U.S. must stand firm on Russian aggression

After the recent events taking place in Ukraine, it is time for the United States to respond in ink, and not in pencil. Russia’s deployment of troops to Crimea, after Ukraine had ousted its pro-Russian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, is as close to a declaration of war as one can get. The revitalization of the adage nicknaming Eastern Europe the “powder keg” seems to be just around the corner.

After multiple statements by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry advising Russia to withdraw troops and respect Ukrainian sovereignty, it appears that President Vladimir Putin is thumbing his nose at us once again. This brings to the surface a much-needed realization: Despite the popular post-Cold War perception of relations between the United States and Russia, we are merely engaged in “paper diplomacy.” It is time for the United States to outline, and stick to, some very real consequences for continued Russian aggression.

This is not to say that Obama needs to deploy U.S. troops and ships to the Black Sea. However, there needs to be some real line drawing. The announced boycott of the G-8 Summit in Sochi is a good first step. Furthermore, the United States could explore placing added economic pressure on Russia by outlining trade consequences, similar to, albeit not as extreme as, the action we took against Cuba in the 1960s.

What is the importance of all this, you ask? Simply put, without any real line drawing, we can look forward to finding ourselves in this exact position, time and time again.

Luke Kalamas