Do We Need to be Tough
I still can't actually believe what has happened in Crimea. Let’s agree that nobody likes the Russian annexation of Crimea. I think everyone’s impression of Vladimir Putin is pretty much right on. So what are we, the United States, going to do about it? Before we answer that question I think we have to ask ourselves why it is we care. Sure, as a country with global reach in a global economy we care about everything. As a society that generally believes in fair play this offends us. But why do we care enough to do something militarily?

Why is there a need, as people like Mitt Romney, John McCain, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice suggest, to stand up to Putin? Why do we need to be tough in every conflict around the world and specifically this one? Putin is not taking something of ours, even in the loosest sense of the word "ours". This is not Saddam taking Kuwait. This is not Hitler breaking the Treaty of Versailles. Crimea is not "ours" in the sense that Kuwait, or Western Europe, or Latin America, or Israel is "ours" (i.e. our sphere of influence). With all the ethnic Russians in Crimea and all the history between the two states, Crimea is clearly in Russia's sphere in a way that Kosovo or Bosnia or Iraq or Granada aren't for America. I would like Putin to stop, but is it on us to stop him? Is it worth our resources to do it? Is it worth creating a conflict between Russia and the West to do it?

I get people are worried about Russia moving back into space - Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Caucasus region, central Asia - it has vacated since the fall of the Soviet Union (space the West has moved into in many cases), but I just have to ask what the hawks expect us to do. Why should we make a stand in Crimea? And what stand do you expect us to make? Sanctions? War? Cold? Hot? How big?

I learned the lessons about Germany before World War II, and I feel uneasy about what Russia is doing, but given Russia's military and economic power (where does Europe get a third of its energy from?) I don’t see we have much of a choice but to accept it (like we did when with Georgia in 2008, Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Hungary in 1956, among others). More importantly though, I’m not so sure we should be as concerned as people are saying we should.
You bring up some good points. What I don't like about Putin is how similar this situation is to the annexation of the Sudetenland (Checkoslovakia) then the rest of Checkoslovakia in 1938...for shockingly the same reasons (ethnic similarities). Both Hitler and Putin have made references to their ethnic group being the minority in a region and they need to take the area over to protect "their" people. I'm not saying Putin is Hitler...but it's just so similar that I can't resist comparing the two. I do think we should care but I think we only take economic action for now. Our next move is to draw a hard line in the sand and 100% protect the sovereignty of the rest of the Ukraine...chalk up the Crimea as a loss and move on. Economic sanctions should be effective considering Russia is economically more like Italy in the 1930's than Germany. Alright I'm done ranting.

Posted at 3/28/2014 3:08:18 AM by Tyler Roberts

Great point about the ethnic group justification.

I don't think Italy is a good comparison though. Russia supplies something like %30 of Europe's energy. They can put as much hurt on the West as we can to them.

Posted at 3/28/2014 11:35:47 PM by Jeff Egnaczyk

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