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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    U.S. has no higher moral authority than Russia

    All across the U.S. media’s political spectrum, it’s agreed that Putin is an angry, shirtless, horseback-riding Russian with no basis for his actions, save for a pitiful Cold War vendetta. Putin has long denied sending troops into Ukraine’s months-long conflict. Now the media says he’s a liar. NATO has satellite photos of Russian troops in Ukraine.

    But the U.S. needs to stop acting like it has the moral high ground.

    Putin lied. So what? Has the U.S. never lied about entering into armed conflict? I don’t recall ever finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but I do think the Cubans remember the Bay of Pigs.

    The CIA secretly invaded Cuba because the thought of having a government sympathetic to the Soviet Union so close to home was intolerable. If you understand the U.S. government’s logic behind the Bay of Pigs, you can understand Russia’s attempts to destabilize Ukraine.

    Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has expanded eastward, pushing the edges of Russian borders. In The New York Times, John J. Mearsheimer points out that Putin sees a Ukrainian government tied to the European Union as a precursor to NATO membership. Mearsheimer writes “Russia drew a line in the sand,” after NATO’s 2008 statement that Georgia and Ukraine “‘will become members of NATO.’” To demonstrate Russia’s perspective, he compares Ukrainian and Georgian NATO memberships to U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico joining a military alliance with China.

    Both the U.S. and Russia have spheres of influence that they will go to great lengths to maintain. Russia has deep historical ties to Ukraine. Professor John P. Willerton, a Russian expert at the UA, explained that “for [Russia], Ukraine is the font of [its] civilization.”

    The two nations also have significant economic ties. On their way to Europe, 63 percent of Russian gas exports pass through Ukraine. Russia has a lot to lose, and Putin is concerned about the geopolitical implications.

    Geopolitical strategy is no new concept to the U.S. The U.S. has marked the western hemisphere as its sphere of influence since the 1823 Monroe Doctrine. Latin American countries know its impact well. Russia may have annexed Crimea, but the U.S. military has occupied or intervened in Latin American countries many times. In the 1980s, the United States’ role in Nicaragua was the opposite of the current situation in Ukraine: We backed the rebels while the Soviet Union backed the Nicaraguan government.

    Now, it is Ukraine’s turn to be at the center of a power struggle between Russia and the West.

    During the recent change in Ukraine’s government, the West witnessed a revolution while Russia witnessed a coup. On one hand, there was a popular uprising. On the other hand, Willerton points out that all six of Ukraine’s constitutional steps for impeachment were ignored.

    “Was it a revolution or a coup? … Both went on,” Willerton said. If it were a coup, it would not be the first time that the U.S. recognized and supported the overthrow of a democratically elected government. Look at the 1973 Chilean coup as an example.
    The U.S. has no higher moral authority than Russia. They are both super powers with geopolitical interests.

    Instead of solely badgering Putin, Willerton lamented such a violent situation for his friends in Ukraine. The U.S. media should do the same.

    —Alex Devoid is a graduate student studying journalism and Latin American studies. Follow him @DevoidAlex

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