Saturday, March 1, 2014

Less Instant Ukraine Reactions

Yesterday, I suggested that there is little the US/NATO could do about the Russian intervention in Ukraine.  That still is very much true.  Obama's statement referred to costs--that this would cost Russia and it will.  But that is not a redline or a serious effort at deterrence--just a statement of reality.  Russia's relations with the US, EU, NATO and others will be "taxed" by this event--Russia will get less in the near future because of what it does here.

The questions this morning (other than "is that a tank or not") revolve around what can we call this event, what is the best analogy, and otherwise can we make sense of it.

At first blush, this looks like irredentism to me.  That is, Russia is acting to take back a hunk of territory it "lost", a hunk inhabited by ethnic kin.  Why?  Because I want to inflate sales of my book with Bill Ayres?  No.  Indeed, we tend to dismiss the prospects of Russian irredentism because Russia did not have a clear identity way back five years ago that suggested that politicians could score major points at home for annexing lost territories.  If Russia were to annex Crimea, it would very much fit the textbook definition of irredentism.  And irredentism, as of late, is frowned up by the international community, so Russia has engaged in disguised irredentism to minimize opposition from abroad--Abkhazia is an independent country, flying Russian planes?  Hmmm. 

So, many folks are predicting a new frozen conflict, where Crimea is de facto a part of Russia but de jure an unrecognized but independent state.  Good times.  Especially for organized crime, since criminals thrive in such ungoverned spaces. 

Those bending over backwards to see if Russia and the Crimean Russians have a legitimate stance on this will ponder: what of the Crimeans right to self-determination?  Others have seceded so why should the international community get in the way?  To be clear, this is not Kosovo.  The Crimea has not been repressed for years by the government in Kyiv.  And the new government did not make any serious threats to repress the people of Crimea.  There has been much written on the oughts of self-determination (not my specialty), but the Allen Buchanans and Margaret Moores of the world tend to focus on remediation--does secession address some serious grievance?  Why?  Because if people were able to secede readily whenever they were upset about losing an election, democracy would cease to function, as democracy requires an acceptance of losing much of the time.  Yes, the change in government in Kyiv was not conventional, so perhaps the Crimeans have some kind of gripe that could be resolved via a referendum, but since their security was never seriously at risk, there is no need for someone else to intervene to "protect" them.

It is quite clear that Russia is creating a fait accompli that will allow Crimea to have a referendum under gamed circumstances. Why? I am not a Putin-ologist or a Kremlinologist, so I can only guess wildly.  Some would speculate that this effort is seen as a necessary effort to keep control over naval bases on the Black Sea, but one could have imagined Russia making nice with the new government (using threats and coercion but not forced secession) to continue to have access.  Some might see this as spite--to cause the Ukrainians pain for defying Putin's will.  It could be that Putin is playing the nationalist card--appealing to the Russians of Russia by being the best defender of Russians in Ukraine, but there is no real political competition in Moscow that would force this move now. 

So, I really do not know what is in Putin's mind.  I have not had the chance to look into his eyes a la GW Bush.  It is probably more than one thing that is driving this crisis.  I will let the folks who are experts on Russia make those decisions.  All I can say is that irredentism is definitely on the table.  We may or may not label it such if Russia calls Crimea independent, but if Ukraine loses control over Crimea and Russia gains it, it will be far harder to disguise what has happened than in Abkhazia.

Which means we might have to put a second edition out of For Kin or For Country as we would need to revise the Russia chapter.


Superb Jon said...

Marco Polo formalized the Sineurabia Code with Magog Kublai Khan a century after the Fourth Crusade partitioned Greece with Venice and Russia with Poland. Then imposter Polish clergy concocted the Uniate Eastern Rite. That is why there are Magog Muslim Lipka villages still in Poland. Marco Polo Korcula Croat family were part of Venice force occupying Byzantium. Poland persecuted Protestant Jan Amos Komensky of Torun and burned Leszno under the leadership of Jan Dziedzic banning Protestant Socinians in 1658. Polish laws of 1717 and 1733 barred Protestants from parliament, public office, higher military ranks, and free worship - including Evangelicals of Stanislawow, Calvinists of Wilno and Volhynia, and Lutherans of Silesia - justifying Partition of Poland. They ate glis glis yet blamed others for their pestilence. Polish Jesuit Felix Dzerzhinsky was the Bloodiest Bolshevik. Hitler was a Catholic Altar Boy. Hilter was protege of von Papen, Catholic who directed Armenian Genocide and Black Tom, NJ megaton WWI sabotage - which is why Churchill called them Magog Huns. Pogroms against Jews began with Warsaw decrees of 1570, 1580, and 1633 from tracts of Marcin Czechowic against Isaac of Troki. This is why worst Nazi camps were in the lands of the former Lithuanian-Polish Empire. Magog massacred Little Bighorn, Pearl Harbor and Boston Marathon. Crimean War against Photius Heresy avenged humiliation of Louis Napoleon uncle because Czar Alexander marched on Paris, demanding food Bystra. Do you remember Franco one hundred fifty thousand muslim Moors proclaiming Death to Intelligence? Or Hitler Mufti in Jerusalem and Bosnia spawning the PLO. Greece was neutralized during the Crimean and Cold Wars by P5 Sindona and Venice nobles masquerading as Greek Shipping Families who pay no tax because of Liberian Registry. Clinton embargoed photographs vindicating Serbia because Choochtown had his crotch files. Carolingian Brzezinski spawned Zia al Haq, Khomeini, and bin Laden and breaks up superpowers via Aztlan and Kosovo as per Joel Garreau Nine Nations. Schindler Unholy Terror shows 9/11 was Yugo Crimean Blow Back. Greece 2008 riots incited to stop Russian pipeline. Putin tax, gay and oil policies are almost like Sarah Palin. Putin did not violate constitutional term limits like Bloomberg. CNOOC was not allowed to buy Unocal just like Exxon and Chevron tried to buy Yukos. Hermitage Browder grandfather was FDR chief red. Cuomo environmentals even exterminating Tchaikovsky swans. Anyone who knows the cruel, vindictive ending of Vercingetorix, Spartacus and Carthage can only blame Rome for the death of the Messiah. Let them off to Argentina where Croat and Arab Nazis pork for lore enforcement, casuistry and pestilence instead of thinking!

SAO said...

My take is that Putin didn't think this through. He probably had mobilized a large number of troops in case of any problems at Sochi, making it easy to send them into nearby Ukraine at a minute's notice.

Because the troops were mobilized and nearby, they got over the border no one saw the mobilization and had time to suggest that sending them to Crimea was a really bad idea.

Also, note that a quick look at the map shows the fastest way from Sochi to Crimea is by boat. Interesting, where did the boats come from? Crimea or Russia?

Frank Fartle said...

Superb Jon
Two things: word salad and white space. Too much of the first and not enough of the second.

Otherwise it makes you come across as a little bit crazy.