Ukraine crisis is not a game
March 11th, 2014
03:11 PM ET

Ukraine crisis is not a game

By Ilya Lozovsky, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Program Officer for Eurasia on Freedom House's Emergency Assistance Program. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

During a complex, fast-moving crisis such as the one now unfolding in Ukraine, it is tempting for some commentators to advocate taking the “long view.” This school of thought, which carries more than a whiff of Cold War nostalgia, reduces the struggle for Ukraine to a geopolitical game in which the various competing actors – the United States, the European Union and Russia – become featureless billiard balls ricocheting off each other. Ukraine becomes Russia’s “historical backyard,” or even worse, a subordinate part of its “legitimate sphere of influence” which we are urged to respect. Approaching the unfolding Ukrainian crisis in this way has the advantage of appearing sober, practical, and dispassionate. It is also dead wrong.

It is wrong because it treats Putin’s Russia, the European Union, and the United States as equivalent actors on the world stage – opposites, but equally legitimate – when in actual fact, these countries’ systems of government are profoundly different.  Russia is undemocratic, authoritarian, and endemically corrupt, its natural resources and immense human capital plundered by Putin and his regime.

The European Union, for all its considerable flaws, is a collection of open, liberal, democratic states, respectful of human rights and beholden to the rule of law. A worldview that equates these actors and condemns Ukraine as fated to be split between them in a kind of Solomonic compromise is deeply cynical. Moreover, it is precisely the worldview of Vladimir Putin. And that is not a worldview that we can afford to adopt.

More from CNN: How U.S. should respond to Russia

The protesters on Kiev’s Maidan and across Ukraine’s towns and cities did not brave the cold, the truncheons and the snipers because they have any great love for Brussels, or because they yearn to be in Europe’s “sphere of influence.” They did so because the abrogated association agreement represented an aspiration to turn away from Soviet systems of governance and develop Ukraine’s democratic institutions: an impartial, independent judiciary, a police force that protects its citizens, and an accountable government in which corrupt officials are exposed and punished, rather than allowed rob their people blind.

To Putin, similarly, Ukraine is not so much part of a historic sphere of influence as it is a bulwark against those transformations. Viktor Yanukovych’s inglorious departure exposed to the world how a corrupt leader can amass impossible riches in a bankrupt country where over a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. The images of his opulence – a gaudy, palatial estate featuring a golf course, a classic car collection and a private zoo – are only a superficial embarrassment compared to what Ukrainian journalists digging through reams of previously secret documents will likely uncover. This is why the protesters came to the Maidan – both from Ukraine’s west and from its “pro-Russian” east. The word for “corruption” in both Ukrainian and Russian, as it turns out, is almost the same.

More from CNN: 5 myths about Ukraine crisis

Naturally, no such public revelations will unfold in Russia while Putin remains in the Kremlin, just as none were possible while the Yanukovych regime was in power. Putin, we know, was watching, and the thought of independent journalists poring through his documents and gawking at his palace in the North Caucasus must be a sobering one. His regime – founded on misinformation, corruption, and naked power – is only a larger and more frightening version of Yanukovych’s. And if it ends, he fears, it will end in the same way.

Both Russia and Ukraine inherited the pathologies of the Soviet Union, which made such grand corruption possible. Only the development of modern democratic institutions can address this, the most fundamental grievance of the post-Soviet world. The struggle to develop these institutions and to make them sustainable is long and difficult – almost impossibly so. Ukraine’s previous pro-Western government, swept into power by the Orange Revolution, failed this challenge. Crucial reforms went unimplemented. Corruption remained endemic. The economy stagnated. And soon enough, this government, too, was swept out of power.

Is Ukraine’s new pro-Western government ready to succeed where its previous one failed? Putin’s goal is almost certainly to ensure that it fails, leaving the country what it was: a small, pathetic clone of his kleptocracy.  To do this, he has sent in Russian troops under laughable pretexts and provocateurs to stir up ethnic nationalism; he has unleashed the full might of his propaganda machine and raised the specter of fascism; he has lauded people waving the Russian tricolor in Ukraine while bundling anti-war protesters waving the same flag in Moscow into police vans. Bringing the Russian police state to Ukraine is not a legitimate exercise of Russia’s influence. It is an aggressive attempt to ensure that the new Ukraine repeats the mistakes of the old.

