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Why what is happening in Ukraine matters to the United States

Updated: Tuesday, March 4 2014, 04:44 AM CST
A new poll of more than 1600 people in Russia finds they blame the Western world for the troubles in Ukraine.

Secretary of State John Kerry visits the country Tuesday.

Many feel he’s walking into another Russia versus the U.S. tug of war.

Act of aggression.

That’s what many U.S. officials are now calling the presence of Russian troops in Crimea, an autonomous, mostly pro-Russian state within Ukraine.

One expert called it “the most seismic geopolitical events since 9-11” and a significant east versus west battle.

“International law has been violated,” explained Jim Goldgeier, Dean of the School of International Service at American University.  “The territorial integrity and sovereignty of a country have been violated and the United States should care.”

American University’s Goldgeier says this could hinder the U.S. goal of nuclear non-proliferation on a global scale.

“In exchange for Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons, the United States, Britain and Russia guaranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Goldgeier added.
As Secretary of State Kerry prepares to meet face-to-face with Ukraine’s new leaders, he had strong words for Russian President Vladimir Putin

“Russia will isolate itself on a global stage that it just spent 60-billion dollars through the Olympics to try to present a different face on,” Kerry stated.

Geographically, there are a number of gas pipelines key to supplying Europe with gas that run through Ukraine. If Putin and Russia control Ukraine, they could control how much of Europe is powered.

In Washington, many lawmakers are weighing in on what to do next, with some urging President Obama to take strong and immediate action.

“President Obama needs to do something,” urged Lindsey Graham, R-SC. “How about this, suspend Russian membership in the G-8 and the G-20 at least for a year starting right now.”

Meanwhile Ukrainian-Americans and their supporters are protesting the violence.

“It's important for Americans to understand what's going on,” stated one Ukrainian-American. “For those of us old enough to remember the Soviet Union, no one wants a return to the Cold War  and that, potentially, is exactly what we have."

Putin’s action is seen as a clear illustration of his vision for the future.

The U.S. and Europe are now deciding not if, but how to fight back.Why what is happening in Ukraine matters to the United States

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