The Washington Post has come out with an Oh! So typical editorial this morning which (in my humble opinion) once again puts childish feelings ahead of adult common sense. Yellow journalism has never been so crass.
"The United States now faces a naked act of armed aggression in the
center of Europe by a Russian regime that is signaling its intent to
steamroller this U.S. president and his allies. Mr. Obama must
demonstrate that can’t be done."
Editorialists love to use the word "naked" this way because it appeals to so many Americans who feel so impotent and inadequate in their sex lives, precisely because their own expressions of feeling are so often hateful and aggressive and so rarely understanding, empathetic and amicable.
I'm not all that different or special in this country. It is true that I was exposed to a decent class in world history when I was in junior high school. I can envisualize where the Crimea or the Caucasus mountains fall on a map of EurAsia. But I was certainly never a military specialist or politician or historian or any of that.
Anybody who knows anything about world history and economics understands the critical importance of access to the oceans and trade routes. The importance of such access for both peacetime and war success cannot be overstated. All the great empires have dominated the seas. Russia understands their principle, primary strategic and economic "crunch point" is ocean access; they are doomed without it. However all of their major ports are frozen solid for a good portion of the year; not a desireable state of affairs. They cling and protect very strongly to what they've got because its all they've got.
The Black Sea is a tenuous connection to the oceans. While it does not freeze, the access to the open oceans can easily be commanded and controlled -- choked -- either at the Dardanelles (do you remember "The Guns of Navaronne" and why they were so important at that time? ) or at the Pillars of Hercules (surely you understand why a US insurance company places so much importance upon that rock?). However, its the very best that Russia can do, otherwise they are landlocked. Their very survival depends on it, all of their trade with the world depends on it, and any ability for them to defend themselves depends on it.
This is why the country of Syria has so much importance to Russia. This is why it was ignorant folly, last year, for Obama to make a stand against Russian support and control in that country. A threat by the USA to Russian access to the port of Latakia is tantamount to attacking Moscow directly. This is why Obama backed down from his last "red line", because wiser heads spoke quietly to him. Trust me, strategists in Russia also observed how quickly he backed down.
This is why the Crimea is so important to Russia. Their survival depends on it.
This is why they can be depended upon to defend their control of this vital strategic penninsula, regardless of the "rights" and niceties of the citizens who happen to life there. They become pawns in a larger struggle. The USA is quite prone to acting in the same autocratic, totalitarian manner when strategic locations critical for their commerce and control come under threat of unfriendly opposition, such as Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Panama, for examples.
The Post, with today's editorial, is trying to stir up passions and foment trouble and sell more newspapers. During my whole lifetime the world leaders have struggled mightely to avoid a major confrontation between the USA and Russia. so how important is the Ukraine to the USA? How important is it for us to stad up for their open political process? Why are they suddenly more important than other oppressed people, such as those in Haiti, Somalia, Darfur, the Kurds, the Basques, and the "American Indians"? Are they so important as to risk what so many have tried so hard to avoid, a world war three, a possible nuclear contfrontation, a potential for a large land and sea war?
And if we do get involved in such a confrontation, do you think China will just sit back and watch? Or will they take the opportunity of our diversion to crush Japan, once and for all? And what other mischief might be expected to evolve in such a scenario? What might happen to Israel while the US was busy elsewhere?
Evidently, the paddle and the strap never should have been taken away from elementary school teachers in this country. Evidently, some hot shot egotistical morons need some serious paddling, followed by years and years of studying about how things really are in this world. Before its too late.....