COMMENTARY BY CHRIS DAY
GOP Candidate for the 17th Congressional District
Tuesday’s annexation of Crimea is an unacceptable example of an authoritarian using raw force to expand his power. It’s a simple concept: no free and fair elections regarding whether to be annexed by a neighbor can be held in an area that was just invaded by that very neighbor – and the speed at which Russia has moved in a very tenuous environment belies their claims of having the right motives.
The fact is that Putin’s claims to be simply protecting a separatist region are rendered hollow by this blatant attempt to secure what is Russia’s most important warm weather naval port, as well as his repeated denials that any Russian troops were involved in the occupation, despite visual evidence to the contrary.
Further, Russia had previously renounced all claim to this area in its 1997 treaty with Ukraine, a treaty that is still binding, in direct contradiction to Putin’s recent rhetoric.
We cannot wait as a petty autocrat attempts to reenact 1930′s Europe. We must immediately implement all feasible economic sanctions on Russia, including expelling them from the G8, and rededicate ourselves to implementing the full missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic that had been previously set aside.
This must also be accompanied by a pledge to end NATO’s “Special Relationship” with Russia (in existence since 1997) should it pursue any further expansionist military moves. Finally, NATO must reaffirm that Ukraine’s new government is welcome to become a member of the alliance should they so choose (though at this time they appear uninterested).
Russia is playing aggressive games in a strategic gambit to increase their influence and once again become a global superpower with goals at odds with those of our nation. We cannot allow them to be rewarded for such moves, or there will come a time where economic sanctions and policy changes will have little to no impact on them.
Our country needs people in government who truly know and understand foreign policy and the life and death stakes that come with it.
I have personally implemented foreign policy at the tip of the spear and in the worst possible conditions. I know exactly what we risk with every national decision (or lack of decision), and I am prepared to take that experience to the halls of Congress this November.