Crimea

David Byron

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32 Responses

  1. jdgalt says:

    Thank goodness Putin didn't demand more. Our ball-less leader would have surrendered the entire US to him without firing a shot.

    Doesn't anybody care anymore?

  2. The US/NATO approach to this hasn't seemed constructive to me. I don't see that anyone but the people of Crimea are entitled to decide whether or not to secede and whether or not to become part of Russia; the rest of the world is entitled to insist that the referendum be free and fair, and to that end we might have demanded that observers be present – but where do we get off saying, basically, that they're part of Ukraine and they'd better learn to like it?

    I'm aware that Europeans have kind of a hang-up about national borders, but honestly, I think they need to get over it.

    (Oh, there are other provisos: for example, there should be a guarantee that people can relocate from Crimea to Ukraine if they wish to, and compensation for those who feel that they need to relocate, and perhaps a redrawing of borders if that turns out to be a significant proportion of the population. But how can we have this conversation if we're going to insist flat out that secession is unacceptable?)

    I find it particularly bizarre that the US follows this line. Those involved in the secession of America from the UK are universally considered to be heroes; what makes Crimea so different?

  3. Salty says:

    Thank goodness Putin didn't demand more. Our ball-less leader would have surrendered the entire US to him without firing a shot.

    Doesn't anybody care anymore?

    Not sure if Poe or real, but responding anyways.

    What exactly can the U.S. of A. do in response to this? I mean, we can't intervene militarily, sanctions would hurt everybody involved massively (especially the EU and co.), and quite frankly Crimea doesn't seem too terribly unhappy at the prospect of rejoining Russia anyways.

    You have any good ideas?

  4. SA says:

    Thanks for the new lyrics!

  5. TBP says:

    what makes Crimea so different?

    With admittedly peripheral knowledge at best I'd say that during previous Russian "occupation" (times of the CCCP), Russia settled lots of Russians into the other territories to 'assimilate' them better and kind of infiltrate the population. That has now become the majority in Crimea, and those immigrated Russians want to return to Russia – but without moving again, instead taking a chunk out of the Ukraine. So it's kind of a two-stage invasion/occupation of Ukrainian territory, taking it from those who where born there and whose families might have lived there for generations.

    If that is legitimate or not is something I try to avoid to judge, because to do so I would require way more knowledge on the philosophy, practice, precedence and practicalities of territorial souvereignity and state borders than I have, therefore I'm incompetent to judge. Though my gut feeling says this is neither just nor right on a big picture level, though the only practical thing at an individual level.

    Even if you could remove the Russian part of the Crimean population back to Russia, Crimea would suddenly be kind of empty. And I doubt all of those settlers came there of their own free will in the first place, would it be right to forcibly uproot them again? All the while the 'native' part of the population has equally good arguments why they should not be forced to abandon their homes or be forcibly re-nationalized as Russians. Do you follow the ideal justice for a small part of the population, even though it punishes the majority heavily for old actions of their ex-government they did not have any say in, and leaves Crimea in no state to work as a region? Or do you accept even more injustice for the minority to avoid a lesser, but still big, injustice to a lot more people, and thereby save the region from becoming dysfunctional? How do you enter the economic consequences of either option into the ethical conundrum? It's a giant mess morally and ethically and just intervening with force and starting war rethoric like Russia has is not the right solution however you look at it.

  6. Cat G says:

    Meanwhile, for a glimpse into the future, check to see what countries have large populations being offered Russian passports.

    I mean, this is only the third time Russia has done this post-USSR. I'm sure there's not a pattern you can look at with regard to gradual expansion.

    To Harry, I have to say… This is not secession. The request for Russian aid didn't come until after Russian forces were already present in Crimea. This is generally referred to as "invasion" – no matter how welcome it may have been portrayed to be. Also, general US attitudes towards secession underwent something of a shift in the 1860s.

  7. TBP says:

    So the difference?

    Ukraine
    -occupied by Russia
    -'infiltrated' by Russian immigrants
    -Russia retreats
    -Russian immigrants secede to join Russia

    USA
    -occupied by Eurpeans
    -conquered by European settlers
    -European settlers secede from Europe and continue to mistreat natives almost to extinction until they are the dominant population

    So for Crimea to be parallel to the independence of the USA, Crimea would have had to forcibly secede from the CCCP, declare themselves an independent state and proceed to conquer the rest of the Ukraine.

    For the USA to parallel Crimea you'd have to have soft occupation of native territories in colonial times while officially leaving them autonomous and only allied to Europe. Then heavy settlement by Europeans on the east coast would be followed by a retreat of the colonial forces and real freedom for the United Native Nations of America. Finally there would be a referendum along the east coast to secede from the United Native Nations of America to join Great Britain.

  8. Historical perspective; the region of Crimea has been Russian for hundreds of years under the Tsars; it was Stalin who "gifted" it to the Ukraine, complete with ethnic Russians in place, while systematically killing or relocating Ukrainian farmers in the name of collectivism. If you want parallels, consider giving Texas to the Mexicans today, with US population in place . . . geddit?
    The Ukrainians just happened to be very ethnically dynamic, and avoided the "russianification" effect . . .

  9. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell says:

    Nice metre, David, but methinks you've been sipping way too heavily on the mainstream media kool-aid.

  10. machintelligence says:

    I suspect that in 1954, when Khrushchev transferred Crimea to the Ukraine, he never considered that Ukrainians would end up independent and not entirely friendly to Russia. Now the Russians want it back.

  11. David W says:

    @TBP: That sounds an awful lot like the story of Texas to me.

