The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Columns

March 20, 2014

Guest column: Hoosiers should care about Ukraine

Since the Russian occupation of Crimea began last month, I have been asked the same question by many Hoosiers: What difference does the Ukraine crisis make to us in Indiana?

This is Hoosier common sense at its finest. On the surface, there is no direct link.

Ukraine is 5,000 miles away. Trade between our two countries is minuscule and shrinking. Only 30 percent of the Ukrainian population professes any religious faith. Ukraine is the source of no energy resources or critical materials. Instead, it is a country marked by instability and corruption.

So why should Americans care?

The first and most obvious answer is the central lesson of history: conflicts grow from small beginnings.

We all know that the assassination of an imperial relative in a Balkan town in 1914 led to the violent death of 37 million people in the first World War. We know that the cataclysm of WWII began with Germany’s stealth invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938, eerily reminiscent of Russia’s moves on Crimea.

A history lesson closer in time is taught by the Balkan wars of the 1990s. When Serb gunboats shelled the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in 1992, the world — and most especially Croatia’s European neighbors — did nothing. The result of inaction was the death of more than 100,000 people.

If the international community had had the collective wisdom, leadership and courage simply to tell Belgrade that major European population centers are no longer shelled in modern Europe, this suffering would have been prevented.

Policymakers should draw from such lessons. In order to avoid larger and likely more disastrous developments down the road, America must confront the choice of simply letting Russian President Vladimir Putin have his way or spearheading an international response to bring him to his senses.

A second, related American interest is the stability of the European continent itself. Ukraine is not an obscure sideshow. It is comprised of the remnants of two European empires and deeply embedded in the integrated structure, identity, economy and culture of Europe as a whole.

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you think heroin is a significant problem in Madison County?

Yes, it has surpassed meth as the problem drug
Yes, but meth is still a bigger problem
No, this was an isolated case
Not sure
     View Results