“No military solution” does not equal “no role for the military”

The BBC reported this past Thursday:

On Sunday Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews off the Crimean Peninsula…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the crisis “entirely” on Russia…

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged Nato to send ships to the area…

…Ms Merkel accused Russia of restricting access to the Sea of Azov by building a bridge over the Kerch Strait.

All right, so what’s to be done? According to the Chancellor,

There is no military solution to these problems.

It could be true, and there might be no complete solution whatsoever to these problems in their entirety. However, approximations and partial solutions are undoubtedly possible, and the military is an important tool in NATO’s toolbox. There must be a reason why NATO exists: to protect its members from common threats, one would surmise – and if Russia’s actions and attitudes under its present regime are not acknowledged as an external threat, what should be? It would seem that joint counteraction is merited, and there’s a role in this for (the) military force. It doesn’t mean going to war, God forbid: NATO didn’t go to war with the Warsaw Block.

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