Don’t step over the line and re-militarize the Rhineland. Absorbing Austria would cross a red line. Breaking up Czechoslovakia is unacceptable. Get out of Poland by the announced deadline. The rest was history.
Don’t dare blow up another American military barracks overseas. Don’t even consider another attack on the World Trade Center. Don’t even try blowing up one more American embassy in East Africa. Don’t ever put a hole in a U.S. warship again. The rest was history.
President Obama issued yet another one of those sorts of warnings to stop the violence to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych just before protesters drove Yanukovych out of office. “There will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama threatened.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national-security adviser, amplified that veiled warning. He called the Ukrainian government’s repression “completely outrageous” — as opposed to just outrageous or completely, completely outrageous.
Secretary of State John Kerry joined the chorus of condemnation by hinting at economic sanctions if Yanukovych didn’t stop his violent crackdown on protesters.
Why does this rhetorical assault sound familiar?