News / USA

Roundup: Opinions on Ukraine from US and Foreign Media

A woman walks with a baby as members of the Crimean self defense forces stand on the platform at the main railway station in Simferopol, Ukraine, March 14, 2014.
A woman walks with a baby as members of the Crimean self defense forces stand on the platform at the main railway station in Simferopol, Ukraine, March 14, 2014.
The crisis in Ukraine has captured global attention and is generating a wide spectrum of opinion on its causes and solutions. Newspapers, blogs and other media are publishing a variety of commentaries and editorials on what’s to be done and who’s to blame.

Each day, VOA will curate a selection of these editorial opinions, highlight selections, and offer them for our readers’ consideration.

The opinions expressed below are, of course, those of the authors, not the Voice of America.

"How To Stop - Or Slow - Putin" Commentary by political columnist Charles Krauthammer, published in the Washington Post.

"As for economic sanctions, they are currently puny. We haven’t done a thing. We haven’t even named names. We’ve just authorized the penalizing of individuals.

"Name the names, freeze their accounts. But any real effect will require broader sanctions and for that we need European cooperation. The ultimate sanction is to cut off Russian oligarchs, companies and banks from the Western financial system.

"That’s the economic “nuclear option” that brought Iran to its knees and to the negotiating table. It would have a devastating effect on Putin’s economy.As of now, the Germans, French and British have balked. They have too much economic interest in the Moscow connection.

"Which means we can do nothing decisive in the short or even medium term. But we can severely squeeze Russia in the long term.

"How? For serious sanctions to become possible, Europe must first be weaned off Russian gas. Obama should order the Energy Department to expedite authorization for roughly 25 liquified natural gas export facilities. Demand all decisions within six weeks.

"And express major U.S. support for a southern-route pipeline to export Caspian Sea gas to Europe without traversing Russia or Ukraine."

"Back to the Future in Ukraine and Asia" Commentary by Jamie Metzl, former Capitol Hill and White House diplomatic staff, published in the Gulf Times of Qatar.

"With China’s leaders now aggressively demonising Japan and pressing disputed territorial and maritime claims more assertively than ever before, the country is being thrust in a direction that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with his penchant for historical revisionism and highlighting Japan’s nationalist past, may in some ways have already favoured: back to the nineteenth century.

"Europe, too, embraced the postwar international system.

"With security outsourced to America, European governments shifted their focus and expenditures to social welfare and set about building a twenty-first-century post-sovereign utopia that has blurred national divisions and replaced aggression and hostility with negotiation and compromise.

"The EU’s twenty-first-century dream now confronts the nineteenth-century Czarist bear, flashing its atavistic claws on the Russia-Ukraine border.

"And, just as Asean has been unable and unwilling to stand up to China over its encroachment in the South China Sea, the EU is already discovering the limits of its soft-power, consensus-driven approach to Russia.

I"f a twenty-first-century post-sovereign system remains an unreachable dream in our Hobbesian world, and reverting to nineteenth-century norms by acquiescing to aggressive behaviour by Russia and China is unpalatable, defending the postwar international system may be the best option we have.

"Ironically, a nineteenth-century response, featuring balance-of-power politics and the rearmament of Europe and Japan, may be part of what is required to do it."

"Obama Has Made America Look Weak" Opinion by U.S. Senator John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona, published in the International Herald Tribune.

"Three American presidents have sought to cooperate with Mr. Putin where our interests converge.

"What should be clear now, and should have been clear the last time he tore apart a country, is that our interests do not converge much. He will always insist on being our rival.

"The United States must look beyond Mr. Putin. His regime may appear imposing, but it is rotting inside. His Russia is not a great power on par with America.

"It is a gas station run by a corrupt, autocratic regime. And eventually, Russians will come for Mr. Putin in the same way and for the same reasons that Ukrainians came for Viktor F. Yanukovych.

"We must prepare for that day now. We should show the Russian people that we support their human rights by expanding the Magnitsky Act to impose more sanctions on those who abuse them.

"We should stop allowing their country’s most corrupt officials to park ill-gotten proceeds in Western economies. We should prove that countries like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have a future in the Euro-Atlantic community, and Russia can, too."

"A Selective View of 'Democracy'" Commentary by Paul Pillar, Georgetown University professor and former CIA analyst, published in the Arab American News.

"Some of the most enthusiastic proponents of active, U.S.-led promotion of democracy have more than once in recent months cheered what is one of the clearest possible negations of democracy: overthrow through nondemocratic means of a freely elected leader.

"This happened last July in Egypt when the Egyptian military removed from office Mohamed Morsi, who had been chosen president in a free and fair election. Now it has happened again with the ouster from the Ukrainian presidency of Viktor Yanukovych.

"There were good reasons to doubt the fairness of the election when Yanukovych first tried for the presidency in 2004 and the Orange Revolution ensued.

"But that was not the case with the election of 2010. Yanukovych’s political opponent Yulia Tymoshenko alleged that this election result also was fraudulent, but the allegations did not stand up.

"All the pre-election polls and exit polls had Yanukovych winning, and in the official tally his winning margin was almost a million votes. International observers accepted the election result as fair and valid.

"In each of these two cases the ouster of the leader followed a combination of unrest in the streets of the capital and more pointed action by security forces. In Egypt that action was a traditional military coup.

"In Ukraine — where the military conspicuously stayed out of the conflict — it was police striking deals with protest leaders under which the police would walk away from their posts.

"There are many criteria by which we in the West can assess what is good and what is bad about the events in these countries and any others in which similar political change occurs. What happens to democracy is only one of those criteria."


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Comment Sorting
by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio. USA
March 14, 2014 6:52 PM
"This does not only violate international law ... but it's also breaking an important international norm." -- Adm. James Stavridis.
And the Russian economy, as a "one-trick pony," is vulnerable.

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