Spending some time beached in front of my TV this weekend absorbed in the Ukrainian crisis, I came to some conclusions:
1. That Russian President Vladimir Putin could give a rip about what the United States, the European Union, the “international community” (whatever that is) and generally civilized people think. Oooh, we’ll ban Russia from the G-8. Oooh, we’ll pass resolutions in Congress (and probably Pierre, since they are good at doing that sort of thing) condemning the invasion. Putin just laughs.
2. Russia’s actions in the Crimea are essentially the Sudetenland 2.0: First, say your ethnic brothers and sisters are being discriminated against; Second, work with local collaborators to take over or surround important government installations; Third, send in your troops, only make it questionable if they are your troops; and fourth, wait for the West to capitulate to thefiat accompli while Barack Obama, er, Neville Chamberlain exclaims, “I have in my hand a piece of paper.” Say what you will about Vlad, but he’s obviously read a book or two about Hitler.
3. Even allegedly middle of the road CNN and its cadre of correspondents and experts were banging the drums of war for the United States to somehow get involved.Apparently they and the other national media haven’t learned a thing from the two Iraq wars and the war in Afghanistan. Sure, wars, at first are good for ratings and make correspondents’ careers, but those are bad reasons to sink a nation or a region into war. Just sayin’.
4. That maybe the Ukrainians should actually fight back before asking the United States, the EU and whomever else to help them. Their leaders say they have been invaded. Standing around crying about it isn’t going to make the nasty Russians load up in their obsolete helicopters and crappy transport trucks and go back to Moscow.
5. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who I think is whack on most issues, did say something I now profoundly agree with. Basically, Pres. Obama should just keep his mouth shut because no one believes him or fears him and we all just roll our eyes. Am I right? You just rolled your eyes thinking about Obama trying to be tough. Cousin Barack might be pretty good dealing with fellow wonks but he just doesn’t scare anyone. Putin the Terrible gives Barack the Brainiac a twirly-whirly whenever he wants.
The one tangible thing that I thought the Obama administration got right is sending Sec. of State John Kerry to Kiev. I’m guessing that was Kerry’s idea, as he’s actually faced battle and he is about twice as big as anyone else to ever be Sec. of State. He don’t scare easily. That’s a brave move on his part, given the fluid situation and Putin’s disdain for the rule of law. But ultimately, it too is only symbolic.
The United States and the West should do what it can to help Ukraine, a struggling democracy on Russia’s historically sensitive west flank. But options are limited, Americans are tired of wars, and apparently the Ukraine doesn’t have any oil for the USA to be covetous of. And to paraphrase the late Pres. Lyndon Johnson who once said about another far off war, “American boys shouldn’t do what Ukrainian boys should do.”
So Ukraine, unless you want to be another Finland or the newest member of the Russian Federation, you might want to grab a gun and point it at the Russians who have engaged in a so far unopposed home invasion. Bullies usually don’t like a fight. Until then, we Americans will pass resolutions and cancel meetings.