As most up-to-date Americans are aware of, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin and his capricious actions. Most recently, Putin took up an old battle with Ukraine, annexing the southern-most peninsula of Crimea as a part of Russia. He then also fortified that new border with Ukraine with Russian soldiers, of which Putin refutes to have any affiliation with (a humorously vain bluff). Crimea was a public issue for all but a week. Putin saw, he came, and he conquered before anyone had proper time to respond with a rational proposal. Now, Western world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel are anxious that Putin’s crazy power grab will mean an invasion of Ukraine. Despite this fervent quest to re-instate the Soviet Union of the ’70s, much of the world seems content to play off Crimea as just Russia asserting its sphere of influence. However, as Gary Kasparov delineates, the West is not so much concerned with the civil liberties of Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and its peoples more than it is with the economic advantages it has with not intervening militarily with Russia. If the United States, Britain, or Germany, for example, were to rebuke the actions of Russia, they would all be alienating the millions of dollars Russian investors put into those foreign banks. All the while, Russia’s constituents are silenced by an omnipresent fear of voicing their opinions and the rest of the world sits dumb in their chairs, fearing the money in their pockets. Kasparov argues that Putin’s strategies are damningly reminiscent of Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930’s. While not placing the two on a parallel, he does point out the inherent similarities in their actions. Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in NYC, argues that world leaders need to face the facts and take action or else Putin will repeat history in an unsavory fashion.
I understand where Mr. Kasparov is coming from; with an incumbent congress that moves about as a fast as a drop of syrup from a Maple tree, it’s understandable to believe that this inactivity would bleed into the other branches of our government. However, I have faith that President Obama as well as other world leaders, such as England’s David Cameron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, will spur into action soon enough to counteract Putin’s military force. For one, if anyone is to be wary of another megalomaniac dictator conquering Europe, it would be Germany. Trying to just ignore the past, despite what Kasparov implies, seems too ignorant even of the most ineffective governments in the world. As far as the economics of Russia’s aggression go from America’s perspective, the millions of dollars a military intervention would require seems impossible in America’s financial climate, let alone our inherent cash motives. Besides, this nation has acted as the world’s police more than enough the past couple decades. This is a problem, as the article mentioned, that Russia and Europe have to solve for themselves. Ultimately, the onus is on them.
All that being said, I completely side with Chairman Kasparov in his opinions and in his writing of this article. World leaders need pressure put on them if they are to act swiftly and in the interests of their citizens. I suppose after all I am just a naive high school senior who foolhardily believes in the ability of world leaders to do the right things.