Update: The letter was published on March 12, 2014.
To the editor:
Two more names for Americans to ponder: Ukraine and Crimea. What's going on, who are the players, what are the issues, why do we care?
If you listen to the mainstream media, to many members of Congress, and the Obama administration, you're told that at issue is a "fight for freedom" between good guys – activists who forcibly ousted the elected (probably corrupt, pro-Russian) government of Ukraine – and bad guys, namely, Russia (Vladimir Putin), who seeks to maintain influence over Ukraine and control over the Crimean Peninsula, where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. These mainstream voices argue that we – EU, NATO and, of course, the U.S. – should become involved, by sanctions, by deployment of arms, by aid to the non-Russian side.
Others argue that the West has unduly meddled in the Ukraine, that battles of the region are historical, cultural, economic and complex, and that the West shouldn't intervene in any form; and that Crimea, largely ethnic Russian, should exercise self-determination of whether to separate from Ukraine.
As a responsible American, I know this: I don't have a dog in this fight. Nor do I have a dog in Syria's fight, in Iraq's, in Iran's, in Libya's, in Somalia's, in Yemen's, in Afghanistan's, in Egypt's – in short, in anyone's fight but our own, here at home. I wish I could blow a silent whistle to bring all our dogs home to fight our own battles – against economic inequity, to achieve fairness and good health and humane care for all Americans.