think it's pretty clear that the United States would want to respond with our European allies, but I can't imagine we would want to do anything unilaterally at this point. Having said that, right now this situation is almost scary, because you're talking about Russia -- which certainly isn't what it used to be -- but a place where Putin is trying to revive a period of nationalism. He doesn't want to appear in any way as though he has backed down to the West.
We'll also discuss Afghanistan with Sec. Hagel. Are we actually going to leave? Are we going to pull every single American troop out? Right now, there is planning for that because the Afghan president says he won't offer protection to our troops. What that means is if an American soldier were arrested in Afghanistan, and you didn't have the security arrangement, they could put him on trial in an Afghan court. We would never under any circumstances put our military in that kind of a position. Sec. Hagel has just announced a new military budget that really cuts things back, and the worry among some is that this will be seen as a U.S. retreat, not just from various spots, but from the world. Hagel argues that it's not, that this is for a new kind of military.
All that, and more, only on Face the Nation this Sunday.