To The Daily Sun,
Recent events in Kyiv, Ukraine, which led to the overthrow of the corrupt, puppet Yanukovych regime, by Ukrainians seeking to liberate themselves from hundreds of years of Russian control and 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 their 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:
1. 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 — for your protection. They violated a sanctioned treaty they had signed, which demonstrates they cannot be trusted. They will lie, cheat and steal in order to get what they want.
2. "Peace through strength" is the only way for the free world to protect itself from Putin and other aggressors. Every free world nation, no matter how large or small, must be prepared to defend itself until reinforced by other freedom loving nations. Spending 2-3 percent of a nation's GDP on defense because you're relying on someone else to defend you is totally unacceptable. Unless all free world nations are prepared to spend a minimum of 10-15 percent of their GDP on defense, they are not serious about protecting their liberties.
3. The United Nations has outlived its usefulness. The few useful programs conducted under the auspices of the UN can easily continue as separate agencies. If a world body, such as the UN, 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 WWI and WWII because it was determined to be ineffective. It is time for the UN to be replaced with a new world body. Membership should be based on common beliefs in human rights, individual freedoms and liberties that are God-given to all human beings and nations. Member nations would have to meet certain prerequisites. Such criteria may exclude half of the nations in today's UN, including China and Russia. The priority should be individual freedoms and liberties not a façade of global consensus.
4. The U.S. has been the leader of the free world for the past 70+ 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 be that leader. Without America's strong leadership, the unintended consequences for the free world will be disastrous.
5. NATO membership may not be the best long-term solution for Eastern European nations. These nations may want to form a separate Eastern European Defense Alliance, in which all member nations would support each other militarily and economically against any potential aggressors. Countries of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia could form the core of such an alliance and it may even be regarded by NATO countries and Russia as a positive development. Some of the possible members of this new alliance may include, but should not be limited to, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Georgia and others.
There is no doubt that we live in a very dangerous world. But, 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 for the leaders of old who refused to be paralyzed by fear and acted on the ideals and principles that we all cherish. I pray that our country is blessed again with another FDR, Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan. Time is running out; we are in desperate need.
Bo J. Rudzinskyj, LTC, U.S. Army (Retired)