Better get a plan ready soon

Given President Barack Obama’s record, it is unlikely he has a contingency plan in place to deal with a potential disaster involving Ukraine – success by that nation in battling Russian-backed separatists.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has thumbed his nose at U.S. efforts to punish Moscow for intervening in Ukraine. But overt, massive Russian help for the separatists has been kept to a minimum. That could change.

During the weekend, Ukrainian troops scored several successes against the separatists. The rebels were in danger of being surrounded in Donetsk, one of their strongholds.

That falls into the good news, bad news category, unfortunately.

Every victory by Ukrainian government forces makes it more likely Putin will increase his support for the separatists, possibly by using the Red Army openly.

If that happens, what will Obama do? In all likelihood, more of the same. He will hold a press conference to announce new economic sanctions against Russia -on top of several rounds of them, each in its turn proclaimed as irresistible.

They were not, of course.

Obama cannot commit U.S. military forces to the fight, of course. But he can provide more military hardware to the Ukrainians. And he can take other actions to pressure Putin.

The question is whether Obama has any plan for increasing Russian involvement. If not, he should get one ready.