Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Monday, March 3, 2014

War and Peace - The Obvious

The UK Guardian:

The US conceded on Sunday that Moscow had “complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula” and announced that the secretary of state, John Kerry, will fly to Kiev in an attempt to halt a further Russian advance into Ukraine.
Senior US officials dismissed claims that Washington is incapable of exerting influence on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but were forced to admit that Crimea had been successfully invaded by 6,000 airborne and ground troops in what could be the start of a wider invasion. “They are flying in reinforcements and they are settling in,” one senior official said. Another senior official said: “Russian forces now have complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula.”
The real money quote is this bit:
 On Monday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said he had discussed Ukraine with his Chinese counterpart and their views coincided on the situation there. Lavrov said in a statement that the two veto-wielding UN security council members would stay in close contact on the issue.
 The real question is; just how far will Russia go?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

War and Peace, the Sequel, Imperial Russia vs the West.

The Ukraine broke away from the former USSR in 1994. It has had 20 years, untold millions in western aid and political support in order to build a 21st century democratic government, but still, Ukraine cannot rise above governance by kleptocrats. And that is on a good day.

On a bad day, you get Maidan fiasco. Make no mistake Maidan was an unparalleled disaster because no 'good' ending was possible. If the Maidan revolution successfully pulled down the elected government, it was guaranteed to invoke a Russian invasion, and if Maidan failed. Well, good morning marshal law, hello totalitarianism, and welcome to another day in the Ukrainian Banana Republic.

The only thing which surprises me is how long it has taken Russia to act. I had thought the Russians would only make a play for the Crimea, and maybe, the eastern half of the country; if they were feeling particularly confident and cocky. But no, Putin has asked for the right for military intersession in 'Territory of the Ukraine' from the Russian parliament, a phrase that is deliberately vague and potentially wide-ranging.

The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session on the Ukraine. No doubt it makes quite a change from debating Israel. Who'd have thought I would live to see the day Russia gets a taste of what it feels to be the Jew on the UN stage. Of course, Russia will never be a real Jew since she holds a veto over any possible actions/resolutions, as does China. The Chinese, will veto any possible anti-Russian resolutions. The Russians won't even have to hold out a carrot to the Chinese in return for their veto. The Chinese are pragmatic and always keep their own political interests in mind when voting. I am sure even now 'Taiwan' is looming large in Chinese collective thinking.

Like vengeful children, Lithuania and Latvia have demanded an emergency meeting of NATO, probably hoping for a little Serbia-Kosovo type response, but that was another time, when the US still had a full war chest. Frankly, other than offering to put NATO observers on the ground to witness to the Russian invasion, there is very little action NATO can take without risking an all out war with the Russians. And war costs money, and lots of it, which just happens to be one thing no western nation has. Come Monday morning, I expect we will see the price of oil skyrocketing and the Russian singing, 'we are in the money'.

While the Lithuanians and Latvians, are magically thinking of the Russians as a kind of Libyan Rus; no one else in the West does. Russia is not Serbia, and you cannot control the skies over Russia by pounding them into submission with airstrikes. Let us not forget, unlike the Serbians or Libyans, the Russians do have the ability to take fight into our skies and expand the theatre of war far beyond borders of the Ukraine or even Mother Russia.

The EU was scheduled to meet officially on Monday to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, which says suggests the EU was expecting the Americans to do all the heavy lifting so all that would be left come Monday to discuss was the inelegance of American posturing.

But the Americans have foiled the EU, and chose to elect a Community-Activist-turned-Commander-in-Chief, so once again, the EU is stuck and has had to hastily scramble its schedule. No matter, Russia has plenty of time to close down the gas pipeline for 'maintenance issues' on any of the seven EU states (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania) which share a border with Russia if the EU forgets their reality.

All of which brings me to the position my Prime Minister is taking in the Ukraine. In the immortal words of Jacques Chirac, now would be a good time to shut-up, and bring the Canadian mission from Ukraine home instead of sending the Russian ambassador packing for Moscow.

I realized Harper is shamelessly pandering to his western base of Ukrainian-Canadians, but enough is enough. Time to remind them they are Canadians, and they should be thankful that their ancestors left the Ukraine. We need to negotiate with the Russians over the Arctic, and Russian cooperation on issues which directly effect Canada needs to take precedence over propping up the kleptocratic tendencies of any given members of the Ukrainian Banana Republic. 

We are not witnessing the rise of the USSR from the Soviet ashes, but Imperial Mother Russia rising from the steppe to take charge. So it is time for Harper to close the cold war playbook and deal with the new reality on the ground.