Anti-government demonstrations boiled over into full-blown riots last month in Kiev, Ukraine.
In the days following, police and protestors clashed in the streets, killing at least 82 and injuring more than 1,000 people.
The police blocked the advancement of the demonstrators, under order from the Ukrainian government. They began firing rubber bullets and, later, live ammunition with guns including automatic weapons and sniper rifles. The protestors fought back with crude weapons and makeshift explosives, beating back the government forces.
As a result, President Yanukovych was impeached, and his opposition appointed an interim leader until new elections could be held.
Meanwhile, Yanukovych fled the capitol, ending up in southern Russia. In the days following, Russia released statements that questioned the legality of the new Ukrainian government.
In a potentially menacing move, the Russian government then allegedly positioned troops at airfields near Ukraine.
This is the part of the story where the US government completely embarrasses itself. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that any Russian involvement in the Ukrainian revolution would be a “grave mistake.”
Russia’s response was, essentially, “Go jump in a lake,” because on March 1, Russia’s parliament approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian troops in Ukraine.
President Obama called Putin that afternoon and expressed “deep concern” with what Ukraine is calling an “armed invasion.”
This puny response won’t deter Putin. Vladimir Putin does not fear America or her allies, and really, he shouldn’t.
The idea that the U.S., Britain or France – the only western countries with sizeable, readily deployable, experienced combat forces – might respond militarily to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be taken seriously.
This is largely the fault of the current administration’s foreign policy track record.
In 2008, Russia moved into the small nation of Georgia with absolutely no Western military response. Even in the more recent Syrian Civil War, the U.S. made several threats of retaliation, but effectively did nothing to intervene.
The Obama administration has weakened our nation in the views of our enemies by making it clear that we won’t follow through on any threats of force.
Putin, with his well-established hate of the West, mostly blames the U.S. for the fall of the Soviet Union, will take any opportunity to embarrass Obama and the government while furthering the interests of Russia. In invading Ukraine, he is forcefully reclaiming a once-Soviet state, spitting in the face of all whom he blames for destroying his communist Union.
Our biggest international foe, with which we waged satellite wars for two generations, is mocking us. If America loses its credibility in the global arena as a formidable military force, then we are destined for even more conflict.
We need new leadership. Not leadership that wants to start wars, but a government and a president that will do what it takes to keep our country safe. At such an unstable time, we can’t afford to adopt a policy of weakness.