Stand up to Putin [Letter]

March 04, 2014

With the grand stage of the Olympics over, the unfulfilled Russian President Vladimir Putin has plunged onto the world stage with a grand finale. The world is shocked by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine under the guise of three lies: First, a prior agreed-to military exercise, second, an invitation of the "legitimate government" and third, unsubstantiated threats to Russians and Russian language speakers in Ukraine. All three of these arguments have been clearly and unequivocally exposed as myths.

The Putin Doctrine, legitimized unanimously by his goose-stepping Duma, brings chilling memories of prior dictators and their complacent and supportive populations. The bottom line is that Mr. Putin's grand ambitions will not be stopped by rhetoric, phone conversations, travel bans or even economic sanctions. His world view is an elevation of Russia to a position of preeminence of imperial grandeur. Anything standing in the way of that mission is a bump in the road. With this invasion of Ukraine, Europe, NATO and the United States and its allies are faced with the greatest challenge since the end of World War II.

President John F. Kennedy, if he was with us today, might need to include a new chapter in his book "Profiles in Courage" to describe the decision making facing President Barack Obama and our allies at this moment. In a short time, we will know the verdict, courage or cowardice? The soul-searching foundation has been clearly spelled out. Ukraine is a sovereign country. Ukraine's inviolability and territorial integrity were guaranteed by the Budapest Accord of 1994 when it voluntarily gave up its nuclear stockpile of weapons. Russia, a signatory of that accord, has rejected it's validity under a sham guise of uninvited "peacekeepers" invading a country.

The next gambit is the West's. Standby and shamefully let Ukraine heroically fight this war? Seek "peace in our time" at any price or stand up to the bully Putin? Not easy decisions, not to be taken lightly but critical for the future of all of Europe and the West. Terrorism, whether by a single individual or sanctioned by religious or political ideology, must be stopped at its root. For 14 straight weeks, through ice, frigid temperatures, sniper bullets, a hundred deaths and thousands injured, stood courageous young and old for democracy and justice for their country. Their sacrifice can not be for naught. Together, we can assure a better world for future generations. We must act now.

Andrij W. Chornodolsky, Timonium

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