UN Intervention Required in Ukraine
by Marshall Sloane on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Ever since protestors started rioting in Kiev and across the country, Ukraine’s turmoil has only heightened. Beginning as nothing more than a simple anti-government protest, the Ukrainian revolution has become a question of power regarding the fate of Ukraine, after Ukrainian President Yanukovych was removed from power this February. The relationship between Yanukovych and Russian President Putin was of great strategic importance: Russian naval bases within Ukraine served as the Russian navy’s primary access to the Black Sea. Consequently, upon President Yanukovych’s fall from power, Vladimir Putin was at a loss: one of his few European allies had slipped from his grasp. Since then, Mr. Putin has attempted to regain control through the posturing of Russian soldiers on the border and through the annexation of swathes of Ukrainian territory. The world needs to realize the gravity of Mr. Putin’s actions in this region and how Russia is setting a trend for forceful, selfish national action.
The guaranteed territorial integrity of sovereign states is one of the most important foundations of international law. Vladimir Putin’s desire to restore his nation’s historical greatness and his tendency of annexing territory to “protect” the Russian people within is dangerous. With the instigation of violence and the annexation of Crimea by Putin’s hand, the world cannot ignore such blatant Russian aggression; every minute that passes, we inch closer to potential disaster.
To truly understand the future of Russia’s foreign policy, one needs to look at its present situation. As a fertile, populated, resourceful country, Ukraine has always been an integral part of Russia’s economic and foreign policies. An article recently published in the New York Times explained Putin’s propaganda campaign and the false logic behind Russian aggression. According to the article, propaganda based upon Ukraine’s political and economic integration with Russia have convinced the Russian populace that Putin’s actions in Ukraine are both justified and necessary. However, such aggression is not the solution to Russia’s problems.
Ukraine is still nominally a Russian ally. Russia’s blatant betrayal of its ally has elicited insufficient response. NATO’s feeble attempt to impose sanctions on Russia will provide only a short term hindrance, as Russia is economically strong due to its vast natural gas reserves. The West must begin both to consider military action in this region and show that the violation of international law is no light manner. If the international community neglects to take strong action, it reinforces the validity of Russian actions and the viability of wanton invasion. Essentially, in allowing Russia to aggressively annex swathes of its neighbors’ territories, the international community sets a precedent that encourages the invasion of countries on trumped-up pretexts and the destabilization of the world order.
International law has a simple yet important purpose: to enforce world order and uphold justice. Vladimir Putin’s actions contradict this basic tenet and push us towards a future of weakened international law. If the international community does not—or can not—stop Russia, the world may be irrevocably set on a path of disorder and confusion.
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