Editorial: Situation in Ukraine deserves cooperation

Mar. 03, 2014 @ 11:22 PM

With Russian troops on the ground in the Crimean Penisula, there is new hand-wringing throughout the region and Europe, and across the world.

It’s difficult to see past the partisan rhetoric of both Russia and the fledgling Ukranian governent to understand what’s going on in the region.

As with most international military maneuvers, the events in both the peninsula and Ukraine as a whole are multi-faceted.

Are Putin’s troops in Crimea to protect Russian interests there, or is Russia taking steps toward retaking the sovereign nation that once lived under the flag of the Soviet Union? Is this about Russian nationalism, as a pro-West faction takes over in Ukraine, or is it really about the natural gas reserves in the Black Sea region off Ukraine’s coast?

No matter the cause, it seems, at this point, that the U.S. is knee-deep in the proceedings.

“We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,” President Barack Obama said during an address Friday.

While accepting that Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, and economic and military ties in the peninsula, the president and his cabinet have been talking sternly about the developments there.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interests of Ukraine, Russia or Europe. It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people,” Obama said.

“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

With Russia a member of the U.N. Security Council, it’s hard to know what type of costs the international community could levy.

Secretary of State John Kerry suggested ecomonic sanctions on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

“All of (the foreign ministers of the countries most engaged in the G8), every single one of them, are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion,” Kerry said. “They are prepared to put sanctions in place. They’re prepared to isolate Russia economically.”

One thing that’s for certain is this: Americans have grown weary of military intervention — especially when our interests and security concerns are unclear.

That, coupled with the administration’s own efforts to reduce the size of the military to pre-WWII levels, may have emboldened Putin. But it should also serve to limit our own saber-rattling.

While the U.S. remains the world’s primary voice for freedom, we shouldn’t be the leading force in pushing Russia to back down in the Ukraine. We don’t need to be declaring red lines or issuing ultimatums.

Diplomacy is the best option in the evolving situation, and that diplomacy should come from an assembled group of nations, not the U.S. alone.