From Mark Erwin, a Charlotte businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros:
Is President Putin missing the obvious in his pursuit of Crimea? Strategically, I can understand why he wants the territory, but his tactics need to be more peaceful and pragmatic. Throughout history, sovereign nations have purchased and sold portions of themselves to one another. The United States is not united because of military conquest alone. We are also who we are due to some great real estate deals.
The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was a land deal between the United States and France, in which the U.S. acquired 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million dollars. President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of our young nation.
With the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, also known as the Florida Treaty, we settled a border dispute with Spain and acquired Florida for $5 million. This purchase prevented possible war and was considered a triumph of American diplomacy.
Sometimes sales were tied to military action as in 1846, when the United States declared war on Mexico due to a dispute over Texas. The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ended the Mexican-American War and confirmed the United States claim to Texas and set the boundary at the Rio Grande River. Mexico also released its claims to the United States for the territories which include modern-day California, Nevada and Utah, as well as parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming. The cost $15 million and assumption by the United States of claims against Mexico by U.S. citizens.
In 1859 Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States. Discussions were interrupted by our own civil war but in 1867 we purchased Alaska for $7.2 million. This purchase ended Russias presence in North America and ensured U.S. access to the Pacific northern rim.
Clearly, Ukraine is in desperate need of economic assistance and Russia has the ability to pay. So, why war when peace will do? Our president has the opportunity to be the Broker-in-Chief. President Obama, broker this deal.
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