Local experts: U.S. will feel effects of Crimean conflict


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- We may not see soldiers walking down our streets, but the conflict in Crimea will have an impact on residents in the Mohawk Valley.

"What we probably ought to do is back off and let Russia have some influence in that part of the world which they have had for a thousand years," said Dr. Nate Richmond, Government and Politics professor at Utica College.

But, his colleague Dr. Peter DeSimone says America can't sit idle.

"I certainly think the U.S. needs to get involved, continue talks with Russia to figure out some way to get through this. Especially in the EU as well. The EU is very reliant on Russia for its natural gas, its oil. They need to find some kind of mutual ground and the more the west sides with Ukraine, the more antagonistic and demanding Putin and Russia will be because they don't feel this is an open dialogue," said Dr. Peter DeSimone.

But, there's one thing these two can agree on. Whether the U.S. gets involved or not, Americans will feel the effects.

"It affects us economically, it affects our country when we see what's happening there, there's a natural impulse to spend more on the military, when we spend more on the military, there's less available for other things like student loans or repairing highways and thing of that sort," said Dr. Richmond.

Then, there's gas prices. Russia controls pipelines that run through Ukraine to Europe.

"Whenever there's a potential for interruption of oil or gas, the prices, there's fears there will be a shortage and so the prices will probably spike up," said Dr. Richmond.

Dr. DeSimone is also concerned the conflict will disrupt business relations between America and Russia.

"There were policies trying to encourage American investment- what does that mean for businesses here in the United States? Are they going to stop? Are they going to be prevented from investing? What does that mean for potential jobs or money for sending goods over there?" said Dr. DeSimone.

U.S. stocks also fell sharply on Monday as a result of the conflict. Even though the markets have since re-stabilized, Richmond says if tensions increase, it's highly possible we'll see a disruption on Wall Street again.


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