General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Was Russia just given a pass on taking Crimea from Ukraine by force?

Asked by ibstubro (18730points) November 11th, 2014

Economic sanctions do not seem to be making a difference.

Is the world so fractured and war weary that one 1st world nation can forcibly take part of another nation and it’s not even news a few months later?

I think it’s possible that we’re seeing the end of the “American Empire”, and I’m glad I don’t expect to be here to see the finale.

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31 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Scary aint it!?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Was Russia just given a pass on taking Crimea from Ukraine by force?
Was the US just given a pass on attacking Iraq by force under suspicion of WMD which other nations possess without being attacked by the US? As Uncle Sam has shown quite effectively, might makes right, if you have enough might, you can do what you want and no one can stop you.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s “Indian giving.” Russia turned the place loose, then watched it cozy up to the West. So they took it back. The place is much too strategic to Russian interests to allow the prospect of Nato ships docking there. What do you suppose we might do if we found Panama making welcoming overtures to the Taliban? Do you think we might take our canal back?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Taking by force? The people of Crimea voted to join Russia. But I guess democracy only counts when it produces results we like.

rojo's avatar

We are punishing them by getting our Saudi allies to artificially keep oil prices low so that they suffer. What more do you want? A pound of Putin flesh?

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know, but I know my Russian-American friend supports Russia. She isn’t some sort of blind patriot. I don’t really know much about the situation so I don’t have an opinion. She said the reporting is much difference on Russian news than the information we get in America. We agree that both are probably biased.

whitenoise's avatar

We didn’t allow it, but we surely provoked it, when we supported the pro western coup and openly pushed Ukraine to join ‘The West’.

We cannot look away and wash our hands in innocence. We provoked the bear that is now biting into the Ukrainians.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie Absolutely our media is biased (I’ve seen the US media do this on many international stories). And of course the Russian media is biased as well. Your friend is right about that at least.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Taken by force? How do you figure that? The people of Crimea voted in a free election to secede from Ukraine, and then in a second vote decided to join Russia. And now the Ukrainian government is murdering the people of Donetsk and Luhansk for seeking self-determination, which is supposed to be a guaranteed human right. Russia hasn’t got a pass, but there’s only so much the West can do when they know they’re in the wrong.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh You can’t be serious!

josie's avatar

Since human beings stopped being hunters and gatherers, and the since the Aryans (the ancient Indo -Europeans, not the modern white supremicists) discovered how easy it is to take somebody else’s cattle and crops in armed raids, people have been on one side or another of a power contest. You are either in a position to resist other people’s geopolitical ambitions or you are not.
If you are, you can at least maintain a check and balance against the use of force.
If you are not, somebody else gets to decide how to use force.
So the question becomes, which do you want to be?
Currently, Americans, who used to clearly have the initiative, seem to want to let somebody else take the initiative.
The problem is, a lot of the people who are taking the initiative are crazier than even the Americans.
I see that as a problem, but on this site, anyway,that puts me in a distinct minority.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@stanleybmanly Of course I’m serious. Poroshenko does not represent the people of Eastern Ukraine. The people of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk are more Russian in tradition and blood than those of Western Ukraine. The current situation needs to be viewed in its proper historical context.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@josie I think you’re wrong. Most here see it as a problem. It’s simply that stupid decisions in our recent past have robbed the government of all credibility, Decisive sensible intervention when necessary or required is no longer politically feasible.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I agree with your assertion beginning with “The people of Crimea———.” That other part about “Poroshenko does not represent the people of Eastern Ukraine” is the equivalent of “Obama” does not represent the people of Mississippi or Texas.” My statement “You can’t be serious” is about those “free elections”.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@stanleybmanly How free do you think those elections would’ve been without Russian protection? We can all see how the Ukrainian power-brokers treat regions that try to secede without a strong defensive force. I don’t pretend that the elections in Crimea were as free and transparent as a Western election, since a large number of people boycotted the vote. But that was their choice to do so, and there is no evidence to suggest compulsion to vote or forgery of the votes.

While I do not unquestioningly accept the assertions contained within, I find Putin’s Valdai Speech from a few weeks ago contains a great deal of interesting perspectives.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Thank you for the speech. I agree with most of Putin’s analysis of post cold war reality. So does the U.S. government, which will never admit it out loud. Frankly, it is in EVERYONE’S best interest if Russia controls Crimea. This is implicit with the realities surrounding Sevastopol. Ukraine is better off without Crimea, beautiful though it may be, for the simple reason that the bubbling Russian demographic combined with the dire strategic importance to Russian naval considerations means the place would be a perpetual boil on the stability of the region. The West is only too happy to make noise and look the other way. But don’t fool yourself. There was nothing free about those elections. The “issue” was not up for debate, and those evidencing so much as a trickle of an opinion counter to the “popular” sentiment were mercilessly terrorized and EVERYBODY KNOWS IT! “Russian protection” Gimme a break.

