Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Stage is Set

Vlad Putin is dotting the i's and crossing the t's on this one.  He's won the approval of his parliament (tee hee) to send troops into Ukraine and, to top it off, he's been asked by the government of Crimea to intervene.  He's got plenty of muscle down there already.  All he needs now is something akin to a Reichstag Fire that he can blame on the Kiev guys and he's away to the races.

Will he or won't he?  The "please invade us" card does have a limited shelf life although it's also renewable.  Then there's the question of the Ukrainian army.  Although it's only about a quarter the size of Russia's, it's still a substantial force in a territory the size of Ukraine.  There's a large percentage of ethnic Russians in the Ukrainian army but analysts seem to conclude they would remain loyal to Kiev, not side with Moscow.

Now we wait and see.

Update:  the federal government has recommended that Canadians in Crimea leave Ukraine


ThinkingManNeil said...

Anschluss, anyone?

The Mound of Sound said...

Pretty apt call, Neil. Putin can probably count on one or two more cold snaps so he can turn off the gas to the Kiev bunch and get them to settle down.

IwannabeClaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This isn't an Anschluss, this is something we created when we took advantage of a weaker Russia under Yeltsin over Kosovo. Or rather NATO did at the behest of GWB.
Yeltsin got punted and a slighted Mother Russia went for a strong man who would help return them to the international stage.
The rise of Putin after Kososvo led to the Georgian crisis about which NATO could do nothing. Now a similar Russian enclave is being protected.
It's not an Anschluss it is the West's "Right to protect" doctrine being used against them - aka payback.

Purple library guy said...

"Responsibility" to protect. Why, Putin has no choice but to intervene. He's thinking of the children! Just like we Canadians were thinking of the children when we were gung ho supporting overthrowing the Libyan government and leaving the place a "Road Warrior" wasteland filled with warring "militias" aka heavily armed gangs, some tribal but others just thugs. Or when we wanted to do the same to Syria. It's all about humanitarianism, on all sides.

Bottom line, no way in Hell is Putin going to let a US-puppet government run the territory Russia's biggest naval base is in. It's a rather more reasonable excuse than anything Obama's got going for drone-bombing people in Yemen.

The Mound of Sound said...

Realpolitik, eh?

Anonymous said...

PLG I don't disagree with your sentiment. But the immediate roots for this go back to Rwanda, then Bosnia and Kosovo. The ideas of Westphalia especially with respect to borders and sovereignty were shredded because of the guilt that Clinton and the allies felt over Rwanda and their failure to prevent genocide there.
Canada's idea of the doctrine of a Responsibility to Protect was a well meaning response, but failed to actually look at the implications of preventative intervention.
What is happening in the Crimea is a carbon copy of what happened in Kosovo including a re-run of the rush to Pristina.
The West heard rumours of a genocide a la Bosnia and tore into Kosovo to prevent it only to find that such allegation had been massively inflated. They then decided that the ideals of the Dayton Agreement with respect top territorial integrity did not apply and declare Kosovo independent.
Here we have ethnic Russians acting in much the same manner as the ethnic Albanians did in Kosovo and Russia doing the white knight bit.
The Russians have taken our lop-sided, ill conceived precedent and used it in exactly the same manner Condi and GW did to the Serbs. We are reaping what we have sown and the Ukraine is paying for our past hubris.
I don't like it anymore than I like what happened in Kosovo, but like then nobody is looking long term.