I am an international consultant to NGOs in more than 110 countries throughout the world and it's hard to shock me about world events any more. But when I found out what should be a seemingly trivial detail -- where the next Mrs. America pageant is scheduled to be held -- my jaw dropped.
Watch the video just released of the announcement, and you will see the audience applauding politely. Based on the international crisis brewing in Ukraine, this is a completely insane reaction.
I can only guess that the reason no one stood and threw the Russians out of the theatre was because they didn’t understand the representative’s accent when he said that it would be held in the beautiful, coastal city of Sevastopol, Russia.
Yes, you heard that correctly.
Mrs. America will be crowned in Crimea. The very city that started the current conflict with Ukraine.
It is interesting that the Mrs. America pageant actually says on their website that next year’s pageant will be held in Russia when the United States and the rest of the world doesn’t recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea which happened earlier this year.
Technically, according to international law and the United Nations, Sevastopol in Crimea is NOT a part of Russia, it is a part of Ukraine.
If the United States doesn’t recognize Sevastopol as being in Russia, why are we inviting Russians to stand on our stage, in our country, and announce that next year, Mrs. America will be crowned on their soil?
Did Russia just call us stupid? And if they did, are they right?
The entire Ukraine/Russian conflict is still going on and NATO is meeting this week in Europe to decide what we are going to do about it. Ukraine has a partnership, but is not a full-fledged member, with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance that was first created to protect North America and Europe from a Russian invasion. The treaty states that if one of the member countries is attacked, all of the countries in the organization agrees to respond militarily to defend that country from an invasion. After 9/11, all the NATO countries sent military to fight in Afghanistan because they were all members of NATO. The United States was attacked, and we are a member of NATO--that’s how it works.
On March 6th of this year, Crimea, a region in Ukraine, decided they wanted to be part of Russia. Russia did reign over Crimea, but lost it to Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here’s the kicker though--people that live in one country cannot just decide that they want to be part of another country without moving. That would be like everyone who lives in the state of New Mexico waking up one day and saying, “You know what? I kind of think this whole United States thing is over. Let’s say that we are now part of Mexico.”
Even if the Mexicans living in New Mexico want to have the state become part of Mexico, it isn’t like that could just happen. There are borders and constitutions and militaries and world governing bodies like the United Nations and international laws. Russia says that they are helping the people of Crimea because the people who live there want to be a part of their great motherland. But that isn’t how the world sees it at all.
Most countries, including the United States and all of Europe, believe that Russia came into Crimea and illegally took over the entire region--and now, they want even more. Would the United States stand for Mexico saying that New Mexico belongs to them? Of course not. Even worse, what is happening is the equivalent of Mexico saying, “Yes, New Mexico is now part of us. And we are taking Arizona and Texas, too.”
Ukraine was already having problems. They were in the middle of a revolution--a fight that a generation of people in their 20s and 30s believed in. They wanted their country to be more like Europe instead of the path it was headed toward--full of corrupt, Russian-backed leaders. Russia didn’t like not having control, of course, so they went in and started taking land away from Ukraine, starting with the Crimea peninsula. Once they found success with that, they moved on to the mainland by sending military and troops across the border, with Russia denying it the entire time. When a Malaysian airplane going from Amsterdam was flying over Ukraine, Russia shot it down.
And the entire world started paying attention.
Something must be done to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but how far will NATO go to stop Vladimir Putin?
Given that Russia just sent representatives from Moscow to Tucson, Arizona to announce that the 2015 Mrs. America pageant will be held in Sevastopol, Russia--a place that the United States doesn’t even acknowledge exists--it’s pretty clear Russia has no intention of turning back their tanks any time soon.