I have been watching what is unfolding in the Ukraine for awhile now. Even before the Sochi Olympics largely knocked it off of the 24 hour news cycle (and off of most peoples minds). I first started seriously following the situation after the Kiev text message threat situation (written about HERE ).
In all honesty, I did not have much hope, in the beginning. But as time went on, I was pleasantly surprised. The police forces stood down, and the military decided to stand idle, and parliament ousted Prime Minister Yanukovych. The people fought for change, and it seemed that they had won.
But it was precarious, right from the start.
The turmoil had started because of Yanukovych’s decision to economically align the Ukraine with Russia, instead of with the European Union (a move that would have arguably been better for the citizens). But Putin managed to flex his shirtless heterosexual muscles, and stop that from happening. Or so he thought.
Im thinking he didn’t expect the backlash from the people, that ended up happening.
And so the protests begun, starting back on the 21st of November 2013. And the flames of revolution were further fanned by the governments decision to dis-ban the right to protest. Imagine that, attempting to force a muzzle on an angry populace caused them to get even more pissed.
And so the protests and the fighting dragged on, with the police and the Prime Minister being accused of all kinds of human rights violations against Ukrainian protesters. Until late February, when enough of the presidents party had either fled or defected, to allow the opposition to take control.
Once taking office, they pulled the police out of Kiev and canceled all anti-protest operations, freed all political detainees, restored the 2004 Ukrainian constitution, and impeached then Prime Minister Yanukovych. Though Yanukovych and Russia’s President Putin, both refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the new Ukrainian governing body.
And so it seemed that the people had got what they wanted, and that the Ukraine was once more on the road to peace. But I knew that I had to be careful with my hopefulness. Russia may get its way, one way or the other.
And less then a week later, sure enough, “mysterious” troops started showing up and surrounding military bases in Crimea. And since, an apparently “organic” wave of Russian patriotism of the people in Crimea (the majority of the populace is of Russian decent) ended with a decision to hold a referendum. One which would make the choice on whether the area would keep its Ukrainian affiliation, or join the Russian Federation.
The vote happened yesterday, and last night we found out that as expected, the voted said to secede, and as such, the area is now(for all intents and purposes), a part of Russia.
The intern governing body, along with the West, has condemned this move. The west has imposed “sactions” on a number of Russian officials (they seem to equate to little more then the freezing of assets of said officials in the said nations, as well as travel bans into Canada, The US, The European Union member states and maybe more. Otherwise known as, fuck all).
Though to my eye this move to secede is seemingly “democratic” in nature, the move has been deemed as illegal by the West and the Ukrainian intern government. The reason being seems to be that the move to split the Ukraine was not democratic, in that only the citizens of Crimea (and not the rest of the Ukraine) had a say.
The initial reaction that I had in the situation was, if the Russians want it, and the civilian populace clearly wants to join Russia, just let them have the land. Its disconnected from the mainland of the Ukraine anyway. The Russians already have a well established presence there, and has for a very long time (it is there only warm water port, if I remember correctly). And the state has previously been a part of Russia anyhow.
The Ukraine’s biggest sea port is located in the state, but it seems to me that a workaround to that problem would be relatively easy to fix.
But in any case, we now have a situation where many feel that Russia made the equivalent to a land grab. On the surface, it REALLY does not look that way to me, but we will go with that.
Which brings us to the question that is, should the West get involved?
There could arguably be reason to get involved. The state of Crimea was indeed, forcibly removed from the Ukraine (that is, the mainland didn’t have a say in the matter). And Russia has been meddling in the nation since the fall of the previous administration, and probably before hand to.
Yet, I have to consider a few things.
When it comes to moral superiority, the West (in particular, the United States) does not really have any leg to stand on, in terms of condemning seemingly unprovoked military actions in other sovereign nations. Nor does it have any leg to stand on in terms of condemning Russia’s “meddling” in other countries affairs (how many dictators has the US put into power, for the economic interests of the US?).
While 2 wrongs (well, WAY more then that) do not make the Russian actions right, one has to concede that Putin would have a point, should he bring it up.
The other reason that I could see the West going in on, is on humanitarian grounds.
But frankly, even that reason is lacking. Russia is certainly not a poster child of honoring even the most basic of human rights, but its certainly no North Korea. North Korea, a nation that a recent UN report has found to be just as bad (if not worse) then the Nazi’s were back in their day. Yet the collective action of the West seems to be, meh. Granted, there is risks. The government has been known to do some batshit stuff in retaliation of perceived western threats. But it seems to me that SOMETHING could be done. Even if it has to be largely by proxy (though China?).
And, speaking of China. . .
I know some that figure Putin and Russia to be not all that much of a threat. They see him to be little more then a macho asshole, a typical school yard bully that just needs a boot in the ass.
On one hand, that seems to be a VERY big underestimation and assumption based largely on military patriotism. Almost an excuse to go to war.
But either way, it is not so much Russia that I worry about, as I do their allies. For example, China.
That is my take on the situation thus far, be it correct or incorrect.
I have my eye on it, and I guess all we can do is hope for some good solution to this problem. And more importantly, hope that some leader does not jump the gun, and start something catastrophic (think Nuclear weapons).
My main hope, is that Russia’s only “land grab” (whatever you want to call it) is Crimea. It would seem that is all that they want, and not the rest of the Ukraine. It may be “illegal”, and the west may not like it.
But taking any action, seems akin to playing with fire. Both because of the natural resources of Russia’s that Europe is Dependant on (Natural gas/Gasoline?), and the potential for catastrophe.