Yet if Ukraine’s new pro-Western government is ready to succeed, it is incumbent on the West to stand with them, not cower behind a more comfortable and historically palatable pretext. The focus must be not on placating Putin, but on helping Ukraine build institutions that will ensure respect for human rights, a fair market economy, and compliance with international norms. It is not by accommodating the most odious regimes, but by strengthening the most promising, that global liberal democratic norms will be advanced. So that one day, freedom will come not just to Kiev, Donetsk, or Sevastopol – but to Moscow.

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Topics: Russia • Ukraine

soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Jack

    The world must let the people of Crimea decide which country they want to be aligned with. Ukraine has proven that it has been hijacked from Russian sympathizers by pro-western anti-Russian sympathizers. A country this divided should be divided along the will of each region to maintain peace and self fulfillment. Calling Russia's support of its people in Eastern Ukraine illegitimate is nonsense. These people deserve to align with Russia if they want to and the people of Western Ukraine should be allowed to align with Europe if they want to.

    March 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, Jack. You said it all!

      March 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • Pedro

      If it was merely Russian support for 'its' ('its' in what sense? Merely because they are Russian speakers? They are still Ukrainian citizens. Shades of Sudetenland.) people being called illegitimate you may rightfully call it nonsense. But we're talking about a military occupation. Spare me the noise about how they have a right to be in the Crimea. Yes, on their bases, not surrounding and threatening Ukrainian military installations. How can you possibly have a vote on whether to secede and join another country while that country's troops are occupying you? Nonsense.

      March 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Reply
      • kate

        Let me explain how the citizenship of ukraine was "granted" to Crimeans ....we were all citizen's of USSR and could live in any of the 15 republics, retaining our nationality. At the time of collapse we were issued a passport of the republic you happened to be living in at the time. No choice, no preference , no one asked you if you were russian or ukrainian. They even decided to spell my first name differently so it sounded more Ukrainian....

        March 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
      • EdwardTr

        Pedro, you call those people Russian speakers, they are not they are Russians. You call them Ukrainian citizens, that is correct they have been that for the past 20 years, before that they were Soviet citizen before that they were Russian. From a legal point Russians have no claim on Crimea thanks to a stup:id moves by Khrushchev in reassigning it under Ukraine and than by Yeltsin in accepting the borders after the breakup. It is like giving a family heirloom to a spouse when you think it will last forever, accepting it under divorce decree but than wanting it back when you think your spouse will let your adversary's have it. (I know double standard, Chechnya could not leave Russia why Crimea can),

        You also do not get it. An economic deal with the west means things will get a lot worse before getting better. A deal with Russia means things might not get much better but they will not get worse. Also the regions will not be impacted equally. The east will see a bigger drop than the east. So if you are working for a company that exports or depends on Russia for its business, and if that company can not compete with EU firms it means you are out of a job if a deal with the west is made. Despite the nobility of "freedom" it does not feed, cloth and pays the mortgage, at least not right away.. Also it did not help when the new parliament tried to put Russian language in a subordinate status because of nationalistic reasons. As I said they think themselves Russians living in Ukraine, but not Ukrainians. This does not translate in America because we are so many nations.

        From Russian point, they see themselves overrun by NATO and this is their reaction. Ukrainians deep down never viewed Crimea as part of Ukraine with their hart, the Russians do.

        In addition both of the administrations the pro west and pro Russian are corrupt, and that is the biggest problem

        March 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
    • Fred

      Anyone who says Russia has a legitimate reason to invade Crimea must be brainwashed. It's simply the best reason they could come up with to justify annexing Crimea.

      March 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Reply
      • John Savard

        No Fred. It appears that you're the one who is brainwashed here. If the Crimeans want to join Russia, it's their business, not ours!

        March 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
      • RightishLeft

        How can one seriously speak of the "choice" of Crimean people when their land is illegally overrun by Russian forces ? What kind of independent voting you think will happen under the Russian guns ?

        March 12, 2014 at 8:50 am |
    • Wally

      Makes good sense to me ,Jack

      March 12, 2014 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      @Jack, how about the Tatars in Crimea, who don't want a union with Russia. Should they migrate? The fear is that the new government in Crimea would discriminate the 40% of the population, that doesn't support an incorporation into the Russian Federation.

