North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Monday, March 17, 2014

Russia confronts the West over Ukraine

In a recent post (February 23, 2014) on the Ukrainian revolution, the reader can find a number of maps and graphics that merely underscore the recent moves by Russia to address Soviet Empire legacies.

Here, in mid March, Russia under the leadership of Putin, has used the ruse of protecting ethnic Russians in the Crimean Peninsula (part of Ukraine)to first activate troops already stationed in the oblast as part of its Black Sea Fleet, to hold key access points of the region (airports, border crossings, infrastructure).

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Possession is 9 tenths of the law goes a meaningless phase that somehow seems pertinent here. Despite howls of outrages from the US, Western Europe, and the Ukraine, Russia has a firm grip on the Crimean Peninsula. Graphic from the

In a second major move, Putin and pro Russian leadership in the Crimea hastily organized a referendum asking whether the residents would rather be part of Russia or remain with the Ukraine. The voting results on Sunday night, March 16, were 95% for joining Russia.

Ethnic Russians in the Ukraine ecstatic about rejoining their homeland.

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UK Foreign Secretary William Hague (left), US Secretary of State John Kerry, and UK Prime Minister Cameron (right) talk and talk about the Russian fait accompli Photo from

Russian President Putin, and military leaders on the move. Where is the "mission accomplished" banner? Photo from

Items to ponder:

Russia claims that it is concerned over the safety of Russians (ethnic, formal citizenship??), using that as the prime reason to have made its Crimean move. There are a lot of of Russian remnants around Europe. This Crimean incursion is the third such move in the past several years. Two breakaway provinces in Georgia claimed affinity with Russia, and Russian arms ensured they could make their choice.

The precedent being set here certainly opens the door for many ethnic groups to claim affinity with neighboring nations. It may embolden or further inflame longstanding ethnic enclaves in nations, however the pattern Russia has established is: 1)safety of ethnic Russians at stake; 2) military moves to ensure safety; 3) once in control, hold a referendum of some sort to allow protected Russians their voice. Other groups around the world may or may not find a champion to militarily protect them before a vote.

Even China seems a little ambivalent - after all both China and Russia have long been the champions of internal affairs being the responsibility of the sovereign nation. "Don't interfere in Syria, don't interfere in Libya, don't interfere in Darfur," "certainly not Tibet," and even now the sole supporters of North Korea - all these stances have suddenly been cast aside when it comes to Ukraine.

We'll see whether Europe and the US for that matter have the fortitude to make Russia feel the pain - with economic sanctions for example. Will such sanctions be painful enough to be noticed, or would it be more of a salve for the Western leadership to say, look what we've done.

To date, Russian President Putin has apparently looked over the current crop of Western leaders, including the US, and decided he can make these moves with little concern - a bit of spitting, perhaps some sanctions that are more than likely to be tolerated, but nothing he is not willing to pay.

1 comment:

Teatree said...

And here is the result early on ...