Written by Frank Li
A referendum was held in Crimea yesterday (Sunday 16 March), and the folks there predictably voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine to join Russia.
Was it a reflection of the will of the people in Crimea? Yes! Should we Americans support it? Yes!
This is a typical case of choosing the lesser of two evils! Puzzled? Let me explain ...
1. What was the first evil?
It was pure evil for the Ukrainian mob to overthrow its own democratically elected government by riots (Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S.)! This kind of mob act would not have had any chance in the U.S. (A Pseudo Conversation between President Obama and Ukraine PM). However, instead of supporting President Viktor Yanukovych, just as Russia did, our government chose to side with the mob, calling it a good uprising, instead of a terror act!
Here is the bottom line:
Viktor Yanukovych is still the legitimate President of Ukraine. He is in asylum in Russia now, and there is a valid argument, in Russia's favor, that Russia Stays in Ukraine as Putin Channels Yanukovych Letter.
Generally speaking, military invasion of a country is wrong, but so is overthrowing a democratically elected government by riots! Which one was wrong first in this case?
2. What was the second evil?
Seeking a separation of Crimea from Ukraine under the current circumstance!
Many Americans think Ukraine should simply be split into two countries, west and east, with Crimea being a part of the east. While that may be an easy solution for the short term, it's likely to be wrong in the long run. Why?
Let's look at the U.S. first with two examples:
The U.S. could have been simply split into two in the mid-1800s, but it was not, thanks to President Lincoln!
Should the U.S. be split into two or more countries because a Spanish-speaking majority wants its own sovereignty here (e.g. California or Texas)?
Now, let's move to Europe ... Overall, union is the direction for the future! Any doubt? Ask the EU (America: What is the EU, Anyway?)!
After the Cold War ended in 1991, several Eastern countries (e.g. Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) were split into multiple countries - It's good to be king! Are they better off now? Mostly yes! The reality is that some of them (e.g. Czech Republic and Croatia) have since joined the EU. So the issue was mostly economic: to split from your poor neighbors in order to join the richer!
Crimea may be better off to join Russia. But to be peremptorily forced into such a momentous decision was wrong, if not evil. In addition, with Crimea going to Russia, Ukraine may forever lose the majority favoring Russia. For more, read: A Pseudo Conversation between President Obama and Ukraine PM.
3. What was right?
Unless the first evil can be corrected, the second evil after the first may turn out best!
The referendum in Crimea was done not only democratically, but is, perhaps, more valid, in theory, than the ousting of President Yanukovych by riots a few weeks ago!
If the U.S., as claimed, truly stands for democracy, we should side with the Crimean people for self-determination! This is especially important after we failed to support President Yanukovych last time!
Morally, with the launch of the Iraq War on March 20, 2003, the U.S. has forfeited its right to talk about international law and order! For more, read: Tutu: Bush, Blair, should face trial at the Hague.
In short, stay out of Crimea/Ukraine/Russia in this case, America!
4. Should the U.S. stay out?
Yes! America can no longer afford to save the world while bankrupting ourselves at home!
The sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the EU are twisted in logic and meaninglessly symbolic!
No genuine sanction against Russia will truly work without cooperation from China! It's highly unlikely that China will endorse any genuine sanction against Russia at this time or in the foreseeable future.
Strategically, the U.S. must do everything possible to avoid a Russia-China alliance for one simple reason: neither alone can compete against the U.S., yet, but together they are formidable to any country on earth! Any doubt? Look at the map below:
It would be a vast and unmatched combination geographically! Additionally, two points:
China is well on her way to becoming the largest economy on earth by 2030, unseating the U.S.!
Russia has more natural resources than any country on earth.
Can the U.S. see, at least, the obvious? Apparently, President Obama can't or won't (The America That Can No Longer Think, Politically), while President Nixon obviously did (Barack Obama vs. Richard Nixon)!
Think, America! We are running out of last chances ...