Ukraine and the West: Let Crimea Go

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Patulcius:

Patulcius-sqNow that the Ukrainian protesters have succeeded in chasing Viktor Yanukovich from office, the world seems surprised that the Russians have acted so decisively to retain their influence in the Crimean Peninsula, where ethnic Russians form about 60% of the population and Russian speakers almost 80%.

Yes, the West must make a show of collectively wringing their hands while urging the Russians to withdraw or else the great leaders of the West will consider imposing the terrifying reprisals of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. In other words, the West will do next to nothing despite having encouraged this situation from the start.

And the West should do nothing.

The West should have stayed out of Ukraine since the beginning of these pro-EU protests, which were largely fanned and fed by Western NGO’s. What are our interests in this game, besides irritating Russia? The nearly bankrupt country is no political or economic asset for the EU or US. Presumably this is a game to provoke Putin into looking like a despot in order to justify more meddling within Russia itself, or perhaps to help justify a war later on. If the Western manipulators could fan a civil war in Ukraine, then maybe enough Russian people would grow sick of Putin’s government that they would rally in the streets until he resigns or flees as Yanukovich did.

But Russian opposition isn’t very likely. Russians seem to be rallying behind Putin in this affair, which only makes sense. Most of them see this as a patriotic cause, with Russians and Russian supporters under a perceived (and admittedly exaggerated) threat from the nationalist Ukrainians, or from a passive-aggressive West. Would Americans respond any differently if the tables were turned and Russians were encouraging pro-Cuban protests in Puerto Rico, or socialist forces in Mexico, that ultimately overthrew their governments?

Ukraine falls well within Russia’s sphere of influence where it has remained for hundreds of years. Half the people support Russian influence there. The country is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. No one could realistically expect that Putin would do nothing while Ukraine slips into the arms of the European Union and NATO.

At the very least Putin must protect Russia’s naval interests in Crimea, which is proving quite easy to accomplish because of the large Russian population. Additionally, he can fan separatist interests in southern and eastern Ukraine like he did in Georgia, where Russian troops have secured the independence of the de facto statelets of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Or he can once again take advantage of the inevitable disunity and corruption among Ukraine’s political elites in order to restore that country to Russia’s fold, as Russia ultimately did after the Orange Revolution, a scenario that seems unlikely because the protesters are specifically calling for closer integration with the EU.

Pro-Western Ukrainians should welcome any separation of these provinces because it will dilute the electoral power of their political opposition within the remainder of Ukraine. Even the loss of Crimea and Sevastopol, with their overwhelming pro-Russian political tilt, would boost the chances for a permanent pro-Western electoral domination of the rest of Ukraine. But monetary interests play a part as well, and these regions (particularly those of eastern Ukraine) contribute to much of the country’s economy.

If the West really cared about the liberty of the people of Ukraine, they would accept the separation of Crimea and any other portions of eastern and southern Ukraine that might demand secession. Do the wishes of this part of Ukraine count for less than those of the western half? The West could negotiate its acceptance of these breakaway territories on the condition that these lands remain technically independent nations (rather than Russian annexes). This would seem a reasonable approach considering Western support for the secession of Kosovo from Serbia in 2008, which Russia opposed.   And because of the Georgian example, it’s very possible that Putin would accept such a compromise.

However, the West has little interest in the well-being of the Ukrainian people, nor of peace with Russia. Our nihilistic elites are more interested in spreading pro-Western progressivism into Russia, even if it takes another world war to do it. If a few million Ukrainians die in the process, well, it wouldn’t be the first time, would it? The Ukrainian protesters are just pawns in their nasty little game.

CRIMEA3-small

Russian military movements in Crimea as of March 3.

Clusivius:

Clusivius-sqIt is difficult to say how much the recent protests were fed by Western meddlers and how much arose from legitimate demands by a sizable portion of the Ukrainian people. Certainly the people of Ukraine have much to complain about in their corrupt government.

If the people of western Ukraine have legitimate grievances against their government, and they are calling for their EU neighbors to intervene, does the West have any interest in helping them? Maybe the under-the-table support that we’ve given them so far is about as much as we can responsibly give, and perhaps we might negotiate with Russia over the partition of the country.

Another question comes to mind, however: is a military clash between the United States and Russia inevitable?

If yes, then we should do everything possible to weaken and isolate the Russians before we provoke them to either strike the West or to give us an excuse to attack Russia ourselves. The current situation does share some similarities with events that led to the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, an event that demonstrated Hitler’s expansionist intentions and served as a precursor to World War II.  If war is truly inevitable, it is better to fight Russia when it is weak and divided.

But so far, Russia has not shown expansionist intentions and seems only interested in operating within its traditional spheres of influence: the far east of Europe, the Caucasus, and parts of Central Asia, and perhaps the Slavic portions of the Balkans.

It is the West that has encroached within this sphere, presumably with the consent of the affected nations. And so far Russia has accommodated most of this expansion, particularly the growth of the EU into Eastern Europe.

