4 Concepts About the Ukraine Crisis That Shouldn't Be So Hard to Understand

And a special bonus extra concept, too


1. It is possible to believe that fascists and other creepy sorts played a notable role in the Maidan uprising and that the revolt was, on balance, a movement for greater freedom.

2. It is possible to believe that the Maidan revolt was a movement for greater freedom and that people elsewhere in Ukraine have legitimate reasons to be aggravated about the new government, and even about the fact that they're ruled from Kiev in the first place.

3. It is possible to believe that there are Ukrainian citizens with legitimate complaints about Kiev and that Russia should not be inserting its military, or indeed any of its influence, into the country.

4. It is possible to believe it's bad that Russia's sticking its snout into its neighbor's affairs and that it would be dumb for the U.S. to intervene to stop it.

Disagree with any of those combinations of views that you want. But don't act as though they're inconceivable. There have been a lot of logical leaps in the debates over the ongoing crisis, particularly—and most dangerously—from the folks who don't seem able to understand #4.

Bonus: It is possible to believe that the U.S. should stay out of the conflict and that it's a good idea to allow increased exports of natural gas, not because that will cut into Putin's power—though that could be a happy effect—but because it's something the government ought to be allowing anyway.