This weekend has been abuzz with criticism of the president for his relatively weak response on the takedown of MH17 in Eastern Ukraine by pro-Putin seperatists in the Donestsk area. Unfortunately, there has been little to no discussion of what should be done for our friends in Ukraine who are fighting those clowns. This has lead many to think the criticism is political posturing (which, in the absence of an actual alternative, it is) or assume the critics want an invasion of Eastern Ukraine or perhaps Russia itself.
I have posted on Ukraine before, and recent events only reiterate why the first three at least should be done.
Freeze Russian assets and block Russian tourists here: If Putin’s rich cronies can’t get to their money, he has a problem.
Provide military aid to Ukraine: Putin would have to change his calculations about how he behaves if American arms started showing up in Ukrainian military installations.
Provide support to the Crimean resistance: Remember Crimea? The Crimeans who opposed Russia’s annexation sure do. Ethnic Ukrainians and Tartars in Crimea would be very grateful for any help we give them, while they can exact a heavy price on Putin’s reputation at home. Crimeans rising up against Putin could turn this entire operation into a major Moscow headache.
Contrary to what recent events may tell us, America and Europe can deal serious blows to the Putin regime, in measured ways. We just have to be smart enough to recognize the tools at our disposal…and determined enough to use them.