Opinion: It’s time to take a stand against Russia


Jennifer Hutchinson is a freshman political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Jennifer Hutchinson

It seems that President Obama’s foreign policies are being tested now more than ever as Russian troops occupy Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. While Russia and the United States have never seen eye to eye on many issues, Russia is taking larger steps in defiance against diplomacy with the U.S.

Is this a result of the United States becoming too soft? I would say yes, and the President’s “lay-down” attitude is the reason. As the Washington Post reported, “Obama told the Russian government that ‘there will be costs’ for any military foray into Ukraine, including the semiautonomous region of Crimea, a strategically important peninsula on the Black Sea. Within hours, Putin asked the Russian parliament for approval to send forces into Ukraine. The vote endorsing his request was unanimous, Obama’s warning drowned out by lawmakers’ rousing rendition of Russia’s national anthem at the end of the session. Russian troops now control the Crimean Peninsula.”

Vladimir Putin blatantly defied President Obama’s demand to not send Russian military forces into the Ukraine. Rarely have we seen such an apparent dismissal of a threat from a U.S. president.

This isn’t the first time, recently, that Russia hasn’t been taking the United States seriously. Shortly after Barack Obama’s election, Vladimir Putin declined to attend the Group of Eight meeting at Camp David, stating that partnership with the U.S. was not a top priority. The following year at the G8 Summit, Obama and Putin made no further resolutions.

A few months later, Putin granted asylum to David Snowden, after Barack Obama’s direct orders to have him returned to the United States. As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Fox News Sunday, “Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close. They’ve been running circles around us, and I believe it’s the naïve position on the National Security Council and the president’s advisers that if we just keep giving things to Russia, they’ll wake up and say, ‘the United States is not that bad.’ That is completely missing the motivations of why Russia does what Russia does.”

I completely agree with Rogers; the president based much of his campaign around smarter diplomacy and stronger alliances, however, that plan isn’t working out so far. We need to stop trying to be cordial with Russia and make sure our message is heard.

Obama has been reluctant to use any means of military force, even in times deemed appropriate, and his empty threats are clearly going nowhere. This act of defiance from Russia is only a foreshadowing of what is to come if President Obama doesn’t begin to make the tough decisions.