This ‘crisis’ in The Crimea’ is fascinating to watch. I am watching the reaction in America more than the events on the ground in The Crimea. The reaction here is interesting and sad. Strange bedfellows are being made. None of the reactions make much sense. I’d like to take this time to bring in some facts, try to do some education and maybe clarify some things. So let’s get started.
The Crimea is a peninsula that is NOT part of Ukraine in the traditional sense. It is an Autonomous Parliamentary Republic with it’s own constitution. It is 60% Russian, 25% Ukrainian, and 10% Muslim Tartars. The Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev decided to make it part of the Ukraine. He was a Ukrainian and his Dacha was located on the coast in the Crimea. It was a jab in the eye to the Russians who looked at him as an oaf. The Crimea is the Home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
The Crimea has seen turmoil in the past. It was Scythian, then Greek, then Roman, then Turk, Then Slavic (1783). (an error here has been corrected, do see comment 15 for details. my apologies in advance.)
Until the late 18th century, Slavery in the Ottoman Empire thrived, with Crimean Tatars selling slaves to the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. About 2 million slaves from Russia and Ukraine were sold over the period 1500–1700. In 1769 a last major Tatar raid, which took place during the Russo-Turkish War, saw the capture of 20,000 slaves.
In 1853-6, The Russians faced off against the Western powers over the right for Russia to protect Orthodox Christians and to prevent the expansion of the Christian Russian Empire by helping the Muslim Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War . This wouldn’t be the last time that the West fought on the side of the Muslims against the Orthodox Christians. The Serbs got the same treatment in the 1990′s by The ‘Christian West’.
The Ukraine and Russia. To say that The Ukraine and Russia are culturally close is a gross understatement. There are instances in history when they are at each others throats and times when they are staunchly allies. This spat over the Crimea wont be the last feud either. The purposeful lack of understanding and misinformation in the press and on the blogs is doing nothing but compounding the problems and stoking the fire. Does no one fact check anymore? I rolled out of bed and saw on the Screaming Drudge Headline that ‘Russia Invades Ukraine’. I was stunned. Then I read on and saw that it was the Crimea the Russians were protecting. The headline looked like WW3 just started because tanks and paratroopers were all over Kiev, when in fact it is Russia protecting their people, bases, assets, and Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea as any responsible nation would do.
This is a pretty weak example of an invasion. treaty between the Ukraine and Russia states that the Russians can have 25k troops in the Crimea, there are 16k. the Crimean government wanted all 25 k until further notice but Putin said no. It’s kind of hard to call this an invasion if the government asked for the troops. The thing with Putin is that he isn’t Hitler, this isn’t 1939, he isn’t Satan. He is a patriotic neo-Tsarist. He wants to assure that Russia is a regional power if not THE regional hegemon. remember, he has China to the East and the Muslim world and India to the South. Like him or not, he acts in the best interest of Russia. And he knows that if he invade Ukraine proper or any of the NATO members that there will be war. He won’t though. There is no need and nothing to gain by forceably holding these lands.
Just about every truck and vehicle I have seen in photos and video has Black Sea Fleet markers on them, all of the troops except the pro-Russian Crimean defense guys are Black Sea Fleet uniformed, plus 2k actual marines. The non-Russian airbases that they went to and then left also contained Russian air defense systems for the Fleet. so I’m guessing they grabbed some ‘brains’ or other sensitive gear and left on the same trucks as they came in on.
Here is one of the pig problems for Kiev, they get a billion dollars a year for ‘rent’ until 2042 for the Fleet. If the Crimea bolts and goes to Russia, that payment is over.
No actual violations of treaties have occurred as Russia is allowed free travel to and from the Crimea for the Black Sea Fleet. As invasions go, this one is pretty weak. I’ll say that Palin, The Neo-cons, the press, and many on the right are correct when Putin actually invades the Ukraine and not the Crimea. We and NATO are under absolutely no obligation to defend the Crimea, or the Ukraine, for that matter.
The Crimea will vote in late May on whether to stay attached to Kiev or to Moscow. They are an autonomous republic in union with Kiev right now. They can walk away at any time. Given the new nationalism in Kiev and the economic turmoil to come, this will be an easy decision. The Crimea will leave the Ukraine and return to Russia. Then what will all of the chest-thumpers over here do? This will be a free people voting to move.
The Ukraine. The Ukraine is in a terrible economic mess. Two consecutive governments have wrecked the place by incompetence and corruption. Ukraine needs a bailout. The ousted, and wildly corrupt, Viktor Yanukovych ran into trouble not because of the corruption. That would have got him later. He ran into trouble when he refused to sign the IMF bailout. The IMF was ready with 15 Billion in loans and a stack of demands. The problem is, when the IMF steps in, local control and autonomy leave. Profit and capital leave as well. The only group who make money on the deal are the large banks and holders of hedge funds that profit on this chaos.
This was illustrated brilliantly during the Sach’s ‘Shock Therapy’ in the 1990′s in Eastern Europe. It worked in some areas, failed in others and the large international banks ended up holding capital and assets that otherwise would have remained native profit centers. It works like this: the state has to raise interest rates and retard the loans at teh direction of the IMF thereby destroying the flow of money. Businesses fail, Soros et al come in and buy these assets and control or resell for a profit. Some might say this is capitalism. I do not. This is not capitalism, this is the willful destruction of the very assets that would lead a country out of trouble and out of the grip of IMF control. This occurred all over Eastern Europe in the 1990′s with Soros ans his hedge fund Quantum Fund NV. They vampire off of IMF destruction. The IMF, large banks, BCCI(remember them?) , and Soros are so intermarried that I wont’ get into it here. Google it yourself.
Since Yanukovich refused to sign the loan, something had to be done. Yes, he should have been jailed for corruption, but after a trial. What occurred is that Soros, through his ‘Open Societies’ initiative, infiltrated the Maidan uprisings and helped turn them violent. At the beginning, these protests were legitimate native anger. Then in comes the NGO’s, Open Societies, Anarchists/Nazis/OWS from outside Ukraine and some of Soros’ people like John McCain to help capitalize on chaos.
Putin also offered a $15 Billion loan package that Yanukovich signed that was far less abusive to the Ukraine, but Yanukovich was removed from power and Putin agreed with IMF demands to suspend after the first $3 billion worth of Ukrainian Eurobonds had already been purchased. Yanukovich was legitimately elected and removed illegally. (He should have been tried on corruption charges. ) S0 who steps in after this removal of a legally elected President? The former President of Ukraine and Central Banker Viktor Yushchenko. He has already stated he is more than willing to accept the IMF deal without negotiations. This will give Soros, who backed the removal of Yanukovich by funding the escalation to violence of the year old Maidan Protests, the arena he needs to make a profit from the chaos in Ukraine. Soros doesn’t fund these things for free.
America: First I would ask, What is our national interest in the Crimea? Given its history, none. Second, Does it matter if the Crimea becomes Russian? It does not. Third, Why did we help overthrow a legitimately elected head of state who was not at all hostile to us or in any way a threat? Fourth, Is this ‘concern’ over Crimea simply a cover to let Obama distract the people from his failures? Fifth, is it even worth the effort given the ethnic makeup of the Crimea that they will vote to join Moscow in the near future? It isn’t worth the chest-pounding. And lastly, are the ever so brave Neo-con chicken-hawks willing to personally go to war over this?
And last; How long until we hear about the ‘plight of the ethnic Tartars’ ? The same Muslim Tartars who sided with the Nazi’s in WW2.