      March 12, 2014 at 11:31 am | Reply
      • vladdy

        What do you know about Crimea other than readind anti-Russian mass media?. All the the rights of Tatars are guaranted by new leaders. Over 80% will vote to join Russia. Militaries protect people from fasists.

        March 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      Would you feel the same if all the northern states of the US decided they wanted to belong to Canada and the southern states decided they wanted to belong to Mexico? Just wondering.

      March 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • Eugene

      Agree, only people can decide what way they have to go. If this confrontation will continue it could be worse situation than peaceful split a country on federal areas.

      March 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  2. Sebastine odoh

    Herr farred one thing u have to know is that america started it first. America has invaded more country than russia. If this is an invasion it needs an award from guiness book of record as the first bloodless invasion

    March 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Ben

      Military Industrial Complexs of USA is new god. No dissent against the god will be tollerated at home or abroad.

      March 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Reply
    • Pedro

      America started it, so whatever Russia does is ok? They both suck. They both crush humanity. But Russia is far worse.

      March 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Reply
      • telekenisis

        How is Russia worse? The US is the only country that used atomic weapons in history-Hiroshima and Nagasaki.Maybe you just don't your know history!

        March 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
      • alex

        pedro what have you been drinking? do some reading

        March 13, 2014 at 10:50 am |
  3. E- man

    there is no difference between Russia and U.S both will equally do what is in their best interest, so please stop being a one sided reporter and call it as it is. The arrogance and hubris of whashigton and the media is nauseating.

    March 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
    • John Savard

      Well said, E-man. I'm sick and tired of all these idiotic anti-Russian comments here posted by all these ignoramuses who know nothing about Russia.

      March 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Reply
    • shootmyownfood

      Can you name any country invaded by the US in an attempt at annexation in the last 100 years? Invasions, yes; annexation, no.

      March 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • jinishans

        what good was made by Invading Vietnam, Afgan, Iraq, Libya and so on. None. Let them decide their fate.

        March 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
      • alex

        why would you need to anax when you take the countries industry and financial system and you leave the country to fend for its self.. support its poor, hungry and sick without any means to provide for them

        March 13, 2014 at 11:01 am |
  4. what do I know

    who cares if Crimea has a lot of Russian speakers and Western Ukraine loves Europe and western values.......... why can't the entire country of Ukraine stay just the way it is, independent and free,without Russian troops infiltrating their borders???? what a bunch of nonsense!!!! It would be like saying that El Paso, Texas, has a lot of spanish speaking Mexicans living there, so that's why El Paso needs to become part of Mexico!!!! So if Mexico had to move masked and un-identified troops into El Paso and surrounding areas, in order to "keep the peace" and control the pending chaos, can you imagine what the US state and federal authorities would do?????????? We need to kick those bloody Russians out of there. PERIOD.

    March 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • Wally

      Didn't the U.S. steal the area they call Texas from Mexico??? Or was it called freeing people by taking their land even back then...what a word game.

      March 12, 2014 at 11:14 am | Reply
      • shootmyownfood

        And after annexing that vast amount of real estate, the Americans then began to just take land from Spanish settlers that had deeds to the property and had owned if for one or two hundred years. Yeah, that was the right way to do it, don't you think?

        March 12, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • vladdy

      None killing mexicans anywhere in US none bans spanish in US none distoying monuments , history in US. There are no fasists in US. Why US politicans encourage all these nasty things in another country?

      March 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • bobbyfisher

      you are welcome to put your designer boots on the ground honey boo boo:)

      March 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • kate

      Are you proposing to kick out 60% of the Crimean population?

      March 12, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  5. MD

    There will be elections in Crimea next week and in the larger Ukraine in May (if major war hasn't begun by then). The best thing we can do is keep our mouth shut and to let these groups make their OWN decisions.

    Lord knows we have plenty to work on here...


    March 11, 2014 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  6. Andrey

    CNN is waging that anti-Russian propaganda war for years now: ever since Putin said NO to hew American anti-rocket systems in Europe. So keep up you propaganda CNN: the more you lie, the sooner people get tired of your crap!

    March 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  7. Jack

    Seems like the writer needs to get out more. No one disagrees that Russia sucks or that corruption is bad. The question is what can the "billiard balls" do about it, recognizing the real limits of power, and necessity for ts judicious use.

    Of course, any article that starts with a straw man to argue against has a bogus premise.

