As a former professor of Russian and a long-term follower of the Eastern European scene, I’m naturally following with interest the events in Ukraine. The media has oversimplified the dispute, some commentators even comparing Crimea’s desire to secede from Ukraine as morally equivalent to Hitler’s seizure of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia before World War II. Faulty historical analogies do little to explain a complex situation.
Was it morally wrong for Texas to secede from Mexico in 1836 and eventually vote to be annexed by the United States?
Was it wrong for Kosovo to secede from Serbia in the late ’90s? How about the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus which broke away from majority Greek rule in Cyprus? Should the Basques of Spain have their own country? Should Hawaii (illegally annexed by the U.S. in the 19th century) be independent? The list is endless.