Jaxk's avatar

We have a very weak president. When we project weakness, others will project strength. It makes the world a somewhat more dangerous place but we survived Jimmy Carter, I suspect we’ll survive Obama.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Out of curiosity what would your solution have been?

Jaxk's avatar


It’s complicated. I would not have withdrawn the missile defense in Poland but at this point I would be looking to restart that effort. There are so many things that Obama has done to show he is unable to handle any confrontation that it is difficult now to undo it. The threat to bomb Syria, the complete withdrawal from Iraq, The whole idea of ‘Leading from behind’ in Libya. the pathetic sanctions we placed on Russia, all show we have no backbone. Obama can’t do much at this point because no one believes ha would do anything.

There is no way to tell whether Kennedy would have started WWIII during the Cuban Missile Crisis but the fact that no one was sure averted a confrontation. When Reagan placed the missile defense in Europe no one was sure what he might do. With Obama everyone is sure he won’t do anything. You don’t need to go to war to solve problems but if you project a weak hand, some one will fill the void and few will take you seriously.

Darth_Algar's avatar


So what’s your solution? I’m not asking for mere criticisms of the president, I’m asking how you would have handled the Russia/Ukraine/Crimea situation. What action would you have taken?

Jaxk's avatar

@Darth_Algar – I gave you one action I would take and that was to move the missile defense in Poland back in place. I’ve heard a strategy of cutting off all credit card receipts to Russia which would hurt economically. That may be a viable tactic. Providing some military equipment to Ukraine may also be a viable tactic. Russia’s economy is susceptible to oil and anything that drops the price of oil is a viable tactic. Maybe throwing our strategic reserves on the market.

Generally we won’t be able to get back to a position of strength until Obama is gone. In the mean time we must be very careful as the world doesn’t believe they have to worry about us. So they don’t. And a bully like Putin can run rampant. And he is.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Jaxk “Generally we won’t be able to get back to a position of strength until Obama is gone.”

As a non-American, I find this statement to be quite hilarious. You finally have a leader that the rest of the world respects, and somehow the right thinks this makes him weak. Oh, America.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ As a non-American, I find this statement to be quite hilarious. You finally have a leader that the rest of the world respects, and somehow the right thinks this makes him weak.
That IS the party of Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb, I would not let a member of any of those parties watch my hamster….the one that died three days ago.

edit Maybe the US is still hoping Dubya or what ever that dumb cowboy’s name was, will come back somehow

Darth_Algar's avatar


Honestly, all those are indirect actions. Not exactly a show of strength. And none of them really sound like a solution of any kind.

rojo's avatar

The image of the US has gone down in the past couple of years, what with drones killing ‘bout near anyone they want and all the information on the illegal activity of the US that Snowden clued the world in on but even so, it is much more positive than it ever was under Bush. Here are a couple of articles about it, one from Global Issues and the latest Pew Data which is from April 2013..
Finally, another article from Pew, this one stating that the positive opinion slipped because of things he didn’t do like, act multilaterally, be more even handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, take the lead and make progress in climate change policy. It also notes that “Russian President Vladimir Putin is rated negatively in most of the countries surveyed, and Russia’s overall image has declined since last year in Western Europe and the U.S.”

Finally Here is a chart showing the world opinion of the US since 2002. As far as I can tell of all the countries asked, and even given opinion has slipped, there are only eight countries, less than 13% of those asked, that have a worse opinion of us now than in 2007, Uganda, Russia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Kenya, Jordan, Ghana and Egypt.

ok, I lied on the finally thing Here is an article from the Washington Monthly (2011) showing how in 2007/2008 of the seven countries on the survey (Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China) only Russia ranked below us in respect but by 2010 we were once again on top.

Jaxk's avatar

^^^ Makes me wonder what is the real purpose of our foreign policy. Help the Ukraine remain a sovereign nation or be elected prom queen. I admit Obama has a better chance at Prom Queen that either GW or me.

rojo's avatar

Our foreign policy, at this point anyway, does not include playing policeman for the rest of the world. And that is a good thing.

We helped cause the problems in Ukraine from what I have read, basically poking Putin in the eye, and now when he pokes back you want to escalate.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jaxk Ukraine will be fine without Crimea.

rojo's avatar

^^ and Europe will be fine without Ukraine.

rojo's avatar

Here is an interesting take on Putin and Russian Imperialism bu David Kaiser .

If you bother to read this blog, please also take the time to read his earlier one referenced in the paragraph that reads:

“I am extremely concerned, as I wrote some weeks ago, that the next move will be a lightning occupation of one or more of the Baltic states, a real prize, which will strike a blow at the heart of NATO by proving that the Clinton Administration, indeed, decided in the 1990s to extend American influence well beyond its natural limits.”

rojo's avatar

Here are a couple of quotes from the second blog mentioned above:

” my opinion, our biggest problems invariably stemmed from our inability to distinguish between territory that was vital and territory that was not. ”
” It does not increase the security of the United States, in my opinion, to treat territories like Georgia or Ukraine as comparable to West Germany or Japan in their importance.”

Interestingly, this blog was from 2008.

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