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By Tom Cushing

Ukraine Get-It-Off-Your-Chest Forum

Uploaded: Mar 20, 2014

We have all had a few months to absorb the ongoing governance agonies of Ukraine. Many of us have formed opinions on the subject, some sooner than others, some based on a visceral general sense of geopolitical memories and domestic preferences, some after a specific review of the evidence. I hope you'll take this opportunity to sound-off in the Comments. In the meantime, kindly work your way in that direction by mentally checking all the circles that apply.

It now appears that the Crimean Peninsula, previously famous for O Pickett's Charge, O the Light Brigade, O the Russian Black Sea fleet, O Tartar sauce, O nude beaches, has been O stolen, or O repatriated by Russia, per the outcome of a(n) O legal or O illegal referendum, whose results O should or O should-not be relied upon, because its vote was O coerced or O nearly unanimous. The Crimean economy is a net O contributor or O burden on the rest of Ukraine.

BTW, check the boxes if you can locate the following on this unlabeled map: O Ukraine in general, O Crimea in particular, O Moldova, O Estonia, O Georgia, O France, O don't forget Poland. Here's a labeled key.

Ukraine itself is O oil-rich, O Europe's breadbasket, O a steel industry powerhouse, O the home of Chernobyl. Since it gained independence from the USSR in O 1945, O 1991, O 2004, it has operated as a O democracy, O dictatorship, O kingdom, O kleptocracy.

The current crisis began when protesters took to the streets, demanding closer ties with O the European Union, O Russia, O China, O the USA. After demonstrations turned violent and O 10, O 100, O 1000, O 5000 demonstrators lost their lives, the Ukraine ruler O fled in the night, O was impeached, O was tried for treason and executed. The provisional ruler was O elected, O appointed, O seized power. His name is O Klitzko, O Romanov, O Yatsenyuk, O Zhivago.

BTW, there were nukes in Ukraine prior to its independence. Are there still nukes in Ukraine? O Yes, O No, O Oh dear God.

Ukraine's biggest trading partner is O Russia by a lot, O the EU by a lot, O Russia and EU about the same. The level of Ukraine trade with the EU is O 2X, O 5X, O 10X, O 20X its level of trade with the US. Russia's economy is the world's O third, O eighth, O fifteenth biggest. It is the US's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner; the US is Russia's O second, O fifth, O twentieth-largest trading partner.

The US interests in this crisis include: O commitment to freedom-loving people everywhere, O promotion of democracy, O containment of Cold War-style Soviet adventurism, O support of our NATO allies, O maintenance of trade ties to Ukraine, O deter aggression by others elsewhere, O fight terrorism, O does the name Chamberlain, Neville ring a bell? In the overall galaxy of US interests, domestic and international, these interests are O crucial, O strong, O weak, O irrelevant.

To promote these interests, the US O should or O should not be ready to risk a nuclear confrontation, and spend militarily O $1 Trillion/10,000 US troop deaths, O $100 Billion/1,000 US troop deaths, $10 Billion/100 US troop deaths, O nothing beyond our ongoing support of NATO (22%). To maintain this commitment, I would O raise taxes or O increase the deficit.

BTW, this is a good time to ask: how do you view this situation in comparison to the uprising in Georgia in 2008? Is it: O basically the same, O completely different, O the south will rise again.

Putin's Russia is intent on: O territorial expansion in every direction, O securing the location of the Black Sea fleet, O restoring the glory of mother Russia, O facilitating the wishes of the Crimeans. They will O stop now, O continue to annex provinces in eastern Ukraine, O seek to take-over the entire country. They will continue until O the economic sanctions kick-in, O NATO responds militarily, O they reach Paris, O they are now done, O can we get them to consider Texas?

Who is primarily responsible for the West's response to Putin: O the EU, O NATO, O the USA as the world's indispensable country, O the Ukrainians, O the United Nations.

Okay, hawks and doves – fire away! What would you do, as Commander-in-Chief? Be sure to recognize all the effects of your strategy. And if your comment contains the word "weakness," explain how a country that has just fought 2 $Trillion-dollar wars half-way around the world, and spends more on the military than the whole Rest of the World, Combined, projects weakness.