As predicted back in early May and mid-June, the situation in Ukraine has only gotten worse. However, no one could have predicted that the Russians would go as far as they did. Russia is turning into an out of control tyrannical superpower more and more each day. World leaders, including President Barack Obama either fear standing up to Vladimir Putin or simply do not know how. Even George W. Bush is reported to be regretting not standing up to the Russian tyrant more. The downing of flight MH17 proved just how far Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership is willing to go to bring back the old glory of the Soviet Union, even if it’s one small step at a time.
Many agree that it would be foolish to think Putin himself ordered the downing of the passenger plane, killing nearly 300 innocent civilians, but he certainly allowed the situation to go so far where that was possibility. The missile used to down the plane was believed to be shot from Eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border, or perhaps even in Russia, but more importantly the missile was believed to be Russian made. The Russian military had been supporting the separatists in Eastern Ukraine since the violence started early this year, and their support had evolved into both giving them the capability to shoot down Ukrainian military aircrafts and even shooting them down themselves. The first casualty of this tactic was a Ukrainian military helicopter just a few short months ago, and then the weapons were turned on military jets in Ukraine and eventually the civilian airliner.
What happened in the aftermath of the downing of flight MH17 was just as disgusting. The plane crashed in rebel held territory, and the rebels rushed to the scene to collect evidence to send to Moscow. The rebels refused to let Ukrainian officials into the area to search, and would not comply with outside investigators that demanded to see the evidence and wreckage from the crash, including the black box, the device on the plane that may prove what happened. The bodies of those who died, the wreckage and the evidence was sent with Moscow, where many believed it was all tampered with, and the truth will never come out about what happened to that flight.
The response of the Russian government and military was just as expected, heartless. The Russians didn’t have much to say except that the Ukrainians shot down the plane and that it was likely to be an attempt on the life of Vladimir Putin who had a similar flight path earlier that day. The famous Russian propaganda machine was at it again, and looking back now, it seemed to work in their favor.
After the plane was shot down, western nations announced new harsher sanctions on Putin and Russia. However, we probably will not know how effective these sanctions are anytime soon, given that Russia has been ranked as a country with some of the strictest laws against the press in the world. The Russian government can easily live in wealth while the people suffer the consequences. As with the Soviet Union, it is important to note that the people are not responsible for what is happening; it is the Russian government and the Russian military who are causing the problems around the world and making life hard for their citizens. Due to the strict laws against the press, it is hard for citizens to speak out in a place like Russia. This means the international community should be standing up for these citizens and standing up to the Russian government, however, we have not seen that.
Now we see the Russians building up their forces around the Ukrainian border yet again, reportedly ready for a quick strike under the pretense of peacekeeping or humanitarian intervention. Neither would be properly justified under UN rules, but with veto power, Russia feels they can do what they want and get away with it. Eastern European nations fear Russia’s military power and Putin’s boldness, as they should. I firmly believe it is the goal of Vladimir Putin and his top advisors to bring back the Soviet Union, and this is how they will do it. They will take land a little bit at a time under the pretense that they were attacked in some way or that they are defending their citizens. The world knows it is a lie, but Russia continues to get away with it, just like in Georgia and Crimea.
If Russia were allowed to invade Ukraine, the consequences would be disastrous. Without anyone truly attempting to stop them, the Russians would continue to gain ground in Eastern Europe by claiming they are protecting ethnic Russians in those countries. Before long, Russia would have some of the same territories they had when they were the Soviet Union, and the world would be back in a new Cold War.
Perhaps the greatest consequence of this is the rise of radical Islam in the world. The last thing the United States and our allies need is to have to deal with an uncooperative and all powerful Russia who is invading territories around the world while we are trying to keep groups such as ISIS, al Qaeda and Hamas from killing innocent civilians around the world. ISIS rose to power when Barack Obama started to ignore Iraq, and if we continue to, the situation will only get worse. It is time for Obama and the other world leaders to stand up to both Russia and ISIS before the situations get too dire. The world must stand united against evil, but we are far from united right now. Putin provides an unlikely distraction to the world that allows ISIS to operate without too much notice from the international community. Instead of invading Ukraine, Russia should be working with the United States to find a way to stop ISIS before they kill any more innocent civilians. A jihadist state would be a disaster for both the United States and a potential future Soviet Union. So how do we stop Russia? Show them the biggest threat to the international community besides themselves.