Ukraine is a European problem
To the editor: It certainly appears the latest political "hot spot" in the world is Ukraine, and those events will have many local and regional residents interested in what is transpiring.
Although there was a period of violence, the uprising has had a surprisingly positive outcome. In a matter of a few days, a group of citizens armed with not much more than sticks and shields made of cardboard boxes and metal garbage can lids overwhelmed a police force firing live ammunition. Although there were many casualties, the citizens did prevail, and these events will certainly be documented in world history.
These people, civilians, launched a suicidal attack on an armed force. They united and created and organized an element that represented "their nation" and were not concerned with individual mortality.
The success of this insurrection, this unity, will depend on how Europe responds. Ukrainians have demonstrated their allegiance to a European Union. It is well known the EU does have problems and issues between creditor and debtor countries. However, the EU, under German leadership, previously offered too little and demanded too much from the Ukraine. To maintain this recently created national unity, the Ukrainian people need the help of the EU and a multibillion-dollar rescue package to save the country from financial collapse.
Additionally, encouraging foreign direct investment is needed, along with management expertise, business strategies and access to markets. Ukraine would open its domestic market to goods manufactured or assembled by European companies while the EU would increase market access for Ukrainian companies and help them supply products to global markets.
German leaders needs to recognize both their responsibility and liability as being the dominant leader in Europe. They need to actively assist with reconstruction efforts among member nations and the Ukraine. However, the major stumbling block to achieving this success is also a geographic problem. The Ukraine is situated half way between Russia and Europe. It is dependent on Russian gas and other resources, and so it must have good relations with both sides.
There is an immediate need for Germany to accept this leadership role. Chancellor Angela Merkel must reach out to President Vladimir Putin to ensure that Russia is a partner, not an opponent, in the Ukrainian renaissance. Unfortunately, with the recent actions and military intervention by Russian forces, it might be too late.
Perhaps all the people of our area, the entire region, will join our Ukrainian families and friends in supporting and praying for a speedy, honest, non-violent and fair resolution. Otherwise, although this situation will be closely monitored by the U.S. government, I do not see the need for direct American intervention with this European problem.
(Note: This letter was submitted March 2 and may not reflect some of the latest developments in the Ukraine.)