If this latest deal holds, Russia’s Vladamir Putin and Ukraine’s Yulia V. Tymoshenko will finally have put to bed the natural gas dispute that left 20 of Europe’s countries without heating gas for two weeks during the coldest part of the year, and cost at least a dozen lives as people literally froze to death. Is there a devil in the deal? This objective observer recognizes that Russia is clearly the antagonist, and directly responsible for the suffering and deaths of those who were pawns caught in the geo-political posturing. One certainly can’t blame Ukraine for not capitulating to demands that would have caused an immediate 240% increase in their gas prices, nor can one say that it was strictly business.The entire affair was clearly about that Ukraine left the former USSR and made application to join NATO.
While the rest of the world seems to have accepted the fall and passing of the USSR and moved on to the world of the European Union, Russia, China, and the U.S.A., Russia reminds mostly of a southerner in the U.S. who flies his Confederate flag and truly believes the South will rise again. Their bullying tactics haven’t changed a bit, and for all of their arrogance, their own well-being is as tied to the sale of that gas as are the lives of those who receive the gas from them. Perhaps that is at the crux of the entire situation. The Russians can’t stomach that their success might be contingent upon such peons as Ukraine and European nations.
Whether they like it or not, this is the new world, and we’re all inter-related within it. The real question, as they (may) conclude their treaties amicably, isn’t about how much more they paid for the gas. In the deal on the table now, the difference is negligible, nearly back where it started from. But for a dozen human beings, the least fortunate of the western world, the difference cost them their lives. To dismiss their deaths without giving them their fair due would be vulgar sacrilege. Rather, as the flags fly and people come to celebrate the return of the heat that comes from natural gas, they should be flown at half mast for those twelve people who gave their lives in a fight that was neither of their making nor their choosing. A memorial should be dedicated to them, and along with it a firm and renewed commitment to energy independence.
It was just three years ago that Russia last cut off the gas supply to Europe. The odds are better than even that they will do so again. The only way people can safeguard against further rampages by the Bear is to achieve energy independence. Look to the sun, the wind, and the tides for our solutions, and seize those opportunities now. Let us not forget these twelve who lost their lives as Ukraine stood fast against the bully. Let their deaths become the impetus that sets our resolve in the fight for freedom from such tyranny. Let us take steps to prevent Russia’s rampages from ever threatening lives again.