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Europe needs to take the lead on Crimea situation

Published 7:42am Monday, March 24, 2014 Updated 9:44am Monday, March 24, 2014

There is no reason for the United States to be the policeman of the globe. That remains clear. However, Europe needs to police its corner of the world and stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The European leaders need to get him to back out of Crimea, clearly a part of Ukraine.

Russia needs to learn that to be Western is to be an ally of modern capitalism, a place with human rights, seamless transfers of power, reliable government, peaceful aims and an interest in the betterment of society as a whole, not merely the few.

The country could get ahead much better in global affairs without needing to play foe to the rest of Europe and North America. Its role in the civil war of Syria is irresponsible and worth condemnation.

Instead, Putin looks like an empire builder who reminds Europe of the cessation of the Sudetenland to Adolph Hitler’s Germany.

We don’t like to compare anything to the Nazis, but the comparisons of Crimea and Sudetenland are all over the news media, too.

The same were made when Saddam Hussein stormed into Kuwait. Unchecked land grabs are not part of modern times.

This situation is another reason why Turkey should be part of the European Union, as Russia’s thirst for power and control of its neighbors seems to be part and parcel of the nation’s character, whether as the Soviet Union or as Putin’s playground. Treating Turkey more like a Western nation than a Middle Eastern nation would provide one more check against aggression.

With a show of military force in the Black Sea and further sanctions against the country of Russia — rather than merely against oligarchs who keep Putin in power — Europe could show its might, rebuke Putin and not need the United States to storm through its diplomatic and military troubles.

We don’t pretend to have the answers, and war is not an answer either, but the world leaders must get Putin to back down, even if it means isolating the world’s largest country in terms of trade, too.

As President George H.W. Bush said prior to the Persian Gulf War, “This will not stand.” Only this time, it ought to be the European heads of state making the declarations.

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