The Russian and Ukrainian conflict is a mess, but it’s not our problem, at least not yet. When this conflict becomes a direct threat to the United States, then we need to act in a judicious manner. But now is not the time for a show of military force or empty threats.
We can’t be the world’s Mr. Fixit. We tried in Iraq, and what did we get for our efforts? Consider this from Judge Andrew Napolitano:
“When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, initially to search for weapons of mass destruction that we now know the Bush administration knew did not exist there, and eventually for regime change, the U.S. succeeded in changing profoundly the Iraqi government. But in the process, we lost 4,500 American troops, suffered 45,000 substantial injuries, borrowed and spent and have not paid back more than $2 trillion, caused the deaths of 650,000 Iraqis, displaced 2.5 million Iraqis, and unleashed into Iraq our public enemy, al-Qaida. Al-Qaida was not in Iraq before we invaded. Today, it controls one-third of that now unstable country.”
In my opinion, as much as he might want to resurrect the old Soviet Union, Putin understands the limits of his power. He needs the West and its economic base to stay viable.
The internal politics of the Ukrainian situation are not neatly cut as many pundits on both sides of the political aisle claim. There are many ethnic Russians living in Ukraine. The way the coup took place was illegal, and Putin’s move on the country was also illegal. But to repeat, at this point it’s not our fight. Judge Napolitano writes:
“Nearly two centuries ago, President John Quincy Adams warned his successors against the foreign policies that would be manifest in the Bush/Obama years. ‘Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons that they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy.’”