Monday, March 10, 2014

Jerusalem Post: Let Crimea Join Russia

 Avi Perry writes:
Those who criticize Obama’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis do so for the wrong reasons; they claim that President Putin dared invading Ukraine because he perceived a weak and an indecisive US president.
Did Putin perceive President Bush — the one US president who had not hesitated invading two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, during his first term in office—as weak, when he invaded and occupied parts of Georgia? Was that the reason Putin had committed his troops?
Would John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or any GOP presidential hopeful resort to using force against Russia over Putin’s occupation of Crimea? If not, then what’s the purpose of the macho talk other than a fresh, ridiculous excuse for bashing Obama?
Would any GOP leader impose harsher sanctions on Russia as punishment for Putin’s misbehavior? Do they even think of the consequences? Do they realize that a subsequent retaliation by Russia could harm the EU and the US where public opinion of those who might get hurt economically matter much more than it does in Putin’s Russia?
But let’s stop the insanity when it comes to Crimea. Let’s ask President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, to apply to Crimea the same logic they apply to their argument for a two-state solution in the Middle-East.
“In the absence of a peaceful two-state solution,” they claim, “Israel has a choice between either being a democracy or preserving its Jewish character, but not both”. In other words, the American logic states that if Israel rules over a Palestinian majority in the West Bank, then either these Palestinians become Israeli citizens with full voting rights, a fact which would undermine the Jewish character of the state, or they become second class citizens, a fact which would undermine the democratic moral fiber of the state.
Applying equivalent logic to Ukraine, President Obama should claim that with keeping Crimea as part of Ukraine, Ukraine has a choice between either being a true democracy, but closely allied with Russia, or preserving its freshly-formed pro-western character by dismissing Crimea’s majority and suppressing the will of its people by repealing a law giving regional rights to minority languages, and by signing a new bill banning the use of Russian media, as the recent re-energized Ukrainian leadership has already done.
A proper US policy concerning Russia and Ukraine should comprise the toning down of the hostile rhetoric and the macho talk, accept the latest facts on the ground, and only pretend to be upset.
This way, the majority of the Crimean population will be happy; Ukraine will be assured of a democratic, pro-western government; relations between Russia and the West will return to calm as tensions will fade away, and the global economy will continue to grow uninterrupted.