More Troubles in the Ukraine

| April 7, 2014

While the western portions of the Ukraine – which have historical ties to Poland and other nations to their west – remain quiet, the same isn’t true for the Ukraine’s eastern provinces.  Those parts of the Ukraine have closer historical ties to Russia, and are becoming unruly.

Pro-Russia protestors in Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kharkiv stormed Ukrainian government offices yesterday, taking them over.  In Lugansk, they freed a number of pro-Russian activists previously arrested by Ukrainian police for allegedly plotting to take over government buildings using “arms and explosives”.   In Kharkiv, police reportedly refused to stop protestors from entering government buildings in strength.

Pro-Russia protestors in these regions have called for a referendum on rejoining Russia similar to that held in the Crimea when the Ukraine holds snap Presidential elections in late may.  Those regions also were strong supporters of the now-deposed former President of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych.

I’m sure our “nuanced and astute” POTUS and SECSTATE have something uniquely effective planned in the event that the eastern Ukraine tries to break away from the central/western Ukraine and rejoin Russia.  After all, their response to the situation in Crimea last month was as effective King Canute’s orders to the tide.

Yeah, it looks like this one could get . . . pretty interesting before it calms down.  Might want to stay tuned.

Category: Foreign Policy, Military issues

Comments (19)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Farflung Wanderer says:

    How much do you want to bet that Putin’s going to annex that portion of Ukraine in the name of “defending ethnic Russians and regional stability”.

    Not enough people see this is as a Czechslovakia, 1938/1939 situation (I can’t remember the exact date off the top of my head, apologies). While we may not be hurtling towards a new world war, Kerry strikes me as this century’s Chamberland.

    • rb325th says:

      How much do you want to bet that in large part the “Pro Russian” groups have more than just a little support from Putin.

      • Hondo says:

        rb325th: maybe, maybe not. That part of the Ukraine voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych/other pro-Russian candidates in both 2006 and 2010. That region has historically looked generally north towards Moscow vice west towards Europe.

        Dunno how this one will turn out. I just hope this Administration’s batch of clueless foreign policy dilettantes “esteemed foreign policy team” has plans for the various scenarios that don’t involve abject stupidity and/or actions that make the US look like utter fools – again.

        • Old Trooper says:

          In regards to what rb is saying. You can’t deny the obvious similarities between Ukraine 2014 and Sudatenland 1938 (along with Danzig, etc.). Prussia was historically Germanic, yet it didn’t stop the Europeans from carving it up and giving it to Poland after the 1st World War, along with Northern areas of Germany.

          This will turn out like I had predicted, before i.e. Putin will grab the Eastern Ukraine and we will send a strongly worded message.

          • Hondo says:

            With those two (Sudetenland and Danzig)? Yes, those parallels are probably valid.

            Frankly, if one buys the principle of self-determination Germany did arguably have some degree of justification for both of those actions – both the Sudetenland and Danzig were overwhelmingly ethnically German, if I recall correctly. The Polish corridor and other wrongs foisted on Germany after World War I were among the factors that allowed the Nazis to come to power in 1933.

            Germany did not, however, have any valid justification for the occupation of the rest of Czechoslovakia later in 1938/1939 or the invasion of Poland proper the following year. Those later actions were simply conquest to establish an empire in accordance with a madman’s delusions of grandeur.

            Best I can tell, we’re kinda screwed regarding the Ukraine – philosophically – no matter which way we turn. If we say “no referendum”, we’re arguing against self-determination and local democracy; the US has been a huge supporter of those principles since World War II. If we say “have a referendum”, we’re playing right into Russia’s hands and end up looking like idiots.

            Our nation’s “esteemed” foreign policy team has been playing jacks, foreign policy-wise, while Russia and Putin have been playing chess at the grandmaster level. It shows.

            • Old Trooper says:

              The problem is, Hondo, that Poland did not exist from 1795 to 1918 and then, when it was recreated, it was given territory that didn’t historically have anything to do with it. That is what gave fuel to the fire leading up to WWII. Several parts of Poland were Prussian and were taken away and given to Poland as a sort of tribute. My family estate being one of those parts. So, it’s not just the Sudetenland and Danzig, but other parts as well like the North Western part of Silesia.

              • Hondo says:

                Old Trooper: not exactly. Most of Posen and a small part of Silesia were arguably historically Polish, as was the land south and east of those German provinces that had been occupied by Russia during the partitions of Poland in the late 1700s. However, the same is not true of the rest of Silesia, or for virtually all of West Prussia. Per this source, most of Posen and West Prussia were taken from Germany to provide the recreated Poland sea access. Silesia was largely left in German hands, except for a small bit in the extreme southeast. Danzig was made a “Free City”.

                Silesia and West Prussia (including Danzig) were not part of the classical Polish heartland prior to the late-1700s partitions. Most of Posen and the Russian-occupied lands to the east were.

                IMO, trying to impose boundaries by “victor’s justice” while ignoring existing demographics is a prescription for little other than future troubles.

