DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As tension builds along the Russian/Ukrainian border we are reminded that international crises can bring local consequences.
COVID's march across the globe just taught us that.
It's one reason experts at the George Bush Presidential Center and Institute in Dallas are urging North Texans to care about Russian aggression playing out on the other side of the world.
"Last year, Russian trolls and hackers launched a cyber-attack and a ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline and shut it down briefly," says David Kramer, recently named the Bush Institute's Managing Director for Global Policy. "They have launched attacks against a major meat processing facility in the United States. And they have hacked into hospitals and launched a ransomware attack against American hospitals in the middle of a deadly pandemic... friendly countries don't do this."
Kramer, an author, professor and state department veteran says their experts are concerned.
"No one's calling for a war with Russia. We don't want to go to war with Russia. But I think it is important to understand that we need to step up and push back against this bully and he's threatening activities," says Kramer. "Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price."
So how should the US respond to the situation in Ukraine?
"It might be Putin only respects and responds to strength and pushback," shares Kramer, who received his M.A. in Soviet studies from Harvard University and his bachelor's degree in Soviet studies and political science from Tufts University. He is the author of the book 'Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin's Regime'.
"We saw this in Syria. Several years ago, when Russian mercenaries threatened American troops on the ground in Syria, and US aircraft bombed them and killed somewhere between 200 to 300 people-- and the Russians didn't respond. They kept the situation quiet because they didn't want it to be publicized."
Still, Kramer still believes there is room for diplomacy to work-- and is calling for the US to support both Ukraine and Nato allies.
"I'm not advocating forceful reactions and responses like this. But it is an indication that Putin I think, will back down if faced with a formidable challenge and push back from the west led by the United States. And that's also what the Bush Institute stresses the importance of American leadership and engagement."
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