Putin has just received parliamentary approval of invading Ukraine, which is tantamount to the US congress approving invasion of Canada. It follows the deployment of 6000 Russian troops and military equipment, as well as the shutting down of telecommunications, in Crimea. Additionally, the upper house in Russia has asked the president to withdraw the Russian ambassador to the US.
As I see it, this is merely the latest step down of the West in world politics. The EU is, as the EU has always been, and most poignantly proved in Yugoslavia, ineffectual in foreign policy at best. The major issue now is Obama, which is proving, yet again, to completely fail to stay stake a clear course in the one area he has virtually absolute power, namely foreign policy.
The major events in the failures of the West is how it left the war in Yugoslavia to run out of control in the nineties, and barely managed to snub the Russians in Kosovo. In 2008 the West completely abandoned Georgia, which was subsequently invaded and crushed by Russia, and then left out to dry. Lately, Syria is evidence how the EU and Obama completely messed up, threatening invasion and quickly stepping back at the first opportunity. In the background is also China, which is absolutely railroading its neighbors unopposed with its 7 dashed line.
A little while back Romney stated that the major enemy of the US was Russia, and was summarily laughed out of the election while everybody was stating that Al-Qaeda was a much larger threat. However, a threat should be assessed as the sum of two products, namely probability of attack multiplied with the effects of the attack. As such, while Al-Qaeda certainly has a large probability of attack, the effects will be minor. On the other hand, Russia and China has a very small probability, but the effects would be absolutely devastating.
As the situation is, Russia is clearly egging the West on. It looks like Putin will win as the desire for the West to involve itself is exceedingly low. The EU just doesn't do that sort of thing, and the US is shirking its global role. Yet again it will be a victory for the dictators, which certainly China will take note of in its disputes with its neighbors.
Bearing this in mind, and seeing as most people here are lefty anti-war types, I would like to know if this is seen as desirable, or even appropriate? Should the West take a strong stance and risk all-out war with the second largest nuclear power, or write Ukraine off as Russia's sphere of influence?
Recall that Germany used the excuse of a large German population to anschluss Austria and invade Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland) and Poland (Danzig corridor). Though this is hardly a Munich moment, it does set an awful precedent. What if Mexico protested the harsh treatment of ethnic Mexicans and appealed to history to invade Arizona?
Exactly, though perhaps a more apt comparison would be Alaska. After all, Russia sold it to (neutral) America after the massive debts it incurred during the Crimea war.
We have to see what Russia does. They don't want to loose their navy base. The US would probably do the same things in the same situation; so far. Putin is really clever, but he realizes the economy he rebuilt could be seriously damaged by united world sanctions. I really hope calm prevails here because this could be a war we REALLY don't want. So why does the EU seem like a council on tourism?
The EU has no military power, especially after the WEU was shut down. Recall that pacifist Germany is the major EU power, Britain is currently undergoing soul searching whether they wish to be a part of Europe, and France is the EU military superpower...
Of course, it should be added that the EU knows that antagonizing Russia means shutting down a large portion of European gas, leaving hundreds of millions of people cold and hungry.
leaving hundreds of millions of people cold and hungry.
Ironically... except for France that gets over 3/4 of it's electricity from splitting atoms.
The Ukraine is bankrupt. Let Putin inherit that financial disaster as we certainly don't need another military involvement. After the US spent 3-4 TRILLION $ on Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan and coming away with next to nothing to show for it you would think we could learn a lesson at some point. The role of America as the globe's primary peace keeper needs to change. We have huge domestic issues that need to be addressed before we go off again "half cocked" on the other side of the world.
So isolationism? Did that work out well last time? What was is Santayana said about remembering the past?
Not so much isolationism but common sense. In order to avoid the worst case scenario of an all out WW3-type shitstorm, the west will allow Putin to play with his toys in Ukraine. He is going to do whatever he wants and that's that.
Santayana- "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
For remembrance sake this past could rightfully include Vietnam & Iraq. Let's not repeat those mistakes by changing the names to Syria and Iran.
US intervention in pro-Russian Crimea would be hated more in Crimea than Russian intervention. Ukraine is another civil war scenario that has no simple positive, forced-intervention solution. The practice of destroying part of a country in the name of making it healthy fails more often than it succeeds. Let Russia assume those costs and risks, while we focus more on our own health and success.
(The healthiest position is neither paranoid isolationism nor forceful interventionism.)
Is there any doubt that Crimea wants to be Russian? By what right does the international community have the power to override Crimean decisions?
If the West is really "disappearing", it has a lot more to do with east Asia than Russia, so I'd focus more on economic competition than ideological supremacy.