Editorial: Awaiting tumbling dominos

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 07:45 PM

Our detractors are waiting. So, too, are our allies.

United States action, or lack thereof, will trigger the planet’s dominos even while the real battle is between Russia and Ukraine. Our full-time role as the world’s policeman is yet again center stage.

We have significant interests because a pro-Western government is crumbling, global markets are fluctuating and seizures of other nearby countries are possible. All impact us.

Vladimir Putin may claim otherwise, but Russian troops moving into Crimea are a sign of takeover. Annexation could be next. The peace Russia previously agreed to with its neighbors is now trembling.

Crimea may only be the beginning.

Tearing down a wall wasn’t easy. And Putin will not finding rebuilding it to be any less a challenge.

He is obviously brimming with confidence and has picked the right time.

There’s the seven years of buildup and $50 billion for his Olympics Games image enhancement just completed in Sochi, essentially now blown. There’s knowledge the U.S. and allied response will include economic measures. And there’s knowledge Barack Obama is already into the least powerful stage of his two-term presidency.

Any red lines from the White House will be nothing more than window art.

Russia is a powerful country, with a veto seat at the G8 table, significant resources to handle economic sanctions and a legitimate military threat. We should not be surprised to see Putin scoff at Obama’s tough talk during the weekend by moving in troops.

Putin knows where American troops have been for more than a decade. He also knows the mindset of the compassionate red, white and blue back home. We’re tired of war, deployments and worry.

Anything our country’s leadership does, be it Obama or Congress or even the next president in 2016, will only have consequences in a long-term situation. It has become rare for any involvement to be short-term, whether a small country or much less one as large and powerful as Russia.

And so we wait. Patiently if we can. We crave the answers that will allow a Western government to survive, a solution that will not give in or push the escalation already apparent.

Peace and democracy are not easy. We will always step forward in defense.