Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crimea Ponderings

This is related to my complete failure to comprehend western politics regarding the events in the Ukraine.  Maybe somebody can explain to me what I am failing to understand.

My understanding is that the Crimea, and more specifically Sebastopol, is one of the most strategically important cities to Russia, given its position as the port in the Black Sea.  The local population is mostly Russian.  If this territory remained in the Ukraine, and the Ukraine became subservient to the Union of European Socialist Republics, then the port would be under the domain of a hostile empire - one that also represents a hostile modernist religious theocracy.  Why would anyone in the West expect Putin, or any other Russian politician, to behave differently?  

This also has me reflecting back to the Crimean War, which was sandwiched between two other glorious Western Wars, The First and Second Opium Wars.  In the Opium Wars, the UK declared war on China for refusing to permit English companies to sell Opium to the Chinese.  Apparently it is legitimate to blow peoples brains out with drugs if it makes a good profit.  Modern Libertarianism owes its founding to John Stuart Mill who argued that this war was "just", because the Chinese had a right to commit suicide with opium that superseded any governmental jurisdiction.  The Crimean War was likewise purely a trade war where France and England allied with the Ottoman Turks against the Russians.  But then a religious dispute was sought out as a pretext, and the western atheist politicians sold the Crimean War as a Crusade against the Russian Orthodox devils.  Thus, we became allies with Islam against a more or less Christian nation.  From my Chinese acquaintances, I know that any mention of the Opium Wars is likely to put them into a state of rage.  The same reaction would no doubt be expected when dealing with the Russians over the Crimea.

With all that in mind, we have the leftist western politicians issuing idle threats against Russia.  Then there are the right wing politicians who are angry that the left's idle threats don't have any teeth to them.  One wants to tease the momma bear while grabbing her cub.  The other wants to bite the mamma bear in the nose, while grabbing her cub.  Or is there something to else this that I am missing?


Delirious said...

China is surely paying attention to America's lack of involvement in Ukraine. It's only a matter of time until China steps ups it's efforts to take ownership of places like the Diao yu islands.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi Looney,

Russia is only after the revival of the good old Russian Empire back, by occupying other people's countries (they did the same to Georgia, in 2008, and the world just let them; so why not try Crimea and then Ukraine now?).
The explanation that Sevapostol is a strategic need for Russia isn't entirely acceptable because Russia has a port in the Black Sea in its own territory (which it only considers to use if it is forced out of Crimea).

Unfortunately, you are correct when you call the EU a bunch of socialists because even the European right wing has some sort of socialist mindset that seems unable to shake off. Look at how they refuse to have a common defence plan (and insist on relying on the US for this purpose), for God forbid that we make cuts on welfare - Angela Merkel may be an exception to this as she has been increasing the investment in German's defence, military industry and presence in places like Africa (which can be considered dangerous if we look at Germany's recent history). Even the V4 (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) are getting their act together (by joining military forces) and telling the EU they need to improve their defence real quickly.

This Crimean crisis is a real test for POTUS and the EU. I wonder if the US will change its MO (since 1956) vis-à-vis Russia and Eastern Europe...

Outstanding debate you started here, Looney.


Rummuser said...

Nothing will happen. Ukraine will pull back its people and troops from the Cremea and stop the subsidies that have kept that region afloat. Russia will take up the slack and nobody is going to complain. All the chest thumping is happening in the USA and frankly neither the Ukrainians nor the Russians care. Britain particularly is very worried as their suits will stand to lose a great deal of money if true boycott and sanctions are imposed. Cracks have already appeared in Europe with France saying that it cannot afford to cancel military orders received from Russia. In a few months time everybody will have forgotten the whole issue.

Looney said...

@Delirious, I certainly hope things stay relatively peaceful in East Asia. But I think you are right that the US is sending all the wrong messages.

Looney said...

@Max, thanks for the additional input. Some more things to consider. During the cold war, my main sense was that the USSR was a mix of totalitarianism and anti-Christian atheism, where as the West was Christian. Now it seems to me that the roles are reversed in many important ways. Thus, at least for me, I can never go back to a cold war mindset.

Looney said...

@Rummuser, certainly I should hope for that outcome. The only thing that has me thinking otherwise is the fact that the Western rage against Russia predates this crisis and is primarily driven by the LGBT movement. Then we have the fact that the major corporations are in-bed with the LGBT movement, so that the recent Arizona attempt to pass a law to protect Christians from LGBT activists was stopped by threats from corporations. The Crimea itself may become forgotten, but the new cold war will continue.

Rummuser said...

I agree that the new cold war will continue. Too much money is involved for it not to flourish. Both sides have to spend a great deal to prepare for a possible armed confrontation. A lot of money that could have gone to other developmental activities would go to defense expenditure. So be it.

Max Coutinho said...


You are welcome. I share your view on the USSR. Now Russia is ultra-conservative (i.e. the Orthodox Church has occupied an important role in Russian society) but it kept that "imperialistic" soviet mindset; or should we say that it wishes to go back to being a Tsardom with "cold war" elements?