Editorial 28: Fixing Ukraine

It is an American past-time to support and/or intervene in various conflicts around the world.  From the Boxer Rebellion to Arab Spring, we are there in some capacity trying to sway one side over the other.  Despite the instances where we have failed or made the problem worse, there have been times where the end result was worth the trouble.  South Korea is our greatest success story.  Compared to its neighbors, the little country that could is a major player in world economics and a haven of technology and industry.  We did not need to be in Iraq, but by toppling Saddam we freed the Kurds, the most egalitarian people in the region.  As I right this they are fighting ISIL to the death and they could use more support.

Why would we waste men, materiel, and money on countries we do not care about?  Why go to the trouble of helping a group of people that will probably stab us in the back in the aftermath?

America was founded on democratic revolution.  Fighting back is a part of our cultural identity.  Whether you were born here or immigrated, there exists an insatiable need to revolt against those that mean to control us.  Looking at the rest of the world, it is sickening to Americans when we see people living with oppressive systems.  Our ancestors lived under one such system until we unshackled ourselves in warfare.  We understand what it is like and want to share liberty with others.

However, more often than not our devotion to revolt leads to unintended consequences or outright failure.  Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Iran, Somalia, and more recently Syria, where blind spending by the previous administration helped create ISIL.  These mishaps prove such untempered intervention needs to change before we can move on.  And one place to start is Ukraine.

While everyone was dumping buckets of ice water on themselves, Ukraine was in the middle of a sociopolitical realiament.  A majority of its citizens wanted to pursue stronger ties with the West.  When pro-Russia president Viktor Yanukovych refused, protests and riots proceeded in the capital of Kiev, setting off the Euromaidan Revolution.  Thousands were in the streets clashing with police, turning the city into a war zone that allegedly left many dead (watch at your own peril).

In the midst of chaos, the Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russia.  Shortly thereafter, the War in Donbass began with pro-Russia separatists demanding the region of the same name secede from Ukraine.  It was later revealed that Russian Special Forces were embedded with the rebels.  NATO was put on high alert, US troops were deployed to advise the Ukrainian army, and Russia built up forces on its western border.  After a number of failed ceasefires the war is currently in a stalemate.

So, why should you care about Ukraine?

Well, you should not.  Though trying to liberate is our goal, most Americans do not care about other countries unless they have a personal stake or good reason.  Some people just want a cause to believe in, no matter how pointless and ultimately damaging it may turn out to be (looking at you McIntosh and Sarkeesian).  In this case I have been following the situation in Ukraine for a while and have a cursory knowledge of the country’s relationship with Russia.  You would think these two Slavic nations would get along until you read about the Holodomor, the Chernobyl Disaster, and many other incidents as result of their association.

Given the War in Donbass and the annexation of Crimea, I was compelled to find a way to solve this problem.  Had Hillary Clinton been elected the solution would be nuclear.  Thankfully and I say this absolute sincerity, we do not have to take such drastic action.  Because I am a pretentious dick with a blog, I know nothing of real diplomacy and do not expect this to make a difference.  What I have to say on Ukrainian/Russian relations is from the perspective of a casual observer and must be taken with a grain of salt.

The Donbass/Crimea Resolution

Section 1. Donbass Region

a. All separatist forces in Donbass must lay down their arms and surrender to the Ukrainian government.

b. All Russian advisors within separatist forces must return to Russia.

c. Separatist forces will be granted amnesty by the Ukrainian government unless accused of war crimes.  Such individuals will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.

d. Local municipalities will submit to the jurisdiction of the government before traditional order can be restored.  Heads of state appointed by the separatists before the signing of this resolution will not be recognized.

Section 2. Civilian Population in Donbass Region

a. Russia, Ukraine, and NATO affiliates will provide humanitarian aid to the displaced and/or disaffected civilian population.  This includes rebuilding city centers, homes, and supplying food and medicine.

b. Displaced civilians will be considered refugees and resettled within Ukraine until humanitarian efforts are complete.  Displaced civilians will have the option to resettle elsewhere if they so desire.

Section 3. Military Activity

a. Russia may be free to conduction military exercises on its western border if it so desires.  This permission extends to its neighbors and NATO affiliates.

b. Ukraine will be free to accept US military advisors to use at their discretion.  This permission is not limited to the US and NATO affiliates.

c. Ukraine will be allowed to accpet materiel support for whomever it desires.

Section 4. Crimea

a. The Crimean Peninsula will remain under Russian control.

b. While US President Trump is in office, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will make no military attempt to retake Crimea.

c. The local government of Crimea shall hold a referendum every six months to gage if they want to remain under Russian control or return to Ukraine.

d. If returned to Ukraine, Russia must remove all military elements from Crimea.  Government control will be reestablished within the region.

e. Resistance to the transition will be treated as an insurgency.

Once again, I am not an expert of any kind.  I wrote this based on what I thought would help the situation according to my basic understanding of diplomatic compromise.  What I hope to accomplish is that people realize there is always a way to fight conflict without fighting.  Just like warfare, that means giving up the things you want in the end.  Ukraine has a right to exist on its own terms and I think this resolution is the best it can hope for.

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