Let me start by stating that I am quite critical of the position of US President Barack Obama and his western allies concerning the Crimean crisis. I do believe that separating Crimea from Ukraine will actually serve the Ukrainian people better than having it remain as part of their democratic country.
Sounds wide of the mark? Not really. Let me convince you.
Ex-president, Russia enthusiast, Victor Yanukovitch was elected legally by a majority comprising half a million votes. Crimea contributed a million votes margin to the corrupt leader’s victory. In other words, Crimea was the reason Yanukovitch won the elections. Had Crimea been out of the picture the pro-western politicians would have won by half a million votes, and former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko would not have found herself spending time in jail.
The next (truly) democratic elections in Ukraine may yield a similar outcome should the Crimean citizens be in a position to contribute their opinion and vote for the next Ukrainian president. Those who want to see a democratic west-leaning Ukraine will be more assured of their goal should Crimea be out of the picture during the upcoming elections.
President Obama should not be over-confident in believing that the new leaders in Kiev represent the will of all Ukrainians. It is obvious that most of the Crimean population favor allying themselves with Russia rather than the EU, and Eastern Ukraine would, most likely, cast equivalent voting results. Fair elections, including Crimea, might topple the existing pro-western Ukrainian government, and Putin could win back the whole country rather than just the relatively small peninsula. It’s clear that confidence is the feeling one has before he understands the situation, and it does not look like the president or his western allies do.
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.
Keep on dreaming.
Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at Paltalk News Network, is the author of Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks and more recently, 72 Virgins, a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was vice president at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories company – distinguished staff member and manager, as well as a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University and an intelligence expert for the Israeli Government. He may be reached through his web site www.aviperry.org