In terms of realpolitik, I can understand why Europe has gotten its knickers in a twist over Ukraine. The conflict between the elected government and the opposition which replaced it was about whether Ukraine should enter the European community or be part of the Russian-sponsored Eurasian economic bloc. The Ukrainians who had been looking forward to removing themselves from the Russian sphere of influence and becoming Europeans were shocked into revolt when President Yanukovych was either coerced or enticed into abandoning the country’s agreement with Europe, which was all set to be signed, and moving toward Moscow. And then there is the Russian's petroleum.
However, United States sympathy for the pro-European Ukrainians and antipathy toward Putin’s Russia should not trump a more basic principle: democracy is good; mob rule is bad. From the very first, our publicly stated attitude towards the events in the Ukraine should have gone something like this: “We are sorry to see that our friends the Ukrainians and our friends the Russians have fallen out. If there is anything we can do to meliorate the situation, please let us know.” Behind the scenes, of course, we could have worked with our European allies to help swing Ukraine their way, but our public stance should have been a neutral one.
It is foolish for us to badger Russia, especially since we are not prepared to put our money where our mouth is. Also, we should have learned by now that to lend our support to an unelected government thrown up by street demonstrators is a risky business at best. We have no idea who these people are. Perhaps if the CIA were more involved in intelligence gathering instead of playing Remote Controlled Assassination, we might have a few agents on the ground who could keep an eye on things.
Obama and McCain, the New York Times and the Wall St. Journal, liberals and conservatives – the knee-jerk reaction of this country to the confusing situation in Ukraine is astoundingly stupid and short-sighted. We have no dog in this fight. It is too late now, obviously – but what we should have done, vis-á-vis Ukraine, is stepped back and waited to see how it played out.
We should understand that right now we do not have much moral standing in the world. We did once, and perhaps we can win it back. But for the United States to take a self-righteous stance towards international aggression by Russia or anyone else is quite comical.
“You just don't in the 21st century behave in 19th-century fashion, by invading another country on a completely trumped up pretext," said John Kerry. The Iraqis must have lost a grip on their hookahs from laughing so hard.