    In sum . . . this is why CNN is like the twenty second ranked news source, or whatever. Even when they gesture towards intellectualism they fail.

    March 11, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Reply
  8. Bob

    The discussions of alternatives available to the West sound, in many cases, like we just might have to go to war. If sanctions don't work, and the President doesn't want to be a wimp, we gotta get boots on the ground – or at least swarms of drones, if there is anything to shoot at.
    But that is just not possible. Crimea is on the Black Sea, owned and occupied by the Russian Navy, surrounded by Russian military bases, and we have no way in. We must recognize that there is no military option in this one, and Putin knows it, and see what we can make of that. Not much, I'm afraid – there is a limit to everything.

    March 11, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  9. chrissy

    I do agree with you one thing @ Bob. There are limits....and the American people have reached theirs! They are tired of the warmongering idiots in DC pushing for our involvement in one conflict after another...never mind if its our business or not, they just feel we need to be involved. And pretty much for the most part it isnt because they have honorable intentions, its simply so they can add to their bank accounts! The people of this country are fed up with this method of operation! And POTUS Obama is quite aware of it therefore he is acting rationally so that does NOT make him a wimp! If he were a wimp he wouldve resigned along time ago, all the abuse he gets from "his team" or "our elected clowns" if you will!! A lesser man woulda jumped ship by now!!!

    March 11, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • Wally

      I'm tired of fat-cat politicians starting all the propaganda about foreign country's and their lack of so-called morals(pot calling the kettle black). The U.S. people must be tired of sending their very best young men & women to who-knows where to die for stupid politics. D.C.'s ego has got out of hand and it's time to start spending money on their own citizens and give them the attention and care they desire.

      March 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | Reply
      • Marine5484

        Great posting from both you and chrissy, Wally. You two just said it all!

        March 12, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
  10. Ted Ward

    Well said! Finally someone gets it and says so clearly.

    March 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  11. Archduke

    No way we the Russians are angels – no doubt about it. But for the sake of God in whom you trust, explain me, how is it possible when your Govt can scream about democracy and at the same time invite to the White House a person, who – you like it or not – was leading a violent coup which thrown away – you like it or not – the legally elected President of the soveriegn country – meaning Mr Yatsenyuk and Ukraine? If this is a recognition of the acceptability of the violence – than why is it only acceptable from one side? Referendum under the gunpoint in Crimea? You've got brains, people – try to think it through – the first Decree of Mr Yatsenyuk was a ban of the Russian language in Ukraine. Had we not declare the possibility of the military support, had we not project power over there (just the way US does all the time in other regions where they see fit to protect even allegedly "opressed") – what would have happened in Crimea? Stability and joy? Don't answer me. Answser yourselves.

    March 12, 2014 at 4:08 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, Archduke. That was very intelligently put! I'm getting sick and tired of all these senseless anti-Russian rants and the equally senseless bragging on U.S. military might!

      March 12, 2014 at 9:11 am | Reply
  12. Botain Kalunga

    Surely USA and Europe should be ashamed of their hypocrisy over Russia's actions. They are the warmongers of this world – from Grenada, Iraq, Libya, name it they invaded to defend "national interests." Leave Russia alone. They are defending their national interests. It is your time to sob.

    March 12, 2014 at 5:11 am | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Good posting, Botain. Thank you.

      March 12, 2014 at 9:06 am | Reply
    • Realist

      What an exceptionally STUPID post. Do you know the difference between a move towards annexation and control premised on a nationalistic agenda (see, Sudetenland, for eg.), and a military action and temporary invasion designed to accomplish a specific goal? I hope Putin enjoys this one...because he fell right into our trap. Putin's aparatchiks have been gobbling up real estate and capital all over Europe and the U.S. with illicit money...this was all designed to put an end to that. That's why Putin won't directly invade...he's afraid and stressed about the consequences. The U.S. should take the initiative in freezing all assets of Russian-born oligarch all over the world...we'll see how long they stay in Crimea after that!

      March 12, 2014 at 11:58 am | Reply
      • Marine5484

        Thank you, Realist. You make a great mouthpiece for the right-wing thugs in Washington! They just love your kind of ignorance!

        March 12, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
    • atg777

      I totally agree with you. Botain

      A lot of the information you see on BBC is misinterpreted and untrue.

