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.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Russia Seizes the Crimea (and maybe that's not such a bad thing)
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.