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article imageOp-Ed: Can U.S. really claim the moral high ground on Ukraine?

By Steven Z.K. Nickels     Mar 10, 2014 in Politics
American leaders have condemned Russia's stationing of troops in Crimea in the Ukraine. Can the U.S. really claim the moral high ground in saying Russia has no right to be in Crimea?
To begin, I personally think that Russia is wrong to enter Crimea with military force. I think they are not respecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and I think their action is illegal in the aspect of world geo-political affairs. After all, this is 2014, not 1945 when the Soviet Union was conducting a power grab for countries after the end of World War II.
Having said that, I think it is disingenuous for many in the U.S. to condemn Russia's actions as entering a "sovereign" country without any provocation.
Have those officials forgotten about Iraq? The U.S. did exactly the same thing, even more than we are criticizing Russia for now. Russia at least has a close history with Ukraine, an adjoining border and a larger number of ethnic Russians in the Crimea — the region they have apparently sent military forces into. The U.S. had no such justifications in Iraq in 2003 when it invaded that country. The justification was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and was willing to sell or give them to terrorists who would directly threaten, even attack America's heartland. We know now, a decade later, that top American officials either chose to believe pretty scant evidence of Saddam actually having WMD or even more shocking, possibly chose to ignore a preponderance of the true evidence that he did not have those weapons.
To put it succinctly, the U.S. should never have entered Iraq. The reasons for invading that country have now proven to have been Bush's folly. And sadly, we lost over 4,000 American lives in the battlefields of that country. Their service and sacrifice was heroic and not to be diminished in any way, to be sure. But sadly, we are seeing that Iraq is on the verge of all-out civil war once again, lending more credence to the argument that we only added to the instability of the region and surely of the country of Iraq itself.
Which brings me back to my original point. Can the U.S. really claim any moral high ground in condemning Russia for sending troops into Crimea based on the actions of the U.S. government in the last decade, most notably in Iraq? Some may say yes and that the two countries and their justifications are totally different. Maybe that is true. Maybe it is not. But no matter what your opinion is, I still think that the U.S. trying to claim the moral high ground in condemning Russia on the issue of Crimea is stretching things in the 21st century of foreign relations.
Soldiers  believed to be Russian  ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near the Cr...
Soldiers, believed to be Russian, ride on military armoured personnel carriers on a road near the Crimean port city of Sevastopol March 10, 2014
Reuters / Baz Ratner
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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