      The prime example is the following BBC News article:
      Crimea referendum: What does the ballot paper say? HAVE A READ AND SPOT A DIFFERENCE!!!
      The true translation of two choices:
      1. to join Russia
      2. to join Ukraine!
      Now you tell me who is been brain washed????????
      Can we really trust what politics are saying???????

      March 12, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  13. adekanmbioluwole

    Reblogged this on adekanmbioluwole.

    March 12, 2014 at 6:13 am | Reply
  14. Simonzee1

    Remember Putin asking for money to be brought back to Russia. Sanctions will do the job.

    March 12, 2014 at 7:37 am | Reply
  15. Simonzee1

    This will be quite fitting for a coup leader and Obama to have a pow-wow. Two people who talk of democracy but undermine the principles thereof.This visit is just more Obama swag...more smoke and mirrors from a president that would love the "Hollywood" sign placed above the statue of Liberty, "Hollywood best represents American values," he says. He has just done an interview to attract the youth vote. Must be getting ready for hand outs rather than a hand up.

    Well he is alwsys right in his own mind as he gives us a great mix of fiction mixed with non-fiction storylines..

    Meanwhile back in the real world....the real what they call... "Water Shed in Modern History" is Libya with America, France and Britain...and Johnny-come-lately Germany exercising their mission creep and murder.

    That opened the floodgates of a new arms race...Nations now know if they do not have nuclear weapons their sovereignty at any moment could be kicked to the wayside.

    The Ukraine is as successul for the West in sending other troubling messages like..."If you don't like your government have a coup." Much worse that "If you like your health plan you can keep it."

    Following the example in the Ukraine protestors in Libya took you up on your version of international law and started shooting MP's and storming Congress.

    Clearly....undeniably... after "Libya"... NATO...the E.U and the U.N has very little credibility.As I said before those 67% of Americans who as it stands, would like to throw their lawmakers to the street if they could, may wish to consider the option when their gas bills become unaffordable as vast amounts of gas are exported to Europe to play cold war games. What did Obama say to Romney..."Hhhh...the cold war ended 20 years ago." Well he is in a hurry to bring it back after the Libyan mission creep and the supporting of a coup with the E.U.

    Just look at the current state of Libya. I'm sure Putin will do a better job with Crimea but I think the E.U and America are determined for the Ukraine to become another Libya. If they cannot have it all they will wreck it all. That's their legacy folks just look at the middle-east.

    March 12, 2014 at 7:56 am | Reply
    • Ukrainian

      Thank you for the posting. It is really a great one.

      March 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • ak

      Thank you for your post. My relatives in Dnepropetrovsk region of Ukraine say on the phone that people are scared and try not to get out after 7 pm, a lot of people with different type of guns are visible on the streets and a lot of them carry svastikas on their jackets. Did President Obama have vaccination to protect him against of virus of fascism? He invited a person with ties to the ultra-nationalists and fascists to the White House for support talk..Shame..

      March 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Reply
      • kate

        My relatives in Crimea are also being threatened and are afraid to take part in the referendum which by the way most of the Crimean were looking forward to till the threats began, hoping to finally be part of Russia again.

        March 12, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
  16. Simonzee1

    Get ready for those higher gas prices America; and less jobs in industry as cheap gas goes to Europe. Higher gas prices at home = less jobs back home.
    Lower gas prices overseas = more jobs overseas.
    Simple equation that Obama does not understand.

    March 12, 2014 at 8:00 am | Reply
  17. Aaron

    This is the most biased and puerile article on Ukraine that I have read in some time. To claim that Yanukovich has some sort of monopoly on corruption is nonsense. Tymoshenko has long been supported by "pro-Western Ukrainians" and she is just as corrupt as he is, hence her nick-name "the Gas Princess". Eastern Ukrainians, by and large, do not support this revolution. These are the people who voted for Yanukovich in the first place. They want the right to speak Russian to be recognized as being equally legitimate to the right to speak Ukrainian, and they have no desire to be run by a government that represents the interests of neo-Nazi groups like Svoboda and Right Sector. For shame sir. Your article is willfully disingenuous.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:11 am | Reply
  18. GatorDude

    When the people of Ukraine decided that they did not need a nuclear deterrent and the people of Europe decided they did not need large standing Armies and the people of America decided that they needed a peace dividend, the fate of Ukraine and Crimea was sealed. In many cases wars are won and lost well before Armies take the field. In the west we do not have the military power and willpower to eject the Russians from Crimea. Weakness was a choice. Other countries bordering Russia would be well-advised to be prepared to wage an asymmetrical fight against Russia. This would include making sure each adult citizen has arms and ammunition and that light anti-tank weapons are available.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Jay2019

      The United States pressured Ukraine in 1994 to give up her Nuclear weapons. The Americans told Ukraine that they would provide security to Ukraine if Ukraine gave up her Nuclear weapons. Ukraine reluctantly agreed. The Americans have to keep their promise. The World is watching. You have to stand up to a Bully.

