The Russian invasion of the Ukraine has taken a turn for the worst. The ultimate nightmare of every free country in the world has occurred as a result of the conflict. Russian-backed rebels in the Ukraine allegedly shot down a commercial airplane with a land missile. For years, the threat of terrorists using surface to air missiles to attack non-military planes has been on the minds of every government security person in the world.
Putting weapons in the hands of radical, undisciplined mercenaries is a great risk. Russia has decided to arm rebels in Crimea to create havoc for the legitimate government of Ukraine, and in the end to annex land. This strategy has resulted in an egregious crime against humanity- the slaughter of nearly 300 innocents on a Malaysian plane.
As in a number of other dangerous situations, the U.S. response to Russian actions has been timid at best, and totally ineffective in tempering Russia’s aggression. This is not to suggest that the U.S. should take military action against Russia, or even to provide armaments to the Ukraine government. The latter may also lead to increased casualties of civilians. Rather, truly harsh economic sanctions against Russia should be implemented immediately.
The current opposition to a more substantive U.S. response is that our country only does a relatively minor amount of business with Russia, while the European Union does substantially more. However, the dependence of the EU on Russian energy has caused the Europeans to be very reluctant to pressure Russia.
It has been noted that the U.S. could put maximum pressure on Russia by forbidding U.S. banks to deal with Russian banks. Even without European assistance, this tactic would create a serious economic crisis in Russia. Perhaps these actions should have been implemented earlier.
If so, we might not be in such a precarious situation at this time.
During the Cold War, Ronald Reagan effectively bankrupted the Soviet Union. There is no reason why the U.S. cannot act in a similar manner to force Russia to end the current crisis.