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Published:March 6th, 2014 20:32 EST
What Will Be the Western Response to the Russian Invasion of Crimea, Appeasement?

What Will Be the Western Response to the Russian Invasion of Crimea, Appeasement?

By John G. Kays

A simple way to put it is: Russia loses its inside man in Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, so it decides to send 16,000 troops into Crimea, disguised as self-defense units (or is it well-trained militia forces?), possibly, with annexation in mind; also, Russia would then have an option to occupy the Ukraine, if it doesn`t get what it wants. Ukraine`s Interim President Olexander Turchynov is not the man for Russia, he advocates freedom and autonomy for his people. 

There`s an analogy making the rounds, Adolf Hitler annexes Austria in March of 1938, and when his aggression goes unchecked, he takes it further and claims the Sudetenland portion of Czechoslovakia for Germany. Will Vladimir Putin`s invasion of Ukrainian sovereign territory go uncontested?

I thought of another parallel, which may be even more appropriate, since some are saying Russian behavior is a throwback to the Cold War and the USSR. This would be the Soviet invasion of Hungary on November 4, 1956 (Operation Whirlwind), during a time when the Hungarians, in a grab for freedom, thought they would try to break away from the iron grip of the Soviet Union. The Soviets sent 17 Divisions into Budapest, which saw stiff resistance and lots of intense street fighting; ultimately, 2,500 Hungarian patriots lost their lives and 722 Soviet troops perished. As I see it, Putin doesn`t want to lose control of the Black Sea; therefore, he must control Crimea!

The blockade imposed by Russian ships in Sevastopol Harbor is a good example of how they wish to gain the upper hand in the Black Sea; currently, there`s a Ukrainian command ship, frigate, and tugboat blocked in the harbor by two Russian tugs and a very intimidating Russian minesweeper. This evokes memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the U.S. imposed an aircraft carrier blockade on ports in Cuba, preventing any further Soviet ships, loaded with nuclear warheads, making it to the shores of the Americas. Well, I don`t suppose this is quite measures up to that caliber, but it`s definitely a tense situation!

The Western response to this obvious Russian aggression is just beginning to take shape; the various organizations or parties who can make a difference would have to include: The United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and the U.S. State Department, of course. A NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday was tense, where alliance members confronted Alexander V. Grushko (the Russian representative), emphasizing Moscow is in violation of international law in Crimea. The Russians claim the troops are there to protect ethnic Russians, who are being threatened. This is clearly a lie! (The Washington Post - U.S., allies slowly put squeeze on Russia - 3/05/`14) 

Furthermore, the Pentagon, working with NATO, plans on sending six F-15 fighter jets to Lithuania, which could act as a deterrent to further aggression. The E.U. has authorized a $15 billion aid package to Ukraine (which will be distributed to them over the next several years). The catch is that reforms in Ukraine must be real; I would think that also means they better not put anymore Russian puppet politicians in power. And there`s still quite a bit of cleaning up to do, as far as corruption goes, from the previous ousted Yanukovych Administration. 

From what I can tell, John Kerry (and the President) are responding thoughtfully, yet forcefully to the crisis, short of getting us into another unnecessary war. I was positively struck by a press release from the Department of State: President Putin`s Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine. Some of these lies include: denying they even sent in troops, claiming Yanukovych is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine, saying ethnic Russians are being threatened, and even asserting that kyiv is trying to destabilize Crimea. 

The press release does a good job of discrediting all these phony reasons for invading Ukraine`s sovereign territory, Crimea. I just heard about the Crimean parliament voting to return to the Russian Federation; the only problem is, that`s illegal, they`re already part of Ukraine. Where do we go from here?

*Sources: BBC News - Ukraine crisis: Illegal Crimean referendum condemned, U.S. Department of State - President Putin Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine, The Washington Post (several pieces), USA Today - House panel condemns Russia for action in the Ukraine, the Guardian - US and Russia fail to reach Ukraine deal on day of frantic diplomacy, Wikipedia - WWII (Hitler annexes Austria, then Czechoslovakia), Wikipedia - The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Books: The Cambridge History of Russia, V. I, and Russia A History, Edited by Maureen Perrie, Edited by Gregory L. Freeze.