                • Old Trooper says:

                  My point was that those areas changed hands so many times in the span of 200 years that no one knew who was who, anymore. There were partitions here, treaties there, old blood feuds and the like, that happened every other year in Europe in those days. We’ve watched it re-emerge as the old Soviet Union fell.

                  • Hondo says:

                    Agreed. Empires historically often imposed peace that otherwise would never have existed.

        • Sparks says:

          Hondo. The news is already on the underground that Obama and Kerry will make an offer to Putin and his senior advisers and officers. It will be, “Please guys don’t uhm don’t take the Ukraine. Here’s what we got for you. We’ll let you and the listed advisers and officers sign up for the Affordable Care Act, premium free, through the State of your choice, try to stay away from Maryland though. So what do you say Vlad? Sound like a deal? Oh I see you already tried in 32 states and couldn’t sign up because of system crashes. Yea that’s been a little snag for us too. What else do I have for you? Well, Vlad I like you, I mean I really do, so lemme get with Kerry and Michelle (she’s in the Oval Office today) and see what we can come up with. By the by, to you have the full HBO, Cimemax and Sports package? I could get you into that pretty easy! Yea, uh hu, yea, well you get back to me when you think of something okay?” Hangs up the phone, Kerry says “What’s he say, what’s he say!” “He said basically and I may need the translator but I think it was something about us bending each other over the desk. Yea get the translator in here because we did that last time he called and it wasn’t fun…for you anyway!”

        • rb325th says:

          I stand by what I said, Putin has been since the very beginning of his rise to power sought to centralize control once again in Russia, and to maintain their “influence” over the former members of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.
          I believe the likelihood of his having a hand in the turmoil going on is very much a reality.
          Old Trooper is probably correct on the outcome there, and I venture to say, once he has the Eastern Ukraine he is not going to stop there.

          • Farflung Wanderer says:

            Agreed, this man is another Hitler, just without the genocide (as far as we know). He’s pulling from Hitler’s textbook, and he’s certainly learned from the mistakes of the Germans. This guy is far more dangerous, in my opinion.

            • Hondo says:

              I disagree. Putin is not another Hitler.

              Hitler was a charismatic madman who loved the spotlight. and was willing to literally destroy his own nation in an attempt to pursue twisted aims. Putin is a competent, sane, and coldly-calculating individual who is trying to look after his nation’s interests as he sees them. If anything, he’s a younger (and perhaps abler) version of Yuri Andropov.

              Unlike Hitler, Putin is quite rational. He’ll deal when he must. However, before he’ll compromise he first must be convinced an adversary is (a) serious and (b) is worthy of respect.

              We haven’t convinced him of that yet.

              • Sparks says:

                Two points. I don’t relate Putin to Hitler at all. But I do believe if Putin could reestablish the former Soviet Bloc of yesterdays…he would in a heartbeat.

                • Hondo says:

                  Sparks: I don’t think he would, actually. Much of the old Warsaw Pact is today anti-Russian enough that I think Putin has written that chance off. Ditto the Central Asian republics that were formerly parts of the USSR.

                  However, grabbing those areas that are historically “Russian leaning” – like Belarus, parts of northern Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine? Different story. IMO he’ll grab any of those he can, given the opportunity.

                  In his shoes, I might do exactly the same.

                  • Sparks says:

                    Hondo…I see your point.

                  • HS Sophomore says:

                    I’d be surprised if he didn’t plan to annex those areas immediately after this. Russia is a demographic time bomb; there are estimates that by 2050, the country will have less people than Singapore. And a lot of those people will be Muslims who have no desire to be part of Russia (even now, White Russians are actually in the minority in the country). I’d wager this is Putin’s solution to the demographic crisis; annex as many white, ethnic Russian areas and people as possible. It might buy them at least another decade.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    I think what we may be facing, without realizing it, is the absolutely last gasp of ‘empire’ in the sense of the Caesars of Rome, with Putin’s attempts to re-establish Russian control of parts of eastern Europe. And there is more to it than politics, much more.

    This is not nessarily a rerun of the Cold War, even though to my eyes it almost looks that way.

    There is an element which is being ignored by almost all political entities and analysts, and that is the current physical changes in the climate, which are happening right in front of us. It has a direct effect on vital resources such as water and arable land. Ukraine was once known as the breadbasket of the USSR. This entire exercise in control by Putin may be an attempt to recoup control of viable farmland. If you want to remain independent of your neighbors, then you want to control your resources.

    I think the unrest, the political pot stirring, the la-de-da bungling in US government – among other things – may be merely the surface manifestation of a deeper sense that we are facing a long haul ahead in which resources will become harder and harder to obtain, never mind keep.

    The possibility that war may erupt over resources is very real. It has happened before, repeatedly, in human history.

    We have until some time between 2015 and 2020 to resolve our differences with Nature. I’m beginning to see this same subject addressed in several resources.

    We have to come to terms with this, which may be what Putin is trying to do in his own way. It isn’t even ‘control oil and you control the world’. That’s nonsense and it’s not what Putin is after. It is closer to ‘control food and you stay on top’ – independent from outside resources.