Today’s post is a follow up to Has war with Russia become inevitable? This drew a number of comments.
I think the rhetoric about Putin has gotten way out of hand. Hitler killed hundreds of thousands of people when invading Ukraine. Putin has the military power to reduce Kiev to a smoking crater and has decided on non lethal options.
Well fwiw these are my further thoughts on what has happened and maybe what could happen to cool this crisis.
1. Putin saw the weakening of a Ukraine government which was friendly towards Russia as a direct threat to his naval forces in the Black Sea. For his own internal reasons he cannot afford to have that asset under threat.
2. (Not talking about the initial demos, more the violent step-up before it ended): It would not surprise me to read eventually that the violence in Kiev was Russian-inspired/instigated because, although Putin lost a weak ally, he took from that the needed excuse to 'protect' his people in the east - for which actually read 'his naval base'.
3. Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in return for a guarantee of its territory.
4. A possible mutually acceptable solution might be for Ukraine to cede to Russia the land containing the naval installations, to achieve the situation now existing in Cuba for the US. (please don't lecture me on the history of that place; I get it)
5. In return, Russia and the West would formally acknowledge Ukraine as 'neutral' - see Switzerland. This would have huge economic benefits to all sides of this conflict.
All that said, much like you, Jim, I see confrontation now verging on the inevitable - but as to if that becomes a 'hot' war, or simply harsh economic sanctions, who knows?
I come back to a comment I made on your earlier post: Putin will do exactly what he says because he cannot afford not to - and that is his major bargaining chip. He needs to gain something out of this. They need to give him a way out which can't be mistaken for a step backwards.
He followed up with:
Also, I think this analysis is worth a read - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/10700292/Why-China-is-right-on-the-future-of-Ukraine.html - even tho the author dismisses a sanctions approach.
And last thought: isn't it funny that we have Putin defending the overthrown democratically elected government, and now promoting a referendum, while the US and the rest are firmly behind the 'revolution' involving some pretty dismal sorts?
If you are a betting man, I will wager that nothing will happen. There will be a lot of huffing and puffing and noise and it will all eventually die down. Yes, even the sanctions. Just watch the Brits. They are the guys who will miss out on big commissions and see how they have reacted so far. No noise at all from the suits there. Ukraine will say, thank God Crimea left and the Russians will have to foot big bills in subsidies to the Crimean part of the new dispensation. It will all work out fine eventually.
Orby Wrightville said...
Excuse me but just who is going to go to war with Russia over this?
To which Neville responded:
Orby, I think you are right. I would favour also ceding Finland, and Poland and any country ending with 'ia' and 'stan' as well.
Let's simplify the map; there maybe only three colours then required! Anything to appease.
Over at skepticslawyers, Lorenzo’s Built-in Imperialism: an era of farcical return provides that writer’s historical perspective. Meantime, I went searching for a Ukrainian source on all this and found the Kyviv Post.
Reading the Kyviv Post reminded me of the complexity of all this in human terms in a world of complex interlinks: the Ukrainian migrant workers in Russia; the teachers now not being paid in Crimea; the progressive Russian sanctions (they began before all this) on Ukrainian businesses in Russia; the paperwork involved in Crimea as you have to re-register ownership of key assets; the collapse of payments systems; the reshaping of possible gas supplies within Europe.
And where might those gas supplies come from? Australia, at least in part.