Editorial Column: Divided we fall

Hanna Kang, Assistant Editorial Editor

The olive branch that the United States offered Russia in the form of a reset button returned broken into two pieces. No surprise there, however.

Back in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red button which had the word “Reset” printed on the bottom and the Russian translation on the top. It was meant to symbolize a new start in U.S. and Russian relations, which shattered after the Russian invasion of Georgia.

This “reset,” however, was just another political speak that is prevalent in the Obama administration. Rather than establishing camaraderie between the two countries, the “reset” prompted Russian president Vladimir Putin to deflate U.S. influence around the globe, which gave him enough fortitude to invade Ukraine and occupy Crimea.

Turning only seventeen this year, I am relatively unpracticed in the area of international relations. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to infer that Ukrainian-Russian tensions could have been prevented.

Former president George W. Bush lobbied hard to extend NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia. However, because his position complicated efforts to find diplomatic solutions, it failed to win over a consensus of NATO members. If the countries had been welcomed, NATO would be able to strike back at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At present, the organization is powerless and Putin knows it. He is taking advantage of the situation and is watching with glee as Western powers kneel.

I hope President Obama gains something from the Ukraine crisis. His whole theory of foreign policy is, “If I’m nice, they’ll be nice.” However, Obama needs to realize that Putin is a former KGB agent who will not change his stripes. Burying the hatchet in the past will never land Obama the peace and cooperation he so desires.

The challenge at hand is how to procure Russia’s withdrawal. Because Europe relies heavily on Russian fuel, imposing banking sanctions per se won’t work. The collapse of the Russian currency will mean suffering for American banks and Europeans who have grown reliant on Russian fuel.

Before imposing banking sanctions, President Obama needs to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline will allow the U.S. to develop its resources so that Ukraine and other European countries can be free of Russian dependence. The reason Russia is unafraid of the U.S. is because of its ability to export to Europe. There is a direct relationship between economy and prosperity, and economy and power. Approval of the pipeline will allow the U.S. to reclaim some of its lost authority. It is not the time to worry about the environment when world stability is at stake, and the President must learn to sacrifice a part for the whole.

Imprudent decisions over the years and President Obama’s clumsy foreign policy has brought upon a major headache to society. The people in charge should learn from history and always remember that there is peace from strength, never peace from peace.