Referendums to Dismember Ukraine

Little was said in our press until today of the Crimean “autonomy referendum.” Kherson, Mykolaev and Odessa (oblasts covering all of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast) have declared their desire to join Crimea.

You know how that election will turn out, giving Putin further justification to dismember and strangle Ukraine. Putin did the same, on a smaller scale, in Georgia six years ago. By reducing opposing states to tiny, crippled enclaves, he can just scoop them up when he chooses. Meanwhile, he makes Europe and America look as impotent as we are.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet ports at Sevastopol in Crimea. The Russians effectively seized Crimea days ago.

All our words don’t pressure to Russia, but we honestly have little leverage.

1930s Redux

We’re watching a replay of Hitler’s absorption of central Europe in the 1930s. Obama, Biden, Kerry et al. are as ineffective containing Putin as Neville Chamberlain was with Hitler.

Obama isn’t singly to blame for the Ukraine mess (though Hagels’ Defense reductions are looking ill-timed); Bush did as poorly with Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. We have learned nothing.

The price of oil, of course, bounced upward. That helps Putin. Russia’s economy is heavily dependent on energy revenue. That, not a military confrontation, is where they are most vulnerable and where we should counter-attack.

Threatening does no good; we should say what we are doing and do it. This whole thing was planned and executed by Putin. If we don’t do something–I mean really do something–he’ll only get worse.

Ukraine on the Brink

Ukraine is “on the brink of disaster” says its Prime Minister. It’s also on the brink of being dismembered, if Putin’s 2008 invasion of Georgia is any indication.

Did you notice the “unmarked” uniforms and vehicles? Russia has planned this operation for some time. This is neither spontaneous nor accidental.

Putin will take the Crimea and a good chunk of eastern Ukraine, if he doesn’t conquer the whole thing and install a puppet government. As with Georgia, he will blame Ukraine. The USA will do nothing because there’s not much we can do in that part of the world.

March 1, David Brooks said on NPR, “Russia is basically a failed state run by a narcissistic autocrat.” But despite being a failure, Russia is very dangerous–to its neighbors and to the world.

Meanwhile, America will continue to court Russia as an partner in global politics (in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran) when their interests and motives are opposed to ours. (It is interesting that Putin suppresses Moslems at home, while being their international protector.) We need to treat Russia for what it is: our enemy.

The Cold War renewed years ago, while we continued to disarm.