Here we go again. Violence has broken out in the Ukraine, and Russia has occupied the Crimean Peninsula to “protect” its mainly Russian-speaking population. War hawks in the United States are having a field day. Sen. John McCain demands that Obama announce consequences for Putin’s regime. Others call for everything from billion-dollar aid packages, to the dispatching of a U. S. Naval flotilla to the Black Sea.
Please folks, can we have a little perspective here? Not only are the hawks ignoring reality, but history as well. Ukrainians are themselves divided—Easterners favoring alignment with Russia, while Westerners prefer association with the EU. For most Russians, the vast region surrounding Kiev represents the cradle of their history and culture. Ever since Prince Vladimir consolidated the Kievan state in the 10th century, Ukraine has either been part of, or closely associated with Russia. That’s more than a thousand years of shared history. Kiev was the first capital of Russia. It’s now in a foreign country. That’s a sticky situation. Let’s leave this one to them to work out for themselves. It’s their backyard, not ours.