Will Tensions in Ukraine Lead to US Involvement?

Rebecca Hudon and Jacob McCartney, Senior Global Correspondents

In what seems like a throwback to “cold war” tensions, US and European diplomats are freaking out over Russia’s takeover of  an area of Ukraine called the Crimea.  Soldiers in unmarked uniforms, probably Russian troops, are holding the entire area, which is a strategic spot on Russia’s southern border.

As tensions continue to rise in Ukraine over a dispute of their national sovereignty, as well as oil and natural gas pipes in Crimea, and land, people seem to be noticing a parallel between these events and historical ones that have sparked major wars.  Many Americans  are confused by the whole ordeal and worried about the spread of the conflict outside of Ukrainian borders. Could Russia and Ukraine be the equivalent of Belgium and Serbia of World War III?

In southern Crimea, a region in Ukraine located conveniently on a peninsula in the Black Sea, tensions between Ukrainian Nationalists and Ethnic Russians in the Ukraine. Many Nationalist Russians believe that the southern peninsula of Crimea truly belongs to the motherland while the (northern and western) Ukrainian Nationalist side more with Europe and protests on both sides have stuck the small area and gone completely violent.

Russia’s actions against Ukraine have not only brought chaos to Ukraine but also have ruined trust between Russia and other nations. The U.S. is actually currently working to throw Russia out of G-8 security arrangement while other countries are calling out Russia’s actions for being highly escalated. Once in possession of the third largest nuclear arsenal, Ukraine gave up all of their warheads to Russia for dismantling, in turn receiving military protection. But with the current occupation, Russia is going back on the promises of 1994 signed by the former leaders of Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The U.S has entered the diplomatic fray on the side of Ukraine by expanding a visa ban on Russian travelers as well as setting sanctions against the pro-Russian’s in both nations; Barack Obama himself signed an executive order allowing this. It’s a bit ironic that Putin was not listed among those affected but it would be difficult to place such restrictions on a man with that kind of status.

The Russian side of the argument is that Ukraine has very weak borders and political unrest. Basically, Russia thinks they are better able to keep the borders safe and protect the pipes that move resources such as oil and natural gas through most of Eurasia. Ukraine nationalists however, believe their borders are stable and want all Russians out.  There is a propaganda war going on with both sides printing pamphlets, doing YouTube videos, and generally attacking each other with words.

In some aspects, this truly does parallel WWI but this may have been blown out of proportion. There hasn’t been any bloodshed yet, though it is fearfully anticipated by many in the region. With the member nations of NATO primarily backing Ukraine and the USA sending 1 billion dollars as aid to Ukraine, Russia may begin to see that the world superpowers are against them which could lead to battles and maybe even war.