By Greg Smith
If the Obama administration wants a serious, effective response to the Russian intervention in the Crimea, it need only consult a map and a history book.
In 1948 Soviet forces denied the Western Allies access to Berlin in an attempt to force the West into abandoning this thorn in Stalin’s side. The West responded with an airlift, moving massive amounts of supplies essentially over the Iron Curtain. The wisdom of the Berlin Airlift was it allowed the West to maintain West Berlin as an outpost of freedom while forcing the Soviets to make the first move in a war. The Soviets wisely backed down.
Considering the geography and politics of the region, an effective response would be for NATO to announce a naval blockade of the entrance to the Sea of Marmara. Denying Russian access to the Turkish Straights would make the Black Sea a lake and strategically much less important, greatly diminishing the value of Russia’s naval base in the Crimea. This would warn Russia of Western resolve to defend the territorial integrity of Central Europe while forcing the Russians to fire the first shot. They would not dare.
The blockade would need to be held until Russian forces depart Ukrainian occupied territory outside of the base leased to them by Ukraine and publicly agree to respect Ukraine’s independence.
By indirectly intervening the international community would generally look upon this as justifiable and wise use of force, show Washington as a reliable partner, force Russia to think twice before its next incursion and achieve the goal without bloodshed. There is no downside. The world awaits an intelligent response. ©
Greg Smith is a freelance writer and political consultant who lives in Bantam, CT. His blog is found at http://www.betterfatthanfascist.com.