  12. David says:

    @Paul, you caught me. I'm not generally known as one who thinks for himself, so it's clear that I must have drunk without reflection from the wrong well. I admire your ability to infer my ideological leanings, political positions, and critical inferences from a short comedic pastiche.

  13. Paul Baxter says:

    "Historical perspective; the region of Crimea has been Russian for hundreds of years under the Tsars; it was Stalin who "gifted" it to the Ukraine, complete with ethnic Russians in place, while systematically killing or relocating Ukrainian farmers in the name of collectivism."

    This is not actually true. There was no Russian majority in the region until the early 20th century. So the "Russian" period of Crimea was only about 50 years.

  14. Steven H. says:

    @Harry Johnston:
    "I find it particularly bizarre that the US follows this line. Those involved in the secession of America from the UK are universally considered to be heroes; what makes Crimea so different?"

    Note that the USA had a rather different attitude toward secession 75 years later when the Confederacy asserted their right to secede from the Union.

  15. Mu says:

    hose involved in the secession of America from the UK are universally considered to be heroes; what makes Crimea so different?
    Of course, when part of the US states decided it was time for their own secession they were branded rebels and militarily defeated.
    To me, the big problem with the successor states of the USSR are that the borders were strictly administrative lines, nothing that had grown based on nationalities. The break-up was along those lines, without any regard to whether the resulting states would be internally viable. When Wilson did that to the German and Austrian empires after WWI, the result was WWII. Lets hope this won't come to this.

  16. Eli Rabett says:

    OK, so Ukraine was going to sign a treaty with the EU, and many of those in Western Ukraine were thinking this was a start of a new relationship leading to membership in the EU and NATO. Meanwhile there was the largest Russian naval base in the Crimea, an area with a large Russian majority. Was anyone thinking?

  17. Eli Rabett says:

    Paul Baxter, the majority in the Crimea was not Ukrainian but Tartar, who were deported by Stalin. A few have filtered back and are not happy with the Russian takeover, but they are not Ukranians.

  18. Derek says:

    @salty I wondered the same thing, what can the US and Europe really do to counter the annexation of Crimea. Quartz has a great article spelling out options short of open conflict:

    http://qz.com/185137/obama-is-unleashing-the-wrong-energy-weapon-against-putin-he-should-use-oil/

  19. rsteinmetz70112 says:

    Crimea River.

  20. Ken White says:

    I know all your geopolitical opinions based on this, David, and they are wrong!

  21. b says:

    And based, on your statement, Ken, particularly your use of vowels and your noun placement — not to mention punctuation — I know all I need to about how you've been brainwashed.

    And that you dress to the left.

  22. David says:

    @Ken, that's because I've drunk the kool-aid of mainstream media that I seldom or never watch!

    @b TMI– too much inference!

  23. bud says:

    Not only did Putin kick sand in Ob's face, he stood over him and p*ssed in his ear.

    It was widely acknowledged that a Crimean vote would favor Russia by at least a 60% margin. So what does Putin do? He does an in-yo-face dunk by "arranging" for the vote to be >97% in favor!

    Take that, Obama!

    Remember, Ukraine gave up their nukes for a territorial guarantee that doesn't seem to be worth the paper it's printed on.

    How many of the we-want-our-own countries out there have just been tipped to "no only no, but hell no" to various promises made to get them to abandon their nuclear programs?

    This fiasco has more import than a local border tiff.

  24. Ancel De Lambert says:

    The best answer I can conjure to this situation is to allow Crimea to become a State of itself, satellite to Russia. But then, I'm American and think everything is better if it's more like the good ol' US. Crimea can be the new Rhode Island, isn't that precious?

  25. babaganusz says:

    better than all the Lost jokes about Flight 370 (combined (x 23)).

  26. albert says:

    Unless any of you are Ukrainians, you don't have any say in the matter! It's none of the U.S. business to be involved in a sovereign nations affairs; it was wrong in Afghanistan, wrong in Iraq, wrong in Syria, etc., etc., etc…..
    .
    The U.S. and Russia are more alike than either cares to admit. I don't know if the Russians see it, but apparently the Americans don't.
    .
    I gotta go…

  27. I was Anonymous says:

    @Harry Johnston

    I'm aware that Europeans have kind of a hang-up about national borders, but honestly, I think they need to get over it.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin, has Putin just annexed the Sudetenland?

  28. Cat G says:

    @I was Anonymous

    Nah. Georgia was the Sudetenland. This is a soft Poland.

    None of that sounds good to me.

    Also, given the manner in which schools and history were taught during the Soviet era, it's surprising there is still this much national identity in former satellite states.
    (As described to me by people fortunate enough to travel in that period, history wasn't exactly closely aligned with the truth in schools. But then, Trotsky probably knew that. Stalin acted alone.)

  29. Al says:

    @bud

    There's nothing I see in the Budapest Memorandums that call for a military response. The relevant section states:

    The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;

    The whole thing went in front of the Security Council and the Russian vetoed it. Not exactly a shock but everyone knew how the Security Council worked when the agreement was signed.

  30. babaganusz says:

    it's surprising there is still this much national identity in former satellite states.

    centralization/propaganda puts down roots – film at 11?

  31. cpast says:

    @Al

    Doesn't that mean that it only applies to aggression involving nukes? So far, I don't think this has involved nukes at all, since no one involved is THAT suicidal.

  32. Al says:

    @cpast

    I read that as: if someone is overtly aggressive (as Russia has been) or if someone threatens to nuke them then the UN Security Council has to be approached.