      March 12, 2014 at 11:38 am | Reply
      • atg777

        do not talk about something you do not understand. In this instance bullies are Europe and USA!!!

        March 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
    • alex

      so you think russia is going to invade europe lol.... its one thing to say something stupid its another to belive it.

      March 13, 2014 at 11:11 am | Reply
  19. Jay2019

    In 2014 Putin has broken every civilized and Democratic norm in the world. The Man is a War Criminal. Holding a illegal referendum in Crimea under gun point. Even the Chinese must wince. Crimea gets 80 percent of her food from Ukraine. Crimea gets her water and electricity from Ukraine. How does Putin think this is going to work. The World will go away and sulk. He will destroy the Russian economy. Confiscate Putin and his brothers Money. The maybe he will pause. This money is in the West. The US and the World have to stand up to a Bully in the beginning or it will get tremendously worse down the road and it will eventually be a shooting war. Americans must stand fast and show resolve. Putin is KGB and he looks for Weakness. Putin appointed a Russian blonde model Bimbo as Crimea's Attorney-General. The Man is a Joke. Stop Putin the War Criminal.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • ak

      What about US and EU representatives working very hard to create and support a coup to overthrow the legally elected president of Ukraine? Who are they? Definitely war criminals with blood of people killed in Kiev on their hands

      March 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Reply
      • Timefreeze

        You have absolutely no understanding of the situation Ukraine was in. I hate morons who describe the overthrow of the president as some coup. This wasn't staged by the now new leaders or EU or US. The protests came from ordinary people taking the streets on their own free will.

        March 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  20. GatorDude

    It wouldn't hurt western leaders to read Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:30 am | Reply
  21. Jay2019

    The World has to make a Stand against Russia. The United States should send Special Forces and Arms to help Ukraine. Help develop a Ukrainian National Guard a long the lines of the US model. The United States must do something to honor her 1994 agreement with Ukraine otherwise any agreements signed between Governments on earth will have no meaning. You have to keep the spirit of the agreement. NATO should send Peacekeepers to Crimea. Ukraine has helped NATO and the UN in peacekeeping missions around the world so it is time for these organizations to return the favor.

    March 12, 2014 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Ukrainian

      It is not a black and white and thoughtless reporting such this is increasing the danger. The oligarch involved (one of the is going to meet Obama today) made their fortunes in the corruption following the collapse of the USSR. The corrupt oligarchs installed the corrupt Julia Timoshenko, who was replaced by the corrupt Victor, who was replaced by the corrupt oligarchs because Victor would not share the spoils, so prepare money to give a grant the PM of Ukraine today and send a military but you have to be in front and not sitting on the couch !

      March 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply
      • barbara morrissey

        Americans are so misinformed by limited media reporting!! Does anyone really know that the present Ukrainian government now assigning multi millionaires provinces to govern?? millionaires in steel, billionaires in gas, the owner of a huge sports franchise.This mindset is Old Europe. Just like Putin. To tell the truth, just like Senator McCain.Visit other news sites from Europe.

        March 12, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • Wally

      Well it's would start another war but this time against the big boys...Russia and it's partner China.Thank God for cooler heads!!

      March 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • GlenR

      S0o Jay2019 you have enlisted in the military to go fight and die?

      March 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • atg777

      Do you realise what you are saying? Do you really want to start III world war???

      March 12, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • kate

      Sending NATO to Crimea will be a start of WWIII. Ready for it, are you?

      March 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm | Reply
  22. NeoconsCantbeStopped

    It's absolutely frightening when you see a neocon bare his true ugly soul.

    He's saying that there is no reason to see the traditional two nuclear superpowers as equals and, thus, we must allow American neocons to lead us straight into WW3 because they think they stand on the side of goodness and justice.

