News coverage of the Ukrainian Crisis has dropped dramatically, and many may believe it is over. Well, no, if anything, it has gotten worse.
Russia took the Crimean Peninsula. It is the part of Ukraine that juts out into the Black Sea. Now, the Black Sea enters into something, right?
The Mediterranean Sea. Yes, the Black Sea and The Mediterranean are connected by a strait of water called the Bosphorus. The Mediterranean is the sea that allows for access to Europe, The Americas, Africa, and Asia.
A little history: The Bosphorus has been fought over for thousands of years. Beginning in the 5th Century BC, Ancient Greece, Persia and Rome all fought for the Bosphorus. In the 1400’s, the Ottomans conquered it from the Byzantines, and it became the most important part of the Ottoman Empire. It is so important because it controls all trade between the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.
The strait matters now because, if Crimea votes on the 16th of March to join Russia, it will give Russia access to the rest of the world. We are trying to curb Russia’s bad behavior by isolating them; we cannot let them have access to the Mediterranean.
Russia wants to continue to help the corrupt Assad regime in Syria: Can do with Bosphorus.
Influence Egypt? Can do with Bosphorus.
Access to UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran through the Strait of Hormuz: Can do with Bosphorus.
Russia wants Crimea because it is a warm water port. It would be Russia’s sole one. If Russia would be able to influence the Middle East, the corruption we see now would get even worse. Russia would be a threat to Europe too, if warships have access to the Mediterranean.
The US needs to work with Turkey to help restrict the Bosphorus. It may sound outlandish, but it is what needs to happen if we are going to contain Russia. It would be the perfect opportunity to show our strength in this crisis, and that we will not cower toward Putin.
Does this sound familiar? The US putting missiles in Turkey to isolate the Soviet Union in the 60s? It will not be with missiles, but we would be working with Turkey to contain Russia. Not militarily, but keeping a step ahead.
This quote still is true, even today:
“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.” -President John F. Kennedy
Note: In a previous article on the Ukrainian Crisis, I talked about how NATO needs to defend the Polish-Russian Border. On March 10th, NATO jets began doing that, and still are. Thank you to the people who lead that.