In the 20th century, the true democracies of Europe were called far too often to act in the face of fascism, communism and other threats to freedom in the world. And while Europe has been forced to step up more often than they deserved, the 21st century is offering a new challenge that demands the continent to drum up its courage once more.
The European reaction to the attack on the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 should be unprecedented in the 21st century. If Europe decides to continue a tradition of soft pedaling and enacting meaningless sanctions in response to Russia’s growing disregard for Ukraine’s independence, then frankly it will have little credibility to ever react.
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The United States is still the big kahuna on the block and the real enemy that Russia hopes to dominate. But if Russia is to be slowed down on its apparent interest in regaining its USSR form, Europe, as has always been the case, must be a key player and step up.
Before MH-17 was shot down, Europe’s collective response to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine was less passionate than its response to the Uruguayan soccer player that bit an Italian player in the World Cup. Granted, that bite did deserve a red card, but I digress.
If Europe doesn’t find a way to respond in a way that actually gets the attention of the Kremlin, then it loses all credibility to react in the future. And as horrible and tragic as the attack on MH-17 was, we have learned before that far worse transgressions can happen in that part of the world.
Vladimir Putin is an old school fighter. He’s more at home in the 1980s, back when the Cold War kept the world on the brink of annihilation. Putin will not respect sanctions and threats to enact future sanctions. A fighter respects strength, courage and fortitude.
When a true fighter picks a fight, he wants to know how his opponent will react. Is he in a fight with a worthy adversary or is this an opponent that can be pushed around?
Putin will only keep the separatists in Ukraine in line if he feels something else is threatened. And while he owns 30 percent of the natural gas going into Europe, trading partnerships go both ways. If there was anytime where the rest of the world was in a position to agree with Europe, it is now.
If Europe doesn’t react to this heinous act with strength, unity and speed, they will have no credibility to react ever again. Putin already thinks he knows who he is dealing with. Europe must take great care to not confirm it.
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About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.