    I am an American veteran who was always a good necon until i started seeing them go overboad trying to capture Ukraine this time. How do we get them out of power? We let Obama win in order to stop John McCain's insane hateful vision for destroying Russia, but yet he and his neocons are still in power. McCain was not supposed to win reelection in Arizona. How did that even happen?

    March 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • GlenR

      As a vet myself I have to agree. Not one of these armchair generals from any side of politics or the media seems to lining up to go fight.

      How easy it is to cry WAR! from the comfort of your living room.

      March 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  23. GlenR

    When CNN, FOX, the Tea Party and others volenteer to go fight in Crimea as well as pay for it then they can comment on what the Obama administration should do.

    Until then all the chickenhawk armchair generals should just shut up.

    March 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Wally

      GlenR...what a great post...I like the "armchair general" shot.

      March 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  24. Another Voice

    First off I would like to say I enjoyed the thoughtfulness off all the post. Apologies if this post goes in a different then one may expect.

    This situation has been something I have been loosely following for sometime now. And I can't say I didn't expect the outcome of event this far.

    Coming from a nation that receives criticism as a rule, the critique of behavior isn't unfamiliar. As any globally conscious citizen, I can say first thoughts were about the safety of the people of the Ukraine. My thoughts and prayers go out to them.

    I'm not here to point fingers. Not a whole lot surprises me anymore. I would hope the Russian people have learned from our recent mistakes. My prayers go out you as well. Hoping they find you in good health. What seems like a righteous cause, can become everything but. The tide of opinion becomes cruel in a ever shrinking world. What seems like a important cause, becomes senseless as time goes by.

    Thank you all for time. I look forward to the day we can leave the mistakes of the past behind.

    March 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  25. Quarant

    The so called new Ukrainian government is totally illegitimate – period. Jokers like "Freedom House", "National Endowment for Democracy" and other such privatized troublemaking arms of the US intelligence community. Indeed, the crisis created by you people is indeed NOT a game, you may have, with your meddling forged the first step towards WWIII and not the New World Order power and control you lust after so dearly.

    March 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • atg777

      Well said Quarant!!
      I do not understand why the whole Europe can not see that??? why do they pretend that they do not see that the so called new Ukrainian government is totally illegitimate?

      March 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  26. varmar

    the only difference between new and former government is that pro-western president has "nazy style" corruption and pro-russian president had "mafia style" corruption. "Democracy, independence, historical ties" – it's all propaganda slogans of both sides and has nothing to do with real goal of any president. the same is true with world powers. double standards and hypocrisy from west and east of ukraine and world. I'm really sorry for people in any country, that became battlefield for influence "democratic" west and "brotherly" east. neither one really cares about people in ukraine.

    March 12, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • American Ukrainian

      So true. I only pray for the regular people of Ukraine who may suffer because they're surrounded by vultures on both sides.

      March 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  27. chrissy

    @ neoconscantbestopped, very good post! And i couldnt agree more but with ONE exception! They can be stopped IF american citizens educate theirselves better before voting! And actually get out AND vote which is our DUTY as citizens! My father once told me he did not fight for this country and risk his life just so he could be shamed by a daughter who did not vote! I would be willing to bet a great deal more veterans feel that same way!

    March 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  28. bobbyfisher

    I would love to know what have V.Nuland, kerry, and the gang have been tinking when they blew 5bln on regime change in Ukraine? How they expected Putin to react? Is it really just the game for them? Where is any adult supervision in this country?

    March 12, 2014 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  29. BarryG

    Pretty much sums up my feelings. We need a cool headed, pragmatic approach dedicated to allowing Ukraine to evolve into a functioning liberal democracy. It should be independent and definitely not a military outpost against Russia. If Ukraine succeeds as a democratic state, Putin will fail. That's what he really fears and that's what not we the west needs, that's what is best for Russia. Get a functioning, non-mafia state already. They've suffered enough.

    March 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • bobbyfisher

      It should be independent and definitely not a military outpost against Russia.....
      Cheers to that.....but in today's climate there are zero chances that Putin can be convinced that it's even possible.
      As far as non-mafia was no revolution, just one gang of the oligarhs pushed another away from the trough, just like pigs really, as demonstrated by appointing loyal oligarhs as governers, ready to receive bailout's already suks for ukranians.

      March 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm | Reply
  30. EK

    Here is who really in charge in Ukraine Enough said.!!

    March 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Reply
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