My Turn: Ukraine situation proves world needs to change
Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk speaks during an U.N. Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis, Thursday, March 13, 2014, at United Nations headquarters. Yatsenyuk, during a meeting with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, declared in English that his government was "absolutely ready and open for talks with the Russian Federation" and urged Moscow to "start the dialogue" without guns and tanks. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Recent events in Kiev, Ukraine, which led to the overthrow of the corrupt and puppet Yanukovych regime by Ukrainians seeking to liberate themselves from hundreds of years of Russian domination caused Vladimir Putin to respond in a very disturbing but predictable way.
Putin seized Ukrainian sovereign territory in Crimea, its ships, and state properties despite Russia signing a treaty in 1994 guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for Ukraine surrendering its nuclear weapons.
The seizure was done under an absurd pretext and Russia threatens further seizures of Ukraine, Moldova and potentially others. Putin’s actions reveal some troubling insights to a somewhat gullible free world, namely:
∎ Putin and Russia’s current regime is a criminal enterprise. How else would you characterize a thug who enters your home, steals your property and decides to stay – purportedly for your protection.
∎ Peace through strength is the only way for the free world to protect itself from Putin and other aggressors. Every free nation, no matter how large or small, must be prepared to defend itself until reinforced by other freedom-loving nations. It is unacceptable for a nation to spend 2 to 3 percent of its GDP on defense and then rely on help from other nations. All free nations should spend a minimum of 10 to 15 percent of their GDP on defense.
∎ The United Nations has outlived its usefulness. The few useful programs conducted under the auspices of the U.N. can easily continue as separate agencies. If a world body cannot act effectively against one of its key members because of the veto potential by that same key member, what good is it? The League of Nations was disbanded between the two world wars because it was determined to be ineffective. It is time for the U.N. to be replaced by a new world body, with membership based on common beliefs in human rights, individual freedoms and liberties that are God-given to all human beings and nations.
∎ The United States has been the leader of the free world for the past 70-plus years. As Americans, we truly have been blessed and we have a duty to fulfill our responsibility as the leader of the free world. We did not choose that destiny, but we have it. Withdrawing from the world stage, as some would like, is not an option for America, especially today when there is no other nation on Earth that can lead.
∎ NATO membership may not be the best long-term solution for Eastern European nations. These nations may want to form a separate alliance, in which all member nations would support each other militarily and economically against any aggressors.
There is no doubt that we live in a very dangerous world. It has always been a dangerous world; evil has always existed and will continue to exist. I believe good will prevail if the good are not paralyzed by fear, act decisively and support each other. I pray that our country is blessed again with another FDR, Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan.
Time is running out.
(Bo J. Rudzinskyj of Sanborton served in the Army for 22 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel.)