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Russia and Ukraine
Time to Take Sides

President Obama and Europe’s leaders must take this opportunity to explain to their publics that Ukraine’s choice of a pro-Western orientation deserves our support simply because it is in our interest.

Published on: July 18, 2014
Andrew A. Michta is the M. W. Buckman Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College.
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  • Duperray

    “our interest…”, of course, in the exclusive interest of USA (gaz, oil and coal in eastern Ukraine); obliging european “allies” to obide and take most of the assistance burden and military risks.
    Why not, as european states became the slaves of US?

  • ShadrachSmith

    I respectfully disagree about America’s best interest. The world will be a more peaceful place when Russia has a defensible southern border and Black Sea hegemony.

    If we accept the goal of a multipolar world, some of those cultures are going to be the slave-owing, tribal Muslims. The Rus having control of the Black Sea, balancing Islam, suits me right down to the ground.

    • Andrew Allison

      I agree. This whole disaster is a direct result of ill-advised encouragement of a pro-Western stance on the part of Ukraine.

      • ShadrachSmith

        Obama’s community organizing has done so much for America. We may never recover.

        • Andrew Allison

          Agreed, but the culprit in this case is the EU.

    • rbeccah

      Oh, if only Russia and Islam would stop there. But tyrants never do.

    • tdperk

      If the world were to be multipolar along classical liberal lines, that woud be true.
      As long as Russia consents to be governed by the likes of Putin, we are best off if her borders decline to those of the old Grand Duchy of Moscow.

      Islamism cannot be peaceably balanced to our benefit, it needs to be as eradicated as was Nazism.

      • ShadrachSmith

        Is there any reason the Rus can’t help contain Islam, just till you are able to eradicate it 🙂

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Read the comments below and weep. The days of the US being the world’s policeman are, sadly, over. Syria, Libya, Iraq, Ukraine… Get used to them we will be seeing more and more like them.

    • Fred

      Over until the next Pearl Harbor anyway. I believe it was Churchill who said the Americans will always do the right thing after they’ve exhausted all the other options. It’s just too bad numerous Americans will die before we wake up and realize that we can try to ignore the world but it won’t ignore us.

      • pabarge

        Both of you saddle up. Purchase your plane tickets and fly over there. Join up. Strap on those combat boots and load that ammo. Let me know when you’re back from your first battle where you’ve got at least one KIA to show for yourselves. Then we’ll talk.

        • SongDog

          You seem like the erudite type. Why don’t you Google the phrase “Peace in our Time”, find out who said it (most recently) what agreement he was referring to, and what the outcome of that particular agreement was. Extra credit if you see anything that seems to parallel recent events in Eastern Europe.

        • tdperk

          I’ve heard of PABarge from PJMedia. Haven’t heard him in a while.
          He’s evidently become the sort that never misses an opportunity to encourage and create American decline and defeat.

        • Fred

          I assume that’s a not-so-subtle reference to the “chicken hawk” canard. You do realize that’s a particularly stupid form of ad hominem. My courage or lack of it has precisely zero to do with whether engagement, including military engagement, with the rest of the world is or is not in our interest. By your (il)logic, WWII was a bad war because FDR was never in the military but Viet Nam was a good war because Johnson and Nixon were war heroes. Ad hominem attacks are always indicative of a mind (to use the term loosely) bereft of ideas or arguments.

  • pabarge

    No sides.

    Not one American boot on the ground.

    I’m sorry but countries that border Russia need to learn how to be good neighbors and not piss off Russia.

    Let the Euros handle this one.

    • tdperk

      Your anti-Westphalianism demands Mexico conspire with a foreign power to forcibly take the Southwest.
      I hope you never see the world your views dictate, I hope you fail.

  • Guest

    Take sides? Why? Our European allies are the ones most threatened. And they response is to buy gas and sell naval ships to Russia. Putin is a fascist thug but Russia is no threat to the US unless we make her one.

    • Charles Hammond Jr

      Russia is already a threat to US interests: it is meddling in the affairs of nation states bordering between them and the EU/NATO powers (see the 2008 invasion of Georgia for example on top of the current invasion of Ukraine).

      Russia is also a threat to the EU and Europe because of these same actions.

      You say Russia is no threat to the US unless we make her one. I say that Russia has already made itself into such a threat by it’s own actions.

  • Dave6034

    Ukraine is a failed state. Half its people hate Russians, and the other half *are* Russians. Ukraine wants to join the EU so that its politicians can receive subsidies and its young people can emigrate, sometimes holding low-paying jobs just long enough to qualify for welfare benefits. What poor country wouldn’t want to join the EU?

    • liberpolly

      Baloney. Ukrainians don’t hate Russians, they hate Putinistas. And who wouldn’t? In ten to twenty years, Ukraine will catch up with Poland, and Russia will either kick the Putin out, or remain in the deep doodoo.

      • Dave6034

        With Putin’s approval rating over 80% for the first time ever, what’s the difference? If he invades Ukraine, he’ll easily hit 90%. Economically, Ukraine is Russia without oil and gas.

        • liberpolly

          The difference is that Putin just consolidated all the media into his propaganda machine, and fired it up full speed. you cannot fool all the people all the time, and Russians will wake up to the second coming of KGB propaganda very soon.

          Economically, Ukraine is more like Poland but with border with Russia.

      • Andrew Allison

        And Hell will freeze over! The list of reasons why Ukraine will never catch up with Poland are too numerous to mention. The most significant one is that Poland has embraced democracy and Ukraine kleptocracy.

        • liberpolly

          Well, Polish politicians steal, and Ukrainian politicians are democratically elected, so only God knows what were you trying to say.

  • liberpolly

    As I keep reminding to the generally ignorant and prone to generalization Americans, it’s not Russia vs. Ukraine, it’s Putin vs. Ukraine.

  • Charles Hammond Jr

    If it wasn’t in our interest before… it is most certainly in our best interests now.

    On the one hand we have a great power who is doing everything it can to excuse the evil it itself is responsible for.

    On the other hand we have people who are fighting for their own freedom in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

    “Do what is right. Let the consequence follow.” was a motto I was raised in. I believe we as a country and as individuals must do the same… here and now.

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