Chris Freind: U.S. should stay out of Russia-Ukraine affair.

July 28, 2014   ·   0 Comments

USA, EU are following a dangerous road towards escalation with Russia



Stay away. Far, far away.

Unless America wants to see the powder keg of Europe ignited once again — and it’s not a stretch to say that actively opposing Russia in its conflict with Ukraine could potentially start World War III — it will steer clear of that region. Avoiding another global war (this time with nuclear weapons) should be reason enough, but here’s another one: It’s not our fight.


Right now, it is a limited brawl between those two nations, and, despite the spin that Russia is the bad guy, it is not at all clear who is “right.” Either way, those powerful nations dominate that region; we don’t. To march in as a self-righteous superpower thinking we can “fix” the problem is arrogant, naive — and dangerous.


Let’s analyze the situation:

1.) Malaysia Airlines: They have now lost two 777s in the past couple of months. It’s enough to bankrupt any airline. In a span of four months, Malaysian Airlines planes have been involved in two of the worst airline tragedies in decades.


In the first incident, the jury remains out on just what happened to the missing Flight 370. While some conspiracy theories are absurd, others cannot be so easily dismissed. One thing is certain: The problems that have dogged the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines officials was on full display after Flight 370’s disappearance. A few months later, most experts believe Flight 17 was blown out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile. The tragedy over the Ukraine took place even after airlines had been repeatedly warned since April to avoid flying over that conflicted region. The Malaysian jet failed to heed that warning.


2.) Apparently the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” has been lost on many American leaders clamoring for more action against the pro-Russian rebels and Russia itself. Last time we checked, it remains unclear who fired the missile, especially since the Ukraine military operates the exact same SA-11 system.


And it’s not unprecedented for missiles to be fired at the wrong targets. Iraq killed 37 sailors on the USS Stark in 1987 when one of its airplane missiles mistakenly hit the Navy frigate. Similarly, the American cruiser Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner, killing nearly 300 people in 1988. We can’t have it both ways, stating that the Malaysian jet was unmistakably a passenger jet, yet excusing how one of the world’s most sophisticated radar systems (AEGIS) thought a jumbo jet was a small, attacking fighter. Our credibility on the world stage is at stake, so let’s think before we speak.


3.) The question of which country the predominantly Russian-speaking people of Crimea want to be aligned with is not new; these ethnic and nationality issues don’t just transcend borders, but time, with allegiances going back hundreds, even thousands, of years. We are a nation barely over 200 years old, with absolutely no concept of how far back, and how strong, these European ties are. To think we can provide the solution is naivete at its worst.


We used the same approach for engaging Iraq and Afghanistan. How’s that working out for us?


4.) Here a news flash: The Cold War is over. For those warmongers who missed it, perhaps we should declare victory again and move on, and out, of Europe. It’s been pointed out here before it’s time for America to stop policing the world, and start its exodus from Europe. Only four NATO countries meet their paltry requirement for defense spending, yet the U.S. always exceeds its obligation to pick up the slack. If the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is anybody’s business, it’s Europe’s. It falls entirely within their sphere of influence, so let them deal with it.


That’s not to advocate isolationism, as it is in America’s interest to have a global presence. But an aggressive and all-too-often misguided interventionist foreign policy (one advocated by both parties) leaves the perception of the U.S. as imperialistic aggressors, which creates exponentially more problems down the road. Time to stop expending blood and treasure in foreign lands while our protectees default on their end of the bargain, leaving us holding an empty bag.


5.) We haven’t done too well choosing sides in other regional conflicts. We backed the Libyan rebels (the largest foreign force in Iraq to fight the U.S., by the way) who overthrew Moammar Gadhafi, after which 10,000 surface-to-air missiles disappeared and the Benghazi tragedy occurred. Bet the ranch neither would have happened had Gadhafi remained in power.


We are backing the Syrian rebels, who are unquestionably more radical and anti-American than the government of Bashar Assad; the Iraqi government we helped install is worthless; and Afghani President Hamid Karzai is astonishingly ungrateful. Instead of meddling in foreign affairs so much, maybe it’s time to focus on the people who should matter most: Americans. In America.


6.) You know we’ve reached a low point when politicians bash the other side just to score cheap political points for some perceived gain, especially when doing so risks an expanded armed conflict in Europe, potentially putting American lives on the line.


For those hammering President Obama (with some even blaming him for the Malaysian shoot-down), one question: What exactly do you want him to do? Send “advisers” to the Ukraine, which always leads to more troops? Send more Navy ships to the region? Arm the Ukraine to the hilt? All will antagonize Russian leader Vladimir Putin and cause him to escalate the crisis. We cannot win a war there. Period. Since the outcome doesn’t affect us, let’s wait this one out on the sidelines.


As far as sanctions, good luck standing alone. Western Europe chose not to become energy independent, or at least dependent on friendly nations like Canada and the U.S. (which could be energy independent but is not). So it must rely on the Middle East, and even more so, Russia, for its lifeblood: natural gas. Watch for them to cheat on, or rescind, any sanctions.


Putin’s economy is sliding, but his people are rallying behind him and he is holding the better cards. Let Europe figure this one out.


Russia is not the superpower it once was, but it is still a powerful player that must be respected (after all, it’s the only ticket to our space station, but that’s another story). Warmongers’ cries of “appeasement” notwithstanding, playing “chicken-Kiev” with Russia is not sound foreign policy. It’s a recipe for disaster.

 Posted: |

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and commentator. He can be reached at CF@FFZMedia.com.



Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.