Haroon Atcha // Political Columnist
With the annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin has called our bluff. Our tough talk has in the end, not amounted to much. Crimea isn’t worth the fight to America, and Western Europe can’t live without Russia’s investments. That being said, the sovereignty of borders must be respected and we shouldn’t be giving any serious consideration to Putin’s argument that Crimea was practically Russian already. This argument is ridiculous. It’s like New Zealand invading Guam because it’s “practically Polynesian anyway.” We need to take action in an intelligent, targeted manner. The possibility of involvement by the United Nations is slim; Russia’s veto power in the Security Council all but guarantees that. Economic globalization has also, in some ways, hamstrung our ability to react to this crisis. Putin counted on Europe’s dependence on Russian money to make a clean getaway but that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of this interdependence as well. I’d say economic sanctions are the way to go; in short, money talks. The quickest way to make Putin listen is to hit his friends in the wallet. We need to implement targeted sanctions on Putin’s higher ups. China may also prove a strange bedfellow in this effort: they are none too happy with Russia’s actions. Capitalizing on China’s irritation may help to send a more forceful message. Ultimately the sovereignty of borders must be respected and the severity of our action must mirror the severity of the offense.
Parker Rechsteiner // Scene Editor
We shouldn’t do anything. Not yet. While Russia’s actions in Crimea can succinctly be summarized as “uncool”, they haven’t done anything yet that warrants a direct intervention from the United States. Even the sanctions levied thus far feel half hearted…it seems that Americans don’t care about Ukraine nearly as much as the loudest voices would suggest – we’re just all afraid of Russia still. The Cold War is too fresh in our memories, and the United States has gotten comfy in its position as indisputable world superpower. Russia, with the Olympics and now Crimea, is getting more attention than we’re willing to share. Is it “okay” that Putin annexed part of a sovereign state? No, it isn’t. But this isn’t a blitzkrieg, this isn’t an irrational actor doing strange things we can’t understand; in fact, I would argue that in the same position, the United States would behave the same as Russia has. We’re certainly not shy about using our military, or about meddling in the affairs of “our own backyard”. Historically, those two things are as American as apple pie at a baseball game. I don’t think it’s right when we do those things either- my point is simply that if we, as a nation, are going to start condemning other people for taking a page out of our playbook, we should seriously consider rewriting some of it.