Will Ukrainian/Crimean crisis unleash a separatist genie out of the bottle?
Most of the mainstream media accounts of the Ukrainian crisis allude to the start of a mini-Cold War or Cold War II.
While true - as far as that analysis goes - that assessment is all too simplistic.
The change of governments in Kiev; the Russian land grab in Crimea, etc., could have unleashed new forces of separatism in various places. (Lest we forget, Scotland holds an independence referendum this coming September which COULD lead to the dismantling of the 1707 union of England and Scotland.)
Peter Lee in The ASIA TIMES beautifully encapsulates the nuances of all this, particularly for China; the chance that this could precipitate a cross-Strait crisis between mainland China and Taiwan; but also about the Obama Administration's arguable penchant for "regime change" by subtle means (not as blatant as in the previous Bush administration); etc.
A note on geography: We hear about the Crimean Peninsula, and this is very important. After a morning of Google Earth and looking at maps, I see that there is only one land connection between Crimea and the Ukraine, and none between Crimea and Russia. Through this pours most of the freight and commerce that comes into Crimea, as well as most of their fresh water (through a canal.)
Now, how long before Russia says that Ukraine is interfering with Russia's new area, and uses its military to overrun the Ukraine? Following the lead of the U.S., Russia will claim pre-emption, sovereignty, history, morality, etc., all the excuses the U.S. has used in the past to invade, overthrow, kill, torture... various peoples and countries that we desire.
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 11:21am
As much as I would agree that recent U.S. military interventions have been mostly unilateralist; bullheaded; exceedingly costly, both in terms of lives and treasure (on all sides); and ultimately, failed to achieve their objectives (miserably), you fundamentally ignore one significant point when you say "countries that we desire": Russia is ANNEXING Crimea. It's not as though the U.S. annexed Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or long before, one or more of the former Yugoslav republics; Panama; Grenada; etc.
(In fact, that's why many of these interventions have soured in the eyes of many conservatives, not necessarily just libertarians. The U.S. did not win a long-term advantage. Baghdad tilts toward Tehran, for example, an outcome neo-conservatives foolishly didn't consider with "popular" democratic rule.) Of course, anti-war, progressives would have opposed these wars just on principle - forget that the outcomes did not turn out as the neo-cons had projected - and "Just War" religious people (whether mostly Right or Left on other issues) would have said these interventions mostly or completely violated Just War principles.
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 11:35am
Allan, agreed, we have not physically annexed the countries we have invaded recently, primarily because we aren't on the same continent.
I think Russia will eventually annex Ukraine once again, using Crimea as an excuse.
I also think the U.S. will eventually annex parts of Canada. In the long term (beyond the current and short-lived natural gas surplus from fracking) the tar sands region of Alberta contains way too many hydrocarbon reserves to ignore. The U.S. will want to "protect" them from possible "terrorist" actions and will occupy the region to ensure that the oil flows south, not west to Asia.
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 11:43am
I fear a complete Russian takeover of Ukraine would put East--West on complete Cold War footing -- or worse.
Of course, the trigger to armed conflict could be Russian moves against any of the Baltic republics that are now NATO members.
Just over the last few days, reacting to Russian moves into the Crimea, some Swedish politicians have floated the possibility of seeking admission to NATO -- something that was previously unthinkable for the Swedes -- just like the Swiss.
U.S. annexation of portions of Canada? In my mind, absolutely far-fetched... ain't going to happen (although it is ironic that Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta)...
Besides, recent reports have U.S. & Canadian intelligence agencies collaborating hand-in-hand. In that cynical sense, the U.S. doesn't have to annex Canada!
Let's talk about when U.S. presidents did literally annex places:
In 1899, President William McKinley confided to a group of Methodist clergymen that his decision to annex The Philippines came after God had advised him to do it. (Charles Olcott: The LIFE of WILLIAM McKINLEY)
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 7:57pm
Isn't it amazing how history repeats itself? The actions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg giving the Soviets our atomic bomb secrets via the Manhattan Project started the first cold war.
Now, the actions of the Clinton administration, the Budapest Memorandum of 1994, which handed Ukraine's nukes over to Russia (they had to have loaded Bill up on vodka), combined with Obama's cowardice, is starting the second one.
Regulars on this blog know that I've many times compared the Clintons to the Rosenbergs, and this is just one example. The other was the selling of nuclear secrets to China via Loral Corporation.
Of course, I'm sure if I dig deeper, I can find more similarities.
Tue, Mar 18, 2014 10:40pm
Following is a Washington Post story which outlines just how serious a threat Russia is to the U.S. I was unaware of the fact that Russia has more nuclear warheads than we do, but it also has occurred to me that we made Russia into what it is today. Thanks, Bill Clinton!
It is very unlikely that war will break out as long as Putin and Obama are in charge of their respective nations. The worst scenario is if Republicans win in 2016 and then all bets are on total annihilative nuclear war.
Allan: it is a stretch to imply that Putin is total control here. The parliament which is as fractious as is ours, voted overwhelmingly in Russia to accept them, and the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to go into Russia...
To compare either of those to Iraq and Afghanistan neither of who want us, and neither of which our Republicans would welcome.. (I don't care if they do give us cheap gas; they're all Muslim. That ain't American enough!) is not a good comparison. We were transplanted conquerors there. The Russians didn't kill anyone (at least up to now).
A better comparison would be if Quebec succeeded from Canada and France said, ok, you can be our 102nd Department... and everyone is happy, except the Canadians whose fault the whole episode was, because they originally were the ones who said only English could be used... Ok, so why are they upset? The got their wish. Now without the Russian half of Ukraine, Ukraine language can easily be used... It's what they wanted, right?
Thu, Mar 20, 2014 12:54am
Once again, it's Kavips, the historical revisionist.
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