How strong is a piece of paper? 107

Tsar Vladimir of Russia (whose  eyes may be small but at least they’re close together) has invaded Ukraine and taken the Crimean peninsula. It is an act of war. He defies “international law” and no one can do a thing about it. He ignores the romantic UN charter, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 which discourages the use of force to settle international disputes, and the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 by which Ukraine agreed to surrender its nuclear weapons to Russia in exchange for a promise that Russia would not invade Ukraine – a promise confirmed by yet another treaty between the two countries in 1997.

Charters and treaties are pieces of paper. They are not armor or armament. Unless armament is brought to bear to enforce what they “guarantee”, they are useless.  At best they record intentions, an agreement convenient for a time. Intentions change, disagreement arises, and whoof! the paper with its signatures has gone with the wind.

Today the Tsar is getting hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper from people of the Crimea, their votes cast in a referendum on whether they want to be part of Russia or Ukraine. A majority will vote to be part of Russia. The Tsar knows this or he wouldn’t have ordered the referendum. His confidence in the outcome allows him to pay homage to paper as rulers do. If the almost impossible should happen and the vote go against him, he’ll keep his troops there anyway. The Crimea has been annexed to Russia and so it will stay, though blizzards of paper protesting the fact were to smother the land ten layers thick.

No document is proof against violation. Not even the Constitution of the United States, as the Obama administration proves daily.

Put not your trust in paper. Get your guns.