03/20/14 — Russia; it's back: We can't wait two years for decisive foreign policy

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Russia; it's back: We can't wait two years for decisive foreign policy

There is no need to haul out the military just yet, but anyone who thinks that the concerns about Russian aggression in Crimea is just an isolated incident had better dig out that history book.

During the Olympics, President Vladimir Putin suggested that it was time to celebrate "old" Russia and for it to be recognized for the powerhouse it was and will be again.

That should have been the first warning sign.

Over the last few years, the leadership in Washington should have learned that sanctions without teeth and proportional responses without an element of strength are nothing more than chest-pounding babble.

To be a country that can wield such influence with the blink of an eyebrow, your strong, aggressive opponents have to believe you mean it.

And, put frankly, Russia's bombastic leader simply doesn't believe we mean it.

We can wait, of course. We can wait for the next conquest for the next "popular vote." We can watch the next democratic uprising crushed. We can try more self-deprecating diplomacy.

Or, we can stand up, stand firm and remind the world that this is a nation that won't engage in unnecessary battle, but is ready if any bullies cross the line.

It is not just the right way to operate. It is also the way to keep this country safe as well.

Published in Editorials on March 20, 2014 10:49 AM