Skip to main content

On Ukraine, more must be done

By Sen. Dan Coats
updated 1:33 PM EDT, Thu March 20, 2014
Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, Crimea, on Wednesday, March 26. After Russian troops seized most of Ukraine's bases in Crimea, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the withdrawal of armed forces from the peninsula, citing Russian threats to the lives of military staff and their families. Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalne, Crimea, on Wednesday, March 26. After Russian troops seized most of Ukraine's bases in Crimea, interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered the withdrawal of armed forces from the peninsula, citing Russian threats to the lives of military staff and their families.
HIDE CAPTION
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
Crisis in Ukraine
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sen. Dan Coats argues that recent sanctions against Russia are not enough
  • U.S., EU actions following the Crimea occupation won't deter Putin, he says
  • We are ignoring the lessons of history, Coats says

Editor's note: Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and former U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. He was just named as one of nine U.S. lawmakers banned from Russia in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions.

(CNN) -- In response to Russia's invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine, President Obama this week announced new sanctions against 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials.

These sanctions, issued in concert with similar announcements by the European Union, are wildly disproportionate. Disproportionately small, that is.

We are ignoring the lessons of history that demonstrate how unusual and unacceptable invasion and annexation are in the post-World War II era.

Russia has unleashed a process of domination and annexation that will lead to territorial acquisition by force. Although this has been roundly condemned rhetorically by many world leaders, including our own, the paltry international response thus far indicates that this aggression is not being taken seriously enough.

Sen. Dan Coats
Sen. Dan Coats

We do not live in a Napoleonic age when force of arms determines boarders. The United Nations has codified the modern view of the international community -- a view that utterly rejects ancient practices of conquest by force.

Further, forceful international reaction to banditry like that of Russian President Vladimir Putin provides the opportunity to reinforce the new norm and the strength of feeling followed by the commitment to enforce it.

The sanctions announced by the Obama administration and our European allies not only fail to measure up to those new standards, but this rap on a few knuckles will surely encourage the Russian aggressors and alarm its neighbors.

There are no more than 20 instances of attempted aggression, invasion and annexation since the end of World War II. North Vietnam's conquest of South Vietnam in 1975 followed two decades of war attempting to resist it. Timor was annexed by Indonesia in 1975, leading to two decades of guerrilla war and eventual independence. The international community never recognized the annexation, and vigorous UN peacekeeping and engagement was critical to solution.

Morocco's annexation of the Western Sahara has led to almost 40 years of war and continuous international efforts at negotiation. The invasion and annexation of Kuwait in 1990 led to a massive international effort to reverse that move, involving a half million American troops. Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 was met with full-fledged naval warfare by the forces of the United Kingdom.

Who else is vulnerable to Putin?
The deadly day that changed Kiev
Russia-Ukraine economics

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and imminent territorial annexation must be viewed in this historical context. The bogus referendum this past weekend fools no one.

The international response so far is to deny visas to a small group of Russian officials and deny them access to whatever property they have stashed abroad. This simply is not enough.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and I introduced a resolution earlier this month outlining specific steps we believe the administration should take to sanction and isolate Russia. The full Senate unanimously supported that resolution, yet the administration has chosen to take none of these steps.

Last week I asked Secretary of State John Kerry if the State Department is considering any of the recommendations we put forward, ideas backed by all 100 United States Senators. His reply was dismissive and nonresponsive.

Sanctioning a handful of Russians most responsible for this aggression is a good first step, but too little to influence a change in the Russian position.

Much more needs to be done. There is strong bipartisan support for more forceful economic sanctions than what the administration announced on Monday. We must take more meaningful -- and more properly proportionate -- steps to respond to this outrage of aggression.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sen. Dan Coats.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:17 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
updated 8:19 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
updated 10:05 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
updated 8:03 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
updated 8:12 AM EST, Fri December 26, 2014
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT