Feb. 28, 2014
“The situation unfolding in Ukraine right now is a harsh lesson that no matter how great the victory, we must never rest on our laurels. After the United States won the Cold War and the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, many on both sides of the aisle believed that the Soviet threat to freedom was a thing of the past and that the new, democratic Russia would be a reasonable partner and even an ally.
“The events of the last seventy-two hours demonstrate this is not the case. Vladimir Putin barely waited for the flame of the Olympic torch in Sochi to be extinguished before he turned his attention to crushing the most recent attempt of the Ukrainian people to move towards freedom and the West. Despite warnings and expressions of concern from the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Advisor, the Ambassador to the United Nations and even the President of the United States, Putin apparently feels he can act with impunity in what he considers to be his exclusive sphere of influence.
“He has good reason to do so. Over the five years of his presidency, President Obama has done nothing to help the people of Georgia reclaim the some 20 percent of their sovereign territory that was violated by the 2008 Russian invasion, instead instructing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to attempt to ‘reset’ the relationship with Russia in the hopes of pursuing more arms control agreements rather than forcefully defending American national security interests and those of our allies.
“This evening, President Obama spoke of his deep concerns about reports of Russian military action in Ukraine and urged Putin not to violate international laws. But as the President and his national security team are apparently the last to learn, Putin has scant regard for international norms when they run counter to his goal of re-establishing Soviet-style regional hegemony over unfortunate states like Georgia and Ukraine who have the temerity to want a more free, prosperous future for their people. And Putin is under no illusions that the President’s vague threats mean any more than his infamous ‘red line’ in the Syrian desert.
“If we were serious about standing up to Putin’s power grab, we would immediately suspend Russian membership in the Group of Eight (G8), which should consist of nations that can contribute to a civilized order. And if the Russians persist in this aggressive action, we should look into additional measures such as suspension from the World Trade Organization and even the United Nations Security Council.
“The United States should stand with Ukraine.”