The following is my opinion
So, Russia has invaded the Crimea within the Ukraine. As war seems to be coming, NATO and the US don’t want to do anything past sanctions. Some think that this is Russian aggression while others think that the US and the EU bribed the protesters to overthrow the Ukrainian government and to drive Russian influence out, prompting a Russian response.
What do I think?
I think it’s a bit of both on who’s to blame. Do I think the protestors were bribed? No. But the EU was very happy that Yanukovych was overthrown, as he brought the Ukrainians closer to Russia instead of the E.U.. But, he was democratically elected. The problem is, Ukraine is divided into predominately Ukrainian areas and predominately Russian areas. Like the democrat/republican divide in the US electoral map, the pro-russian and pro-ukrainian districts are roughly even, thus elections rely on purple…districts? Anywho, Yanukovych may have been elected, but he was overthrown by the Ukrainian people, well, the non pro-Russian ones.
Yanukovych was and is corrupt, the Orange Revolution proved that, but if this time he was democratically elected, this revolution wasn’t necessarily…righteous. Yanukovych wasn’t a dictator. But, he did bring the Ukraine closer to Russia.
The Ukrainians have a right to be disappointed by that. Russia did only take over the country and utilize their grain and resources for their own needs for centuries. In addition, Josef Stalin caused…like…3 or 4 famines in the Ukraine? Those caused around 10 million deaths, 7 million from Holodomor.
So, really, this is kind of a pickle. Thanks to Russian placement in the Soviet era, the Russians have a huge predominance in the east and south Ukraine. They are citizens too. The problem is, no one can make both happy. Rumors floated that the protestors (called illegal by some as they don’t represent an overwhelming majority) were going to scrap plans to make Russian a co-official language and to ban it outright in schools. The EU certainly wasn’t going to stop them if that’s true.
But then you have Russia’s act: invasion. They claim that they’re protecting their fellow Russians. If the Russians within the Ukraine were going to be suppressed, then they…actually have a valid point in some cases.
Invasion, however, I think is the wrong choice. They should have pressured the Crimea to hold its own referendum like the citizens there already…forcibly did when they seized the governmental buildings there. Invasion makes it look like Russia has something else planned. It isn’t a new idea, Russia escalated World War I by promising to protect its “slavic brothers” in Serbia. We all know how that turned out…
The west, on the other hand…is in an awkward position to say the least. They’re in no position to complain, as during the Cold War, they intervened a lot in several countries. (Iran ring a bell?) The United States has especially exerted imperialist-like invasions and regime-changes. (Again, Iran…). They DID sign a treaty with the Ukraine protecting its security as long as they gave up 5000 nuclear warheads to Russia that they acquired as a result of the Soviet breakup. (In hindsight, they should have kept a small amount, and maybe this invasion wouldn’t have happened…)
War with Russia is the worst thing that could happen. Even without nuclear weapons or other WMDs, the world would not recover from an economic and environmental catastrophe such as World War III. On the other hand, we can’t let flat out aggression happen. Appeasement is bad, as we learned from the Second World War. What should we do? I feel like sanctions and other forms of forced isolation is a good measure for now, but the EU relies too much on Russian oil.
But this whole situation…seems familiar. A powerful country trying to supposedly protect its own people and using intimidation to take over those areas that also enhance and enrich their country while the West does little more than grunt? Well, to me, it seems like the Sudentenland Crisis back from 1938 all over again except we’re not signing a Munich Pact. Hopefully we don’t stand back and do nothing but complain, but then again, hopefully war doesn’t escalate to a world wide conflict. Then again, like Czechoslovakia, I have a feeling like we may be forced to do nothing and let the Russians do whatever like the Soviets under Khrushchev and Brezhnev. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll prepare my apocalypse bunker.