Votes, not bullets in the Ukraine

Things in the Ukraine are looking worse than ever with Russians invading in support of the separatists and the EU threatening more sanctions. More people are dying every day, more planes shot down, and al Jazeera reports that some of the residents of the besieged cities are being taken at gunpoint and beaten up by the gangs that have taken over. They have been held as prisoners for weeks, and forced to dig trenches for the defense of the city. This is bad, but it’s going to get really bad unless someone blinks.

What the West is unwilling to concede is that many people in the eastern Ukraine want to be part of Russia.   How many people? That’s the question we don’t know. There was a vote in some places, but it was a sham, apparently. There should be a ceasefire, another vote that is carefully monitored by both sides (difficult now because so many are displaced), and if there are majorities who want to join Russia or create a new country, let them do it and stop the killing.  The Easterners have now seen what their new masters would look like if in power. If they like what they see, Kiev should let them go.

            When the protests back in Kiev caused the president to flee, and new leaders were installed, that essentially meant the Constitution was finished. Since that was the case, the people of the East had every right to say, we want to consider the New Order in Kiev and reject it if we don’t like it.   A vote should have been prepared, and held without the bullying from both sides, and without the interference of Russian citizens or soldiers. It’s easy to imagine there might have been a patchwork quilt of results from the various districts who took part, but perhaps the best way forward might have been to organize a new country, Donbass. Then the Ukraine could have gravitated west and Donbass east. It’s called self-determination, but the difficult question is always, what about those who don’t want to live in Donbass, who want to stay with the Ukraine? Or vice versa? They can obviously pick up their guns at any time and start planting bombs in order to get their way.   A more reasonable solution would be to start a fund to pay families to move to the region they want to live in. Too costly? How much is the war costing now every day? How much does it cost to replace a fighter plane shot down? A block of buildings blown up with artillery? How much are the lives of the victims worth?

What will happen if the EU goes through with those sanctions?   Russia is the lifeline of both the Ukraine and the EU because it’s the source of the natural gas that makes life in the wintertime possible.   They’ll be cutting down their forests to heat their homes this January, all because of this situation that never should have gotten to this point.

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