Crazy about the Crimea

View 813 Monday, March 03, 2014


“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983



The Wall Street Journal this morning in a lead editorial says flatly that the Russian de facto annexation of the Crimea cannot be allowed to stand. That is because they are crazy, and think that there is something the United States can do to prevent it. There is not, of course. We have no ships in the Black Sea, and we certainly would not send SAC even if there were a SAC to send. We have no bargaining points – not that it is much of our business. The Crimea has been conquered and recolonized throughout historical times, and cannot be said to be the ethnic homeland for anyone. It has been held by Greeks, Tatars, Khazars, Venetians, Genoese, Turks, Kievan Russ’, Golden Horde, Mongols, Tamarlane, Russians and most anyone else you can think of, and has been ethnically cleansed several times including during the Twentieth Century. We did northing about Stalin’s ethnic cleansing of the Crimea after WW II. Truman threatened unconditional nuclear war if Stalin did not remove his troops from Iran, but saving the Crimea was beyond his abilities.

After the collapse of the USSR, the Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for a guarantee of its territorial integrity from the US, NATO, and Russia. The guarantee is not enforceable and is unlikely to be useful except as a blaming point to use against President Putin. One wonders what might have happened had they kept a few, a force d’ frappe? The lesson will not be ignored by North Korea, which continues to enslave its people and conduct daily atrocities dwarfing anything Russians, Ukrainians, or Tatars would even contemplate; meanwhile South Korea views with alarm the US swing toward Japan as the key to US Far East policy. Much of Korea has the same regard for its Japanese former colonial masters as the Irish Republican Army has for England.

We can threaten economic sanctions against Russia, but the West is furiously backpedalling on the economic sanctions against Iran even as the lesson of the value of having a few nuclear weapons becomes more obvious. Economic war against Russia is a negative payoff game; not as expensive as war, but not profitable either. Due to the various populations shift in the last seventy years, a large majority of the Crimea would rather be part of Russia than the Ukraine, so the notion of self determination of nations – supposedly one of Wilson’s objectives for America in the Great War – is against out intervention to force the Russian inhabitants of the Crimea to remain subservient to the Ukrainian Republic.

There is the question of the Eastern Ukraine where there is a large Russian minority; probably a majority in only a few places, but there are a lot of them, far more Ukraine Russians than ever there were Sudeten Deutschen, the ostensible reason for Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Russian occupation of the Crimea will not bring war and possibly no battles; this is not so certain for Eastern Ukraine.

It promises to be an interesting year for John Kerry, but then it will also be a distraction for Russia  A clever and bold enough strategy might obtain some concessions in Syria for an American hands off policy regarding Crimea, and more for the same policy regarding Eastern Ukraine; it is not clear what other objectives the US can achieve. We have no army over there, SAC does not exist and we are not going to send missiles. We have no warships in the Black Sea; and Russia can live without our foreign trade. We make as much profit from that trade as they do.

The White House spokesman has said that President Obama called President Putin, and “the president was very strong”.  One assumes he meant President Obama, but what President Obama was very strong about was not made clear.  We await clarification. Meanwhile I have not heard that the Minuteman wings have been put on full alert. And China is watching.





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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