Half a world away in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine, a drama is unfolding that could potentially result in the ultimate showdown of East v. West. This throwback to the Cold War follows the popular uprising that led to the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian President, after he abandoned trade negotiations that would have spurned closer relations with the European Union in favor of a continued alliance with Mother Russia.
Following Yanukovych’s abrupt departure for asylum in Russia, an interim government was established in Ukraine that is ideologically bent toward the West. While this appeases many of the demands of the ethnic Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine, the ethnic Russians in Western Ukraine are not as content as they prefer the tender loving care provided by Daddy Putin. This, of course, forced Vladimir Putin’s paternal instincts to kick in and encouraged the mobilization of Russian troops to the western Ukrainian border for “training exercises.” Additionally, Putin has received approval from Russian parliament to use these military forces to protect Russian citizens and interests in Ukraine.
In response, the interim government of Ukraine has also mobilized its forces to theoretically combat an invasion/attack/occupation by Russia. But let’s be honest here, Ukraine doesn’t stand a chance in a one-on-one war with Russia. Thus, the question of Western support comes in. Shall we help our newfound allies in Ukraine or let Russia rear its ugly head and assert its role as a superpower once more?
Apparently, the U.S. current reply to this blatant act of aggression and intimidation is the threat of economic consequences in the forms of sanctions. While this is undoubtedly the diplomatic approach, it is absolutely ineffective. Russia could, if need be, operate entirely on its own. The vastness of the Russian state permits an abundance of natural resources. Likewise, there are a number of trade partners that do not care about Western-imposed sanctions. The mere implementation of sanctions would allow Russia to laugh in our faces as its tanks roll all the way to Kiev.
Shall the U.S. drone strike the Kremlin then? We know Obama loves those, but a military conflict with Russia would be no cakewalk. It would be all out, every man, every woman, total war. Don’t think that just because the draft is gone it cannot come back. War with Russia means we all go.
What I surmise the most peaceful settlement of this conflict will be is the separation of Ukraine into two new republics. In doing so, civil war and Russian intervention will be prevented and the internal ethnic strife raging within Ukraine will be squashed. Is this a victory for Russia? Maybe. But it beats American soldiers dying.