Friday, March 14, 2014

Splitting Ukraine

In 2010, Russia agreed with the elected government of Ukraine to lease the seaport of Sevastopol for the Russian Navy. Sevastopol’s warm saltwater port on the Black Sea is strategically important for Russia, which is landlocked to the east, south, and west.

Since the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine has been torn between allying with Russian and Western powers. It is dwarfed by the powers on both sides; there, Ukraine’s alignment with either Russia or the West is sure to provoke the other.

For a long while, the United States and European Union were winning the diplomatic battle over Ukraine. Russia entered the new millennium severely weakened after an economic depression in the ’90s. The powers reached parity in the 2000s.

  • America invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years, expending much military and economic capital, for naught.

  • In 2009, America canceled an anti-missile defense shield over Eastern Europe.

  • After the financial crisis, the toothless, multiculturalist EU has shown a dogged commitment to economic and social self-destruction by a goon squad of international bankers.

The closer Ukraine came to joining the EU in 2013, the more aggressively Russia sanctioned Ukraine economically. While Ukraine was working hard to gain admittance to the passive EU, Russia was working harder to gain the allegiance of Ukraine. Western powers’ ambivalence contrasted with Russia’s determination proved to be the tipping point.

Like Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoing SB1062, Ukrainian leadership reassessed the situation and reversed course midstream. They saw the decadent Western powers’ waning interest and wisely aligned with Russia.

Eurocentrics protested in pro-Western Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, demanding alignment with the EU. The country came close to civil war. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was deposed and a pro-Western puppet was installed in power.

This isn’t the first time Yanukovych was removed from office. He won the 2004 presidential election as the pro-Russian candidate. He was publicly endorsed by Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian high court overturned that result and a reelection was held 2 months later, which he lost.

Yanukovych’s base of support then and now was eastern Ukraine, which is contiguous with Russia. His base includes Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

After Western powers installed a pro-Western puppet in Kiev, Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula to protect its seaport. This is invasion done right; Crimeans are the happiest invaded people ever. They will vote March 16 to leave Ukraine to join Russia. Despite the Russian occupation, Crimeans’ concerns over what amounts to a diplomatic coup in Kiev are legitimate. Thus, so is the referendum.

Ukraine is a failed state. One half of the country wants EU membership, the other half wants to join Russia. If we’re to take self-determination seriously, there’s no good reason to subject either side to the will of the other. It’s secession or civil war.

Lest you worry America is going to do anything about this, rest assured we’re just as toothless as the Europeans. Listen to how very concerned Secretary of State John Kerry is:

There will be a response of some kind to the referendum itself. If there is no sign [from Russia] of any capacity to respond to this issue ... there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday.

Kerry’s posturing is less overcompensation for weakness than delusional white knighting. Putin holds the cards. He controls the flow of natural gas into Europe. At any rate, no marginal drop in national GDP caused by economic sanctions compares with losing your top naval base.

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