Over the past eight months I have been many times more correct than wrong, or have written in such an unconventional way that the facts have not yet caught up with current developments in the world or in the Ukraine.
A case in point, “The Ukraine Crisis.” This in not a crisis; who said it is? For the United States and for its national interests the matter is not one unless we, the U.S., desire it be one. We ourselves have annexed numerous times in the past. Let us not tear our hair out over it. The only crisis I can see at the moment is holding hands too closely with the Europeans, the old continent, as they attempt to digest the unsettled Ukraine predicament. For our troubles what have we gotten from Europe, not very much, only token assistance, for the vast price we’ve paid them over the years, but they, the European countries, have gotten the U. S. involved in two World Wars, for which we have paid dearly both in blood and treasure. The Europeans have determined with the backing of a liberal U. S. President and a few congressional war hawks that the Ukraine face-off is a direct challenge to their NATO 28 nation security blanket. Lastly but not least is an aggressive European policy in the Ukraine region to increase commerce, markets, and retroactively tame the Russian Bear.
An article or two ago on this blog, I mentioned Putin was waiting for a phone call from a creditable organization of internal forces in East Ukraine that will directly appeal to Russia for intervention and annexation. They would plead with Vladimir to save them from the nasty West and Putin would have then a plausible reason to invade. He’s still waiting, abiding his time, but for him and for the West events are falling into place in a time frame that sooner, rather than later will have to be faced. Pro-Russian demonstrations are breaking out in key eastern Ukrainian cities, Deonetsk, Domestupol, Karkov and others and are complete with Russian flags flying, displayed for all to see on government buildings, and by armed force Ukrainian government evictions giving Putin an acceptable cause to intervene. (Oh those Deonetskins, the rich Donbass Region Elite, they’re more capitalist than we are, and they know which side the bread is buttered on; the key bulk of their resources go over to the Russian side and have for many, many years)
Most readers do not know that the Ukrainian east is the most critical sector for Ukraine’s economic vitality, and key to its hopeful economic recovery. The eastern part of the Ukraine is where the metal workshops, factories, and mineral resources are being mined and refined. It has significantly contributed to the wealth of Russia and the ex-Soviet Union. The Western Ukraine is more agricultural, more politically and socially cultured, the arts, theater, with their sophisticated capital of Kiev. Progressive capitalistic states Polish, Romania, Slovakia border west Ukraine, and it is the commercial market place for the country. But minus the East, the west is “dead in the water.” Debt and subsidized support from Europe and also the U. S. will be their means to address the potentially chaotic state the Ukraine faces for the foreseeable future. Thirty-five billion is not easily repaid to the World Bank, etc. and there is always the danger of conflict and the possibility of a civil war, discouraging investments that further muddies the Black Sea.
Should the east Ukraine be annexed by Russia, and we can’t get into Putin’s head to find out, annexation would be most desirable for him and Russia, because it would provide significant economic leverage, and would become a direct land bridge to the Crimea currently unavailable do the circumstance of the last annexation.
What would Europe and NATO do in the event Putin annexes the east? Practically nothing, no more than the West has already done. I believe Europe and the U. N. will yell, scream, attempt to place more sanctions on Russia, but nothing significantly more, unless it wants all out war, and nobody want that. The Europeans will as always turn to the United States, as they have for the past 100 years for support of all kinds, economic, political, and military because Europe by itself in a weakling and unwilling to carry a heavy burden. The Europeans cannot handle the Russian Federation by itself. Readers will find geography and time is on the side of Putin and Russia and they will undoubtedly take advantage of those options.
As reported two-weeks ago at the beginning of the “Crisis” we are discussing here consequences that date back to Nikita Khrushchev who by out-right and off-handedly presented the Crimea to the Ukraine in 1954; and presently the more sinister, the progressive advance of NATO into Russia’s neighborhood since the mid-1990’s. By groping accident, actual strategic planning, or by unintended consequences or other reasons lying just below the makeup of this so-called “Crisis” this serious debate has now come about. The dispute is local and should be accommodated by the Ukrainian West and the Ukrainian East with peaceful guidance by the U.S., Russia, and the Ukrainians themselves. There are two practical and meaningful ways out of the current dilemma. The most disconcerting and by far the most dangerous is that Putin will annex the east which will create a great deal of tension in the region and be condemned by the West and of course western Ukraine, but the West will have to eat it. Putin would not retreat.
The second and most level-headed is a citizen’s referendum to provide the people in each half of the country a choice to which regime they wish to live under. Either choice will not a satisfying one, because no matter the outcome the Ukraine has a long hard economic road ahead for recovery, if that ever comes about.
Of course there will be Western comparisons to the Hitler take-over of the Germany speaking minority in the western Austrian provinces in 1938, but it was different. The annexation was bloodless, and in the southern portions the Germany speakers enthusiastically applauded the move and with subsequent referendums of 95-98% for the annexation. But Hitler being Evil Hitler grabbed the whole loaf, the entire country and more. It was the confiscation of Austria as his first step to create the new Third Reich. Whereas Russia has not a chance to regain its old imperial standing, the country is depleted socially and militarily by its sole dependence on the sale and price of oil and gas. As to my somewhat comparison to Hitler, I am not saying super-nationalist Putin is Evil, but he does have character flaws. One of them may be believing he can start something that he will find he cannot finish.
In East Ukraine, the population consists of 60% or more of Russian speakers and sympathizers and they are a majority. It sounds to me like a majority of voting citizens under our democratic system of which we live by, advocate, and cherish is the way it should be. They call it individual freedom and……. oh, yes, self-determination.
All the Best,