To pretend that any of us nestled comfortably in our United States of American can fully understand what is going on in the Ukraine is completely unrealistic. What we can do, however, is look to reputable news outlets to provide a realistic depiction of the situation in hopes of formulating an informed opinion regarding a proper, internationally-beneficial resolution.
As everyone should know by now, civil unrest in the Ukraine has been on the rise since November 2013. The Ukrainian economy is coming dangerously close to defaulting on their foreign debts and government officials have announced their need for foreign aid. Caught between democracy and a Cold War place, the Ukraine has been offered economic assistance from both the European Union and Russia. However, the European Union has thus far been unable to match the offer from Russia. And while the particulars of the situation are highly nuanced and fundamental to understanding the situation, when considering the prospect of intervention, it’s more important to take a big picture approach.
It is impossible to deny the complexity of the situation; the nation of Ukraine is in a really difficult position. As we’ve seen over the course of human history, people are really willing to get up in arms about economic issues, especially when they go so far as to influence their quality of life. The situation with the Ukrainian economy has become divisive within the nation and their government. As such, factionist parties are emerging, further driving a wedge within the constituency and, more importantly, fostering a greater divergence of opinions on an international scale. As protests continue to escalate in both severity and violence, the international community is calling for an end to the global inaction.
Many feel that the Ukrainian Revolution harkens back to the Cold War era and fear that any intervention will be received under the veil of a resonant and unwelcome post-Cold War mentality, especially if orchestrated principally by the U.S. Others, however, would prefer to chuck social niceties to the wayside and install peace and democracy onto Ukraine, whatever the political and social costs. As complicated as it may seem, there is a middle ground.
This issue is fundamentally economic in nature and to try to extract it from that framework is rather trivial and flippant. And so we fight fire with fire. We must consider the situation from that perspective. The Ukraine needs someone to foot the bill; the EU has offered, but the deal comes along with quite a few provisions that they are unsteady about accepting. Russia has offered aid to the Ukraine and although they have been shrouded in ambiguity, we all know what the acceptance of that offer would truly entail. For the Ukraine to choose the “high road,” international entities have to make them an offer that they can’t refuse. And taking a hands-off approach isn’t working. It’s time to take some action.
The fact of the matter is that it isn’t going to be easy; it isn’t going to be pretty; and it’s going to be met with a lot of resistance. But the people of the Ukraine are suffering; lives are being destroyed and the international community has a responsibility to eradicate behavior that does nothing but exacerbate a preexisting issue. A bailout, sanctions, a genuine commitment to a mutually-beneficial trade agreement—whatever form it takes, the time is ripe for international action.
The part of the story that a lot of people don’t see is that these factionist parties are emerging all over Europe. And if something isn’t done to take control of the situation in the Ukraine, their situation may act as a catalyst for a widespread European revolution reminiscent of a political situation that we weren’t too fond of the first time around.
I’m all for anything that disproves the American “bully in the playground” stigma. But the situation in the Ukraine is clearly not going to resolve itself. I know that we don’t have all the answers, but this is not the time to sit on our hands and look the other way. People are dying; lives are being destroyed and there is something to be done. If intervention came from the international community as a whole, it would likely be met with resistance and criticism at first. But if the effort is genuine in that it meets the conflict with resolute and concrete solutions that would rebuild the economy and constituency from the bottom up, then thanks will ultimately be offered to the international community.
Geneva Mueller advocates for the benefits of helping the international community. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
We need to take a big picture approach when we consider intervention in Ukraine
There is a complicated middle ground, with both political and social considerations.
Action needs to be taken because lives are being lost.