But Putin has shown less accomodation to the spread of Western influence in the Caucasus and Ukraine. If Russia’s response to the Rose Revolution in Georgia is any example of what we could expect in Ukraine, then Russia will militarily support breakaway republics.

At worst, Russia could simply invade Ukraine and set up a puppet government. I doubt that the West would do much more against a blatant invasion and overthrow than we are doing against Russia’s takeover of Crimea, and this Western weakness might well provoke Putin to invade, especially since the Russian Duma has granted Putin the authority to do that very thing. But this would embroil Russia in an insurgency or even a civil war, a situation that Russia can ill afford economically and that Putin would pay for politically. As time passes without a full-fledged Russian invasion, such a scenario seems less and less likely.

In any case, this is no recipe for inevitable conflict with Russia. If there will be war, it will arise because of Western meddling and provocation, not Russia’s hunger for expansion.

Many people believe that the Western nations are the “good guys”, the peaceful ones who stand up for the civil rights of oppressed peoples and extol freedom for all. In some ways, this is correct. Certainly Russia and (especially) China are no beacons of individual liberty.

But increasingly the West, particularly the UK and United States, has shown a darker side. People have more freedom to consume than ever before, be it physical products or drugs or sex of almost any sort. But real liberties are on the wane. Increasingly, we are being monitored, tagged, silenced, and fenced in. And the Western elites are on the move to expand their power across the world, sowing unrest in previously stable nations and using their economic power to raise one group over another, to corrupt officials, and to manipulate public opinion.

Seemingly only a few nations, such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, stand in their way. I have a feeling that a world war is intended to deal with these nations as well as to quell domestic resistance in the nations of the West.

Is war with Russia inevitable? Only if the West makes it so.

Concorditas:

ConcorditasIt is a pity that the people of Ukraine have no real prospects for liberty and self determination. Their leaders from just about any political stripe have shown themselves to be corrupt sell-outs to outside interests, and Ukrainian grievances are fanned by these same outside interests to promote foreign power and influence rather than the well-being of the people. Freedom-loving Ukrainians are encouraged to fill the streets only to get shot down, and what good will come from their sacrifices?

While the West should stand behind the pro-Western people in Ukraine and seek a diplomatic solution to Ukraine’s political troubles, we should refrain from meddling in their internal affairs and certainly accept that the Russian-speaking portions of the country, and Russia itself, have legitimate interests there as well.

Instead the West will destabilize Ukraine in an attempt to get at Russia.

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7 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com and commented:
    Look at it this way. Everything Obama does, Backfires. If any sanctions are made against Russia, then, all of the gas contracts are also dead. Europe, especially England, will be ice cold and on foot. Negotiate new contracts? Middle East? Persian Gulf? They will extract revenge of hatred against Europe and UK. So where do they go? To Russia. Only, Putin, will then triple the prices, because the Persian Gulf would only be too happy to reduce product volumes and cause a shortage. Then.., beg to the Persian Gulf states, or beg to Russia.

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    • We have only ourselves to blame as a nation and as a civilization. Our priorities haven’t been very sound for the past twenty years or more. Our vital interests have been neglected while we’ve worried about free trade with the Third World and obsessed over the feelings of oppressed minorities, feminists, and the ever-shifting kaleidoscope of gender/sexual aberrations.

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  2. Glad you’re back, I was worried you’d gotten a life or something!

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    • Well, I had to travel to Oklahoma for a couple of weeks, but it was still wasn’t much of a life. Mostly I had hoped to sleep the rest of this endless winter away (for what’s left of my sanity), but the Crimean invasion interrupted that snooze in a way that the usual antics of our country would not.

      Anyhow, as Eeyore would say, thanks for noticing! It’s nice to be missed.

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  3. Well, first of all I have to avow you were right, and my ideas that Russia isn’t dangerous nieghbour any more were childish – and this is may be what Putin managed to win, show of power. Probably it can be counted in money in the longer run.

    Then, if you compare to Cuba or Mexico: Americans never claimed those countries to be US. Here – Ukraine is treated as a part of Russia, which is not true, when you focus on their history, and even worse – there is a plenty of normal healthy Russian citizens who think the same about Poland. And here is a spike.

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    • Maybe I am the childish one in that I don’t think Putin has designs on Poland. But since I believe war is eventually coming (not directly because of Ukraine, but later and for other reasons), I suppose Russia would have to consider Poland as a target. This is not imminent, I don’t think, and is not inevitable. If it does eventually happen, there should be warning signs, and hopefully you can find a safe place, as I will seek a safe place in my own land. May such things not be so, I pray.

      I believe you about Russian ultranationalists who would restore the old Empire. We have war hawks in the USA, too, who believe we can nuke whatever threat pops its head out, great or small, and who would see the establishment of a world American empire.

      War fever is like a recurrent disease in nations. I intend to write more about this phenomenon in the near future.

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      • World without wars is utopia. But may be this time everything ends on fear only. War fever – this is not a disease, this is a drug, causing fast addiction. Drug to overshadow all other deficiencies and desires 🙂 And, first of all, boredom…

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