March 18, 2014

As authorized by the executive order signed by President Obama, the U.S. government imposed sanctions on Russian officials and entities, considered responsible for providing material support that led to cessation of Crimea from Ukraine. Citing America’ believe in a fundamental principle that, Ukrainians must decide the future of Ukraine, the Obama administration denounced Russia’s involvement in the region and promised to expand the scope of U.S. sanctions on Russia.

In response to American sanctions, Russia has promised to retaliate with sanctions on U.S. officials. Senators, Congressmen and top Obama administration officials are expected to make Putin’s sanctions list. Current sanctions’ game is reminiscent of last year’s sanction on Russian officials responsible for human rights violations, which led to a ban on American adoptions in Russia. While the threats of sanctions from both nations could have little or no effects on the targeted officials, the bigger picture, is a new era of shattered diplomacy.

It is not the first time the U.S. and Russia, have disagreed, but each time, the rest of the world pay the price. Diplomacy at all levels freezes making it impossible to resolve global conflicts. America’ decision to impose sanctions on Russian officials is not without ramifications, it is the beginning of a new diplomatic war at the United Nations and sure to make ongoing conflicts difficult to end.

The U.S. needs Russia to resolve the conflict in Syria. Without the support of Moscow, it is difficult for the U.S. to gain coöperation of China on the Syrian conflict. The position of China is clear with the way the Chinese government voted along with Russia, on resolutions affecting Syria, at the UN Security Council. Proposed move by the Obama administration to isolate Russia will make situations worse, Syria will remain unresolved and Assad may become strengthened to crush all oppositions.

The peace process in Iran is still on shaky grounds. The U.S. remains skeptical on whether Iran would honor the terms on the agreement, to give up its nuclear aspirations. The Russian government was instrumental in bringing Tehran to the peace table and was effective in convincing Iran on a path to ending its nuclear issues with the United States. Any move to further isolate Russia over Crimea, will make it harder to resolve the nuclear crisis in Iran diplomatically. If Tehran fails to honor the terms of its agreement with the rest of the world, Russia will veto any resolution condemning Iran at the UN Security Council.

A failure of the peace process in Iran will trigger a response from Israel, a nation that has made it clear it would go to war than sit by and watch Iran become a nuclear state. A disagreement over Iran will create a barrier between the U.S. and Russia, make it difficult to restore peace in the Middle East and see a return to conflict between Israel and Palestine over the Palestinian question.

It is clear Russia must respect the territorial integrity of its neighbors and the sovereignty of Ukraine as an independent state. However, Russia did not choose to enter Crimea for no apparent reasons. Moscow has huge interests in Ukraine, the nation was a former Soviet republic before the break of 1991 and history shows that Crimea belonged to Russia before Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 signed it over to Ukraine. Perhaps, a breach of contract by Russia, but so far, 96% of the population voted to join Russia, in an election the U.S. and the West called a sham.

Russia has cited cessation of Kosovo from Serbia as an example of the right to self determination, a reason Crimea must be allowed to choose its destiny. Crimea seems forgone and will no longer be part of Ukraine. The world saw the same in the conflict over Abkhazia Georgia and the present conflict wouldn’t be different.

Allies of the Second  World War created today’s Russia. When they sought help of the Soviet Union to end the reign of Hitler, and gave Russia a Veto power at the creation of the United Nations, none saw the global threat such power could bring. Russia, wants recognition, as a leader in the region, threats of sanctions or a policy of isolationism will not stop Russia from protecting its interests. The rest of the world must find better ways to curb a necessary evil.

Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of  ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Criminal Law- Homicide’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at Follow on Twitter @san0670.

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Categories: Current Affair, Foreign Affairs, War and Politics

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