US intervention in the Ukraine-warranted or not?

Seamus Dowdall, Writer

Ukraine has become the hottest topic in the news; it’s on the front pages of every major media website and in virulent circulation across Twitter. Some say the new Cold War is at hand. What is going on? I approve of the current diplomatic approach of the United States towards the actions of Russia and the Ukraine situation. Russia will surely humiliate itself by infringing on Ukraine’s national sovereignty, and the international community will condemn Russia for its actions. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is under scrutiny for his particular distaste for democracy, will receive further criticism both internationally and domestically for his militant actions.

The crisis dates back to early December 2013. Then-President Viktor Yanukovych was en-route to sign economic agreements with the European Union in order to strengthen their ties. Unexpectedly, Yanukovych decided to instead sign a strong economic deal with Putin. The deal included a $15 billion loan on behalf of Russia, as well as price cuts for Russian gas sent to Ukraine by about one-third. While the deal provided economic stability in a dwindling Ukrainian economy, a bigger problem arose: the Ukrainian public was in strong opposition. Yanukovych refused to step back from his commitment.

Now, the country faces civil war and much more. After months of rioting, with deaths on both sides, a new opposition parliamentary government has taken control and invalidated Yanukovych as of Feb. 22. But to the fear of the international community, Russia is taking a pro-Yanukovych stance and has decided to intervene militarily. As of Feb. 28, Russian forces have seized Crimea, the southern portion of Ukraine.

The United States and the European Union have vehemently condemned the actions of Russia, convinced on diplomacy as the solution, but Russia won’t budge in its methods. Why is Russia so bent on asserting dominance over Ukraine? A look at history can answer this question.

A former satellite state, Ukraine had been incorporated into the Soviet Union since 1921. With little autonomy and control over its own nation, the Ukrainian people lived under Soviet control for almost 70 years. After gaining independence from the USSR fallout in 1990, Ukraine sought to separate from Russian influence to establish a formidable democracy and economy. Corruption and crime have haunted Ukraine’s infancy years of independence, and many political leaders have been able to wield an undemocratic portion of power. Among them, is the corrupt leader Yanukovych.

In his first bid for the presidency in 2004, Yanukovych committed massive election fraud to boost his campaign into victory. His political opponent Viktor Yushchenko was also mysteriously poisoned and was left severely disfigured in the face, although still able to run. The judicial system of Ukraine, as well as the majority of Ukraine that voted for Yushchenko, refused to acknowledge the faulty election results and erupted into riots now known as the Orange Revolution. Upon a fair re-run of the election, Yushchenko attained a majority and eight percent margin of victory, confirming the falsity and corruption of Yanukovych’s victory.

Today, Yanukovych is no longer president, but the situation couldn’t be much worse: as of March 3, Russia has issued an ultimatum for the opposition in Crimea to surrender before military action will take place. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Ukraine to preach of diplomacy. Only time will tell if the independence of Ukraine will survive.

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