Categorized | News, Opinion


I am stunned, surprised, amazed and saddened by the Ukraine crisis.  I could hardly believe Russia would attack another nation and violate its borders.  But it appears it did so.  Why?

Because Churchill said Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  Who knows.  Of course the President (our President not Russia’s) is weak.  Now perceived weakness can lead to war.  I am told from unconfirmed reports I read that US and UK troops have been called up but no further action has been taken.

Instead it seems to me that the events – the overthrow of the pro-Russian leader in a bloody uprising – looked like the US and EU meddling in their back yard.  Some non-interventionists, including this British MP!, and this opinion from the Lew Rockwell blog, say we did meddle with an elected, if imperfect government (If you need your Soviet nostalgia fix, try this commie viewpoint!) believe that the initial “coup” in Ukraine was engineered by the US and EU to keep Ukraine in their orbit.

From MP John Redwood:

Whilst it is Russia which today threatens the peace and has acted illegally and rashly, we do need to study carefully the origins of this flare up. The intervention of the EU in the break up of the former Yugoslavia also failed to prevent war, and some would say made that conflict more bitter and damaging.

The EU was all too ready to encourage those who wished to overthrow the elected President of the Ukraine because he had declined to advance the interests of the EU in the Ukraine, preferring a stronger relationship with Russia.

I am wary of WND as a news source but I certainly agree with this opening paragraph:

Are you willing to send your child to die for Nikita Khruschev’s legacy? As history buffs will remember, Khrushchev was the man who brought the United States to the brink of nuclear war, and civilization to the very edge of extinction, in 1962 when he stuck his nose deep into our backyard by placing Soviet nuclear missiles 90 miles off our shore in Cuba.

Dying and killing for Khrushchev is precisely what any use of American troops in the current Ukrainian quagmire would amount to – since the flashpoint of conflict that could spark a global war is the status of the ancient Russian province of Crimea. That classically Russian region was arbitrarily transferred in 1954 by Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev without the approval of its Russian-speaking inhabitants. This capricious move hardly mattered at the time, since the whole Soviet Union was a vast and politically uniform totalitarian state.

But the former Ukraine government, bad as it was, legally elected.  I am troubled by the whole thing.  And I must ask the question:  What would we do if say Iran overthrew a friendly regime in say Haiti (If they picked Cuba, we might all cheer!) and replaced it with a pro-Iranian regime?  Might we meddle?  Might we even invade?

Crimea probably should be independent or part of Russia.  It was “given” to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 by Khrushchev in a ceremonial move that meant nothing at the time.  That issues should have been resolved by now.  But Crimea’s status cannot be decided by tanks.  This issue must be solved in a negotiated manner.  The people should decide.  National sovereignty is critical.  But we can’t simply do what George H. W. Bush did and organize a world army to retake Crimea for the Ukraine.  Or should we?

So, if I were President Obama, I would ask Congress for authority to commit US troops to Crimea to stop Russian aggression (I know I am to the right of Sen. Lindsey Graham!  It is not a comfortable place for me.  But the next nation to be attacked might be Estonia!) as part of a international force similar to the Desert Shield/Storm scenario.  I think Russia would back down – if we could get enough nations to join in – and if we had a UN-sanctioned election in Crimea with three choices:  Remain within Ukraine, Join the Russian Federation or independence.

I think most Crimeans would opt to join Russia or be independent with a pro-Russian government in a larger federation similar to the Commonwealth of Independent States.  But Russia has to withdraw the troops and the new independent Crimean Republic would be constitutionally prohibited from joining the EU.  Ukraine should also have a UN-monitored election and if the pro-Russian east wants to be independent of the pro-Western west, and join the new CIS with Crimea, let them do so.  Peace through strength.

I do not relish the idea of essentially giving President Putin what he wanted to get through aggression but sometimes the aggressor is right politically, if not tactically.  And we need to make it clear that national boundaries cannot be altered except through the democratic process.  The next nation to do it might be in Asia or Africa or even Latin America (Peru/Chile and Bolivia or even Bolivia and Paraguay!).

Here’s the lesson to learn:  STOP the INTERVENTION in other nations.  Simply stop it.  Unless it is the national interest.  Since 1998 we have attacked a nation that did nothing to us (Serbia and Montenegro), engaged in nation-building in Afghanistan, invaded Iraq, helped topple the Libyan government, interfered in numerous elections around the globe through jawboning about how flawed they were, enacted economic sanctions against nations and individuals (including named Russian persons in the Magnitsky Act that led to the adoption blowback) and now we perhaps toppled an elected government in Ukraine.  We have $17 trillion in debt in our nation to deal with first.

UPDATE:  Rod Dreher at the American Conservative has a fascinating article on Senator McCain’s attempt to emulate JFK (or is it Reagan?):

Meanwhile, here is a fresh report from Time, not — I repeat, not — The Onion:

In response to reports of a Russian takeover in parts of Crimea, Arizona Senator John McCain said on Friday, “We are all Ukrainians,” before calling for swift U.S. economic aid to Ukraine, condemnation of Russia at the United Nations, sanctions against Russian officials and the installation of U.S. missiles in the nearby Czech Republic.

No we are not. We are Americans. Let us mind America’s business. McCain actually wants to make war with Russia more likely:

On the military front, McCain believes Putin needs to face a show of U.S. strength. Putin is “convinced that the United States is weak and there’ll be no significant retaliation of his occupation of the Crimea and possibly eastern Ukraine,” he says. He wants to see Obama revive the Bush era missile defense plan, which would have placed U.S. missiles in the Czech Republic. He also believes that speeding up Georgia accession to NATO would send a strong message to Putin.

SECOND UPDATE:  I added a link to the word “Estonia” to a report in the UK Spectator that Estonia might find itself in a similar conflict with Russia:

Recent events have also rekindled memories of 2007, when the Estonian prime minister decided to move a controversial Soviet war memorial from the centre of Tallinn to a military cemetery on the outskirts. Local Russian speakers rioted. Estonian news, government and banking websites were disabled. Estonia accused Russia of orchestrating a covert cyberwar. Russia denied it.


As in Ukraine, Estonia’s Russian speaking population isn’t evenly dispersed. In Narva, on the Russian border, over 90 per cent are Russian speakers.


Back in Tallinn, I spend a night at the Telegraaf hotel. Before it became a hotel, this building was Tallinn’s telephone exchange. In 1924, local communists, supported by the Soviet Union, stormed the exchange in an attempt to overthrow the Estonian government. As they were sending a telegram to the USSR, requesting military back-up, an Estonian general called Ernst Podder broke into the building with several soldiers and shot all six of them. Thanks to his quick thinking, that telegram was never sent.

Thank God that telegram was never sent!  Now President Obama needs to send one to Russia:  We will ask for military authority from the US Congress and maybe even, as in Korea, from the General Assembly of the UN as it did to continue the Korean War under UN aegis:

As a result of this, America put forward a resolution called ‘Uniting For Peace’. This stated that if the Security Council vetoed any initiative that was considered important for maintaining peace, the General Assembly should take over to keep going the impetus for peace. Russia argued about the legality of this and it was a source of much argument for many years.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Steven Brodie Tucker says:

    President Clinton and President Obama helped disarm the Ukraine. In fact, we paid them to disarm. We’re just as responsible as Russia; and of course, as the Ukraine itself. Willingly disarming yourself with Russia as a neighbor is psychotic. I’m not saying she asked for it, I’m just saying that the Ukraine acted stupidly and I am not willing to risk American lives and treasure to correct that stupidity. This should serve as a lesson learned to other nations and we’ll leave it at that.


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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