Saturday, March 01, 2014

Russia Seizes the Crimea (and maybe that's not such a bad thing)

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — As Russian armed forces effectively seized control of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula on Saturday, the Russian Parliament granted President Vladimir V. Putin the authority he sought to use military force in response to the deepening instability in Ukraine.

The authorization cited a threat to the lives of Russian citizens and soldiers stationed in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine, and provided a blunt answer to President Obama, who on Friday pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.
Read the rest here.

Let's see. The Crimea is overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Russians who want nothing to do with Ukrainian nationalists. The Ukraine itself has been a part of Russia in one form or another for at least 500 years. How would we react if China decided to meddle in the affairs of our neighbors? I suspect that that there would be a huge outcry and demand for action. The Monroe Doctrine would be dusted off and waved from every flagpole. 

Here is the bottom line from my perspective. The Ukraine borders Russia. The Crimea is a vital piece of real estate to Russian national security because of its access to the Black Sea and its being the home port of a large part of the Russian Navy. And around half the country's population is solidly pro-Russian. In short, Russia has legitimate interests in the Ukraine.

Does that mean war is justified? Probably not. And if Russian troops were to move into the western part of the Ukraine that would be going too far. But anybody who thought that Russia was going to stand by and allow a bunch of pro-West Ukrainian nationalists, almost certainly supported by Western intelligence services, overthrow a legitimately elected (albeit heavy handed) pro-Russian government and move the country into the anti-Russian EU and maybe even NATO, was delusional.

Does anyone remember what we (the US, EU and NATO) did to Serbia and Kosovo? My guess is we are witnessing the same thing in the Ukraine. And that might not be a horrible thing if war can be avoided. The entity we call the Ukraine is inhabited by two groups of people, in roughly equal proportion, who detest one another. Given that they rather conveniently inhabit different parts of the country, a divorce might be the best solution.

In the meantime, unlike Russia, we have no vital interests. We should offer diplomatic council if that can help avoid bloodshed, but in the end this is none of our business.

On a side note... 

Memo to Russia and China: Stay out of Mexico and Canada.


gabriel said...

I have to disagree. Stationing troops on the sovereign soil of another country without consent is an act of war in and of itself.

If this were merely a reinforcement of the garrison in the Russian naval base, that would be provocative but eminently defensible. As it is, Russia is acting bellicosely and unjustly.

Half the country is not pro-Russian in the sense of preferring to be a part of Russia; at best, roughly half the country (at least prior to this conflagration) preferred closer ties to Russia rather than the EU.

The Ukraine is not divided into two groups of people who detest each other; excluding the Crimea, every oblast in the east of the Ukraine has a majority-Ukrainian population. They may have different political views and economic interests, but it is not a division that necessitates seccession.

Visibilium said...

Immediate and punishing economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia, combined with aid for Ukraine, would help to settle this matter. Let's take Putin's next shirtless picture showing sand kicked into his face.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

And who is going to kick sand in his face, pray tell? I know one leader of the "free world" who is not up to the game. The Ukrainians need to get their house in order and quite playing on the heartbeat of westerners who have no real regard for the people or the culture. The same thing happened when the Nazi's invaded and made many Ukrainians complicit with their terrorist agenda. History provides some stark lessons for those who care to read and to listen.

Visibilium said...

Ah, the Nazi specter has arisen again based on a generic group name. Too bad the Soviets were such slugs; they missed out on a good recruiting opportunity.

gabriel said...

If there was a place and a time for the west to intervene, it was probably in Georgia a few years ago.

I'd imagine the upshot of this Ukrainian revolution is that Russia effectively seizes the Crimea, and the Ukraine comes to terms.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If there was a place and a time for the west to intervene, it was probably in Georgia a few years ago.

No, it most definitely was not.

The US in particular doesn't care about its cultural and territorial integrity so I'm not sure why we should be worrying about Georgia's and Ukraine's.

lannes said...

Russia needs another Alexander Nevsky to deal with the Teutonic

Archimandrite Gregory said...


My mention of Nazism was not to point fingers at the Ukrainian people, but rather to demonstrate what can happen to people who are under pressure from both sides. Choosing the lure of the modern west is a bit like choosing the Nazi's with the abortion on demand, the euthanizing of elderly sick and now even children. The only thing different is the homosexual political agenda. The west cannot be trusted in our present world. Frankly I am by persuasion a Slavophile saddened when Slavic bothers use and abuse each other. I pray each day that Ukrainian and Russian bothers and sisters can learn to live together in peace. And most importantly live out their common Orthodox Faith..