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May 4, 2014

SUNY Plattsburgh faculty discusses Ukraine crisis


“I don’t think that people (in the United States) care that much,” Shemo said. “I think if Syria hasn’t moved anybody, such intense human suffering, I don’t think Ukraine will.” 

Saccardi also asked why the United States decided not to take military action. 

“Our military is double the size of Russia,” Lake said. “It’s not a power issue; it’s recognition that the U.S. doesn’t have any compelling interest to intervene.” 


Qirjo said that 70 percent of Russia’s exports are oil and gas and that their productivity is only 19 percent of the United States’, making the country very inefficient.

“The modern Russian economy is the same size as Italy’s,” Studebaker said. 

Though all the panelists agreed that international law was broken by Russia, Shemo said that laws have to be enforced to hold power. 

“Sanctions are the first thing the West should do,” Qirjo said. “In the short run, I think that’s the best action the West could take.” 

He added that sanctions could affect the global economy. 

Lake said taking no action against Russia is a bad option. 

“Not doing anything helps undermine the legitimacy that Russia shouldn’t do this,” he said. 

Though a majority of Crimeans voted to succeed from Ukraine, Shemo said to take the poll results with a grain of salt. 

She explained that Crimea is a summer resort region that will be affected by the annexation. 

“A lot of their resort business has plummeted because of the conflict,” she said. 

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