The second appeasement: Why Ukraine matters

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By Mellyssa de Paiva
Staff Writer

Moscow, Russia – In recent weeks the Ukrainian Crisis has received less and less news coverage. It seems that all is quiet on the Eastern front after all.

But much like the diplomatic crisis which issued the Munich Agreement, the matter with Russia is far from resolved. That is not to say that Hitler will be marching on the Ukraine in the next week or so. But the reality of the matter is that Russian President Vladimir Putin has done very little short of blitzkrieg the Ukrainian national territory.

This might not be the world of 1938, but 2014 has proven itself to be the year of Putin. He has gotten away with what is arguably the equivalent of the famous World War II diplomatic snafu of Appeasement. He carved himself a chunk of  Ukraine and whether or not he will stop at that is a question no one can really answer.

To debate the legitimacy or legality of Russia’s claim is both irrelevant and inconsequential. Pro-Russian rebels in the peninsula and much of eastern Ukraine are hardly the sort of individuals who can be persuaded by academic and international law arguments which hold very little reality in a world where, the large majority of the people in the region are actually Russians exiled from their own land.

The reality of the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the split in the U.S.S.R. nations translates to a great deal of actual, culturally and ethnically identifying Russians  ending up in what is a foreign nation. For many years meant that Russians who were now abroad, were treated as second rate citizens in many eastern European nations.

Crimea raises the good old political question of whether or not a nation has the right to protect its “citizens” when they are abroad. Crimea is clearly foreign soil, and the legality of Russia’s actions are more than just called to question. They are a horrifying breach of treaties and international law.

Yet the trouble doesn’t end with Crimea. If anything, it seems to be the tip of a much larger iceberg.

The idea of rebuilding the empire has been a theme in history nations consumed by this idea that reliving the past as a way to bring on this Golden Age from times passed.

The Ukraine is gasping for air, and the European Union seems to be somewhat on board with,  defending the sovereign nation. As the ties between the former nations of the bloc and the EU get stronger, the pressure to push the limits of international law and norms will become more and more obvious. And as Hitler proved in 1938, one can only feed the beast for so long before it tries to devour the world whole.

Russia, and particularly Vladimir Putin, still have a couple of tricks up their sleeve. Let’s not be hasty and think this means the ‘peace for our time.’