Here we are again. Something bad happens sometimes. After declaring that we do not want to go to war, we are back to the warrior path. We just love it, don't we? Particularly the GOP who prefers to spend money on arms than on food stamps or health care. It might look obvious, except in Washington. So we have our battery of sanctions ready and we will refuse visas. Great.
The West encourages self-determination when it fits its interests.
The West let President Mubarak drop in Egypt in the name of the people. They voted for a president. Two years after, the elections are channeled by the army, and the U.S. backs the army. We seem to agree to support revolution against election in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and others only when we do not like them. We supported the Muslim brotherhood and helped the Army overturn them.
Eastern Ukraine is a creation of Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev who thought the Soviet Union would survive for ever. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Ukraine could only become independent on the express conditions that the Russian Navy would remain there forever, and have access to the sea. They have their troops to manage their fleet. Ethnic Russians populate Crimea.
Do we care about the people of Crimea who do not want to remain under the fascists who dominate Ukraine and prohibit them from speaking Russian? Of course not. We hate Russia. This is the main reason for our sanctions. Does the Parliament votes to join Russia? It is illegal. Will Crimea, who disposes of a special status, vote whether they want to be reunited with Russia or not? We impose sanctions.
Do we have a true moral stance in our international policy?
We are making Putin a World Leader.
Already in the compromise for Syrian chemical weapons, Vladimir Putin is increasingly looking as the referee of conflicts. He was totally upset that Yanoukovich had mad his Olympics Games in Sochi "tainted" by the blood of Kiev.
By siding with the "opposition" even though they were under the influence of extreme right and neo-Nazi groups, we made things worse rather than better. After all, the President had been legitimately elected.
This gave Vladimir Putin the perfect opportunity to take back Crimea. He will probably succeed, with or without our consent. The vitriolic exchange of anathema will not improve the situation. It puts Putin once more in the referee position.
How long will it take us to understand his (perfectly) predictable game, and counter it? It is a Russian chess game. Not poker.
We need a principle-based foreign policy.
As hard as it is to accept, the U.S. has lost a lot in the last 10 years: its stance on torture with the Geneva Convention; its stance allowing it to attack countries for "preventive reasons"; its support to a crooked regime in Afghanistan and other "extraterritorial" incursions.
We have decided it was our right. It's called self-righteousness. It does not make it legitimate. It is urgent that both sides of the aisle sit down and redesign a U.S. foreign policy that does provide for actions and reactions based on a new set of principles.
That probably means that we need to redefine our attitude towards the United Nations. They have been created to stop conflicts, and take humanitarian measures. We are, sometimes unknowingly, interfering with elements of civil disagreement. Why would we support the Sunnis in one place and the Shiites in another place? Are we on the side of East or Western Ukraine?
"Our" interests do not justify anything. They do not provide legitimacy. We have now all kinds of channels to exercise our rights, rather than interfering in local politics.
"F... Europe" was the idea. For all its weaknesses, however, Europe has to live with borders with Russia and Ukraine. It has to resolve its neighborhoods problems. There is no need, however, for them to supersede what the Crimea's people will decide.
Are we having a selective view on democracy?